Sunday, June 30th 2019
Good morning. If you hear worshipping with us this morning, whether you're a first-time guest with us or a regular tender would like to invite you to take out one of the welcome cards and the Pew in front of you. If you would fill those out to put them in the offering plate as a pass by later on in the service. We all have you received a bulletin on your way. And if you want to pull those out, you can see that there are a number of small groups and other opportunities for you to be involved. So I'll be involved in as many of those things that you can take a look at those in make sure you study them know them by heart. We're going to be in Matthew chapter 7 today. If you like to turn there will be there in just a moment before we do that. Let's go to the Lord in prayer. Father we thank you for this time. We thank you for the opportunity that you have given us to come here as a group of Believers as a body of faith and has a family and father. We thank you for your call to come into your presence in to worship you for that his father. What we aren't hard as we are a community of worship. And so father we ask that you would give us your spirit today so that we might look up phrases that are a blessing to your name father. We also need your spirit to see who you are clearly because our Praises are grounded in the reality of the character and nature of you and so father we ask you could help us to see clearly who you are today through your words that we might bear witness to you appropriately we pray these things in Jesus name. Amen. Will Matthew chapter 7 we've been going through The Sermon on the Mount and remember we're talking about how enlarge respect it's it's it's like it's like Jesus is giving us an update and not an update from the standpoint of things have changed. But Jesus is is giving us another iteration of the law of Sinai. But Jesus is iteration. It's not it's not that the laws different if that Jesus is adding to us and understanding of what the law originally was meant to be. Jesus is giving us a fuller picture of the law. He's giving us a more complete vision of who God is And so we've been talking about this and last week. We were talking about judging good and evil and seeking the good because the interesting thing is that the laws given to us so that we might have an abundant life and that's one of the things that we were talking about this morning and our Sunday school class is that that God is giving the people of Israel the law at a specific time. And if you look at it, it's kind of really interesting. I remember that the people of Israel they leave captivity in Egypt and they go out into the Wilderness and in the wilderness, they get the law and then the ideas that they'll go on from that into the promised land. The law is an integral part of being free the idea here is that the people go from bondage where people are telling them what to do and they don't get the fruit of their labor to a place called the promised land where they'll receive the fruit of their labor will get to experience the joy of of of fruitfulness and blessing and glory and in order to get through there. They have to go to this place called The Wilderness in the wilderness is a place where there isn't any structure. There's there's there's no you know, you can go to the cities and in man is taking dominion over at their structure there. But if you go to the Wilderness, there is no structure. It's whatever you want And why are there there in the wilderness they have to receive the law but here's the thing that's really important to understand. It. It's not it's not that Jesus is telling us something new here. He's telling us something that we missed when we received it the first time and the thing that's missing is where is your heart? Because really the only way to the promised land is to receive the law but not just to receive it in a way that's external and that you say well I have to do these things that's actually going back to bondage the way to the promised land is actually the receive the law in such a way that your hearts grabs ahold of it and owns it that your heart loves it accepts. It sees it for the good thing that it is and when your heart does that when your heart grabs ahold of this good thing? Then you're all in there's there's no. There's no dichotomy between you and your heart between your body and your soul between the things that you do and what you have going on on the inside. You're a complete whole person and your whole given over to what's good.
You see that was the key for Israel and entering the promised land and entering into Abundant Life. But the problem was when Israel receive the law on the experience that they never grabbed hold of it. Wholeheartedly. They never really had faith that it was a good thing and that it would lead them to the life that they wanted. They didn't have faith in God didn't have faith in the power of God in the power of obedience to God to receive good things and because of that they could never into enter into the Promised Land one of the things that we talked about this morning and our Sunday school class is one of the saddest things is that most Christians and this is really important for us all to hear. Most Christians are just like the generation of Israelites who never got out of the wilderness. Most Christians are like that because the thing is we received the word of God. We receive the love God, but because we don't accept it with our hearts. We stay trapped in the wilderness.
