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Ten Commandments (Shane Willard 2009)

Shane Willard

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Ten Commandments (Shane Willard 2009) (Shane Willard)

Am I me, regardless of what I'm producing; or is my entire life and worth defined by the number of bricks I can make? Is God still the creator, even when He's resting?

The Sabbath is a day where you live like your work is done, even if it isn't - and that is healing. The world goes on, because God is God, and you are not.

The supply of everything I need, is as close to me as the air that I'm breathing, I just need to stop and become aware of that.

The 10 Commandments is about Grace, its God giving people something that they did not earn or deserve - it's: welcome to being human again.

Ten Commandments (1 of 6) (Shane Willard)
God wants to marry you - leaven and all. No matter what you've done, or where you've been, God is determined to make it right for you - that is what the 10 Commandments are all about.
The OT marriage covenant (and its Hebrew context), are used to understand some things Jesus said about his return, and about the rapture.
The introduction of the 10 commandments is considered from the perspective of a long line of slaves. So we get a day off? You can't kill me, or take my things, just because you're stronger than me? My human rights and dignity will be respected in our new culture? That is fantastic!

I am the Lord your God (2 of 6) (Shane Willard)
The Ten Commandments starts with Grace, with God giving people something that they did not earn or deserve:
"I am the Lord your God", who is choosing to bless you with freedom from slavery, not because of anything you've done, but because I love you, and want all the people of the world to know that I am a loving God. Welcome to being human again.
Its: Anokhi - an offer to increase us, inside the “hedge of praise and submission”

Foundations for Your Success (3 of 6) (Shane Willard)
We don't like spirit, because we can't control it. It doesn't obey our rules. Where is God? How big is He?
If you want to live a successful life, you've got to organise your life to where God is with you all the time; not a statue/idol that's with you one minute, but not the next. We can't make God manageable.
To have the best relationship with God, don't make your prayer life about words and needs, He already knows what your needs are.
The supply of everything I need, which is as close to me as the air that I'm breathing, I stop and become aware of that.

Remember the Sabbath, Keep it Holy (4 of 6) (Shane Willard)
Is God still the creator, even when He's resting? Am I me, regardless of what I'm producing; or is my entire life and worth defined by the number of bricks I can make?
Anything we do around Sabbath that puts people in bondage, instead of bringing relief to a situation, misses the point. The last thing a group of slaves needs is another piece of bondage - and we're no different.
When our worth becomes about bricks, we become machines. Sabbath is a day where you live like your work is done, even if it isn't - and that is healing. The world goes on, because God is God, and you are not

Honour (5 of 6) (Shane Willard)
How do I honour someone who wasn't honourable? Nobody's parents are perfect. Honour is not ignoring wrong things, or saying wrong things are right, or having no boundaries.
Honour has more to do with what we pass on to the next generation; than how we respond to the previous one. It's maintaining godliness through our generations. It's choosing to be honest about the ungodliness, and choosing to break the cycle.
Be thankful you're alive; realise your parents were a part of fallen humanity; give up the urge to take vengeance, and to judge - realise they were wounded too.

11th Commandment (6 of 6) (Shane Willard)
God has not called us to be right - we're just Joe & Jane.
God has called us to be compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness. He's called us to show the whole world what He looks like.
Taking His name in vain is about: don't sign cheques I wouldn't sign, don't put my name to things that aren't me.
As a Christian, you're actually picking up and carrying (Nasah) the name (Shim) of God around with you. Shawv (in vain) means to live your life in a way that manifests (not disappoints) the hope that rests upon it.
The name of God rest upon a person (Ex 23:20), its a prophetic utterance of character (Exodus 34:6-7), it sits in a place (Deur 12:11), a force that provides protection (Ps 20:1), that has the ability to move with emotion - to fire a place up (Is 30:27).
It's a realm of awareness, that we can live in, or outside of (Micah 4:5). Its a force that brings about the best life (Jn 20).
The name creates a life so good, it's worth suffering & dying for (Acts 5:40-41). The demonstration of that life is so powerful, it threatens other people.
If you are reviled for the name of Christ, then you are blessed (1 Peter 4:14). Jesus: I have manifested Your name (John 17:6).
God has called Christians to be nice, more than He has called us to be right.

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Ten Commandments (1 of 6) (Shane Willard)  

Wed 13 May 2009 AM « Back to Top

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God wants to marry you - leaven and all. No matter what you've done, or where you've been, God is determined to make it right for you - that is what the 10 Commandments are all about.

The OT marriage covenant (and its Hebrew context), are used to understand some things Jesus said about his return, and about the rapture.

The introduction of the 10 commandments is considered from the perspective of a long line of slaves. So we get a day off? You can't kill me, or take my things, just because you're stronger than me? My human rights and dignity will be respected in our new culture? That is fantastic!

Ten Commandments (1 of 6)

Prelude

I want to talk to you tonight about the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20); but we have to make one ground rule really quick: in order to study God; and in order for the church, I believe, to get its credibility back - all of us have to lose our addiction to being right!

We're all "addicted to being right”. We could start our own 12 step program: Hi, my name is Shane, and I am an addict. I am an addict to ‘being right’; you are an addict to ‘being right’; and the worst addicts to ‘being right’, in the whole world, are: white Pentecostals!

Most of you look white; and 'Pentecostal - judging by how you just started this meeting. Everybody pray in the spirit for two minutes - that's pretty good. That means: you're white; you're Pentecostal - which means we are the worst in the world at thinking we have God figured out.

God does not expect us to have Him figured out! Jesus runs into people who were caught in the act of adultery. He runs into thieves on crosses. He runs into prostitutes in the middle of the night, and He's forgiving them. The people who really ticked Jesus off, were the ones who thought they had it all figured out - that they were in, and everyone else is out.

He goes into one place in Galilee, which was known for its orthodoxy. What they did is: they took the Torah - and then they made it harder; so they tried to live even harder; and because they were keeping the Torah better than everybody else, they thought they were saved. They actually called themselves: ‘The Remnant', 'The Chosen Ones', or 'The Elect'. We would never do that would we?

So they thought they were in, and everybody else was out; they were going to heaven, and everyone else was going to hell. So Jesus shows up, and they said: “Rabbi, are only a few going to be saved?” Of course, they mean them right; so basically they were trapping Jesus into agreeing with them.

Jesus - You tell us, are only a few going to be saved? Jesus gets so ticked-off, He says: at my marriage table, many will come from the north, east, south and west; but you who actually think you're in, will be the ones shut out - because you thought you were better than other people.

One of the things that the rabbis said - which I love: if we spent two hours tonight talking about God, if 95 per cent of what we said was wrong, God would still be pleased, just because we gave a night to talk about Him. God does not expect you to get it right, and let me show you why.... (gets out the whiteboard)

Let's be Gods for a second, alright? So I'm the Chairman of the Council of the Gods, and you are Gods (for the sake of our example). So I convene a meeting of the Council of the Gods, and I move that: because we're bored with each other, we're going to create something.

