He will nod to St. Peter, St. Peter will jump out of the garbage truck, he will take whatever you have placed in the trash can and he will dump it. Jesus will kind of give you the thumb’s up sign and roar away. And you say to yourself, “That’s it. I’m done with that.” No, you aren’t done. You have to take the trash out regularly. We take the trash out every Tuesday and every Friday. You do have to keep on doing it, God is not going to do this for you. God is not going to say, “OK, get up and walk to the trash can, take pride and anger and throw it in and take it out to the curb.” We pray and ask God to help us cooperate with Him promptings.
But we have to move our muscles to deal with these issues. Number four. Associate with people who help you, not hinder you. One of the most amazing things in life is to look back and to see children, junior high students, high school students, college students, graduate students, those who have PhDs and everything else, those who are middle age and old age, they always, always, always are like the people that they associate with, their friends. And too many of us in this room are hanging out with people who keep dragging us down. We hang out with people who have the same defects we do and they cause us to stumble, they cause us to trip, they cause us to be on the side of the road in a ditch amongst all that wreckage. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, “People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.” That is why we have the church.
So my taking out the trash is really dangerous.
Mentally, now, when you deal with a character defect, when you deal with a sin, think about a trash can. Let’s look in this trash can here. Here, in this particular trash can, are some signs listing some of the problems you may be dealing with, overeating, the need to control, fear, gambling, overspending, anger, perfectionism, overworking, etc. Whatever you are dealing with, those seven deadly sins or one of these specific things, you think about the trash can. Think that you are having a problem with, I want to release this defect to God.
Then mentally take it and put it in the trash can. Now here is the tough part. You have got to take the trash out to the street. The evil one, Satan, the father of lies, who is like a prowling Rotweiller, is behind that fence and as you begin to drag that trash out, he will tell you again and again, “Don’t do it. Man, you don’t have to take the trash out. Everything will be OK. You have enough willpower to take care of this problem.” And if you don’t take the trash out, what is going to happen? It will stink your life up. It will rot you away.
As you take the trash out and evade the evil one, you put it on the street, run back in your house or apartment or condominium or dorm and look outside. Suddenly you should see, in your mind, a giant, white, pristine garbage truck pull up and on the side of the truck will be this legend. God and Son. Dealing With Trash in Believer’s Lives For The Last 2000 Years. And then you will see Jesus Christ driving this machine.
Needless to say he was inebriated, intoxicated. Not only did he steal the guy’s bottle of rum, he also stole the guy’s kayak. He began to try to paddle this kayak away from this island, out in the middle of the ocean, fell out of the kayak, crawled back onto the kayak and began to paddle toward land. Now, on a motorized craft, it’s an hour trip from where we were to the mainland. By kayak, it’s seven hours.
I thought about poor Gabriel, drunk in the high seas, subject to sharks and even – there are pirates in this area of the world. I thought, “What happened to Gabriel? Did he lose it? Yes, he did. I can’t believe he did this. This guy is nuts!”
And then throughout our trip, because I went with a couple of friends here at church, we would always say, when something crazy would happen, we’d say, “Hey, man, have you gone Gabriel? Have you gone Gabriel?”
And that’s the question I want to ask you today. Have you gone Gabriel? I know I have before. I have jumped in the kayak, done the pushback and I have become intoxicated with my own independence, inebriated with rebellion and I paddled away from where I should be. I paddled away, and so have you, from authority. Have you gone Gabriel? Yes, you have.
Well, the mantra these days goes something like this: “I want to call my own shots. I want to run the show. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. It’s all about me. Who gives a flying flip about you? I’ve got to do what makes me feel good, what makes me look good. I am my boss. I am my own man. I am my own woman. I’m it.”
What does he do? I would probably say, “Hey, brothers. In your face. Look at me up here. I’m the man, now. I told you you’d bow down to me. That is for you. Too bad. I’m going to charge you five times what I’m charging everyone else.” Is that what Joseph said? Joseph didn’t say a word.
But, the Bible says he disguised himself and he began to talk to his brothers through an interpreter. You see, Joseph spoke Hebrew, but also he spoke the Egyptian dialect. So, he used an interpreter. He was clean-shaven; he looked different. And, in fact, the Bible says he disguised himself. He was a Biblical Artemus Gordon. You remember Wild, Wild West? The master of disguises, Artemus Gordon. Well, that’s the way Joseph was here.
So here’s what he tells his brothers. He replays the same scenario that occurred in his life twenty-five years ago. Check this out. Look at verse 9. See, this is what he tells them through an interpreter. “You are spies. You’ve come to see where our land is unprotected.” You remember 25 years ago? Here’s Joseph coming to his brothers, to check on his brothers, to spy on his brothers for his father.
