Transcendence Week 1: The Big Idea
Physiological needs. Safety. Love and belonging. Esteem. Self-actualization. Those are the five steps to achieving your ultimate purpose. But what if there was more to life? What if we, as Christians, could transcend what other humans expected of us? What if we could go beyond ordinary limits? Surpass. Exceed. God puts us in other’s lives for His purposes and we, in turn, are lead to those who help us grow. Our journey isn’t fruitful with self-actualization. It’s fruitful with transcendence. And the seed gets planted here.
Well, good morning everybody and also to those who watch via the internet and the mobile app. I just want to give a big shout out to our creative team. How cool a video is that? Wasn’t that good? It’s good stuff. We’re starting a five-week series called “Transcendence.” And I want, today, to sort of talk about what I’ve called “The Big Idea.” I’m going to do a little bit different message than I normally do because I want to sort of take a larger view of what we’re going to do over the next five weeks and then we’ll drill in over the next four to really get practical and get mean and lean here with this idea of transcendence.
But, I want to sort of share, out of my heart, where this is coming from and why I’m speaking on the series that I’m speaking on. As many of you all know – and if you’re new, you don’t know this. Some of you may not know this. But, for the majority of the time that we’ve been doing this church up until last month. We’ve been doing this for about five and a half years. I worked a full-time job. It was 60-65 hours a week and then I pastored. And I don’t know why I did but I decided to also teach at a college and a seminary. And I don’t know what I was doing.
But, the fact of the matter is that I was busy. And, in that season of working basically seven days a week doing what I was doing, I realize – now that I’m not working my full-time job and I’m here being a pastor and being a professor. I realized how, over the last month, I really started hearing things that I had not heard in a long time just in prayer life, devotional life. And I guess, the way I would explain it is that, in the midst of all that clutter, there was just a lot of static. And now I started hearing some more. And I had been preparing this series for a while, but as I started preparing this series, I really just felt like God was really starting to speak to me. And so, over the next five weeks, we’re going to get to know something. Either I really heard from God or it was a bad burrito. So hopefully it was the Lord.
But what I want to say up front about this series is that I believe with all of my heart that some of you, if not many, are going to really be arrested spiritually in this series. I think you’re going to have some moments. In fact, as I was praying, I really felt impressed that some of you all are going to have nights where you stay up thinking about some of the things that we’re talking about. Because what we’re going to be talking about is something so greater than what we normally talk about in church and what we talk about as people. And I think this will be a really big transforming series not only for us as individuals, but as a church.
Because at the end of the day, every single one of us wants to live a fulfilled life. And we’re searching that. There are 43,000 volumes in print right now that you can buy that will tell you how to get a fulfilled life. They’re called self-help books. And they’re based around an idea that Abraham Maslow created, who is a great psychologist. You might have heard of him. You might have studied him in school. He had the hierarchy of needs. And, if you don’t remember that, his hierarchy of needs looked something like this.
It was your physiological needs need to get met before your safety needs. And then, if your safety needs get met, you can get your love and belonging on. And then if you can do that, you can get your esteem on and feel good. And then you can self-actualize. And so what happens is is everybody is running around trying to figure out what it is in their life that they can do that will make them happy, make them fulfilled so that they can self-actualize. And so we bring that into the church as well.
We’ve got these books. If you do these nine steps or if you run backwards three times or if you hop on one leg or if you bark like a dog or whatever else. Or if you burn some incense to the north and open your door to the south and do this, then these things will happen. If you just say over and over again these words, all of this stuff will happen. And everybody’s looking for that. Everybody’s looking for that fulfilled life. But when people are surveyed – Christians, when they’re surveyed, one out of three says they live a fulfilled or happy life.
Now, I don’t know if you agree with me on this, but I think I’m right. On surveys, people lie. Okay? If you’re asking them, “Are you happy? Are you fulfilled,” most people are going to, “Yeah.” Because they don’t want to tell you that they’re not. And so, if 33% of the people that were asked, “Are you happy or fulfilled,” they’re the only ones that answered yes. You know it’s even less than that. And it begs the question and I think all of us are there. We want to live a fulfilled life. You’re not here today just to show up. I mean, this is a beautiful place. You’re here because you want to get ahold of God. You want to get what He has for you. And what we’ve done over and over again is we’ve talked about this idea of self-actualization. People are trying to get self-actualized.
