October 16, 2023 by P. Kevin Clancey
I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around all those who fear Him and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints. There is no want for those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me. I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life and loves many days that he may see good? Well, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them. He guards all his bones. Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
(Psalm 34, NKJV)
All right, dear ones, many are the afflictions of the righteous. Life ain’t easy, but the Lord delivers him out of all of them. This story for you, it ends well. Or I should say it never ends, but it’s a good story. You’re in a good story and you’re in good hands. And so while we’re in the middle of the world of afflictions, there are certain things we can do in this world that we won’t be able to do in eternity. And one of those is to worship and praise God in our afflictions.
I just don’t think worshiping Jesus when you see Him in all His glory and you go to the new Jerusalem and there is the glory of God the Father and angelic angels all around and the living water is flowing through the city. I don’t think it’s gonna be like, oh, I really don’t wanna sing and go to church tonight. I think it’ll come pretty naturally to you. But now you got these competing voices. Martin Luther says what? This world with devils filled threatens to undo us. I’ll tell you what undoes the devil. When we worship in the face of whatever you’re facing today. You might be at a level two of afflictions. You might be at a level eight of afflictions, but in either case, let’s stand and sing God’s praises. All right?
On the night He was betrayed, He took bread and He broke it. He said, this is my body. And the same way after supper, He took the cup and said, this is my blood. It’s the blood of the new covenant shed for the forgiveness of sins. The author of Hebrews says without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. The blood of Jesus. Lord, we thank you for your blood. We thank you for the love that you displayed by coming and going to the cross. We thank you for the redemption, the forgiveness, the new life. Lord, we thank you. We’re just here grateful tonight.
So many people in our culture don’t know. They just don’t know that the God of the universe became a man and died a cruel death. And God made Him who knew no sin to become sin that we might become the righteousness of God. What a great exchange. What a merciful gift. Why we were yet enemies. Christ died for us. So we come to this table tonight in humility, but in real gratitude. Jesus, thank you for the new covenant and the forgiveness of sins and new life in your Spirit, all because of what you have done on our behalf, because we couldn’t do it ourselves. We believe it, we receive it, and we’re grateful.
So a lot there on the blood of Jesus. I just want to say to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. And I also want to say in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command all false guilt now to go. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So if you’re standing under condemnation, either having given your heart and your life to Jesus, and you can do that now and be set free, or you’re listening to lies and you’re letting the devil beat you up with false guilt. No condemnation. God will bring correction, that’s true. He’ll tell you, hey, don’t do that, do this. That’s not right, do this, this is better. But He will not condemn you. And so if you’re standing under condemnation, if you’re being called names, if you’re hearing that you’re not good enough and that you’re not loved and that you’re a loser, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. In the name of the Lord Jesus, false guilt, false condemnation, demonic spirits that lie between our ears, we command you to be silent and go in the name of Jesus. You are a child of God, you are a co-heir with Christ, and you are going to become like Him. In fact, in one sense, you already are. You are seated in the heavenly, so God deals with time different than we do. And in this world, we are actually becoming who we are.
Now, I got great news for you. He said He will perfect the work He has begun in you. Isn’t that great? You’re gonna be like Jesus. Now, I got hard news for you. That perfecting process might hurt. All right, you’re gonna go to the doctor. He’s a good doctor, he’s a good surgeon. You’re gonna feel better. But you know the surgery’s gonna hurt. You’re gonna feel bad for a while to feel better.
So, I said it last week, I’ll say it again in all pastoral love, suck it up, buttercup. Hurt for a while, you’ll be all right. We’re here to help, we’ll help each other. When the hurt gets really bad, we’ll help each other. But you’ll be all right. Like I said, this story is good for you, all right? So have some hope and joy. And they all said yippee. Yippee! There you go. Oh, Lord, help me, Jesus. Give me some wild Pentecostals. I need the help. I need the help.
