The future you are seeking is in God’s word.
To be back. You guys can imagine. I was in the Philippines for two weeks. I’m helping my mother-in-law move into our house that God gave her. I’ll tell that story a little bit later. Not today but another day. But as luck would have it, I got the stomach flu into my second week there. And when you have that all you dream of is being at home in your own bed. And I made it cross that flight and we I don’t like, I like to stretch my legs out cause I heard that you know, you getting a blood clot in your leg and you die and [inaudible] right. And so before I left, pay the extra $158 to get that emergency Rose so I can specify legs out while on Cathay Pacific. What they do is they do give you lots of leg room but then they put the television screen and the little serving tray is side the armrest. And so your seat goes from this Y to this wide. I took her sit and white goods and so I was also very excited to get home for that reason and I’m not going to pay $158 next time for that experience or maybe I should lose weight.
It’s probably a better chance to doctor paid 158 bucks. I’m excited to bring you this message. I’ve been thinking about it and prayed about it for several weeks now and it’s a message that’s very near and dear to my heart and I hope that it, it’s something that resonates with all of you because it conserves our future and concerns not only our future as a church, but also even more importantly, our future as the kingdom of God is members as children of the kingdom of God, but also even right down to our future as an individual. Where I am today and where I’m going to be tomorrow, that’s a question all of us have, isn’t it? Where am I going to be tomorrow? What’s going to happen to me? I know in my wife, one of the secrets I’ve learned is don’t be afraid about tomorrow.
That’s what I’ve always been afraid about. I’ve always been okay today I know that I’ve got a place to stay. I know that I’m going to be fed. I know I okay today, but what about tomorrow? That’s always been the thing is made me nervous as I’ve gone through ups and downs in my life, but I’ve learned in the same way that you’re okay today, which used to be a tomorrow you’re going to be okay tomorrow too. God takes care of you today in the same way he’s going to take care of him tomorrow. And so I’ve learned that that little secret all the way through there and what I want to share with you the is an understanding of the importance of God’s word for showing us what tomorrow is going to break. The Bible is very future oriented. When you read the new Testament, it’s not a lot about things in the past.
Things are not phrased in the past tense. When you read the Bible most often it’s phrased in the future tense. This is what will happen. This is how you will be prepared so that you will be ready and it’s always getting us forward, is always moving us forward. And I think as Christians, as children of followers of Jesus there, we also should be willing to let God move us forward. Let God guide us. And the only way to do that is to be a student of God’s word, is to understand what God’s word is saying to us because that is God’s voice that has got speaking to you and to me is through the Bible, through his word and through scripture. I’m not going to read immediately there, but because we don’t have verses on a screen, I’m going to let you know where I’m going to read earlier.
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I want to read out in John chapter eight and we’ll lift at verse 31 and verse 32 John chapter eight verses 31 and verse 32 I’ve found people have two different ideas, kind of a schizophrenia, ideas about the Bible. The same keeper will have the same different ideas about it. Same approach. On the one hand, they feel that the Bible is a menace to civilization today or as modern societies, we would have it today. They feel that, well, the Bible, it teaches how to be homophobic. The Bible teaches you how to be a misogynist. The Bible teaches you how to oppress people and how to dominate people and it all kinds of ideas like that. So we don’t want the Bible here. We don’t want the Bible. We shouldn’t be protected from the Bible. And so there’s that kind of a group that exists. But at the very same time, people have an incredibly high respect for Jesus and some of the same people that think the Bible is that horrible thing.
We’ll also tell you all, but I really appreciate Jesus. His teachings were very good. Now, I don’t know how much these people read the Bible, but I will say at least in the modern society, at least in contemporary culture, that is a view [inaudible] an an an understanding, not from studying the Bible, my interview, but it is a view that exists out there based on on morale to other ideas. Well, the Bible for us is a little bit different than that. It’s not about what, how society is formed or or structured or, or who should be in or who should be up that is completely irrelevant to the by. As you studied what is relevant to the Bible, what the Bible is at its very core is this understanding that the world is designed and created by God, that God is the one who was formed.