We choose to create people, and we'll call them Joe and Jane; and we make them perfect in our sight; they have all the mental and physical capacities that we do (to think). We make them in our image, and in our likeness. We say: that that is done; and we look back and we say: it is good, it is finished; what is still the problem with Joe and Jane?

There's still a problem with them: they're stuck on that board - their world is limited to what they can perceive in two dimensions. If I was to whisper in Joe's ear: Joe - in my world, I'm God; and in my world I can extend my arm out. Joe goes: that is unbelievable! Joe can't fathom a way that an arm can be extended out. Why? Because he is stuck in two-dimensions.

I whisper in Joe's ear: Joe - Jane is gorgeous, she's got nice curves. Joe looks over and says: she's just a line - I don't understand what you mean. Why? Because he's stuck in two dimensions.

If I wrote Joe a book about me; and I say things like: Joe, my ways are so high above your ways, you can't fathom it; “as high as the heavens or above the earth, so great are my ways above your ways”. Scientists tell us that the furthest star they know of is 12.3 billion light years away - that is a long way above us.

If I wrote Joe a book, and said: Joe, my ways are so high above your ways you can't understand it; Joe can't fathom that, in his world, I can go behind him; and in front of him. He can't understand that, because he's stuck in 2-D.

Let's get their attention: I take my hand, and I stick it through their world - they're going to see my hand in 2-D. What does my hand look like in two dimensions? #1: it's flat; #2: it would be five dots, coming through their world at differing times, followed by a series of dashes.

Joe says: Jane - did you see that? That's five dots, followed by a series of dashes! Jane says: no, I think it was bigger than that. I think that was the ‘hand of Shane’. He says: man, are you smoking something?

What if I took this ring, and I stuck it through their world - what would they see? That would just be one dot, which then separates into two dots, which then come back together as one - and then it disappears. He says: did you see that? That was roughly 20 dots that went like this. She goes: no, no - that was Doug's ring! He says: man, are you smoking...

What if I put my face up close to their world? She goes: do you smell that? Smells like curried chicken; I can feel something! Joe goes: no, no - that's the face of Shane - I can sense his presence. Who's right, and who's wrong? None of them - it takes faith to believe it all.

In two dimensions, the ring is a circle; but when you turn it (in 2-D) it's a rectangle. Are there ever enough dimensions to make a circle a rectangle? Yes, you need 3-D. We just need an axis to turn it on, to make a circle into a rectangle - but in their world it can never be. Mathematicians refer to a ‘dimension’ as a ‘degree of freedom’.

If this is a space in a jigsaw (2-D puzzle), and this is the piece that's supposed to go in the puzzle space, can you ever squeeze that into that, in two dimensions? No, you have to pick it up, move it over the top, and put it down. You need to have another degree of freedom in order to do that.

My point is this: that we are 4-D people. We live in 3x ‘space-dimensions’, and 1x ‘time-dimension’. We can only be at one place at one time - that's our limitations, that's our world. We are stuck to perceiving things that only exist right in front of us, something we can see, something we can touch, feel. We exist in three space dimensions, and one time dimension, so we are 4-D.

These are the complications that exist when a 4-D person tries to communicate with a 2-D one. These are the complications that exist.... They will never understand me; I would simply be pleased with the fact that: they even noticed; that they were giving it a go. Someone stuck in 2-D has no hope of understanding a 4-D person. All they can know is what I tell them; and even then, what I tell them is limited to their way of understanding things.

Imagine the complications that exist when an infinitely-dimensional God, tries to communicate to four-dimensional people? Can you imagine the intricacies? That's why God just kind of covers His bases. He says: “As far as the heavens are above the earth, so great are My ways above your ways.” You can't get your head around Me.

In Deuteronomy He says: “If you can imagine it, it isn't Me”! I'm so much bigger than you, that if you took your imagination to its furthest bounds, whatever's there - I'm bigger than that. Every aspect of Me is bigger than that.

If you just take “my love”; how wide, and how deep, and how broad, and how great, is the Love of God - that you can't even get your head around it. So before we go any further: God is infinitely big; and we're going to talk about this when we talk about the second commandment.

God is infinitely big; He's also infinitely small. Have you ever heard of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ (not the scary movie)? The phrase was coined by a MIT physicist in 1960; so this was a guy really, really smarter than us. He wanted to come up with a way to predict weather patterns with greater accuracy; so he was working with an algorithm on a computer program.

His algorithm contained a constant: .504162; he was using it to do wind patterns, in order to greater predict meteorological phenomena. So he'd type in that constant, and then let the computer run for a while, to see what would happen. One day he was in a hurry, and accidently, he just typed in: .504 (...and left off the 162).

Two hours later he came back; and the effects of leaving off those last three digits caused catastrophic weather events 150 miles away, and it was just a mistake. So on the computer model, he left off 162 hundred-thousandths of a percentage point, and it caused catastrophic effects 150 miles away.

They asked him: what’s the equivalent of that, in wind? He said: the puff of air that is caused by a butterfly's wing. So he said: theoretically, if a butterfly flutters in the wrong direction, at the wrong time - it can cause catastrophic events 150 miles away; so he coined the phrase in the scientific community the ‘Butterfly Effect’.

You say: Shane, what in the world are you talking about? God is so big, that He has His head around every puff of air that comes out of a butterfly's wing 100 miles from here - in order to protect you. God is huge!

We just need to come to the place of humility, a big place of humility, which just says: I am not God; and any attempt by me, to put my ‘box of God’ around people - just is not right.

One other thing, before we get into the Ten Commandments itself - I want to speak to you about the Humility factor. One of the tests of ministry, in the First Century, was something called the ‘Disposition of the Messiah’.

In English we write like this: A + B + C = D. So D is our main point; and we make three statements to end up at D.

Hebrew people don't write that way - they're not allowed to. They say: A + B + C = D = C + B + A. It's called ‘Reverse Concentric Symmetry’. When a Hebrew person writes, they write connecting points at the end, and it backs up into a middle point.

That looks like a Menorah! The theology of the menorah comes from Isaiah 11:2 – “the spirit of the Lord will rest on me - the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord”. A later writer said: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.

These are (to use our term) the ‘anointings’ that can come on somebody, from the Lord. There are six; but the centre one, which is the main point - the rest of this does not light without the centre one. The centre candle is called ‘The Servant’. Every anointing you'll ever get from the Lord, does not light up properly, unless it's done from the Heart of Humility - the Heart of a Servant.

As much as we learn this week, we're wrong. It's not in the ‘being right’ or ‘being wrong’; it's the questions that it puts in our lives, to make us change our lives, to be more godly. It's about the fruit that it might bear. If you just gain a bunch of knowledge - that is helpful, but it misses the point.

Will the girl at KFC know that you're saved, even when she messes up your order?