All right, Hebrews chapter 10. Hebrews chapter 10, the first 18 verses. For the law having a shadow of the good things to come and not the very image of the things can never, without these same sacrifices which they offer continually, year by year make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered. For the worshipers, once purified, would have no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices, there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said, sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. Then I said, behold, I have come in the volume of the book it is written of me to do your will, oh God. Previously saying, sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offerings for sin, you did not desire nor had pleasure in them which are offered according to the law. Then He said, behold, I have come to do your will, oh God. He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ. Here it is, once for all.
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. From that time, waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering, He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us for after He had said before, this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord. I’ll put my laws into their hearts and into their minds. I will write them. Then He adds, their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Now, where there is remission of these, the re is no longer an offering for sin.
God, may the words of my mouth, the meditation of our hearts be acceptable, oh Lord, our rock and our redeemer. And so the book of Hebrews, the book of better things, the book of how the old is being replaced by the new. Jesus better than angels, Jesus better than Moses, Jesus better than the Levitical priesthood, Jesus offering better than the offerings of the priests.
And so here it is. What the priests offered, the Old Testament, now, he’s not saying that the Old Testament is useless or not of any benefit to us. It is a shadow of things to come. It is a foretaste of things to come, all right? And so it’s going to the movies, right? You go to the movies and they say, the matinee starts at one o’clock. So you get there promptly at one and you sit down and you expect the movie to start. But the movie doesn’t start. They do two things. They try to sell you popcorn and Coke at inordinately high prices. And then they show you a list of what? Trailers.
This is what’s coming. By the way, your movie’s going to happen pretty soon, but man, you want to mark on your calendar, June 15th, this movie’s coming out. We’ll show you all the best clips of that movie. It’s not the movie. It’s a portrait, it’s a picture of what is to come. It’s a shadow of what is to come. It’s not the thing itself. And so the Old Testament is just showing us that something’s coming. It’s just telling us throughout Genesis, through Malachi, that something is coming that’s going to wrap all this up, make it all make sense, include the Gentiles in God’s plan, and what God has promised, God is going to restore and fix what Adam and Eve broke and what we’ve been breaking ever since. And so the Old Testament has a purpose, but its purpose is not to take away sins. Its purpose is not to give us new life. The law cannot do that. It’s like the little boy in Sunday school. The preacher asked him, you know, “Can you get to heaven by coming to church every week?” The little boy said, “Nope.” He said, “Is the way to heaven by coming to church every week and singing all the songs?” The little boy said, “Nope.”
“Is the way to heaven by going out and being, you know, a good citizen?” “Nope.” He says, “Well, is the way to heaven by giving all your money to the poor?” And he goes, “Nope.” And the preacher’s so proud of this little boy, he’s getting it, he’s getting it. He says, “Then how do we get to heaven?” The little boy raises his hand again. The one who had answered all those questions raises his hand again. And the preacher says, “How do we get to heaven?” He says, “Well, preacher, you gotta die first.”
It’s partly right. It’s partly right. But that’s what Hebrews is saying. He’s saying, can we get to heaven by the blood of goats and bulls and lambs? Nope. Can we get our sins forgiven? Nope. Can we have new life imparted to us? Nope. It doesn’t work because it doesn’t come with obedience. And that’s why God says to Saul, who offers these sacrifices, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” It is always better to have an obedient relationship with God than a ritualistic religion. It’s always better to have an obedient relationship with God than ritualistic. That’s what God wants. And He does want you to obey. And we’re gonna get to some good news that’ll really help us do that as we finish this passage.
But you know, have you ever like as a parent or a grandparent, or Jamie, you actually say this in your marriage, “If you just do what I want? Just do what I want.” And I was with my grandsons and their parents were out of town and we’re watching them and we’re caring for them. And you know, grandma and grandpa, it’s not our job to ask for obedience. It’s our job to feed them with sugar so it’s tougher for them to eat. It’s our job to feed them with sugar so it’s tougher for their parents to ask for obedience. But when the parents go out of town, that hat switches a little bit.
