Sermon Notes: Stand Sunday 2022

Stand Sunday 2022

Isaiah 44:1-5

When Digory returned from Narnia, Aslan allowed him to bring an apple from Narnia that would heal his terminally sick mother. 

That apple core was planted in Digory’s backyard, and it grew into a great apple tree that eventually would produce the wood for the wardrobe that became the entry into Narnia for Lucy. 

Digory spoke about times this great apple tree would rustle and sway, even though there was no wind in England at the time, like it was being moved by a strong breeze in Narnia. 

And that is exactly what was happening. That apple tree was hard-wired to Narnia, it belonged to another world, and although it lived and grew in England, it was moved by the breeze in Narnia. 

For those who have received the gospel, we are of another kingdom, eternity has been planted in our hearts, and our most fruitful movements are when we are stirred by heavenly breezes that are not of our own making. 

We are seeing some of the breezes of the Spirit in our church. 

We can see the rustling of intangibles like hospitality, patience, faith, hope, generosity, and love. 

We don’t need more ministry work to do or new twists on getting results in ministry. 

We need the breeze of the Holy Spirit, the breeze of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, to stir us. 

Great movements of the church being the answer to the foster care crisis in Georgia will be because the Holy Spirit stirs it and empowers it. 

Acts 1:8 (CSB) 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Glocal impact is inevitable when we live in the power of the Spirit. 

These disciples, when the Holy Spirit was sent, took the world by storm, and as they went, they had great success and they also experienced great failure when they sowed their time, resources and energy to the flesh and the world by stifling or quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). 

We are no different. 

We have been given the Holy Spirit upon repentance and faith, and we are also good at stifling the Holy Spirit. 

For me, I stifle the Spirit by doing in my power what God wants to do if I’ll just ask, seek, and knock. 

The Bible teaches us there are times and seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority, times and seasons God has fixed for us to discover and live in.

This reminder is given in Acts 1:7, and it is a gracious answer from the Lord Jesus to a lopsided question from the disciples. The Father has indeed fixed times and seasons. We discover them and walk in them. We don’t create them. 

So we have to navigate our tendency to stifle the work of the Spirit and ride the wave of God’s movement in history when his people seek him and wait on him. 

We need God the Holy Spirit to awaken the lost to Jesus AND we need our church to be enthralled with Matthew 6:33. 

We need to be a people supernaturally awakened and empowered for God’s times and seasons, and when this happens, we will see fruit the likes of which we could never imagine without blowing our lives apart in stress and strain, and ministry casualty stemming from our own devices.

Ministry in the church and for the church in the public square (particularly in child welfare) feels like trying to move Mount Everest by pushing on it and believing that if we just get more people pushing or if we push differently with a different tactic we can make Mount Everest move. 

That results in frustration. 

That frustration we often feel in ministry and in the public square is the futility of trying to push something like Mount Everest with different tactics. These things just ain’t gonna move because we changed methods. 

We believe that better worship services will move and draw people and be the thing that helps people get over the spiritual hump. Not bad, but that won’t do it. 

We believe that better and more available children’s ministry and childcare will bring people in and usher in transformation. Not bad, but that won’t do it. 

We believe super-hyped student ministry will attract and transform the next generation and prevent people from abandoning the faith.Not bad, but that won’t do it. 

We believe a more aligned local ministry will maximize our time and effort in engaging our city. Not bad, but that won’t do it.  

We believe that a theologically airtight case from the Bible on the primacy of global engagement will inspire a movement of domain engagers to the nations. Not bad, but that won’t do it. 

We believe that if we find that one small group tactic that no one has ever attempted, we will unlock the key to church life and win the city. Not bad, but that won’t do it.  

We hope that days like today will move the needle in foster care and adoption. Not bad, but that won’t do it. 

When we do the work of God in man’s strength we get turnover and burnout and a few really good stories of human ingenuity.

We need God’s supernatural work to bring about repentance and faith with brand new people coming into the kingdom through the local church from the dark parts of our county as the primary preventative measure in stemming the tide of foster care. That’s the primary preventative healing balm.

We need renewal among existing churches with the Spirit’s gift of holy desire and supernatural Acts 1:8 empowerment. 

When that happens the work will get done in joy and abundance and supernatural power in such a way that God gets all the glory and we get all the joy and multitudes come to faith in Jesus and we will have zero needing state care. 

Until we see a move of God, local churches will continue swapping members who are continuing to attempt to do some ministry better than their last stop and to quench their thirst for God with the sand of more ministry, different tactics, and spiritual goods. 

This morning, we are not asking for anyone to do more.

I want to introduce us to a theme I’d like us to look at in 2023, and that is maturity in patiently seeking and waiting on God. 

The Bible is full of encouragement to wait on the Lord. Patience is part of the fruit of having the Holy Spirit. 