When you're on your way home from work, and you stop by the grocery store to pick up three things, and someone jumps in front of you in line, with 50 things - are you saved then? When you end up in the line with the slowest cashier in the entire store - are you saved then? Wives: does your husband know you're saved - even when he leaves his underwear on the floor? Husbands: do your wives know you're saved - even when they make a decision that disappoints you?

What are we doing to: live the Life of a Servant; to extract the Anointings of the Lord; in order to live it in such a way, that we are in fact a servant - that Jesus is the centre point of our whole life? Now with that being said, let's look at Exodus 20...

Introduction

I need to introduce the Ten Commandments, before we actually start talking about them, to put it in proper context. Exodus 20 starts something like this: “And the Lord spoke all of these words, saying: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, to be your God. Have no other gods before me”.

So the Lord spoke all these words saying: “I am the Lord your God”. The people that were listening to this - how would they have heard it? Who were they? What was their background? What sequence of events led up to this incredible event?

The people at the bottom of that mountain were slaves for 430 years. A 430-year heritage of slavery; 430 years of your opinion not mattering; 430 years of getting up every day at sun up and making bricks - hopefully enough bricks to keep yourself from getting killed. You get up every day: you make bricks; you go to bed. Seven days a week; 12 hours a day; 365 days a year - day in and day out.

You were treated with no dignity. You were a slave. You were less than human. If an Egyptian soldier wanted your wife, they just came in and raped her. There was no repercussions whatsoever; no thought to your dignity; no thought to the fact that you were even human. You were less than human. If they wanted something of yours, they just took it. If they wanted to kill, you they killed you, no repercussion. Moses only got in trouble because he killed an Egyptian, not because he killed a Hebrew.

These people had no human rights; so when you think of the Ten Commandments as a whole, I want you to think of it in terms of: a group of slaves learning how to be human again. God is trying to teach a group of people (and all they knew was slavery): this is how to be human.

He's also trying to create a culture that's going to have His way to live - so the whole world would look at what they have, and want it. He's trying to create the world's best culture. He's trying teach a group of slaves, after 430 years of slavery: this is how you be human.

It's also a wedding proposal: God proposing marriage to a group of people.

For 430 years, slavery was all they knew, and here's what they hear: “Thou shalt not kill”. Are any of them going: “oh no, that's the law”? No, everyone's going: wait a minute - in our new culture - you can't kill me, just because you're stronger than me?

Wait a minute, in our new culture, you mean that he has to respect the basic dignity as a human being God gave me? That he has to actually respect the image of God in me - that's how we're going to do this thing? That is fantastic!

Murder is the light sin; the heavy sin is actually believing someone's worth less than you. The heavy sin, is a belief that says: someone else isn't worth as much as you are. That's the heavy sin! So in our new culture, we're going to respect the basic human dignity?

Can you imagine: “Thou shalt not steal”? No one's thinking: “that's the law - we're being put under bondage, no, no, no”. They just got out of bondage.

God is not trying to make you good; God is trying to make you free. Make you good? Good compared to who - Him? No way, come on. He's trying to free slaves. He's trying to free people, when all they knew was: bondage and slavery. He's trying to free them to be human again.

“Thou shalt not steal” - no one's thinking: “hey, that's the law”; everyone's thinking: “wait a minute - in our new culture - you can't take things from me, just because you can? That is awesome!”

Can you imagine, all you knew was 430 years of slavery, and you hear: “Thou shalt take a day off”? Can you imagine that?

We haven't had a day off in 430 years; and He's actually commanding us to have a day, where we remind ourselves that our worth doesn't come from how many bricks we make? That is fantastic!

“Thou shalt not lie” - wait a minute, in our new culture, we actually have to have integrity in our business dealings?

I mean, if you know anything about sociology, you know that once a culture (or a country) becomes rampant with murder and theft and corruption in business dealings, the whole economy goes down the tubes - because no one wants to do business with you.

God is not trying to make people good, He's trying to make people free.

Main Message

For the rest of this first session, I want to talk to you about a wedding proposal. The Ten Commandments, Hebrew people call it a 10-word Ketubah.

In a Hebrew wedding, there were five steps. The five steps were: Lakah, Segullah; Mikveh, Ketubah and Huppah (Chupah).

I'm going to explain this in the natural; and then show it to you in the Bible; and hopefully bring this together to introduce the Ten Commandments.

Lakah: let's say Ali and I were dating, and she's out of my league, but it doesn't matter so - it's just hypothetical. So Ali and I are dating, and there comes a point where we cross the threshold of serious. There's a bit of chemistry going on between us. People are starting to ask her: how serious is this getting? This would have happened all the time.

Once it crosses a certain point, Ali would be longing to hear one word from me, and that word is: Lakah. She'd be longing to hear Lakah from me; so one night we're out on a date, we're down at the pizza place, and she bites into a piece of sausage - just perfect. That sausage fat and juice goes all over her. And I look across that table, and I think: I want to spend the rest of my life with that woman. Any woman that can bite into a piece of sausage like that - oh yeah!

So I take her home, and there's a moment on the porch, and she's still got a little bit of it right there on her face, and I say to her: Ali, Lakah. Well, on the outside she acts excited; but on the inside - she's 100 times more excited. On the outside she hugs me, and there's a moment there; but on the inside she's just clapping and going nuts, and on the inside she's just: OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! He said Lakah! He said Lakah! So she goes in and she calls her three best friends, and she's clapping... He said Lakah to me! He said Lakah to me! OH MY GOD! He said Lakah to me!

Lakah means: I want to make you my own.

The Book of Exodus is just one big giant marriage proposal between God and a group of slaves. Exodus 6:6 says something like this. He's talking about His accolades. He says: I have delivered you out of the hands of the Egyptians, and from the yoke of bondage; and He's just giving them a ra-ra sort of: this is my heart for you, this is what I've done for you.

Then in verse 7: “and I will take you as my own”. If you look that up in Strong's Concordance, it's just the word Lakah; I will take you as Lakah.

These are Hebrew people, so you didn't have to explain all this to them. They were standing there, and they would have thought: did God just say Lakah to us? Did God - does He want to marry us? Does God want to take our relationship with Him that far?

Doesn't He know we have issues? I mean, these people had issues! He had to tell them things like: don't be intimate with your mother, it's a bad plan. Well duh, right! But He had to tell them - that's how much issues they had. Later He had to tell them: don't throw your children in fire, not a good idea. So He had to tell them all these things, but He is instituted (He is initiating) a marriage with them.

You cannot understand the Ten Commandments outside the context of this: that God loves you so much, that He wants to marry you - Lakah.

So after I've said Lakah; what would be the next word she'd be longing to hear? Segullah!

You guys know how women are right? I don't want the women to turn on me, but there we go right - I'm going to step out there in faith! How long would it be, before Lakah wore off? Not long... Not long!