And the kids still expect you to be normal grandma and grandpa, but you know what? Mom and dad said there is a bedtime. Mom and dad said you do have to take a bath. And then we’re gonna take you out. There’s gonna be situations where mom and dad aren’t here and you’re gonna have to what? Do what grandpa says. And all of a sudden I got my dad, my old dad hat comes back on. You know, I love being grandpa, but you know when there are cars coming and we’re in the McDonald’s parking lot and we’re taking you to McDonald’s because that’s where you wanted to go. We’re doing you a solid here kids. We’re on your side. But we’re in the parking lot and there’s cars coming and it’s time to cross the street. And I say, “Come on, let’s cross the street.” And you stand there and you start telling me your better idea and arguing with me. And how you’re gonna, and there’s cars coming and we gotta get across the street. You know what? I’m gonna grab your little shoulder and we’re gonna move you across.
“Grandpa, why are you doing this?” “Just do what I say. Just do what I say.” I always thought as a parent, cause it annoyed me as a kid. Cause I was the worst, right? I was the kid. “Why, why do I have to do that? Make your bed. Well, why do I have to make my bed? I only have to unmake it again to get into it tonight. It seems like you’re asking me to do two jobs when no jobs are necessary. Close your drawers. Why close my drawers? I just have to open them again to get the clothes out. Why don’t we just leave them open? Why, why?” And my whys would never stop. I would always have an argument for everything. And so my parents in exasperation would finally say what? “Because I said so.”
It’s like, oh, that was so unsatisfying to me. I hated that answer. Then I had kids. “Cause I said so.” Then I would add another thing. “I’m bigger.” you know, I just, listen, I’ll answer you once. You have a right to ask questions in my house. I’m not a tyrant. Or at least I’m not a merciless tyrant. I’ll answer your questions once. And I would tell my kids this when they got a little older. Not when they were real small. When they were real small, I just said, “Mom and dad are the boss. Just gotta do what we say. That’s not fair. Yeah, well, someday you’ll get to be the boss.” Which is why, by the way, I do not want them to be the boss of me when I’m really old. I do not want any vengeance coming back on me.
But anyway, here’s the deal. When they got older, I’d say, “you know, democracy is a wonderful idea. And when you grow up, you should vote. But in this house, you have no vote. You can have an opinion. I felt like it was unfair not to let kids voice their opinion. You know, if they wanted to tell me what they thought we should do. And even sometimes, I’d say, “Hey, I think that is a good idea. Let’s do that.” But you know what? If I say no, there it is. There it is.” God wants obedience. Not because He’s a big meanie or a bully. But why? He made life. He knows how it runs. And it will just, right? We know as parents, listen, this will go better for everybody in the family if you’ll just do what I say. Are you listening, Sophia? This will go better for everybody in the family. Are you listening, Mark and Emi, Micah? This will go better for everybody in the family if you just do what I say.
Jesus, why is it that Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself works perfectly once and for all and the countless, endless animal sacrifices of the priests before Him do not? Because in His life, He is perfectly obedient. And therefore, as we’ve talked about previously, as we’ve been going through Hebrews, He is now able to become both the perfect sacrifice, the perfect spotless lamb, and the perfect high priest to offer the sacrifice. He always did. Do you hear Him? He says that, right? I do what I see the Father doing. I say what I hear the Father saying. I do what He says. I do what He says.
And at the most difficult moment in His life, remember, He’s fully human and fully God. At the difficult moment in His life, we hear these words, not my will, but Thy will be done. I’ll do what you say. Paul puts it this way in Philippians. He was obedient, obedient to the point of death. Even death on a cross. His life prepares Him to be the perfect priest offering the perfect sacrifice. And therefore His death works. His sacrifice works. It is a once-and-for-all sacrifice. It is a final sacrifice.
I don’t understand dispensationalism when they talk about during the seven-year tribulation the temple is going to be rebuilt and the sacrificial system is going to be reinstated. I don’t get that. That just seems to me to be saying that that Christ’s work was not complete. He said on the cross, it is finished. And years later in 70 AD the temple was destroyed and the sacrificial system has not been reinstated. I don’t, whatever, whatever the leaders in Jewish theology say about why the sacrificial system has not been reinstated, I’ll tell you right now why it hasn’t been reinstated. It’s not needed. It’s not needed. It is finished.