after what Jesus is doing is he's showing us the nature of responding to God Until when Matthew chapter 7 verse 13, it says enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter by it are many for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves, you will recognize them by their fruits are grapes gathered from Thorn bushes or figs from thistles to every healthy tree Bears good fruit, but the diseased tree Bears Bad fruit a healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down thrown into the fire. She will recognize them by their fruits. Now, this is a really interesting passage because Jesus is saying look there's there's a wide way that leads to destruction lot of people are going to find there's an are always difficult that leads to blessing and there are people who are going to help you to understand the ways. There are people that are going to lead you on these paths that are going to point you in the direction that you should go, but you can't trust all of them. Because not all of them are trustworthy because not all of them are wise or not. All of them that are good. In fact, the problem here is that a lot of them are ravenous wolves. They're actually not after helping you get to the promised land. They're actually after consuming you.
So because of that you have to be wise not remember what wisdom is wisdom is the discernment of good from Evil. That's what we talked about last week. But one of the things that we didn't talk about last week with what does that mean? Exactly? So here's the issue that we have to deal with today's we have to deal with what is it? Exactly to be good and evil, how do we discern or distinguish between those two things? So what is good? In Mark chapter 10 verse 18. Jesus said to him. Why do you call me? Good? No one is good. Except God Alone. That was a couple of ways that you can read that cuz I'm a good teacher got a question. They called him good teacher and she this is like a why do you call me? Good only God is good. Set me in the Jesus is saying he's not good. No, that's not what he saying at all. He's trying to discern whether this guy understands what he's saying or not, or he's trying to point out the truth of what this guy is saying is maybe a better way of saying so what does it mean to be good? Why is only God good? Well, first of all good means completeness. It means wholeness and perfection. And really when we're talking about this the word Holiness is what we're talking about remember being holy means to be whole it means to be set apart incomplete because you're not lacking anything your set apart from all the things that aren't perfect your set apart from all the things that you don't need your complete in and out of yourself. That's what God is and he's the only one that is like that only God is truly good. It also means appropriateness. We talked about the idea of righteousness and how righteousness means fitting in with God's law and means fitting in with other people and it means fitting in with the world that God created.
I was thinking about this. We were at the water park recently. The waterpark you have a whole bunch of people that are coming together to accomplish something but not everybody fits in you know, I'm saying a group of people together. There are those people who just can't be a part of whatever the group is doing their those people that just can't quite fit. In other people who do that was far as the way that they dress. It's a water park after all there are things you can't unsee.
And there are those people who do it in their way that they behave your there's a way for all of us to enjoy things and there's a way for all of us to get along and then there are those people who just can't do that. It doesn't matter where you go you find those people. Righteousness or appropriateness is good fitting in with what God has created and the other people that God has created abundance is a sign of good or is part of goodness. God calls us to bring in the fat portions of what we have created or what we have produced or what he has blessed us with. Fat cows and dare. We say even fat babies are good.
I was thinking about those arms. I was thinking how you know when you see a baby head and there's it looks like they have a rubber band on the wrist, but there isn't one. You know, I'm talking about. That's a good thing. But when you get older, it's not quite as good.
Abundance is a good thing. And in fact God calls us to worship Him and celebrations of the abundance that he's giving basically says I am giving you so abundantly take some of that take a generous portion of that come together and worship me. And so the interesting thing is that God sets apart all of these feast days in the Old Testament for people to come together and enjoy the abundance of goodness. Generosity is part of that being generous as good one of the other fascinating things that's just life itself is a good thing. Why is there something rather than nothing and why is life so tenacious. In fact, you can see this different places life is just absolutely tenacious things will grow where it seems impossible for them to grow why because the life is a good thing that's real life is contrasted with death and life is part of goodness and death is the antithesis of that.