It wouldn't be too long after that, her girlfriends would be saying: has he said Segullah yet? Girl, is he scared of commitment? He needs to be saying Segullah.

So one night we're out on a date; and on the way to where we were going, she's hungry; and the noises that are coming out of her stomach are something God-awful. It's like a rhino's mating-call (ggroar), and I think to myself: that's the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with - a woman whose stomach can make noise like that. It's like a female drummer - there's something awesome about a woman that likes to beat on things, you know what I'm saying? They just...

So I take her on the date; we get home, and there's this moment and I say: Ali... Segullah!

Now this time, she can barely keep her hands off me - because I'm so irresistible. She is so excited; so she calls her friends: he said Segullah to me! He said Segullah to me! OH MY GOD! He said Segullah to me!

Segullah means 'treasured possession'. It takes Lakah one step further, and that one step further is: I don't just want to make you mine, I want to make you the most important person in my whole life, treasured possession.

Exodus 19, same group of people. Leading up to the Ten Commandments, they've already heard Lakah; and they would have been longing to hear the word Segullah.

In Exodus 19:5 here's what God says to them. “If you obey me fully, and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations, you will be my treasured possession (special treasure)”. In Hebrew it's: Segullah.

So once again, these people - for 430 years, all they've known is slavery - and they're like: does God want to marry us? Is He serious? Did He just say ‘Segullah’?

Now the next one, the next word she'd be longing to hear is Mikveh. Now Mikveh is not as romantic as the first two. The first one's sort of romantic; the second one's really romantic, like: I want to make you the most important person in my whole life. Women hear that and they go: isn't that something! They like that!

Mikveh is far less romantic, but it was necessary. Mikveh was a three-day warning that the betrothal was coming, and Mikveh meant this. Mikveh meant: go wash. Like: girl - you need a bath. Your breath is stinky!

Mikveh meant: go wash; or if you want to get spiritual with it, you could say: consecrate. It was a three-day warning, and the reason they did it was gracious; you wanted to give them a three-day warning before the betrothal happened, so that they could be touched. You wanted to be clean at the proposal, so you could be touched; so you'd give them a three day warning: go wash.

You see this all over the Bible, but I'll give you the most extreme example in the whole Bible that I know of, and that's Esther. Remember she bathed in perfume - for a year - before she went in and saw her husband (which I think is overkill). Can you imagine that? Whew girl, where you been! You know she bathed in a year's Mikveh.

Exodus 19:10 – “and the Lord said to Moses: have the people consecrate themselves for three days, and have them wash their clothes” - Mikveh.

Three days from now - a Ketubah is coming, a Ketubah is coming - and they would have known this. This is Hebrew culture - they knew the sequence; so three days from then, Exodus 20 happens. Exodus 20 is a Ketubah.

A Ketubah is a marriage contract. This is what would happen (in the natural)... Three days after Mikveh; I would come and get Ali, and we would go sit at a table. Normally it would be: her, and her father; me, and my father - and we would make an agreement, a list that defined the basic boundaries of our marriage. She could put anything in the Ketubah she wanted; and I could put anything in the Ketubah I wanted - so long as we both agreed.

If you're here today, and you're thinking about getting married, let me give you Paul's advice: don't! Remember was he said? “He who marries does not sin” (but they're signing up for a life of pain)! Marriage is one of those things that, even between two pretty good-hearted people - it's tough!

I'm a counsellor by trade. Anytime a man and a woman comes to me; and it turns into who's right and who's wrong - it never works; because typically, it's not a matter of right and wrong. Typically, it's a matter of just differences. I think marriage might be one of those things that God steps back and goes: what was I thinking? What was I doing? Men and women are just different, okay; they're not wrong, they're just different.

For example, when a woman says: “I have nothing to wear”, what she means is: “I have nothing new” - and other women understand that code! If a woman says to another woman: I have nothing to wear; the other woman says: girl, let's go shopping, right? If a man says: I have nothing to wear; what he means is: I have nothing clean - do some laundry right? Not wrong, just different...

Another example – smells! Women like sweet-smelling stuff, like: flowers and perfume, oil, candles. Two women can go into a candle shop and sniff wax for an hour. Girl, check that out! Ain't that - that is some sweet smelling stuff right there. They just can do that stuff. You give a woman some flowers - the first thing she does is smell them. You give a man flowers - he smells $70. That's all he smells! Women like sweet smelling stuff - it's in them to do that.

Men like ‘stinky’ stuff. You'll never see two men in a candle shop going: hey Billy, check that new white-lilac scent out. Now that is something special, right there! Bob, I'm gonna tell you: that is some sweet smelling stuff! You'll never see men do that – never!

Men like stinky stuff though... You have a man, and he plays a rugby match in the rain - and there's blood, and there's mud, and there's sweat - all mixed together on his shirt; and he's got to get to a business meeting really quick after it, so he runs into the locker room and showers. He puts nice clothes on. He takes all those muddy, sweaty, nasty clothes and he puts them in a plastic bag, and he ties it off and puts it in the boot of his car. Three months later... he's looking for something in the boot of his car, and he sees that bag and remembers what's in it. What's the first thing he's going to do? He's going to open it and he's going to smell it!

That's men - and if there's any other man around he'll say: “hey man, check that out. That's ripe right there, and I'm gonna tell you.” Men everywhere owe each other courtesy sniffs - if I smell Hamish's dirty clothes; and then later if I have something - he's got to smell mine, because I smelled his. That's why, if you're ever at a red light, and you see four guys in a car, and three of them have their heads out the window, and one in the back seat laughing - it's just somebody cashing in on his courtesy sniff.

That's all that is, because men like stinky stuff. There's nothing funnier to a group of men than something stinky happening. Women like sweet smelling stuff - not wrong, just different; and so to curb, to try to increase the effectiveness of marriage, we would sit down and talk about our basic boundaries before we got married - that became our marriage contract. She could put anything in there she wanted, and I could put anything in there I wanted, so long as we both agreed; because: “how can two walk together, lest they be agreed?”

Then once that was agreed on, that became the rules of our marriage; so if after marriage, if one of us broke our deal, it was called: ‘marital unfaithfulness’. You would go through a four step process to prove it: one-on-one; two-on-one; spiritual-leaders-on-one; and then discipline. This marriage contract became the ruling force of our marriage.

The whole Bible's about a wedding... After it was agreed upon, we would: sign it; then stand and face each other, and..

I would say to her: “I go to prepare a place for you; that where I am, there you may be also”.

She would say: “when will you come back, to receive me unto yourself?”

I would say: “I do not know the day or the hour, but when my father approves the wedding chamber, he'll send me back, to receive you unto myself.”

So when Jesus is saying this stuff, everybody there is going: God still wants to marry us? This is unbelievable! I want you to think about the Ten Commandments in terms of a marriage contract.