Find that one thing that I can do. Find that one job that I could do. Find that thing that I would do that I didn’t even need to get paid for but, if I could do it and get paid for it, it would be awesome. And here’s the deal. You find people all the time that got that job that they said would do it or they became the rock star or musician and they became the band and all this stuff. And then you find out that they’re depressed and some people even kill themselves. And we go, “So, how’s that working trying to self-actualize?”
Well, what’s interesting – and you may not know this – is Abraham Maslow, in his later parts of life, changed his hierarchy of needs and he said, “Self-Actualization is not the highest form of human achievement.”
The highest form of human achievement he labeled “transcendence.” He said, “People live a fulfilled life, they become all that they were created to be when they are pouring themselves into others and leaving a legacy that is beyond themselves.”
He said that that’s when people truly start to live. Now, that’s interesting because we have here in the Bible all of these passages of scripture that talk about us pouring into others and serving others and washing feet and doing all this stuff. And most of us are like, “How does that work?” Because we’re trying to self-actualize and so, what we do is we convince ourselves if we can get this right, then we can start doing some other things when, in reality, maybe just maybe we’ve got that wrong.
Now, I believe that you want to live a fulfilled life. I know that I do. And I think that Paul, in the book of Ephesians, labels four things in an early prayer in that book that he sort of does in a sequence that I think will help you and me understand the big idea of what it looks like to be transcendent in our lives and in the lives of the Church. And this is really important that everybody hears. Lean in. If you’re watching via the internet and mobile app, listen here. This is really important.
In the world, transcendency is always based on talent levels. So, in other words, you know they talk about basketball. Michael Jordan, man. He’s the greatest basketball player ever. Some of you may say it was LeBron James. Or some of you all may like Magic Johnson. Whoever it is that you decide they’re the greatest. Okay. Well, they’re the greatest because they were the best scorer or they were the most talented or they could dunk the best. Transcendency, for humanity, is not based on individual talent. It’s based on being a part of God’s Church, which means you cannot be transcendent as a Christian by how great you are.
We are transcendent as people in the Church. So, we’re individually role-players. Jesus is the star. He’s the one that dunks. He’s the one that slams. He’s the one. And all of us are role-players in the Church which means we cannot be transcendent as human beings and live the life that we want to live and be fulfilled apart from being an individual involved in God’s church. And that’s important to understand this because this series, we’re going to flesh all this stuff out.
So, let me show you what Paul says here and how I get this idea of transcendence. Just listen in here and watch how this works and then we’ll sort of talk about it a little bit more as we go on.
Paul says that God, here in Ephesians 1:17-18, he says that the God of our Lord, the Father, the master and everything, “that God…may (1)” – now, let me just say, for those of you all that are new or maybe if you don’t have your Bibles open, “(1)” is not in the Bible. Okay? I want to make sure that you understand that. I put that in there. That’s the insertion by Chip Bennett. Okay? And I did that so I could show you some sequence here.
He says, “That God…may (1) give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.”
Now, as Christians, we want to know God. We want to have that relationship. But, before we can become transcendent in our lives, before we can live a life that ultimately is a life of fulfillment, we have to move from being lost to being saved. We have to move from being out of the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light. And I know this is not popular and some people may not like it, but I do not believe, as a pastor nor as somebody who teaches theology, that you can live a fulfilled life apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ. And I’m not saying that to be mean or snarky. I’m just saying I believe that with all of my heart. It starts with Jesus.
So, to be transcendent in your life and a church that is transcendent, we have to move from being lost to saved. We have to have a movement from where we truly get an idea of who Jesus is and we move into that. And the church has to do that, too. If a church is not seeing people move from lost to saved, that church will not be transcendent. So, that’s the first step.
Secondly he says, “…having (2) the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.”