The Greek word, tetelestai, the debt has been paid. It is complete. Christ’s work on the cross is the final sacrifice once for all, for all sins. Jew and Gentile alike. It is finished. And it did three incredible things. There are three major views of the Atonement. There’s others, but there’s three major views of the Atonement. And they’re not mutually exclusive. Christ did all three of these things. His perfect sacrifice paid for our sins. It atones for our sin.
God made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. That is the great exchange. That is the gift that’s too good to be true. Remember when you were a kid, your dad would tell you, hey son, if it’s too good to be true, it’s not. Don’t listen to the salesman who says this is, you know, the greatest deal ever. There’s an angle, all right? But we all have this instinct for the too good to be true to be true. And that’s because in one case, and I only know of one case where that’s true, it’s this one.
Jesus comes and says, I’ll take all your sin and I’ll give you all my righteousness. Deal? Well, what do I got to do? How much money do I got to give the church for that? No. How long do I have to fast for that? No. How many good deeds do I have to do for that? No. What do I have to do? Believe me. Believe me. Give me your life. Just believe me. Trust me. It’s too good to be true.
The cross of Christ, eloi, eloi, my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me? God, I don’t want to go to the cross. If there’s plan B, let there be plan B. There wasn’t a plan B. Why is Jesus so distressed by the cross? Well, there’s the obvious reason. He’s a man and that is a horrible, painful death. There would be none of us in this room that would be happy to go to the cross. It would be a, it’s a torturous death. But we would comfort ourselves with this. We would comfort ourselves with it’ll, it’ll end. It’ll be over. I’m not going to hang there forever. It will be done.
But what if going on the cross was not just going on the cross, but going on the cross was taking up all the wickedness, all the suffering, all the pain, all the evil, all the rebellion, all the hatred, all the sin and taking it into yourself. Nothing’s more terrifying. I mean, we think, well, you know, other people died on the cross. Why was Christ a scaredy cat? Well, first of all, anybody would be. But He faced something. He drank the dregs, people. You know what? It’s just not too much. Every once in a while, I’ll say, thank you. Live a life of gratitude.
And He drank it and He said that word. He said, it is finished. It is done. It is complete. And the author of Hebrews says it doesn’t have to be repeated year after year. Christ doesn’t have to come back to earth every year and go through that again. He did it. Sin has been dealt with. And therefore, we can stand before God clothed in the righteousness of His Son.
10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:10-14, NKJV)
Christ. There’s blood on His robe, but not ours. At least in Revelation, when He comes back, there’s blood on His robe. He defeats the devil. There’s more. He defeats the devil. This is called the ransom theory of atonement. But we sold ourselves into slavery and He ransomed us. He took the authority of the devil over death and over Hades away from him. He is Christus Victor, Christ the victor. He was victorious.
And now He displays those evil spirits and He marches them in a procession. All hell has lost. That’s why the Bible says He is ruler over all principality, all power, all authority. It says that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, every tongue confess. He’s not just talking about people. He says, on the earth, above the earth, below the earth. Someday, dear ones, we are going to see Satan himself bow before Jesus and say, “Jesus Christ, you are Lord.” Then we’re going to see him thrown in the lake of fire and it is finished. He defeats the devil. We’re playing a game we’ve already won.
And finally, He demonstrates to us the great love of God. This is love. Why we were yet enemies, Christ died for us. God loved the world in this way, that He gave His Son that those who believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. God did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17, NKJV)
Why did God do this? He did it for love. I’ve heard people say He did it for His glory. Yes, He is glorified by this. But you know what? The Bible clearly says He did it for His love.
And you might feel unlovable, dear ones, but that’s a lie. You might feel like God doesn’t love you, but that’s a lie. Renounce the lie, believe the truth. And God doesn’t love you because you’re always a good person. How many of you parents love your kids? All right. Are they always good? Present company excluded, obviously. No, I mean, right? You raise kids. Sometimes they’re little stinkers, right? Even my wife and I adore our grandkids. And somehow their little stinkerness doesn’t bother us nearly as much as our kids’ little stinkerness bothered us. We kind of chuckle at it because we kind of see it as payback to our kids. You know, it’s like my daughter, it’s like, why is my son so stubborn? Gee, I wonder, Einstein. I wonder.