“You should have no other Gods before Me” - if we're going to be married, I've got to be the most important person in your life. That makes sense doesn't it? Let's take God out of it for a second... For a marriage to work: the husband has got to be the most important person to the wife; and the wife has to be the most treasured possession of the husband, right? It's the only way for it to work.

“Don't make idols” - if we're going to be married, you can't carry pictures of your old boyfriends around, because that's going to hurt my feelings. We’re not going to do that, alright!

“Remember the Sabbath Day, and keep it holy” - if we're going to be married, then: one day in seven, it's going to be just me and you.

This is what God did to keep His marriage together; He said: one day in seven; and seven times a year, we're going to leave everything and just be together.

God did everything He could do to make His marriage with the national of Israel work - but it just didn't. In the Book of Ezra (and in the Book of Jeremiah) it says: God had to divorce Israel, because of their continual marital unfaithfulness. They kept breaking their deal. He had to divorce them, for their continual marital unfaithfulness.

If you've been through a divorce, maybe this is for you. There's a scripture that says: I hate divorce; but we teach that as if: God hates divorced people. Maybe God's not saying: I hate divorce (as a matter of judgement); maybe He's saying (as a matter of understanding): I've been through it - I know, it stinks! I hate it for you; I hate it for the other person; I hate it for all the tears it's going to cause - I hate it.

Maybe that's what it was about? If God hates divorced people, then He hates Himself; because in the Book of Jeremiah, and the Book of Ezra, it says: He had to divorce Israel, because of their marital unfaithfulness. Who did He marry? You; me - we're the bride of Christ. He hates divorce.

This was all about a marriage. So this is what would happen: I would go and prepare a place for her, a marriage chamber. Then I'd come back and get her, and we'd have a wedding. At a wedding, there was step five: Huppah.

Huppah means 'under the presence'. Remember the prayer shawl?

There were two huppahs: the first huppah was the marriage altar - and we still have those today - when you see people get married under archways? You get married under archways - that was the first huppah; it was a marriage altar that talked about: when you get married, you're doing so ‘under the presence of God’.

The second huppah was in the marriage chamber. They would take bed posts and extend them up. Then they would tie the tassels around the four corners of the bed, and it made the prayer shawl a canopy over the bed. They thought of the ‘prayer shawl’ as the ‘presence of God’

It happened like this: me and my new wife would get married under the huppah. Then they would march us to the door of the wedding chamber, and I would pick her up to carry her into the marriage chamber - do you guys do that in New Zealand - it's a good idea for some, not so good for others... Some people ought to hold off on that tradition okay!

But they'd pick them up, and carry them under the threshold - and that's where we get the word ‘rapture’ from. The word ‘rapture’ simply means: ‘to pick your bride up’; and carry her into the place you prepared for her.

I would take her then into the wedding chamber, and they had tied the huppah over the bed. They would shut the door behind us, and we would go in and consummate our marriage ‘under the huppah’. So the consummation of the marriage would happen ‘under the presence of God’.

They would wait outside for us to be done! They were way more ‘open with their sexuality’ than we are! So they would wait outside for us to be done; and then we'd come out - and we'd have a party. That was huppah; so this was the five steps to the wedding program.

The Ten Commandments was not: 10 proofs that God would love you. It wasn't: 10 conditions for God to love you. It wasn't: you do this - and I'll love you. No, no, no, no...

The Ten Commandments was: 10 proofs He already did! It was God's attempt to make us free.

He opens the Ten Commandments this way: “I am the Lord your God”. Before they did anything right, or anything wrong, He said: “I am the Lord your God”. He said “Lakah” to them; before anything right or wrong.

This is not about God making a group of people good; it's about God making a group of people free.

Now I want you to look at the end of the Ten Commandments, and I want you to see huppah - Exodus 20:18.

The people were at the base of the mountain, and it says: “and the people saw the thunder, and the lightning, and the billows of smoke; and they heard the sound of a trumpet”. The see three things: 1) Thunder, 2) Lightning, 3) Billows of Smoke; and they hear one thing: the sound of blowing wind - the sound of a trumpet.

If you picture this in terms of: Lakah, Segullah, Mikveh, Katuba, Huppah; these people - the Katuba has just been given, and they look up, and the whole mountain covers them in smoke - Huppah.

They look up, and they ‘see thunder’ and they ‘see lightning’. How do you see thunder? You can't see thunder! I looked that word up in Strong's Concordance, and it says that the word is ‘Kole. In every other place in the Bible, it's translated 'voices' or 'languages'. It’s the same word when Moses heard the voice out of the burning bush – Kole. So they look up, and they see ‘voices’, or ‘languages’.

It says: they see thunder and lightning. The word lightning is the word "glorified fire". It's the same word for fire out of the burning bush.

The Katubah has just been handed down; they're standing there, and the whole mountain covers them in a huppah; and they look up, and they see languages inside fire. What would the languages have been saying? Will you marry me.

The Talmud (which is the ancient rabbinical commentary on this) says, that on this day in history: God proposed (it uses the word proposed) to the whole world, using 70,000 tongues of fire.

In 1857, in Rangoon, Burma, an English sociologist went there. This is before electricity, any of that, and he's studying this group of tribal people. He says: I have one question: who is your God? And these tribal people in Rangoon, Burma, in 1857 said this: we serve a God named Ywa, who proposed to us from fire in the sky - 70,000 tongues of fire - but the Israelites got scared, and they stepped back.

They said: Moses, don't have God speak to us any more, lest we die. You go figure out what God wants, and then you tell us what God wants; but don't have God speak to us any more, lest we die. God says: they didn't want to accept, because they felt unworthy.

God marries them anyway - but He institutes a feast every year. Every year, on the anniversary of this day, by law, they had to celebrate a feast. Leviticus 23, the Feast of Pentecost. At the Feast of Pentecost, everybody had to bring leavened loaves of bread. It's the only place, in the whole Bible, that they were commanded to bring loaves made with yeast. Everywhere else, it’s: unleavened bread; there: leavened bread.

So they're bringing these leavened loaves, and they would give it to the priest. The priest would wave it before God, and say: “I thank You my God, that Your unleavened life, is willing to become one, with our leavened life”. Isn't that the truth: a little leaven, leavens the whole loaf. Sometimes we make God look bad. Sometimes we're the ones that make God look bad, but God is so humble, He wants to be in us anyway.

The priest would bring the leavened loaf down, and he would break it in half; then he'd fill the leavened loaves with oil – signifying, obviously, the Holy Spirit. Then he would say: “now the day of Pentecost has fully come”.

So one day, years later, they're all in the upper room; and they would’ve been celebrating this day, because they had to; and the priest would have raised the leavened loaves, and he would have filled the leavened loaves with oil, and said: now the day of Pentecost is fully come. This time they're in the upper room - and the exact same thing that happened, on the exact same day, years before, happens again: they're standing in the upper room, and the whole place covers them in smoke - huppah - and they hear the sound of a trumpet.