What does that mean exactly? Are we supposed to drop everything we are doing? 

No. The Bible is clear about who we are, what God’s vision is, what God’s strategy is, what we are to be doing, and he gives us a boat load of freedom in how to do most of it. 

We don’t stop doing the basics.

But, our first work is to cultivate hearts that love God and delight in him and want him above everything. 

I am convinced that if we seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness first, loving him and wanting him above all things, we will get God and the fruit of the labor of doing his work.

I believe we can have both. I believe his yoke is easy and his burden is light. 

All the ministry in the world is available to the church, but we are to want God before we want the work. 

If we go after the work and try to get God to bless what we do, we might not get God. 

If we want God above all things, we might just get all of God and the world thrown in just for fun. 

How do we come after Jesus Christ and his kingdom first and wait on him? 

Hint: there is not one thing or list of “works” to do. This is an internal posture we take, and it’s all over the Bible if we have eyes to see and ears to hear

Isaiah 44:1-5

  1. Believe that we are the Lord’s people. V. 1-2
    1. Chosen. Formed in the womb by God with holy design.
    2. Jeshurun – “Upright”. We are upright because God has made us upright through the cross of Jesus.
      1. 1 Peter 2:9-10 (CSB) 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
    3. As God’s people, we are designed and equipped for his work. 
    4. We are his solution and means of gospel advance.
      1. God will bring his kingdom through his church. We are his means. 
  2. Believe God wants to help us. V. 2
    1. If we believe God wants to help us, we will wait for HIM TO HELP us.
      1. We have to believe that God wants to empower us. 
    2. Waiting on the Lord is not a life of doing nothing.
      1. Waiting on the Lord is a life of obeying the Lord in the basics, and trusting God to make the easy and light yoke of following Jesus move forward in power and authority and effectiveness and speed that we don’t generate in taking back enemy held territory.
        1. Basics: repent, believe, Bible, gather, pray, fast, Sermon on the Mount posture, wait, make disciples, teach obedience, baptize new believers. Repeat. 
      2. God giving us his help from us waiting on him is what the New Testament describes as being filled with or under the influence of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21).
  3. Don’t fear when work happens and advances. V. 2
    1. The people of God were in the middle of the world trying to obey the Lord and navigate their world. Just. Like. Us. 
    2. 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 (CSB) 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a wide door for effective ministry has opened for me—yet many oppose me.
      1. In the work of the local church on mission, there is an abundance of “things” that can cause us to push pause because of fear.
        1. Internal attacks rooted in opinions seeking additional spiritual fatness. 
        2. External opposition from systems that want to oppose the good and right of God’s kingdom. 
        3. Spiritual warfare from dark powers that whisper lies and generate emotive responses that do not match reality. 
      2. People and circumstances will often oppose the work of God in the public square, yet that does not mean doors are closed.
        1. We have to not let fear generated from opposition to God’s work stop us from doing right. 
        2. We have to press on together in God’s power.
          1. AND press on here does not mean abandon the work while we waint on God’s empowerment. 
          2. It does mean that we keep doing the basics, we keep striving for right and justice and good BUT we don’t add to it to manufacture results and we don’t broaden the work without God supernaturally moving it forward.
            1. Illustration: Restoration Rome
  4. Believe God DELIGHTS and WANTS to save our families and friends. V. 3.
    1. Hebrew poetry rhymes in parallel thought.
      1. “Water on thirsty land” is parallel to “pouring out the Spirit on your offspring”. 
      2. God wants to save the lost of our families and our cities.
        1. If we believe God wants to do this, it should drive us to simply tell the good news of the gospel in free delight not as a burdensome labor. 
  5. Believe that God WILL save the lost. V. 4-5
    1. To be clear, the primary result of waiting on God is not more work for a few to do (that is the fruit of man doing God’s work in man’s strength.)
      1. The result of waiting on God is a wave of non-Christians being blown away by the gospel, repenting of sin, coming to faith, incorporated into the local church, repentance happening inside the local church, massive growth and multiplication of the local church, and cultural revival and transformation taking place.
        1. This will result in work getting done with an abundance of hands to do the work with great joy and empowerment to get it done. 
        2. No one in this room has experienced that before. Perhaps a few of us have read about such moments in Christian history. We want that!
    2. Isaiah says that people will take on the name of the name of the Lord
      1. This is the promise of the gospel.
        1. Romans 1:16
      2. Part of the work of waiting on the Lord is believing that he will save and actually work on our behalf.
        1. So many times the Lord reminds us that faith in him pushes things forward and lack of faith in him hinders forward progress. 
      3. Let’s believe together for God to save the lost in Floyd County.
  6. Believe God wants us to seek him and wait on him.
    1. Jeremiah 29:13-14 (CSB) 13 You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the LORD’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place from which I deported you.”

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