There are ways that lead to life and those ways are good. God sets up the situation where the people of Israel are going to go into the promised land and they have to have the law read to them again because the the old generation got stuck in the wilderness and died there in the new generation is going to go into the promised land and so they have to have the wall read to them from these two mountains e ball and gerizim and blessings are red from one and cursings from the other in the ideas that God and the law of God leads to life over and over again. It's as if you want to have a long life if you want to have a Bund in life if you want to live then follow God, but if you don't you will enter into the grave. And the grave is the place that the dead go and cannot praise God. Life itself is a credit to God in a reflection of him. There's also the idea. That the law is good. Even though the laws corrupted by our sinful Nation nature. It is a good thing. It's necessary because of our hearts being ignorant and standing against who God is the problem with the Waldo. Is that its external as a motivator and not internal. to all these things
Are important for us to grasp?
We have a new program today and so it's doing strange things. So you might have to bear with me just a little bit. Another thing that's good is health and beauty. Health is a good thing of beauty is a good thing, you know with the fascinating things about the Book of Esther. I was just reading about this a couple weeks ago. The Book of Esther is going on a major revision where The good guys are becoming the bad guys in the bad guys are becoming the good guys and it has to do with this idea of what's going on in this book. Now, if you remember the Book of Esther, it's about a queen. There's Queen vashti if you remember and she is being given all the things that she can want by the king and the King calls her to come out and and to dance in to show herself presents herself to that his party that he's having and what's happening is that she goes there and or she gets called there, but she will not go she won't go and she won't be she won't respond to the king's invitation. Although he's given her so much and so he decides that he's going to find another queen. And if you remember Queen Esther, she gets put through what is a year of beauty treatments? Why is that? Because that's the nature.
Of goodness. It's that fact Beauty can be defined as the attractiveness of the truly good. Also strength is a sign of goodness to all those things are goodness. But what is it that's evil evil is things that set themselves against the joyfully Abundant Life Eid here is important for us to grab the ideas that God who got is his very nature is God's desires to give you a life and to give it to you abundantly. God desires to give you strength and he desires to give you beauty and the desires to give you life abundantly. He desires to give you Joy page of desires to give you peace. He desires to give you prosperity and all the things that come with what is good and perfect and true. God's desires to give you all those things because that is who he is and evil are anyting that set themselves against the joyfully Abundant Life. Jeff and incompleteness I was thinking about that idea of incompleteness. That scene is evil. And if that's true, if incompleteness is evil then Ikea has to be the most evil store that exists.
How many of you have experienced the incompleteness of Ikea and wished you hadn't? That's the idea right? It's frustrating you want this thing to be together? Why are they selling it to me? This way the ideas that incomplete this is is an evil thing one of the fascinating things.
Is ugly cows are evil. In the Old Testament ugly cows are evil.
The word for that ugly cows are the skinny cows that come out of the river for the seven years of famine is the word evil there Evil Cows.
and so much of modern Art's I think could rightly be called evil. imperfection moving toward completeness is good and moving away from it is evil.
One of the most fascinating things when you look at this idea and study this idea of evil is found in Nehemiah chapter 2 verse 2. We were talking about this with our youth group this week. Nehemiah chapter 2 verse 2 now. Me and Maya is a guy that's coming in to talk to the king and and the King has never seen him sad before and he's really nervous because he doesn't know how the Kings going to react in. This is the time that you had to be really careful about how the king reacted. Is the king held the power of life and death and so he comes in and he's sad in the king said to me and verse 2. Why is your face sad seeing that you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart then I was very much afraid now. There's an interesting thing that's going on here that you don't see because you're getting the English translation, but it doesn't say Sad here. This is the king if you want to read this in Hebrew, it says the king said to me why is your face evil? Seeing as you are not sick. This is nothing but evilness of heart. I think about that for a moment. They translated at sadness because there's a problem and going from Hebrew to English ECR concepts of sadness is not the same as the Hebrew concept of sadness. The idea of sadness in Hebrew is something's wrong. Something's missing. Your life is incomplete. If you're sad, that's not God's intention for you. God doesn't want you to live sadly. That's that's something going wrong in the plan. That's something going wrong in the hierarchy that God has created you're experiencing evil. It doesn't mean you are evil. If you're sad, it means that you were experiencing evil. You're not experiencing the Perfection the gioi the glory that God has for you. And so your hearts is important. You see here's the ideas. You can't go to heaven and experience Perfection and be sad at the same time. Don't do things won't go together. Your heart would be incomplete.