They look up and they see: tongues inside fire – the same exact thing that happened at Mount Sinai; same day, anniversary of that same day! The only difference is: this time they spoke back - which is the birth of the church, the bride of Christ.

To understand your walk with God, to have some cornerstones to your success, you cannot understand the Ten Commandments outside of this axiom: God wants to marry you, leaven and all.

Pentecostals for years have said: you have to get the leaven out your life, for God to use you!

Should you get the leaven out of your life? Absolutely! It's because it's the best life, to get the leaven out of your life; but that is pointless as to how much God feels about you. God wants to marry you, leaven and all.

The whole point of Pentecost: is oil flows through leaven. Aren't you glad that God uses ‘leavened’ beings? That the whole point of the Ten Commandments is: God, wanting an intimate relationship with a group of people, who are slaves to something.

What are you slave to? What's your slave driver?

If God touched your life tonight, what would be gone tomorrow? What would it be? What's your slave driver?

It's about: me and you, and God's determination to marry a group of people with heavy-duty issues - and make it work.

It's about: God teaching me and you, what it's like to have our dignity back; for our opinion to matter; for our image to be restored; to have dignity.

God wants to marry you - leaven and all.

No matter what you've done, or where you've been, God is determined to make it right for you; and that is what the Ten Commandments is all about.



I am the Lord your God (2 of 6) (Shane Willard)  

Wed 13 May 2009 PM « Back to Top

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The Ten Commandments starts with Grace, with God giving people something that they did not earn or deserve:

"I am the Lord your God", who is choosing to bless you with freedom from slavery, not because of anything you've done, but because I love you, and want all the people of the world to know that I am a loving God. Welcome to being human again.

Its: Anokhi - an offer to increase us, inside the “hedge of praise and submission”

I am the Lord your God (2 of 6)

Exodus 20:1. We've already established that this is a Katubah, and this is how the Katubah starts: “and God spoke all these words, saying: I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, so you will have no other Gods before Me.”

1) God is talking. For almost the first time in their history, God is talking. For the first time since they've gotten out of Egypt, God is speaking! He says: “I am Jehovah, your God” - He relates to them as Jehovah (not as El Shaddai, which was odd).

When God first started ministering and relating to this family known as Israel, He ministered to a guy named Abraham - the grandfather, great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather of this group of people. He showed up to Abraham, and said: My name is El Shaddai. My name is God Almighty. I want to make a covenant with you. That made sense to Abraham, because he was a sun-worshipper during the day and a moon-worshipper at night. That leaves one big nagging question: who's in charge?

So God shows up and says: I am God Almighty. I'm the one in charge of the moon, sun, stars. I'm one in charge of all that, and I want to make a covenant with you.

Abraham said: why?

God said: just because, just because I've chosen you, not because of anything you've done. You see this pattern with God all the time - not because of anything you've done, or anything you will do. I want to choose you. I choose you, Abraham, to be My person.

Abraham says: sure!

God is a mystery; so all of us are on this journey - to sort of journey to God. None of us will ever figure it out; and God tells us to do things all the time. Anybody who says that they figured God out, they don't realise that they're just Joe and Jane, trying to get through life. They're just 4-D beings, trying to make sense of an infinitely-dimensional God.

We say things all the time, that we think sound good, but in fact they're just stupid; like: God would never... What do you mean ‘God would never’? God would never do what? You've figured God out?

Leviticus says: do not touch your own poop; which is a really good plan, right? If you're going to be ‘the light of the world’, a ‘city set up on a hill’ - you can't be known as a group of people who ‘fiddle with your poop’, right? It doesn't bode well for what God wants us to do, ok? Imagine that - that weird group down at Bay City - they fiddle with their crap! You can't do that right?

But the Bible says this: “and the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel, saying: cook food - using your poop as fuel”. People say: “God would never say that” - but He did. He did!

The Bible says: Do not marry Gentiles - and stone prostitutes; but the word of the Lord came to Josiah saying: marry that Gentile prostitute. You don't know what God might do.

There's this one place in the New Testament, where Peter shows up with a barrel of pork rinds. He's got a barrel of bacon, and they say: “you can't eat bacon!” - God said you can't do that! Peter says: Jesus told me I could - in a dream! In my dream, Jesus told me: I could eat bacon.

We make doctrine out of it! If Peter would have showed up now, all the white Pentecostals would be going: “God would never say do that”, because we think we've figured God out. No, just like Moses, just like Abraham, all these guys were just on this journey with God. They had this sense of awe.

‘El Shaddai’ wanted to speak to Abraham; so Abraham says: El Shaddai - what do you want me to do? He says: I want you to leave. I want you to leave everything you have. Where do You want me to go? I'm not going to tell you - I just want you to leave.

So Abraham goes on a 2,300 mile walk - that's a long way man! 2,300 miles - with a 100 year old wife - can you imagine? Imagine being 100 years old, on a camel, for 2,300 miles. You get off, and: oh, all stiff.

Along the way, at some point, he said: God - what do You want me to do? God said: I'm glad you asked. You see that rock? Yes. Pick it up, circumcise yourself with it. So the first command God ever gives somebody, is to a 100 year old man, and He says: rock; swing hard, don't miss! Good Lord!

So the first picture you have, of God relating to a human being, is a 100 year old man going: dear God, help me! But you know that gave him the ‘ace of spades’. You imagine 1,000 miles into the journey, and his 100 year old wife's like: Abraham - are you sure you know where you're going? I'm sure. You sure? I'm sure. How sure are you? Woman shut up! I'm so sure, I circumcised myself with a rock! You win! You're circumcising yourself with a rock - you win!

He made a covenant with El Shaddai. Now this is very important, because He relates here as ‘Jehovah’. He makes a covenant with El Shaddai; so when Abraham has a son named Isaac, Isaac would have said: dad, who are we covenant with? His dad would have said: El Shaddai. Isaac has a son named Jacob: dad, who are we in covenant with? El Shaddai. Jacob has 12 children: dad, who are we in covenant with? El Shaddai. Those 12 children have 12 children, and all 144 of them say: who are we in covenant with? El Shaddai. Those people then have 12 children; who are we in covenant with? El Shaddai. They end up in slavery - El Shaddai, El Shaddai - for 430 years. They're in covenant with God Almighty.

Finally God shows up to Moses in a burning bush; and He says: Moses, My name is Jehovah. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses said: uh-ah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is El Shaddai.

God says this: I revealed myself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as ‘El Shaddai’; but by my name ‘Jehovah’, they didn't know Me. This was a further revelation of who God was - this wasn't just ‘God Almighty’ - this was ‘I Am’.

Later He reveals Himself as: I Am Healing (Rapha); I Am Provision (Jireh); I Am (Tsidkenu) Righteousness; I Am Sanctification (Mikadesh). I Am Peace (Shalom). I Am Your Shepherd (Rohi). I Am the Ever Present One (Shammah) - and so God revealed Himself over time, with extended revelations of who He was.