All right. So He demonstrates the love of God. That is the death of Christ. And now there’s the resurrection and ascension of Christ. Hebrews talks about that. He says He’s seated at the right hand of the Father. He rose from the dead and He ascended to the right hand of God.
3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3, NKJV)
All right. And so the victory of Jesus is demonstrated here. It demonstrates His victory over sin and Satan and death. How do you know that what I said is just true? Because Jesus rose from the dead. How do you know the devil’s been defeated? Because he couldn’t hold Him in the, he couldn’t, the book of Acts says he couldn’t hold the author of life in the grave.
24 whom God raised up, having [a]loosed the [b]pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. (Acts 2:24, NKJV
The three big enemies we have. The Jews wanted a Messiah who would crush their enemy, the Romans. God sent a Messiah who would crush three bigger enemies, sin, Satan, and death. Genesis prophesies it. The snake will strike His heel, but He will crush his head.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
(Genesis 3:15, NKJV)
He will crush his head. He has victory over sin. He has victory over Satan. He has victory over death. We are destined for eternal resurrected life. We get resurrected bodies. They won’t ache. They won’t hurt. You’ll be able to ride a bike even further. You can ride around the globe. Just, yeah. I don’t think you need to now, but I mean, you still do it. So you can ride flying horses.
All right. And I can hang out with all my favorite football stars, Peter, while you’re climbing rocks and you won’t even get hurt. All right. We live forever. How do we know that? Because the Bible says His resurrections is the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead. And the Bible says we shall be like Him. When we die, there’s a two stage thing to this. When we die, we depart and be with Christ. And then at the end of all time, we all get our resurrected bodies and the new heavens and the new earth are co-joined and we live on the new earth forever. Forever. Forever. With new bodies. They don’t grow old.
You know what? Some of you are too young to know how precious that sounds. But I just want to tell you, I hurt myself sleeping. I don’t know how that happens. That’s supposed to refresh you, right? I wake up in the morning and I walk like an old man for a little bit. And I’m not an old man. I tell you what, I wake up in the morning, it takes a while. Not my resurrected body. You’re not going to be walking like that. He demonstrated, He’s seated at the right hand of God the Father. He is ruling as king now. He’s not waiting for the thousand year millennial reign to rule as king. The right hand of the Father is not just, it’s not talking about His physical location. It is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14, where Daniel has a vision, where he sees one like the Son of Man rising, approaching the
13 I continued watching in the night visions, and suddenly one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. 14 He was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14, CSB)
“I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.
(Daniel 7:13-14, NKJV)
Ancient of Days. And the Ancient of Days puts Him on His right hand and He says, “I give you an everlasting kingdom. This is your kingdom. Jesus is king.” And His ascension, which is the lesser known of all Christian holidays, I mean we’re big about Easter, we’re big about Christmas, if you’re Pentecostal, you like Pentecost. But the ascension is coronation. That’s what that is. You have incarnation, you have resurrection, you have coronation. He ascends, but He doesn’t just ascend, He doesn’t just float up. He ascends to the right hand of the Father. King of kings and Lord of lords.
And now the King is waging war on His enemies. We’re a part of His army. The victory is sure. The war is on. And what is He doing now? This is where we live in history. Hamas attacked Israel. “Oh, it’s the end of the world.” Yeah, because terrorists have never attacked Israel before. But this time it’s the end of the world. I don’t know if it’s the end of the world. Here’s what I know. He’s putting every enemy as a footstool under His feet, and the last enemy is death. And my job is to do my job, not play, predict on social media. Did you hear that out there? All right. My job is to do my job.