Everything in the universe, every detail from, from the Normandy been tried Mormon. It was no, not even a word. Great enough to express the ginormous of the universe right down to the, the word nano still isn’t small enough of a tiny, he is a fragment of an organism or organism or an Adam or new. It’s the, the, the complexity is just beyond and it’s just all fixed. It just all, all the alarms. It all works in sync and it’s such a massive scale. It’s just mind blowing to the thing that the God who so created all of this, I like a series of YouTube videos where and are struggling in a apologist, not an apologist. In the church world is somebody who defends Christianity and it’s an old term, but it’s the journey still use here and there. And I like his videos because what he does, he goes on college campuses and, and he says, are you an atheist?
And just about every, yes, I’m an atheist. Yeah. When did you become an atheist? Oh, you know, I was this, I was bad. Right? And so your name, it says, then he would ask them, is there are, is there anything, if you had some compelling evidence that would showing that there is a God, would you change your mind? Would you at least consider it? You know? And they were like, wow, maybe there’s really compelling evidence and you can just see the doubt and the joke in their eyes, there’s nothing, you know, you’re going to convince me not be an atheist. And he pulls out a book of nature, a book of pictures, and they just start throwing through the pictures and all of a sudden you start to see, wow, you know, this isn’t a coincidence. This is a man how everything just fits so beautifully together.
There’s a reason for all of this. There’s, there’s a design to all of this and as fun to watch the people on the other end of it say, well that that is something to think about is that it says video after video like that and I, and it’s very entertaining to me. I like funny videos and I find that funny to see people so quickly change their minds on something so simple as, but that’s the first thing especially is understand. And the second thing is because God has created and designed this world that God is the one who can show us, who can explain the world to us. What did we like to understand this world? Isn’t this world massively confusing and complex? The Bible does an amazing job of explaining this world, explaining human nature, why people behave the way they behave and not ones that just leave us understanding and it haven’t.
It’s explained, but then the Bible goes the next step and it shows us how to live in this world considering how crazy it is considering they pay off considering all the things that are going on. This is how the followers of Jesus live. This is how we do, and the Bible does that. It’s just a, a wonderful what or series of books that show us what God is doing to help us, not to tell us about where we’ve been or where we are, but how to move into the future. Everything about the Bible, everything about this world, all about creation. It’s not stagnant in time. It’s not just on a continual loop and one generation after another note. It’s moving forward with a purpose, with a clarity to it. It just has not said it, but things are unfolded. Things are moving in a direction and what the Bible does, it doesn’t leave you behind.
It doesn’t allow you to miss the future. It holds on to you and says, come with me and this is how we join the kingdom of God and the kingdom of God moves into the future. That’s how it happens, man. That’s, that’s the purpose that we see in it. Now, the Bible, some people say, I don’t want to read it because it’s so complicated. I don’t understand it. Why? Yes, there are some parts that are very complicated. Many parts there are very simple and then there’s everything in between. Or one of the more humorous parts to it to me was when Peter the great disciple, Peter was writing his letter there in second Peter, the second letter he wrote evidently chapter three and he’s writing to everybody and he says, you know the apostle Paul? And that was his, his buddy over there doing a whole nother word, the apostle Paul, who’s written some things that are very hard to understand.
You know, if Peter felt oppose writing, things are hard to understand. And Peter got to talk to Paul and Peter lived in that world. You know what? We’re okay to say, you know, there some things are just hard to understand, not impossible to understand. Just a little hard to understand nothing that a little deeper study does it emerge. You know the reality and what the truth of it is. So that is where I want to bring you to this verse in John chapter eight. Now this passage, I’m going to read this first, I’m just going to read just a short sentence in it, but it’s a much bigger picture where people are challenging Jesus and so they’re in a state of disagreement with Jesus who’s challenging their past and he is challenging them with a new future. But this is what the averse will we’re going to hold to right here.
And this is what it says. If you all to my teaching, you are really my disciples. If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. So I want to go to the next phrase here, but I just want to bring my attention to there. If you hold to my teaching, you know you’ll really are my disciples. So that’s, that’s something that’s important for us to do is to hold to the teachings of Jesus. That’s how we are followers of Jesus. That’s what we are disciples of Jesus by holding to his teaching. And then the next point, this is the famous one. You don’t get to be a Christian to know this one. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Then you will know the truth and so Jesus here is say, if you hold to my teachings, if you understand, if you study what I’m telling you, then you will have the truth and the truth will set them free.