Look at verse 14. He says, “I’m going to test you.” Now skip down to verse 18. He puts them in custody for three days, and I believe, now, they’re starting to hear the “beep, beep, beep” alarm clock. Don’t you think so? I think their consciences are beginning to be a little bit activated, now. Verse 18, “On the third day, Joseph said to them, ‘Do this and you will live, for I fear God’”~see, Joseph is still talking about God.
One of the first pastoral assignments I ever had was with a family whose child had drowned and I walked into the situation. I was 23 years old. I started crying. I couldn’t even pray, couldn’t even talk, and I go back and I’m talking to another pastor and I said, “Man, I blew it. They must think I’m an imbecile. Here I am supposed to be strong”. He said, “What happened?” and I told him. He said, “That’s what you’re supposed to do. You just be there”. Who is suffering around you?
Who is suffering? Who is going through pain? But you’re over here removed and “I’m not going to get near them”. God wants you to step out and to minister to them. Here’s the third principle…rely daily on the sufficiency of God’s grace. God gives us just enough grace to make it day by day. Don’t say, “What will I do next year? How about 10 years? How about 50 years?” You rely on God’s grace today and don’t worry about tomorrow, God’s in control. Don’t worry about that. Three principles that God wants to deposit on your life.
Fellowship Church Grapevine – During the great Chicago fire, Horatio Spafford’s house was burnt to the ground. During the rebuilding phase, Horatio Spafford sent his wife and three children on a ship to Europe. The ship got near the continent and before it could get to port, a storm took it out to sea. The ship overturned. It sunk. Spafford’s wife went overboard. The there children went overboard and the children floated away from her grasp. She made it to England and she sent a two-word cable to Horatio Spafford which read, “Saved alone”. Horatio Spafford jumped aboard the next ship to Europe to be with his wife and he instructed the captain of the vessel to inform him when the ship was going to sail near the area where his three children had drowned.
He’s got to be number one. For our spouse, number two. And for our kids, number three. But if we’re blowing and going and over stimulated and overcommitted and overdone and over the top, how can we study our kids? And how can we know how to see the bend in the bow?
Parents, lets don’t feed our kids this junk—caramel and cheese and buttered popcorn. Let’s don’t do that. Let’s don’t limit ourselves in this popcorn tin. Let’s do it God’s way. It’s amazing what will happen in our families when we use God’s recipe, because that is when our kids will truly discover phenomenal trajectory.
The Bible says when Christ comes back, many who have made bad decisions on this earth will run to the mountains and they will want the mountains to fall on them because they see what’s going to happen to them. It’s God’s desire that we all spend eternity with Him. Don’t ever say, “How can a good and holy, righteous God send someone to hell? If God’s going to send someone to hell, I don’t want any part of that”. How many times have you heard that?
Let me settle that issue right now. Take your Bibles and turn to 2 Peter 3:9. God doesn’t send anyone to hell. We have freedom of choice. We have an option and I want to place the responsibility of this message squarely on your lap today and let you deal with it. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness.
He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone (not some) to come to repentance”. 1 Timothy 2: 4, “God our Savior wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”. John 3:16, a verse we’ll study next week, “God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not what? perish”.
Well, maybe right now God’s bringing up different acts of service that you can involve yourself in. Maybe in a marriage … Husbands, have you thought about on Saturday mornings getting up early, letting your wife sleep in, and preparing breakfast and taking care of the kids for awhile. Wives, have you thought about serving your husband by taking the initiative in the area of intimacy? Singles adults, have you ever thought about getting out of your clique and meeting some new people that you’ve seen hanging out here at Fellowship Church? That’s servanthood.
But again, in the natural we don’t want to do that. We want to do what makes us look good, what makes us feel good, what gives us pleasure. We don’t want to serve, yet we miss it. When we serve, we mature the fastest. When we serve, yes, we help others. We’re helping, though, ourselves. And once we get this and once we experience this and once we see this, we just won’t believe it.
Let’s, let’s keep going here. Here’s another interesting verse, because Jesus finally just kind of had a team meeting. He said, “Guys, you’re not getting it. I’m talking about servanthood here.” He was going after the basics. Look at Mark 10:43, 45. Jesus was just slamming this SPA mentality, this self-promoting attitude. “…Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,” Jesus says. Verse 45, “…For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” He said, “I didn’t come to have this SPA mentality.” And that’s unnatural. [the verse continues] “…And to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Fellowship Church Grapevine – Very directly, very simply Christ said, “Here’s why I’m here. I’m here to serve and to give; to serve and to give.” And naturally, we’re not into serving and giving. Naturally, we’re into our self. This me, my, mine mentality; this SPA mentality.