Jack Hayford, I used to love what he said. Pastor Jack passed away just, was it this year? Yeah, just this year, at the beginning of this year. Wonderful man, a great teacher. I profited so much from him. And he said, people will always ask me, “you know, pastor, do you think this is the last generation?” I loved his answer. He said, “I don’t know, but I know it’s mine.” Listen, one of two things is true. Christ is coming back or you’re going to Him. That’s how it works.
But in the meantime, before He comes back or before you go to Him, we are to participate with Him as He is placing His enemies under His feet. The last enemy being death. That’s what Jerusalem in 70 AD, a rebellious people who rejected Him, enemy under His feet. The fall of the Roman Empire, enemy under His feet. In the last 100 years of our lifetime, Nazi Germany, enemy under His feet. Soviet communism, enemy under His feet. If you’re all worried that Chinese communism is going to rise and ascend and rule the world for ages and ages, I got news for you. It’s not. Enemy under His feet.
If you’re freaking out about extremist Islam and terrorists and that there’s now terrorists in America, you know what? There may be. And let me tell you something about these enemies. I’ve told you before. I’m not belittling the harm they can do. They do great harm. I’m just simply saying they don’t win. Don’t watch the news and wring your hands and say, “Oh my gosh, what’s happening to this world?” I’ll tell you what’s happening to this world. Christ is putting His enemies under His feet. That’s what’s happening to this world. And you and I are participating.
I don’t imagine those soldiers in Patton’s army who were liberating the unit that was struck, stuck, I think it was in Bastogne from the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, realized fully, completely that the German army in all truth had already been defeated because the German army was shooting at them. But they were defeated. They were defeated. We are victorious. We’re fighting a defeated foe. And Christ, one by one, it’s whack-a-mole. Anybody ever play whack-a-mole? Right? An enemy, an antichrist spirit, an enemy rises up in history and it shows its ugly fangs and it gets everybody all worked up and afraid. And Christ comes along and says, bam.
And He uses strange characters to do it. He doesn’t always… I mean, He uses godly people. They’re behind the scenes. But sometimes He’ll pick world leaders who are kind of just strange characters to do it. Don’t fret. God’s smarter than you. Turn to somebody next to you and say, “God’s smarter than you.” All right? Somebody tell me, “Kevin, God’s smarter than you.” Yeah. I know it, Steven. I know it. According to Jill, she is too. And she may be right.
All right. Now, what are the benefits of this unrepeatable sacrifice? It does what the old repeatable sacrificial system could not do. It does what it could never do. In that, it forgives all our sins, past, present, and future. It just does. Aren’t you glad we’re New Covenant people and we’re not practicing the animal sacrificial system anymore? We are New Covenant people. Our sins are forgiven. He did it.
And therefore, by repentance and faith, by turning from our way, and turning from being the smart one, and turning from thinking we know better than God, and simply repenting and saying, “God, your plan is the plan that works, not my plan. I’m going to stop living life on my terms. I’m going to stop acting like I’m smarter than you. And I’m going to repent, and I’m going to humbly submit to you in a life of worship, and obedience, and faith. I just surrender. I surrender all.” And you don’t have to do it perfectly. None of us do. But if you’ll just take that turn and say, “I believe what you did is enough. And I receive your forgiveness and life in me from this day forward, man.”I’m a Jesus person. That’s it. You’re good. But what if I mess up? That’s why you come to church. We are the society of mess-ups. We’re the messer-uppers. And so if anybody ever gets self-righteous on you and tries to act like they’re better than you, it’s like, you just know you’re a messer-upper. Your mess may look different than my mess, but it’s just as messy, and it’s just as forgiven.
And let’s all do the second thing together, because, listen, if that gift was all He gave, the forgiveness of sins, and sometimes the church acts like that’s it. You accept Jesus, you get to go to the good place. How many of you are familiar with infomercials? Right? And they just sell you on this great product. And then right when they’re done, they sweeten the deal. But if you act now, get that credit card act now.
My wife and I just sold our house in California. We’re buying another house in Washington. Not to live in, but to rent out, or maybe someday to live in. We’re buying another house in Washington, and we’re going to talk to the new builds, and we’re dealing with these realtors. And it’s incredible, you know, they say, well, here’s the price of the house. And if you show interest, they are on you like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat. There are text messages coming.
