This Sunday, we were blessed to hear from Andrew Hopper, the Lead Planter of Mercy Hills Church in Greensboro, NC. He brought a powerful message and below is an excerpt from his sermon. Listen to the whole message: Fishers of Men.
Every one of us has to come to our place in life where we, like Peter, see the catch. We see everything we’ve ever wanted and worked for. We see our future, and our security, and our identity, and our family’s well-being, and our 401-K, and every single thing. We see that and we come to a place where we would still say, “I would rather have Jesus.” Is that where you are? Because that is what a disciple is. Someone who is following Christ has made that decision.
They have said, “The sum of all created things is worthless in compare to Christ.” A true follower is one who has looked and said, “I believe that Jesus is better than anything that Jesus can give me. I believe that Jesus couldn’t give me anything in this world that I would rather have than him. I believe that Jesus is better than my best life now.” Right? That’s what a follower is.
In Exodus 4, we see Moses doubt that the Lord will equip him for that to which he has been called. It can be easy to judge Moses for his unbelief and doubt, but it can also be convicting as the Holy Spirit begins to reveal that same unbelief and doubt in our own lives. Below is an excerpt from our current series in Exodus that reminds us to examine if we, like Moses, doubt that the Lord will equip us for that to which he has called us.
“But Moses said to the Lord,‘Oh, my Lord,
I am not eloquent, either in the past or since
you have spoken to your servant,
but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’“
Moses begins with “Who am I?”
And God says, “I will be with you.”
To which Moses replies, “But I’m not a good speaker.”
Essentially Moses is saying, “Who am I? I’m not equipped. I can’t do this.” Some Bibles — the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament — had Moses as being a stutterer. The Hebrew doesn’t necessarily say that Moses stuttered. The direct translation is ‘heavy mouth’ or ‘heavy tongue,’ which doesn’t sound attractive, but it could refer to many different issues. It could be that Moses is indicating, “Man, my Egyptian is so rusty. I just cannot go back there. I’m going to be tripping over myself.” It could be that Moses got deathly afraid in front of people. It could be a variety of things. We’re not certain what it was, but we know for certain how it made Moses feel. It made Moses feel that he was ill equipped to do what God called him to, but what’s worse is that he kinda thought it was God’s fault.
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient,
led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures,
passing our days in malice and envy, hated
by others and hating one another.
But when the goodness and loving kindness
of God our Savior appeared, he saved us,
not because of works done by us in righteousness,
but according to his own mercy, by the washing of
regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us richly through
Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace
we might become heirsaccording to the hope of eternal life.
In Ready for Everything, Pastor Josh clearly explained “that Bible word” justified. We see in Titus that by Jesus’ death alone, not by any of our law abiding behavior, our legal standing before God is changed and we are justified. Here’s what Josh said:
It is all about Jesus. Jesus whom God poured out on us richly. God’s wrath was poured out on Christ so that Jesus could pour out grace on you. And when the Holy Spirit paddles your soul and brings you to life and cleanses you of all your iniquity, you are — what this bible word is — justified. Your legal standing before God has changed. This change is not a result of any of your work, but because of Jesus Christ. Do you remember that when Jesus was crucified there was another guy being crucified with him? This guy recognized who Jesus was and Jesus says to this guy on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” I’m telling you that guy had NO time to shine up and go to church, he had no time to join a service team, or to be the guy bringing doughnuts in the office. He had zero time to do anything good and this day he is in paradise with God. And not because of anything he did, but because of who Jesus is and what Jesus did on his behalf. That man was made justified. His legal standing before God was changed. He was no longer guilty for his sin because Jesus paid the penalty for his sins. And that is so amazing.
I am justified and I am forgiven. When God the Father sees me, he doesn’t see the sin anymore because Jesus has taken that away. What I was is not what I now am. I have been brought to life. I have been forgiven. I have been set free. Jesus was poured out on us richly so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Pastor Josh will be back this Sunday and starting a new seven week series, Ready for Everything, in the book of Titus. Titus is a letter from Paul encouraging Titus as he works with the church and advising him in ways to equip the church that they might be prepared for anything. We want Salem Chapel to be equipped and ready for everything it might face as well.
Here’s how you can begin to get ready for this series in Titus — read one chapter in the book of Titus everyday. Incorporate reading one chapter of Titus into your daily time with the Lord throughout this seven week series. Take the time to really medidate and dwell on what the Lord is telling us in this book. We look forward to diving into the Word with you that Salem Chapel might be Ready for Everything.
Our Pastor of Student Ministries, Dave Jacobson, recently brought us a message of God’s glory and sovereignty in all things. He taught us that despite our best efforts to steal, earn and claim the glory for ourselves, God is the one who deserves and will receive all the glory. Dave applied the message to our lives like this,
We understand and see in Scripture that we are all sinners. We have sinned before God and each of us is in need of a Savior. But our tendency, in recognizing that we are sinners, is to try and save ourselves. We try to fix ourselves before we bring ourselves to God. When God’s like “No. No. No. You’re a sinner and that is what I’m saving you from.”
On our first Sunday of Give Up (or die trying), Pastor Josh explained how we rationalize being redeemed through Christ’s blood and yet still insist on abiding in our own sin. Check out the illustration from Sunday below:
I don’t know. I don’t understand, at times, why Christ’s death for sin makes us feel like we’re totally cool. It’s like you’re leaving stacks of a hundred dollar bills in thousands on your passenger seat. You got like 10 grand sitting there and your buddys like “Hey dude, uh, you got like 10K on the seat.” And you’re like “Oh. Oh. I got it. Click Click. (doors locked) No problem. Let’s go.” “Uh…there’s uh… 10 grand on your…” “But my car is locked man.” Yeh. Mm Hm. I’m going to smash your window and take it.
Christ. He died for me! I’m forgiven! I got this! Click Click.
And that’s where Satan wants you. He knows that legally he can’t touch you. He can’t make you go back from life into death, but oh can he ruin your life now. He can separate. He can try to twist God’s words in your heart. He can put a space between you as you wound God the Father because of your sin and you wound those closest to you because of it and it’s a time to stop and realize Jesus died for this. It’s time for me to get serious and be so excited about the next seven weeks.
Click to listen or download all of the first message: Here’s the Problem (James 4:1).