Any idea of having his everything is reached its complete and perfect State and so you can't be sad.
There is a kind of sadness that is evil in the way that we think of evil. And that is a sadness about what is good. And that's the problem that God faces in dealing with us is that we all as human beings can experience sadness about things that are actually truly good. God can give us good things and we can look at those good things and be sad about them.
So, how do we deal with the trees? And the fruits are in.
Because basically what's happening in this text is that we're supposed to discern from the fruits that they create whether profits are good or bad where they're keeping us in the right direction or whether they're not and this picture this word picture that we're giving of treason fruit is important because it has at its root the issue of time. You see here is the interesting thing. When you have a tree you don't know what the fruits going to be in till the fruit grows. You see the problem is there's a lag and time and that's what Jesus is getting at here. If we look at Matthew chapter 13 verse 28 through 30. Jesus is telling a parable about a guy who goes out and he has his workers. So good seeds they they plant a field and they still good seeds. But while they're sleeping and enemy comes and he shows Bad series Weeds into this field. cancel These guys come to the master say hey should we go just rip out all those bad plants.
Matthew 13:20 and Sissy said to them an enemy has done this. So the servants said then do you want us to go out and gather them but he said no less than Gathering the weeds you root up the weed along with them let both grow together until the Harvest and at Harvest time. I will tell the Reapers gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned. But gather the wheat into my barn see the idea here when things before things have reached their conclusion. It's hard to tell whether they're bad or good. The thing is, you know, this is true. You know, this is true, even though you probably don't know that you know it. Have you ever gone to let's say Walmart? Let's say you go to Walmart on a Saturday. Because you're suicidal or desperate. There's got to be some something's got to be really wrong in your world for you to go to Walmart on a Saturday, but you see you go there on a Saturday and what you see is you see some little kid getting a SWAT or getting disciplined. The thing is is that the sign of a bad parent or of a good parent? Yes.
It could be either cutting it. The thing is I could be a really good parent who's trying to teach their kid to become really good or it could be a bad parent. It could be an uninformed parent. It could be a frustrated parent or it could be an evil. We don't know yet you're going in there and you're seeing one piece. You don't know you need more time to pass before you can render a good judgment. That's the way the world actually work. Have you seen you can't take just one thing and say all haha. I know what this is. It's even works for God. You say to yourself. Oh, why does God allow bad things in the world God. Therefore must be bad in people say that they say that all the time you probably know people right now in your life who sings that God is evil because evil things happened in the world and maybe even sometimes you've gotten to the point of saying we'll why does this happen? And that's okay. You can ask that question. Jove ask that question jokes God. Why are you allowing all this evil in the world? Why are you allowing this evil specifically to happen to me?
It's okay to ask the question, but you have to be open to the answer and the answer is God allows evil that good might results.
You see when God creates good God creates things by separation. You can say here's all the things and God says, okay. Well, I'm going to call these things good. I'm going to create the concept of Good Will some things have to fall outside of that. Those things are evil. So now God created good there has to be evil things or has to be things that aren't good. Otherwise the word good has no meaning to it. And once that happens now we have good and evil will how is why is God going to allow these evil things to happen? He's going to allow these evil things to happen because our hearts be fallen human hearts. We love things that are bad.