And my wife is so good at this. I am the worst, right? I am whatever salesperson, I am your best friend. If I go to buy a car… Last time, I did good. Last time, I didn’t. The guy said, what can I… You know, I’ve finally come to realize they want to sell a car more than I need to buy one. So, you know, the guy said, what can I do to get you into this car today? And I dropped his price $4,000. I said, do that. And he said, ooh, I can’t do that. I guess I ain’t driving that car home, and I didn’t. And you know what? I shopped around and found one just like the one he was offering me for $4,000 less. I sent him a picture of it. I said, I want to buy from… Well, not to rub it in. I said, look, I talked to you first. I’ll give you a chance. And he was in Bremerton, and they were in Seattle. I said, I’d rather buy in Bremerton than Seattle. Here’s the car. Here’s the price. Can you match it? Didn’t hear from him. Didn’t hear from him. Didn’t hear from him. Got Ruby in Seattle. And then later, I get this text, hey, man, am I going to sell you a car? I said, no, you’re not. I already bought one.
My wife, though, she’s great. We’re buying these houses, and, you know, they got their price point. And she’s like, okay. And they say, well, what do you think, you know? And she says, I think it’s a great house for this price and for, oh, and then they start offering stuff. Well, we can’t match that price. We can come down this much, but we can throw in the appliances. What about a fence? She’s great. She’s realized, she’s like, she’s not going to spend a dime more than we have to. We may never get a house, but you know what she said. So, but wait, there’s more.
I remember my favorite, I’m the only person in this room old enough to remember this, but they used to sell something called Ginsu knives. Oh, okay, you know this. And these knives, they just advertise these knives. And I always thought it was the stupidest thing, because they show how good they cut through tomatoes. Great, you use a knife to cut through tomatoes. That’s valuable. Then they cut through a pair of shoes, and it’s like, well, I don’t want to cut through my shoes. But you know, as a demonstration, look, it will even cut through shoes, and after it does that, it’ll cut through tomato. Well, what are those shoes walked on? I’m not eating those tomatoes. You know, but anyway, and they get all done, and then it came, and you can get this amazing deal for $19.95, and then it came, right? But wait, there’s more. If you act now, you’ll get two, you’ll get this extra special knife sharpener, and this stick-resistant pan, and this beautiful spokes model will come and clean your kitchen. I’d have bought it if that was the case, but no. But wait, there’s more.
All right, He forgives all your sins, but wait, there’s more. There’s more. Here’s the more. I will put my life inside of you. He says it in Jeremiah. Book of Hebrews references Jeremiah. I will put my commandments, I’ll put my law, I’ll write it on your heart. It will no longer be this obedience to me. Remember I said we get back to obedience? This obedience to me will no longer be this outward code saying do this, and I’ll bless you. Don’t do this, and I’ll curse you. Now, your obedience to me, the more you live in relationship with me, the more natural it will become because now I’m putting my life inside of you, and I will perfect you, and you will be sanctified, and you will be holy.
And when I was first a Christian, I thought that was a bummer. I thought, all right, we’re just gonna have to be good forever, what a boring drag. No, we’re gonna be alive forever with vibrant, incredible creation life living in us, and of course we’ll be holy because we’ll be so in love with Him. God, all we’ll want to do, we’ll delight in Him, and all we’ll want to do is delight in Him, and we will have the joy of Jesus. And that’s how we’re gonna live forever. You know, how many of us have struggled and said, “God, why do I, you know, Paul in Romans 7, why do I do the things I don’t want to do? Why do I fall back into that sin? Why do I fall back into that pattern?”Well, I got good news for you.
If you actually look at your life, you will see actually the work of the Holy Spirit. There are some things that you don’t fall back into anymore. You’ve gotten better. Quit focusing all the time on where you haven’t yet gotten better and focus on where you have because that will give you encouragement to climb the next mountain.