Now, this is really important. I call this second step “Getting past your yesterdays.” We can call it whatever you want to do. Unpacking your junk. However you want to call it. But here’s what Paul says. First of all, I want you to get a good idea of who Jesus is. Because when you get a good idea of Jesus, then you’re on that conveyor belt of moving forward. Then what I want you to do is I want you to stop looking with what you see. I want you to have the eyes of your heart enlightened. Your spiritual sense. Your spiritual EQ. I want you to understand what the hope is to which he has called you.
Now, I’ve pastored for quite a while, and Dan has pastored for quite a while, and Tom has pastored for quite a while and we’ll tell you that it’s very common in the Church for people to have issues. Can I get an amen? Because I think every one of us has them all the time. Right? Saying, “I don’t know about issues, man. I’m just living great. I never have any problems in my life at all.”
Just pray for your pastor then because I’ve got plenty of them. Okay? What Paul says – and we find this in church – is you see, people, they have issues. And what they do is they want to deal with their issues and they want to talk about their issues. And they want to have small groups about their issues. And what happens is is – and you see it all the time – they meet with person to person to person to talk about issues. What Paul says is this. Paul says, “I want your eyes of your heart to be so enlightened so that you know the hope to which he’s called you.”
Because here’s what I’m convinced of. I’m convinced that issues never go away. I’m convinced that to get past your yesterdays and to understand what God wants and to start living a transcendent life, we have to realize how great that hope is that we’ve been called to and it helps us not focus on the other stuff over here that we like to focus on.
Let me give you some examples of that. Paul. We know that Paul was beaten 39 times with the lashes minus one, which would’ve been 40. And why was he not beaten 40 times? Because they figured if they beat you 40, you would die. He was stoned. Not like in Colorado. They actually threw rocks at him and stoned him. And he had all these other things that went on in his life. And, in 2 Corinthians 4, he says something to the effect of this. He says, “All that stuff, slight momentary affliction.”
Now, I’m going to tell you something. That’s not slight momentary affliction. Okay? I mean, I know it sounds good. Like, that’s great Paul. Sounds good. But that’s not slight momentary affliction. When people are beating you, that’s some serious stuff. Why could Paul say something like that? He could say something like that because the hope to which he was called was greater than the afflictions that he was having in his life. And this is huge.
I mean, you see stories of moms that there’s a baby in the car and the car’s going off a cliff and that mom’s like holding the car back or a dad’s holding the car back. Why? For the hope. And some of them have a broken arm because they’ve had a wreck or a broken leg and they don’t care about their broken arm or their broken leg. They’re so focused on that hope of getting that child out of there that they’re not looking at their stuff. So I think what Paul is saying is, “Hey, you’ve got to get an idea of who Jesus is and then on top of that, you’ve got to start seeing how great the hope to which God has called you.” And what that’ll do is that’ll help you get away from your junk and get focused on what God has called you to do.
Thirdly, “(3) what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”
This is awesome. Did you know that you and me, as Christians, are God’s inheritance? He wants to inherit you and me as His people. And not only that, He’s given you and me an inheritance in this life. Peter says it this way: That we’ve been given all things that pertain to life in godliness. We have to understand who Jesus is. We have to get past our yesterdays by understanding how great the hope is to which God has called us. On top of that, we have to understand that we have a life of purpose that we’ve been given tools and abilities to be role-players in this incredible legacy called the Church.
And lastly, “(4) what is the immeasurable greatness of his power towards us who believe.”
That you and me have residing in us as Christians the ability and the power to do what God has called us to do. So, here’s what it looks like as an individual. I’ll tell you what. I’ll use the slides here that we used for the cool video.
First of all, I’ve got to go from lost to saved. If you’re in here today and you go, “You know, I’ve been trying to do life my way. Not been doing in Jesus’ way at all.”
Today would be a great day to stop right now and say, “Jesus, I need to start doing it your way. I want to be a follower of you. I want to get involved in this thing. I want to do this.”
The first step is that we’ve got to get from lost to saved. The second step in our life to being transcendent as individuals is we’ve got to get past our yesterdays. We’ve got to start taking root in what God has called us to do and the hope to which He has called us. Not only that, but we’ve got to start living a life of purpose. Understanding that we are God’s inheritance and that He has given us certain things that we’re going to inherit, and some of them He’s already given to us now by His Spirit which enables us to live a life of purpose. And then what we do is we start reproducing what God has done in us in other people. And so it looks like this.