He couldn't reveal everything He was at once (obviously); but then over time, He revealed Himself as different revelations, and different names. There were these names that kept being revealed, until one place - there's a guy named Jesus; and one writer says that in Jesus, there was given a name that was above every other name, whether that name be written in heaven or on earth or under the earth, that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. In other words, Jesus is the encapsulation of all the names of God written before - so He's relating as Jehovah.

3) He identifies Himself as their God - before they did anything.

4) He declares His deeds for them - but they have not done anything yet.

He says: I brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of bondage; which lends oneself to question: does God expect anything from us? If He does, what is it? What is God expecting from us?

We could say it a lot of different ways, but I would say it just one simple way: God expects us to respond to His love. Whatever that looks like, God expects us to respond.

Essentially, the Ten Commandments start with this: I've done this for you. What are you going to do about it? How will you respond?

The essential question for us is: understanding that God wants to be ‘in me’ - despite me; that God wants to marry me - leaven and all.

To understand that is one thing; to respond to it is a totally different thing. How will we respond?

Here are some myths we have to deal with, about the Ten Commandments. These are things that are not true:

1) God is proposing conditions for His love. No way! You don't propose to someone that you don't already love - this is a marriage proposal. God is proposing conditions to His love? No, He's not.

2) God is trying to make us good. Wait a minute, good compared to who? Him? No way! God's not trying to make us Good. God is trying to make us Free. His whole goal in this was to free people from slavery - to free people what bound them up.

3) God is offering a list of how to ensure that we are ‘in’. That's another myth. This is not a list of things that you do, in order to make sure you get to heaven one day. This has nothing to do with any of that. It's not a list of things you do, to make sure you're in.

He kind of covers that base with the last one: “Thou shalt not Covet”. In other words, don't ever want to do any of the other nine ones.

So where did the idea come from that ‘God is good’, and ‘we are bad’; and then we get to ‘impress God by doing good’? Why do we think that our Behaviour is linked to our Acceptance with God? Where did that come from - the idea that: God listens to my prayer more, if I'm a good boy; and He shuts His ears to me if I'm a bad boy?

This idea is worldwide - through all major religions. It's just in us. Where do we get the idea that God will listen to our prayers more, if I'm behaving? This way of thinking has done more to alienate people from God, than it has done to connect them with God, and this is why:

Guilt is always a temporary motivator.

There are two big-time temporary motivators: Fear; and Guilt. Those are very temporary motivators, fear and guilt. You'll do a lot of things when you get afraid, that you won't do under normal circumstances; and you'll do a lot of things when you get afraid, that you can never maintain.

Guilt's the same way. Am I the only person in the room that's ever made a promise to God at an altar, because of guilt, that I couldn't keep? Come on. I remember being at camp one time, and they told us we'd go to hell if we didn't pray for 30 minutes a day; so I got scared, and I got guilty, and I promised God that I'd get up at five o'clock every morning and pray for an hour. The first day I was excited about it, I got up, I prayed, read my Bible, and I opened my eye after praying, and it was 5.05am! I thought: what am I going to do now? I was only 13 years old. Fear and guilt are horrible motivators.

God's not trying to establish a relationship with fear and guilt. That would be the same as saying: “you have to marry me”.

Whether you love me or not, you have to marry me? No, no, no. God wants to create a relationship out of freedom. The message of God is exactly the opposite. God's laws, and His rules, are not condition for relationship; they're confirmation that He wants us to have the best life.

Let me make two observations about that:

1) You could tell a lot about a person, by the rules they establish. You actually train people how to treat you. You do; you set boundaries. One of the Hebraic definitions of hell is: a boundary-less place. If we're living in a circumstance where someone can treat me any way they want - and with no repercussion - that's called hell. That's called hell; it's a boundary-less place.

I've been here enough now, that I would consider the staff here my friends; and we treat each other with a lot of humour, a lot of joke telling. You think we're doing spiritual things, we're not. Our whole life is spiritual; but we're up there telling jokes okay; and we tell jokes, and we do a lot of things like that; and when it's time to pray, it's time to pray.

We have a good relationship, but all of us treat each with a certain amount of respect. I would never disrespect someone from up here; because he wouldn't tolerate it, nor should he. You could tell a lot about me, by what I tolerate from other people. You could tell a lot about how I think about myself, how I think about you, and how I care about the environment in the room.

What you allow to take place in your home, tells me a lot about you.

If you allow tension and anger and screaming and yelling and abuse to take place in your home, and let your kids see it, it tells me a lot about you. It tells me: you don't think much of yourself; and you ought to stand up, get your head up, get your shoulders back, and I'm not talking about be ridiculous.

I'm talking about have sensible boundaries around what people do with you. You can tell a lot about a person by the rules they establish.

Essentially, God's saying in the First Commandment: I want a relationship with you, more than anything in the world - but I'm not going to be #2. That's fair enough.

He says: “and remember, I got you out of Egypt”. Remember: I'm going to keep doing this the rest of your life. It's not like I'm giving you a free ride here - I just want to be #1. You could tell a lot about a person by the rules they establish.

2) You can tell a lot about a person, by the people with whom they establish rules.

You don't set boundaries with people, until there's a legitimate relationship in place - you just don't. Can you imagine being on a first date, just having a cup of coffee somewhere; and you say: listen, let me just set some rules for our relationship. You'd think: that was weird. Wait a minute, we're not even close to there yet. I don't even know what you do for a living. I don't know your mother's name. I don't know if you have children. I don't know what you like, what you dislike, and you're talking about rules? No, no, no, no.

See, once you get to a place where you have a relationship with someone, deep enough to establish rules, it tells me a lot about you. I can tell almost everything I need to know about you, with a couple of things: the questions you ask; and the stories you tell.

The questions you ask, and the stories you tell, reveal your values, and they reinforce your values.

I could tell a lot about what I need to know about you, by what you tolerate from other people; and I could tell a lot about what I need to know about you, by who you have a deep enough relationship with to have rules.

So this tells you a lot about God. These 10 statements tell you a lot about God; and what His heart is for us.

What is God trying to accomplish here with this statement: “I am the Lord your God, have no other Gods before Me”?

1) He is initiating a proposal of marriage.

2) He's offering a group of slaves the chance to be human, and have their dignity restored.

He's saying: listen, for 430 years you've lost your dignity, I'm going to teach you how to gain it back. We're going to create a culture, where everyone has the basic dignity in the image of God that I intended; and this is going to be so good, the whole world's going to want what we have.

3) He is establishing a community of people, who can one day bring forth messiah.

He's trying to set the ground rules in place, to have a culture in place, that one day messiah would come forth out of it, salvation will come to the whole world because of this.

4) He's establishing the kind of life, in a group of people, that the world can see what God looks like.

Ultimately in this, He wants me and you to show the girl at KFC what He looks like - even when she messes up your order. When someone cuts you off in busy Hastings traffic, how do you respond? Do you point your finger at the sky? Call them #1? Or do we show the world what God looks like?