Isn’t that an amazing dog and the truth was savory just isn’t saying the truth by somebody, some human definition. No. What he’s saying is the truth, God’s truth, the truth that is written in scripture. Jesus teachings. That is what will set you free throw my entire life. I have witnessed people who have given their lives to Jesus and have opened up God’s word and have studied it to the very best that they can, and I have seen God’s word set them free. God’s truth set them free in ways that they didn’t even know they needed to be set free. When God’s word takes plant plants itself in our hearts, when God’s word begins that work in our minds, then all of a sudden things begin to take shape. We begin to have a mindset that is in keeping with God’s word that is with God’s view of this world.
And all of a sudden we become corrected in our lives in every way you can imagine our relationships financially, health wise, esteem wise depression. You know, overcoming the, all kinds of things begin to rectify themselves, begin to be made right because it is so true. The truth will set you free. God’s truth sets you free. I live in a situation where people lied to me and I was made to believe that this was the way, you know, our family was, the world was. And I just lived that and it was just wrong. I just felt this isn’t right. And what, when I found out that I was being lied to, all of a sudden the chains came off, all of a sudden like turn, flip the light switch. Oh, I get it. Okay, this is what’s really going on. I see here I felt the truth and set me free. Anytime you learn the truth and you get an advantage and people are able now to control and to manipulate you and hold you to where you are serving their benefit. Anytime the truth sets you free. Oh my. What a change of life that is, and that’s exactly what the Bible does. That’s exactly what God’s word does. It sets us free from the of
What the lines and the boundaries and the structures that other people have given us. God’s truth truly sets us free in ways that this road is nothing magic, but the kingdom of God lives in full. We should be living in Foley. Then you will know the truth and the truth was saying free or how I love that verse. I love that verse because it talks about God’s work in our lives. It talks about what God can do, how God intervenes in our lives. So much of our lives worth left a belief it’s left up to our devising or or our accumulating, or are we making this happen? But God’s word is very true to us. He says, it’s my work in your life that makes your life happen. I give you life and boy, I love that because it just rings so true, doesn’t it?
And so when I see that, I remember that when I read the Bible that I am not to read it as learning the story or learning it to gain historical events. Nobody stroke events. That’s not the purpose of the Bible. Well, that is a purpose of the Bible. It is not the the, the, the reason for the Bible, certainly what the reason for the Bible is, it’s not for us to come to it and rest and dissect it and, and pull it apart. It’s the exact opposite. It’s for God’s word to come to us and pull us apart and for the God’s work to penetrate into the deepest parts of our soul here are experiences and expose us to God’s truth. That’s what the God’s word does. It’s not like any other body of literature you would ever read where you go to gain. When you read the Bible, the Bible comes to you and opens you up and the Bible exposes and it says, this is what we’re going to do.
This is what we’re going to change. There’s an active work by the Holy spirit as we read God’s word, unlike anywhere. Anything else. When you read God’s word, it’s not text that’s taking us back in time. No completely opposite of that. When you read God’s word, it is a text leading you into the future. It is a text leading you into the future. This is what God is saying. This is where you are and this is where I’m taking you and this is how I want to get there. What else in the world can you trust to lead you into the future? Nothing. No button. Even if they’re having a great intention, 99% of the time they’re wrong. God’s word is right about leading us into the future. Anybody who reads God’s word today has the greatest advantage because we already have one foot firmly planted into the future. Once we’re fertile, you might not know it, but
If you are following God’s word, he has already adjusted things around in your life. He’s already made connections. He’s already made things happen that you don’t even see happening to cut to, to supply, and to become sufficient in your life before your future, to direct her steps. God, God gives that to us, and I had what a wonderful benefit that that is. What a wonderful bed that that is for me as a, as, as a father, as a man, as a husband, that has carries a burden on me as a pastor. To know that the future is not depending only upon by little, you know, to Britain’s selves that don’t work all that well, but my future is dependent upon God’s grace and God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness. Every feeling himself as I read his word and the work of his spirit inmate that’s in place, and that’s how we get to where we’re going.
As we move along. Where’s we read God’s word? That’s the time when the, when the Holy spirit can, can breathe God’s life into us, or God can show us his vision for what he wants to accomplish. Those are the times that, that God says, this is what I have planned for. You. Quit listening to these lies. Quit thinking about these things that aren’t true. Listen to what I’m saying. What I am saying is true, and you come across passages and after a while all of a sudden something clicks and you say, Oh, that’s God doing this. I don’t tell you a couple of stories about them, but the first one is share with you. When Jesus, which was telling, he was sharing this information with people. He was speaking to crowds of people that were just lost. They were lost on every level you could imagine these people were oppressed.