I go from lost to saved. I get past my junk. I start realizing what God has given me and I get equipped to do it. And then I start pouring that into others and it starts again. And then the church that we’re involved in – the local church that we’re involved in – people are coming lost to saved. They’re getting past their yesterdays. They’re doing these things and moving forward and reproducing. And, all of a sudden, when you’re living in that arena, everything you do starts to become about what God’s doing. About leaving a legacy. And it makes a huge difference and, all of a sudden, you start living a life that’s fulfilled.
I’ll give you an example. We had the Women On the Go. They went down to the fire station just a few weeks ago and they served the fire-people food. Okay. Let me explain how this could work out. So, they go down there and serve food. Let’s assume one of those firemen says, “Hey, listen. You know, I’ve been thinking about this Jesus thing for a while and you guys came out here and you served me. You know, I’d like to talk to somebody about this Jesus thing.”
And next thing you know, one of them is praying for this man and he’s accepting Christ.
Next thing you know, he’s showing up and he’s getting baptized in a horse trough and then what he does is he goes back to his firemen and he starts leading them to the Lord. And then they start getting baptized and they start getting plugged in. You can’t tell me that everybody that’s involved in that isn’t going to be going, “Man. This is awesome. Man. This is great. This is what it means to really live life.”
That’s what it means to be transcendent. Now, the question we should be asking ourselves is, “That sounds great. But why don’t we do this? Why don’t we hear this on a regular basis? What’s going on?”
Well, let me tell you some reasons. Number one. We’ve often mirrored societal norms to the exclusion of Scriptural truth.
Let me explain how this works. When I teach homiletics – which is how to preach – I always tell my students, I’m like, “You get two choices as a preacher. You get to go, ‘What do I want to say,’ and now, ‘Let me find some Bible verses to support what it is that I want to say.’ Or, you get to go, ‘What does the Bible say and let me teach that.’”
Do you see the difference? Big difference. Okay. What happens is we have a lot of societal norms that we consider to be truth. Part of our society, part of who we are. And we elevate them to places where we go, “Okay, now I’m starting to find that in scripture.” And so what it does is it confirms what we already think. I’ll give you an example.
In the west, we often elevate the individual over the community.
“Don’t be trying to put that on me. I have my individual rights. I get to do what I want to do. I get to choose the way I live. Don’t be putting that stuff on me.”
Listen to me. This is really important that we get. You and I do nothing in our lives that doesn’t affect others. Nothing. We go, “Yeah, but when I go home…”
See, this is part of the whole thing. No. “Just let me be me. Just let me do what I want to do. Just let me be me.”
No. You affect other people. You can’t just be me. It’s us. It’s like Jesus says when you pray to the Lord. It’s not “my” Father which art in Heaven. It’s “our” Father which art in Heaven. It says the body’s there. The finger works and if you don’t believe the finger works, get it caught in a door and you know, “Man. That thing’s important. My pinky, man. I love that thing. Man. He is so important now that I shut him in the door.”
Or your small toe. Ain’t nobody thinks about their small toe. Nobody goes to bed at night going, “Lord, thank You so much for my small toe. I love my small toe so much, God. My small toe’s so important.”
But man. I’m going to tell you what. That sucker gets really valuable when you get up late at night to go to the bathroom and you hit that thing against the bed, right? It’s all of a sudden, “My God. My small toe means so much and I love my small toe.”
Right? Okay. You start realizing that what you thought didn’t matter actually matters. And so here’s the way Paul says it and this is why we often don’t live transcendent lives. Because we’re trying to go over here and figure out our individual stuff rather than realizing that where it’s fulfilled is when there’s a synergy between the individual and the corporate or the community. Here’s what Paul says to his church.
He goes, “Hey. If there’s any encouragement in Christ…” – You don’t need to raise your hand. But if I were to say, “Listen, some of you all. Have you ever been encouraged by Jesus at all?” Most of you’d go, “Yeah. Amen.”