And we failed to love things that are good. And so God says okay. I'm going to allow these bad things in the world because you love them. I'm going to allow these bad things in the world because you don't truly love what's good. Will how do you come to love? What's good you experienced? What's bad?
That's how it happens, isn't it?
How many of you when you were kids love doing your chores?
Not very many I would suppose.
No, it's an adult. You come to love that more and more.
I got some pushback on that one. What year was the interesting thing?
You take somebody. Here's the thing if we went to a retirement community.
And we took a picture of people's yards and we would ensue. A whole bunch of houses rented by college students and we took a picture of their yards. When we see a difference. we would
and if you've ever had college students living next to you, you know, right? There's going to be a difference. Why because as you get older you start to see the value in those things. You see you experience the opposite of it and you come to love it. You come to love those things that are good you come to love things like getting to bed at the right time. Can I get an amen from people who have kids and stuff like, you know, you have kids and you realize how great sleep is.
You see God allows these things because our hearts have to be transformed and God can't just pull those things out of the world yet because those things have a juice.
How many times have you actually grown and matured because of the difficulties that have come into your life how many times have difficulty terrible sometimes things come into your life and you've actually grown to love what is good because you've actually experienced. What was Matt. How many times has somebody told you don't do this? Don't go there bad things are going to happen. And you say all I'll do it anyway, and then you experience those bad things. And you say I was a fool. I'll never go there again.
And without that experience you wouldn't know. I remember when we were when I was a kid. I was probably a high school student. I had a friend that was in his twenties and and my sister and I in him we decided to go to up to Sedona can do some people that live there and we were driving not his car cuz he had a small car that wouldn't fit all of us. We drove his parents like old car. It was an old Jeep Wagoneer and we were driving to Sedona and we get to Sedona and he opens the hood now, he's got this this friend. That's that's probably in his seventies and one of those guys that just knows everything about everything you don't talk about. I don't mean someone who thinks they know this guy knows everything about everything and so he says Hey, I want you to come take a look at my radiator hose and he opens it up and this radiator hose is like twice the size that it should be. It's just it's looks like like I'm a sausage. That's just got a plump. And this guy who knows everything about everything sister my friend you need to go when you leave here to the auto parts store and get a new radiator hose cuz if you don't you're never going to make it home.
And my friend says as we're leaving I will be fine. It took a seven hours to get back from Sedona. Sedona to here in the middle of the summer seven hours
eventually the radiator hose burst. It's shot the spring that was in the side the radiator heater hose out into the engine where it got caught up in the fan. We were able to flag down the craziest person that I've ever met who gave us a ride to an auto parts place where they actually had a hose. We put it on but we were constantly overheating because of the damage that was done to the engine. And so every time we pass by any stream or anything we had to stop let the car cool down and pour more water in 7 hours of misery.
Never going to let that happen again. That's the way that it works.
The idea is you don't know what fruit is being produced until the fruit comes. You see the road to life is narrow and it's hard. You see we tend to focus on the narrow gate and the wide gate but the idea is that the Narrow Gauge not just narrow. It's also difficult know bad things are difficult to but because of our hearts being the way they are a lot of times good things are difficult.
And you can say to yourself. When was this experience bad horrible was an evil. I don't know. What did it produce in your life. You say you can have two people that go through the same experience. You can help people who get caught up in drugs are caught up in gambling are caught up in any number of things and some of them will go through that experience and will completely transform their life as a result will never go near that stuff again and will love God even more and will appreciate the good things even more because they went through that and you can say well is that evil? Well, maybe it was intended for evil but God transformed it and that was a good experience for me to go through. Nothing, the thing itself was good, but it was a good that I went through it or you can have somebody else that goes through that same experience in and they become a harder as a result. They turn their back to God even more as a result and you can see what was that good or was it evil? Well clearly it was evil.
God wants us all to have an abundant life.
But in order to get us there, there's going to have to be some difficulty involved and don't be too quick to call those things evil that end up being a blessing to you.