They had been dominated by a foreign military. They were treated as slaves. They had nothing. Nobody would have given them a future. Nobody giving them any hope and you what Jesus said as he looked out at this crowd of people, he said, you are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world and you know, coming out 2000 years looking back, you now have to go out to, you could come back another decade. Looking back, he was exactly right. He was exactly right. He knew the changes that were going to happen. He saw the son. He was managing all the political environment that was constantly moving and shifting out from under these people. He knew what he was saying about these people, any of those people that would have listened to Jesus and what he had to say to them, if you would have listened to the potential that they were blind into about their own lives, but they knew what Jesus knew. If they had trusted him, they would have been much further into the future and much better off than sleeping a whole lot better at night. They would have been much more confident about what God was taking them. I
Remember when I pass it in New York, I had a good church. We’re doing everything we could and all of a sudden we started to realize that nobody was coming to our church anymore and nobody cared. We loved our church. It was a big church. Everybody was having a good time together. We had small groups. We had everything you can imagine. Everything was going so well. Okay, look out. And then we would see, Nope, nobody’s coming. Just us. And maybe, you know, other Christians would join us and things like that. We weren’t making any kind of an impact in our community. And boy that bugged me. It really bothered me. And then one day I was reading with a group of people, I was reading the Bible and we were studying God’s word. And we study the time where Jesus called out to his disciples were hauling his disciples and they weren’t catching any fish.
And he used the phrase, put your nets out into deeper water. And then they put their tents out and people want it. And then they started catching fish on one second. And I know at first I didn’t think anything of it, but God just kept saying, Nope, put your net out into the deeper water. Put your net out in deeper water, pull your net out in deeper water. And I started to think if God tried to tell me something because God said this and I came back to it and I gonna say starting to think, well, what does it mean to put our net out into deeper water and says, go out beyond your people. Go out beyond where you guys are comfortable. Blow out younger you. You don’t know people’s names, you don’t know people’s faces. Go out there and all of a sudden we made a big emphasis as our church all together to get out beyond ourselves and all.
Was it fun? All of a sudden we started bringing in fish, we started bringing in people and it was really exciting and what I learned from that experience, I learned God’s word leads you into the future. God’s word is the one that has the solutions to your life. I still remember I still a Georgia, but how he’s what under, what are we going to do? And the answer was, they’re in God’s word. I’d rather experience something and this is where my family fell apart and is back now. It’s gone over 10 years now and I went through a vase where two of my boys turned against me and would speak to me and all that talk about misery. Oh, that was up to that time and maybe even not or no, and several bad things to happen in my life, but that was a really, really rough experience.
I would, I know a lot of people go through that. That was a really hard one. Emotionally for me. I, I would cry all night. I had a work, I would break out into tears. It was a rough experience for me and one of the stories that I did not like them, the Bible was the story of the prodigal son because it’s a picture of a son who wished his dad was dead and he ran away. It took everything that dad had it all people went. And that’s how I bottled that story at that time and that phase and I couldn’t get past that. And where again, it’s in a small group and we’re reading that story. I was just going to keep quiet about it because I have bad feelings about that story. Well, as we’re reading it, I just, you know, really wasn’t paying attention.
Tried to kind of even daydream as we’re reading all this time. It came across this little phrase that Scott, when he came to his senses and it caught my attention. I don’t think I’d ever seen that little phrase in there when he came to his senses. And I thought back about that and I went home and started reading that story again and I realized I was, that that’d be cause of my grief. And because of my, my sadness, I had only seen the first half of the story. I’d forgotten that God continued to work in the heart of that young man. And that when God worked in that man’s heart, he came to his senses and he came back to his father. And I thought, you know what? If this was a phase of life that I have to go through, I pastored and I’ve had friends and they’ve gone through much worse than I have and I’m trying to comfort them.
And sometimes you just have to go through these periods of suffering and that’s okay, I get that, but if that’s what I have to do to wait until my boys come to their senses, then that’s what I won’t do. I will wait until they come to their sentences and I prayed for that. I prayed for them to come to their citizens and of course what happened? They came to their senses and they came back to dad and it’s sometimes it’s hard for me now to even remember how deep of grief I was experiencing, how the depth of the tears that I shed during that phase because now God has really restored things now, but I want to say that that hope that came to change that game was as I was studying God’s word as I was studying God’s word. God gives you phrases. God gives you thoughts about the future, where he is leading you, how he is guiding you.