He goes, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there’s any comfort from love,” – I mean, did you ever get any comfort from love when God came and said to you, “Hey, Chip. I love you and I’m meeting you where you are. You don’t have to get cleaned up for me to love you. I love you where you’re at.”
And you go, “Man. That grace is awesome and that love is awesome.”
He says, “Is there any comfort from that at all? How about any participation in the spirit?”
Have you ever been in church and you feel like God’s moving? You know, you get, for instance, when Justine sings. She’s like, “Great are you.” You’re going, “Woo! Got goose bumps.” It says, “Participation in the Spirit.” The Greek word here is “Justine.” I’m just kidding. It’s not. But you know what I’m talking about?
He’s like, “If any of this stuff is going on in your life, if that’s going on,” he goes, “if there’s any affection and sympathy,” he says, “…complete my joy by being of the same mind.”
You go, “I’m not thinking like everybody else. I’m going to do my own thing. I’m my own man.”
No. He says, “I want you all to have the same mind. I want you to come together for the same things, having the same love, being in full accord…” – That’s not a Honda, folks. – “…and of one mind.”
Again. He says it again. He says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit.” Nothing.
“Yeah, but. This is my ministry and I’ve got some ambition to become something. I want to be important. I want to feel like I’m doing something.”
No, no. Nothing from selfish ambition.
“Yeah, but I’ve got some pride. I’ve got some pride.”
No. Nothing from conceit. None of it.
You go, “Yeah, but you know. Let me explain. It sounds great. But you can’t live that way.”
It’s like Peter.
Jesus says, “Hey, man. Let’s forgive people.”
Peter’s like, “Yeah. Sounds like a great idea. How about like seven times? That’s a Biblical number. Yep, that’s pretty good, Jesus. Seven times.”
He’s like, “No, dude. Forever.”
Peter’s like, “No, man. You can’t live that way. Somebody might do you wrong or somebody might, I mean, there’s got to be a point where you go, ‘I ain’t forgiving you ever again.’”
Jesus says, “No. Keep forgiving.”
This is what we read in the Bible. He says, “But in humility, count others more significant than yourself.”
It doesn’t say they are more significant. It just tells you to count them more significant. Why is it telling you that? Why does it say that? Maybe there’s a way to fulfillment that we’re trying to self-actualize. Maybe there’s another way to live a fulfilled life that we’re missing. He says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interest of others.”
He says, “Listen. You’re involved in something greater than just you. You have something to focus about. Don’t let the individualism rise up against the idea that we’re in this thing together.”
Secondly, – I think this is a reason why we haven’t experienced transcendence a lot of times in the church – we have often elevated faithfulness at the expense of fruitfulness.
Now, let me explain this. Oftentimes we go, “Ah, you know. Don’t worry about growth. Don’t worry about some of that stuff. Let’s just be faithful.”
Can I tell you something? Listen to me. Listen to me if you’re listening via the internet or mobile app. Listen to me. If you are faithful in your Christian walk, if you are abiding in the vine like John 15 says, you’re going to produce fruit. You can’t be faithful and not be fruitful. Either one. And what happens is – and there’s good people. I mean, these people love God, but you hear this in the church. You’ll hear the rumbling every once in a while where they’ll go, “Let’s not get too focused on numbers. Come on now. Let’s don’t get too focused on numbers.”
Or, “What we need is we just need a lot more discipleship. We just need to be faithful is what we need to be. We don’t need to be worried about fruitful. Don’t get all that stuff.”
But let me show you how this works in the Bible in Acts 16:5, “The churches were strengthened in the faith…” – They were strengthened in the faith. They were being faithful. They were teaching the Bible. They were praying. They were doing all the things that you and I know to be done. And what happened? – “…they increased in numbers.”
So you can’t separate these two things. You can’t just go, “Oh, I like this part but I don’t like that part.”
And people ask me all the time. They’ll say, “Chip, you seem like you really like to celebrate numbers.” Yeah. Guilty. Totally guilty. And you know why? Because I’m going to ask you this as a church. Is there anybody that would walk through that door? A married couple that’s struggling in their marriage that we would go, “No, no, no. We don’t want to have the opportunity as a church to help you in your marriage, to see your marriage restored. No. Stay outside of that door. We don’t want to grow one more. We just want to be faithful. I know that you want to come in and accept Jesus, but what we want to do is be faithful in here. If you could stay out there for a little bit. We don’t want to get too focused on being fruitful. We just want to be faithful.”