The idea here is that it's a little bit more complicated than we'd like to think.
And the real question here is what fruit is being produced.
Because you can't see beyond the present moment. It's hard to know.
What will eventually be produced in Psalm Chapter 19 Verse 7? It says the law of the Lord is perfect Reviving The Soul, the testimony of the Lord is pure making wise the simple.
The idea here is because you don't really know you can't know the future in life is difficult and complicated. The thing that you can rely on is the word of God. And when you apply that to your life, eventually the fruit will be shown. The question really are when it all gets boiled down to its Bare Essentials. Do you trust God that following his word will lead to an abundant life even if you don't see it right now.
Here's my point. God says to do things a certain way. And so you start doing them a certain way and you say to yourself. I don't see how this is going to work. And maybe the best example I can give you is this. What say you? have some seeds
and seeds represent food represents life to you. You have some seeds but you don't have a lot in your hungry and you say to yourself. I can eat these seeds and somebody comes to you and says, yes, you could eat those seeds, but then you'll have nothing left. I have a better idea go outside and throw them on the ground.
Does that sound wise to you?
You see the choices I can eat the seeds right now, or I can go out and throw them on the ground. And God says God's word says no take those seeds sacrifice them. Don't eat them sacrifice them go out and throw them on the ground. And so you do it and you wait. You go out the next day in the seeds are still on the ground. Maybe there's a few less cuz maybe some birds of eating them when you say are now I have even less but I can still Salvage am I can still pick him up off the ground and eat them but God says no no. No, you need to wait until you wait the next day and now producing you can't see the seeds at all and then all of a sudden you see some green shoots coming out of the Season you say well I can eat those green shoots and goddesses know that's not really good for food just weights and got those weights and God says wait and God says wait and then at some point what's happened to those seeds as they've grown up in two weeks and the wheat has given an abundant crop a hundredfold. Now you have a hundred times as many
What's the advice to throw them on the ground good, or was it evil? Well now, you know.
And the reason that's important to understand is because that's what it's like to walk the path. That's what it's like to listen to the prophets. Is there saying things that don't make sense to the world? They're saying look weight. Don't use these things the way the world does weights invest these things sacrificed them to God Waits do things. The right way God is looking out for you. God wants you to have Abundant Life wait, wait on the Abundant Life trust that God wants to give it to you. That's what he's asking you do and if you do, In time, they'll be a harvest and then wisdom will be shown for what it is.
In John chapter 12 verse 23 through 24. It says and Jesus answered them. The hour has come for the son of man to be chlorified truly truly. I say to you unless a grain of wheat falls into the Earth and dies it remains alone. But if it dies it Bears much fruit you see
The things that appear to be evil can be Redeemed by God for good.
It takes wisdom to know the difference and it takes a trust in God and his word.
If you want to have an abundant life you have to learn to trust. As we come to our time of communion we come to remember.
That Jesus made all of this Abundant Life possible by accepting something that seems to make no sense. It made no sense to the disciples and it didn't make any sense to the other people around. But Jesus trusted in the father he trusted in the goodness of the father. And so he accepted death even death on the cross so that when he was raised up to life, he might be given authority over all things you see the seed that was planted grew up and gave life abundantly and it gives life to us. So we take these emblems that are being that will be passed to you the bread that represents Christ body in the cup that represents is spilled blood and we take these things into our into us, we incorporate them into us and what it really symbolizes is that we're incorporating his life into ours worth living like he lived Because we trust that just like Christ that if we give our lives over to God if we trust in him that he will give us life abundantly, even when it doesn't seem to make sense for the way. I asked you to help us today. Help us to have faith in you. That we might receive Abundant Life. Father I pray that you would help us. To express our faith daily taking up our cross. and trusting in your word Father trusting that your desire is to give us more than we can possibly imagine and that in order to receive. All we need to do is to Obey your word we pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.