I want to encourage you to know that the God is faithful in that way, that God is so faithful to us. He won’t. He wants you to know what he has planned for your life and the secret of it is there in God’s word. Your future is in God’s word. I want to share a little bit about your core to study and God’s where there’s two benefits to it outside of ourselves, and this is the first one is so that we can change the next generation about their future. It’s so important that we understand the Bible well enough in order to teach the next generation and my generation, I’m including children, I’m in plenty people were over in us. I’m the plenty people who don’t know Jesus yet. It’s important for us to know it that well and this is what happens when you know God’s word.
When you studied it well enough that you can teach somebody else, you learn it better, you learn it better when you take somebody up. There’s many times, or maybe it’s every Sunday I’m have a topic or I have a scripture and I need to come him and teach John, listen, and when I did it, I want to call it. I don’t have any about this, but I did it to this. I stuck it out and learn it. And as I’m teaching it, I’m learning it better myself. That’s where the advantage of being a pastor. And so you learn it and that’s very important. A better seed can teach the next generation. And that’s the second thing is that you learn it better for yourself. And in that I came across an interesting state saying by a pastor Rick Warren, Southern California has those interested, and he talked about small groups and he says there’s, there’s four phases of a small group of four aspects to a small group in small groups.
That’s what we are. We are a church of small groups. That’s first and foremost who we are. And so when he shared about that, was there four different aspects of a small group patients, they’re in the relationship of a small group. And the first one is there’s the social aspect. And so your friendships and you learn about each other on a superficial level and you get to know each other, you know each other’s hobbies and points of interest. That’s the first level. The second level is study. When you study together, when you study together, and that’s a purpose of our small group is so that we come together, every study, God’s word, we’ve learned about these so that God has an opportunity to show us what he is saying to each one of us, what he’s saying to us as a small group, what he’s saying to us as a church, what he’s even saying to us as, as the kingdom of God is the followers of Jesus on our home.
That’s where God brings. Now for your curiosity, the said, the third one is is the idea of serving together. And then the fourth one, you’re not going to lie, but it’s a good one because it’s so true. And this is how we make it through life, suffering together, socializing together, studying together serving together and then we suffered together. And we don’t have to believe that ever happens, but it does and it’s good to be there for each other. And that’s how we are. It’s very important. And like one, the smart group. I hope that we change the epicenter of how we understand the Bible, that the center of the Bible is not a story of the past history of something that’s gone in old days, something that belongs to the world to judge and say what they want to say about it. That’s not what the Bible is, but let’s follow the epicenter of the Bible right back into the hands of Jesus and let it be that center.
Let it be that that focus that puts us into God’s future and says, this is the future. This is where God is leading us. This was what God is doing. This is how God has taken care of is this is how God is preparing you and this is how God is delivering you into his kingdom. That’s where the Bible was not what we want to find. You want to know your future. You find your future in God’s word. We find your future in the Bible and I pray that that’s, that’s what we wanted. Probably pray for every product. Thank you so much for this opportunity that we have to to be together here and in a loving community and what a gift it is that we are among friends among goats who care about square or they know about as well or not. We are among people who love people because well people understand people.
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We’re a human being in all kinds of flaws and regrets, but we are all low but in China we are loved by God and our future is secure in your hands. What I pray for anyone here today is wondering about their future or somebody who is not considered their future or you had somebody who was doubted that the incredible ability of your word. I pray father that this way we would show something different that which we would step into and we have a lot of your words penetrators that we are allowed your word, expose the truth of who we are and then you would call us closer to you and show us what it means to be a silver follower. Disciple, a murderer. May your work. Stay open up the future to individuals currently out here this morning. Father, I know that you want to communicate your peace.
I know that you want to communicate your, you’re leading into the future to individuals here today. I pray, father, that you would use this moment to reveal you are to them and your faithfulness and your goodness and nevermind that you never let them out of your hand, which you are good. You are painful to them. Father, we pray print. He would do that what I was doing or pray for anybody here who does not have a relationship with you, that if anybody here today is not, know who you are in their own, I prayed that they would give their lives to you. Allow what you did on the cross to cleanse their sins and open up an intimate relationship with where they begin today to be in a relationship that will last for all of the churn. I prayed finally that you would bless, that you would bring them into a family that cares deeply and it can show them what it means to love Jesus in your name. Amen.