See, it doesn’t work that way. And, as a church, we can’t elevate one above the other because, if you are faithful, if I’m faithful, we will be fruitful. Things will grow and it’s important that we understand that because we think about transcendency, it’s when you’re seeing people baptized. When you’re seeing people healed. When you’re seeing people transformed. That’s when all of us are going, “Yeah, man! This is awesome.” I’m going to tell you what. The worst thing you can ever be around – and God knows that I pray for all these churches and whatever – but, it is tough when you’re in a church that’s dead and doesn’t know it. And there’s a lot of them around. They should’ve been buried years ago. They’re dead. And they’re huddled around going, “We’re just being faithful. We’re just the faithful few. We’re just faithful.”
No, no. When you’re faithful, there will be fruit.
Thirdly, another reason why we’ve messed up some stuff I think is we’ve often taught Scripture from the deficiency needs rather than from transcendence. And what we’ve done is this. We’ve said, “Okay…” – And let me say something here so that everybody understands me so I’m not unclear and so nobody thinks I’m being snarky or anything like that. All these things are important. They’re all important. We do small groups and we feed and we do stuff like that. All those things are important. But what we’ve done is is we’ve taught from this. We’ve said, “Gotta get your physical needs met. Gotta get all that stuff met and get your safety needs met. God wants to give you houses and He wants to heal you and He wants to do this and the big health and wealth gospel hanging out down here at the bottom of the barrel.”
Then you come up here and you’ve got people, “We got to get together and have fellowship. We’ve got to have great small groups, man. Because we’ve got to belong and we’ve got to have love and all this stuff. And then, hey, if somebody comes along and tells me how great I am and how awesome I am, I need all these things.”
Listen, I want to do all these things as your pastor. But, this is not the end game of what we’re looking for. And this here is not where you and me will live fulfilled lives. Because what we do is this: We go, “If I could just get all these things right then I could go do something for God. But I’m over here trying to self-actualize.” And it doesn’t work that way.
“If I could just get that place in Colorado with all that freeze-dried foodwith that big gate and I could be safe and I knew I had a place to go, then I could do something for God.”
Did you ever think that you might die before you got there? I mean, seriously. We get so wrapped up in this. Listen to what Jesus says about this.
Here’s what He says. He says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Start there. Not here. What are the “all things?” He tells you. Food, clothing and all that. Actually, He says, “All the Gentiles seek those things. You guys are my people. You don’t seek those things. That’s not what you seek. You put Me first. You put My plans first. You put My agenda first. You put Me first and you do what I called you to do and I will add all the things that you need.”
And what we do is we do it backwards. We go, “I’ve got self-actualize before I can go do this.”
And Jesus says, “No. If you will live a transcendent life, you’ll live a fulfilled life and the things that you need will show.”
And there’s Christians in this room and there’s people that you can meet that will tell you that that is absolutely the truth. There’s no greater life than putting God first and not worrying about all that other stuff and doing what He says and it’s amazing how good God takes care of His children. It’s amazing.
Better preaching than you all are letting on. Okay? There must be a thunderstorm outside. I’m going to start getting some lightning in here in a minute. Anyway, so listen to this. Even more than this. Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6 and he says – he uses an incredible word. He says, “Command.”
Some of y’all don’t like that word. Like, “I don’t want my preacher commanding me to do anything. Sounds like he’s just bringing in some law to the church.”
No. Paul says – Can I tell you something? Let me just be honest here. We’ve got to get rid of all our theological funk and through it to the wayside and just start asking, “What does the Bible say?”
Listen, there ain’t nobody in this town that believes any more in the grace of God than I do. You can’t do enough. You can’t pray enough. You can’t give enough. You can’t do any of that stuff to get God’s merit and favor. It’s not of that. But I’m not going to sit here and just say, “Well, sit around and do nothing. The Bible has all these things and says, ‘Go do these things. Go out this way. Love your brother.’”