And when you climb that mountain, He is ahead of you, pulling you, He is behind you, pushing you, He is by your side with His arm around you, and He is taking you up that mountain, and He has promised He will get you to the top of that mountain. And His life is in you. Listen, let me say that again. Let me say these two things. All right, and give me a yippee. Your sins are forgiven. His life is in you. Yippee! That’s great.
That’s what He can do that the law could never do. Repent and believe, dear ones. Well, I did that when I was 17. Keep doing it. Keep repenting and believing. I don’t mean you have to give your life to Christ every time there’s an altar call. Don’t do that. But I simply mean every morning when you wake up, because it’s daily, life is daily, every morning when you wake up, don’t get too far into the day before you say, “This is the day the Lord has made. I’ll rejoice and be glad in it.”
Jesus, don’t go too far before you say, “Who have I in heaven but you?” I mean, this, I’ve told you before, this is on my lips oftentimes first thing when I wake up. “Who have I in heaven but you? And besides you, I desire nothing on earth. My heart and my flesh may fail, but God, you’re the strength of my life and my portion forever.” Don’t let the day go too far before you say, “I follow you, Jesus. You’re all I need.” In other words, just walk with Him.
Had a guy today, I said, “Can I pray for anything?” He said, “I need prayer for patience.” Didn’t wanna tell him. That’s a dangerous one. That’s a dangerous, but here’s what I, I never pray, I never pray, you know, “God, make him more patient.” What I pray is “God, deepen the relationship so the fruit of patience will ripen in him.” It’s never, I’m not trying hard enough at this. It’s always a relational thing. Just walk closer to Jesus and it will go well with you.
Now, when I say that, just one more caveat and I’m done. It won’t go as you expect. It will go well. And if you’re a control freak and you think the only ways things can go well is if they go how you expect, that’s just one of the things you’re gonna have to learn. That that’s not how it works. That’s not how it works. There’ve been so many times I haven’t gotten my way and a year later, 25 years later, I’m like, “Thank God, that Garth Brooks song, thank God for Unanswered Prayer.”
I met a girl at my, I didn’t meet a girl. I reconnected with a girl at my, that even sounds bad. I saw a girl at my 25th high school reunion that I had a crush on in high school. And I gotta say, she looked good. She had aged well, she was pretty. And my wife was there, she was sitting at a table behind me and I started chatting it up with this gal. We were friends and she kind of broke my heart, but we were still friends and stuff. And so we’re chatting it up. Hadn’t seen each other in 25 years. She told me about her life. She says, “Yeah, I’m a cop in San Jose. Yeah, I could have been married to a cop, huh? Okay.” Says, “I’m on my third husband.”
And when she said she was on her third husband, I looked over her shoulder and looked at my precious wife. And I remembered Garth Brooks song that I’d never even paid attention to. I’m not a country music fan, but I just wanna know the title. I don’t even know how the song goes, but the title of the song is, “Thank God for Unanswered Prayer.” Just because it doesn’t go your way, doesn’t mean that God’s not on your side. All right? He’s smarter than us.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Go in that peace to love and serve the Lord. Amen? Amen. Good. Good.
Lord, tweak our prayer lives. If we’re praying for stuff that hasn’t been answered, show us, Lord, that if that answer is just in the future and we need to just be persistent in praying, or show us, Lord, if there needs to be a twist in that prayer. If we’re asking for A and the key to A is to ask for B, Lord, speak to us and make our prayers not just persistent, but fruitful.
And one of the ways I know, I don’t know all, I’m not great at prayer, so I’ve got a bunch of advice here, but one of the ways I know, I do know to make your prayers fruitful is pray with intimacy. In other words, when you pray, don’t pray, Jesus said this, right? “Don’t pray thinking you’ll be heard for your many words, but pray relationally to your good Father in heaven.” All right? Thank you, Lord.
Was that like the beginning of another sermon at the end of the last one? All right, honest, I’m done. Honest, I’m done.
But wait, there’s more. Did you like Kevin’s sermon? Get that credit card out right now and I’ll give you another one. I love you. God bless you.