People go, “Ah, I don’t want to do that. I just want to sit around and wait until God sort of motivates me to do those things.”
Listen. He’s already motivated you. It’s called the Spirit of God that lives inside of you. You have the capable power. You’ve just got to go out there and do it. And you’re going to fail and you’re go to skin elbows and knees and all of that stuff. But here’s what He says. He says, “Tell your people. Command your people that are rich in this present age.”
That’s all of us. If you ate today, you’re rich in this present age. He says, “Tell your people. This is what I want you to command them. Timothy, command them.”
“Do good. That’s what you command them. You tell those people, ‘Do good.’ Don’t sit around and worry about stuff and sit and soak. Go out there and do good. Be rich in good works. Be generous and ready to share.”
He says, “Command your people, Timothy. Urge your people. Push your people to live this way.”
“Thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future.”
“What are you doing? I ain’t worried about this.”
You’re just lobbing up things into eternity that are sitting there. And you know what they do? They bear interest and they come right back into this life. He says, “So that…”
Do good. Share. All that stuff. Lob that stuff up into Heaven ‘so that’ you may take hold of life. Take hold of that which is truly life. Which is what every single one of us wants.
We want to live a true life. We want to be fulfilled. He says that this is the way you do it. You don’t do it by trying to figure out how to self-actualize, you do it by pouring yourself into others and leaving a legacy into others. And when you’re doing that and you’re moving from saved to lost and you’re unpacking your junk and you’re getting equipped and you’re seeing God use you and then you’re seeing it work at work and in your marriage and in your church and your church is reaching people and stuff is going on. Man, it’s like everybody’s slapping five and you go and you, finally, when we hang up those cleats and we put everything to rest, we’re going to stand there and go, “Oh, man. You mean at Grace that family that went into the children’s ministry? You mean that guy, that little kid got ahold of Jesus and, later on in his life, he led 100 people to the Lord? That is awesome.”
And God’s going to go, “You’re a part of that, man. You’re a part of that team.”
You know, when Michael Jordan won the championships and they’re in there doing the champagne thing – you know, you’ve seen the champagne thing. Everybody’s [spraying sound] like light sabers of champagne and doing all this stuff. It’s not like he’s the only one in the room with the champagne. The dude on the bench that didn’t even play, he’s got the champagne. [Spraying sound] Doing all this stuff. What’s going to happen is, one day, not only are we going to experience in here, but one day we’re going to stand with Jesus and He’s going to have champagne (because He told me He was.)
Anyways, He’s going to have champagne. He’s doing the champagne and you and I are going to be doing champagne. And we’re going to realize, “Man, you mean all that stuff? I just didn’t think serving coffee would matter.”
No. It does because – listen to me – my role is no more important than your role. All of our roles are important. Jesus is the star. We’re involved as support players and – listen to me – if the nursery didn’t do certain things, if the greeters didn’t do certain things – we’ve even got people out there waving signs now saying, “We welcome you here,” which changes attitudes. People come in here. You know how it is to be arguing with their wife or husband on the way in. “I don’t know why we’re going to church today.” Whatever.
“Oh. Look at those nice signs.”
Changes your mind. You come in here. Get ahold of God. Listen to some crazy boy from Kentucky and go, “Wow, man. This is awesome. But who’s more important? Nobody is. It’s all the same. That’s why to be transcendent and live a fulfilled life, we’ve got to get on the conveyor belt and, as a church, we’ve got to get on the conveyor belt. And we start doing all this stuff and slapping five, we will be living fulfilled lives that are incredible.
So. Here we go. What are the points to take home? Write these down. Scribble these down. Put it on your phone. This is huge. This is huge in light of this week as well.
Listen to this. Number one. Of all the time we could’ve existed, God chose now.
And you’re going, “How do you know that? You can’t know that. I could’ve been a good caveman. I saw the Geico commercial. If I’d have been George Washington we’d have really started this country right.”
You say, “There’s no way you can know that.”
Yeah I can. I can because Paul talked to the Athenians; the Areopagus. And this is what he told them. He said, “Who made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the Earth? God did. God created one man and, out of one man, all the generations of humanity came forth. Having determined – God. Not you. God. He determined allotted periods. Which means He determined time and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”
So, you weren’t born in America when you were born in America or you weren’t born in Russia when you were born in Russia or you weren’t born in China when you were born in China and God went, “Oh, man. That’s awesome. I didn’t know that was going to happen.”
He determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. You know why? Because there’s something that comes after this. Do you know why God did that? Do you know why God put you in the time and place that you’re at? Do you know why? That they should see God. God put you and me into this world in such a time and place that the genetic structure that you and I had was the most optimal time for me and you to find Jesus. Which means every single person that’s in this room and every single person that’s outside of this room is a walking moment of determined time and boundary for them to be able to see God. Which means we can look at the world and go, “It’s so dark and everything’s falling apart.” Or, we can go, “Man. Thank God I’m living at the time that He determined and allotted for me and the dwelling place that He determined. And man, every single person that I come in contact with is an opportunity at the right moment to find God and to understand who He is.”
Man, if that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will. Think about that. Think about it. We’re right in that moment.
Secondly, God wants through His Church to leave a legacy.
This is just crazy talk. Listen to what Paul says. Paul says that through the Church – the Church! – the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Think about it. Through us, God is showing all of the rulers in heavenly places His wisdom. Through us. That’s crazy talk, Paul. Crazy. It gets crazier. The next one is even crazier. He says, “To him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.”
Now, I’m telling you right now if I would’ve written this, it would’ve been, “To him be the glory in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.” I would’ve never put the church there. And I definitely wouldn’t put the Church before Jesus. I would’ve never wroten something like… written something like that. That’s my Kentucky coming out. “Wroten.”
Anyway. So, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations. Man. You mean God wants, through the church and in Christ, to do something throughout all generations? Yeah. That’s what this is all about. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you exist. That’s why something stirs in your heart when you go, “Man, I could be a part of a team that wins? Man, I could be a part of a legacy? I could leave something?”
Yeah. Because the reality is this. Doesn’t your heart burn when you think about being a part of something remembered forever?
Here’s what the Psalmist says. He says is this way, “They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
Forever and ever and ever. That’s the big idea. The big idea is that God, for you and me, wants us to live a life of transcendence and we do it as individuals in a church. And when we’re a part of what God is doing and we’re seeing lost to saved and people unpacking their yesterdays and people being equipped and people reproducing themselves in others and you keep seeing that happen, what you realize is your marriage is a vehicle for God to use. Your job is vehicle for God to use. Your money is a vehicle for God to use. It’s all about Him and we’re just role-players supporting. And when we start living that life, what happens is we start living a life that’s fulfilled.
And you know, at the beginning of every sermon, I always do – when I’m in a series. I give you that line to tell you what we’re doing in this series. This is what we’re doing in this series:
We’re going to learn how live a massively fulfilled life through intentionally pouring ourselves into others through the church. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to hang up our cleats one day and go, “Man, we left the biggest stir in Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota that we could possible have done.”
And then we’re going to get to Heaven one day and be with God and we’re going to realize that all that crazy stuff that we did, we had no idea the amount of people that we impacted and we’re going to have a great time along the way and we’re going to have the champagne deal at the end and it’s going to be awesome. And you know and I know that God is speaking to your heart to be a part of this. So, make sure you’re here for these series’ because it’s going to change our lives and change our church.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank You for Grace Community Church. I thank You for the wonderful people here. Thank You for what You’re doing. I’m humbled to be the pastor. Lord, what I want is for You right now to speak to some people. I believe people’s spirits are bubbling up on the inside. I believe there’s some people here, Lord, that are really feeling some calling in their life. Lord, I pray that You would help us to be transcendent. Not only in our individual lives, but as a church so that we can live those massively fulfilled lives that You’ve called us to lead. So, Lord, we love You and we thank You for what You’re doing and I pray, God, that You would just continue to shape this church for Your glory and for Your honor.
So, Lord, as we leave, I pray that You would watch over us and protect us and I pray that You would lead and guide us. I pray that You would continue to help us be the light that You’ve called us to be to Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota and Bradenton for Your glory. Help us, Lord, to be transcendent. Bring us back safely to when we meet again. We thank You for it in Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “amen.”