There was an email that was sent around... (I never read those, but the person who sent it never sends it, so I decided to read it). It was a story about this lady, she was following really close behind this car; it was at an orange light - and if you stop, you're not wrong; and if you go through, you're not wrong - one of those. The guy in front decided to stop, and she was obviously in a hurry - She was going crazy! She was swearing at him out the window, I mean pointing her finger at the sky, she was doing everything. About that time this police officer came up (she didn't see him), and he knocked on the window. He takes her out of the car, puts her in handcuffs, and takes her to jail.

Two hours later, he comes and gets her out the cell. He said: I'm very sorry ma'am, I thought you stole the car. She said: why would you think I stole the car? He said: I saw the fish on the back; and I saw the 'What would Jesus do?' bumper sticker; and the 'Follow me to Sunday School' licence plate holder. Then I saw how you were acting, and I thought you stole the car. Ooh!

How does the world perceive us? We are meant to show the world what God looks like! Here's the message of the Ten Commandments, in a nutshell, in the first verse:

Now that the relationship is established, I want you to live in peace and joy. I want you to have My way of living, so that others will see who that I am.

It's not just about you. Jesus said it this way, in John 17: Father, as You are in Me, and I am in You, let them be in Us, so that the world might believe. It's all about showing other people what God looks like.

Two observations, before we get into the next big thing: rules never establish relationship - never.

Relationship establishes relationship; rules maintain it. You never establish a relationship with rules. You establish a relationship with love, and then rules maintain it, boundaries maintain it. This was a huge concept.

God chose to be their God before they did anything. Now I want to show you the first line of the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. This is the first line - here it is in English: “I am the Lord your God”.

In Hebrew it's three words: “Anochi Jehovah Elohim” The interesting part is this: you can say that sentence with just two words: “Jehovah Elohim” – I am the Lord your God. There's a hidden word in there that doesn't get translated, and it's actually the first word of the Katubah God is writing to His people.

The first word of the Ten Commandments is the word “Anochi” - four Hebrew letters: Aleph, Nun, Chet, Yud.

Now the Hebrew language was originally pictures. It wasn't letters (like today), it was pictures; so every Hebrew letter is a picture; every Hebrew word is a comic strip. Let me give you the pictures.

The Aleph is the picture of: an ox head going into a yoke. It conotates ‘authority’. Now remember: the people He's speaking this to, were slaves for 430 years; and the first word of His marriage contract with them is: Anochi. The first letter is Authority.

Nun is the picture of: fish multiplying. It has to do with multiplication, or increasing, or an increase.

The Chet is the picture of a fence, or a hedge. It means to protect, or to separate, or like a boundary fence.

So the idea of ‘boundaries’ is in the first word; the idea of multiplication; and authority.

The Yud is the picture of: an upraised hand. It's the letter of the word ‘Judah’, which means ‘to praise’. The upraised hand is to ‘praise’, or ‘submit’; like if somebody points a gun at me - I submit; if God wants my attention - I submit. I praise - it's an upraised hand - so that was praise or submission.

Anochi - So you have the ox head, which conotates authority; you have fish multiplying, which conotates increase or multiplication; you have a fence or a hedge, which conotates protection or separateness; then you have a yud, which is an upraised hand, which conotates praise and submission.

Here is a group of slaves for 430 years. God is at the Katubah stage of His marriage proposal to them. He is going to make a marriage contract. They would have been waiting diligently to hear His marriage contract.

Now there is a law in Hebrew hermeneutics called the Law of First Mention. What it means is: whatever's mentioned first, sets the stage for every other mention of it. This is true of everything in the whole Bible; so the first word of something means the most - and this is the first word of the Ten Commandments.

The comic strip on it: “Your Authority, is going to Increase, inside the Hedge of Praise and Submission”.

Anochi Jehovah Elohim - I am the Lord your God.

Your authority is going to increase inside the hedge of praise and submission. I am the Lord your God. Have no other Gods before Me.

The Ten Commandments starts with grace - with God giving people something that they did not earn, nor did they deserve – Anochi.

Maybe our whole life would find greater success and fulfilment, if our whole life was a life's response to Anochi.

Let me just give you a summary statement of what I've just said. This is a Shane Willard message translation exo-Jesus of Exodus 20:2 okay. It says: “I'm the Lord your God” (that one okay). This is the way I wrote it:

“I am the Lord your God, who is choosing to bless you with freedom from slavery, not because of anything you've done, but because I love you, and want all the people of the world to know that I am a loving God. Welcome to being human again.” That is the first line of the Ten Commandments.

How will we respond to Anochi?

Anything that brings joy and fulfilment is contagious, and must be shared. Joy cannot be bottled - it has to be shared with others. We invite others in on our joy.

For example: Why is it, that ugly babies are still cute? At what age does a cute ugly baby just become an ugly person? Because we all know that it's there, let's be honest! There's a critical juncture where you hope that this ugly baby (that everybody thinks is cute), becomes really cute, before they pass the age of... no, that's just ugly. But ugly babies are still cute. Why? Because they're called: ‘a bundle of Joy’ - it has to be shared. Crying babies are still cute - within reason. Why is it, the first thing we say, when we see a newborn baby: isn't she cute?

Here's another example of joy having to be shared: women who get an engagement ring. They're not thinking about the instructions of the Apostle Paul: that you're signing up for a life of p-a-i-n! They just have an engagement ring, and what do they do? They walk in the room - and even their attempts to hide it, makes it obvious. Why? Because they have to share their joy.

How about when men get a new truck? With a V8! What do we do? We pull up - you've got to see my new truck! What's the first thing we do? We don't get in the car for a test drive, what do we do? We pop the hood. Look at that engine! Nine out of 10 of us have no idea what we're looking at, but it's big! Sounds powerful! Joy has to be shared.

Is this why God created us: to share His joy?

Maybe His joy got so full in Himself, that He had to create someone to share it with Him. He couldn't share it with somebody that's not in His image, or in His likeness, so maybe you are a result of God needing to share His joy. When we have real encounters with God, we want to spread it to others. I want everyone to know my God.

What would happen to our church, if church was not: attending an event?

What if it is: a life, who was committed to turning the world upside down?

What would happen if our church became one giant response to Anochi? Instead of trying to know more things about God, what if we just chased Him, and the things of God.

What if we were responding to God's desire for Anochi with us - by providing Anochi for everybody else? What we make happen for others - God makes happen for us.

God wants to: increase our authority, inside the hedge of praise and submission.

What would happen if we created that for other people? What would happen to church if it became that; instead of a gathering of people who complained about the volume of the music; or where they're having to park; or what was coming off the pulpit? What would happen if our life actually became a whole big response to Anochi?

We'd have a group of people committed to turning the world upside down - to helping the poor; to calling in the middle of the night and saying: I'm not going to make it; to being authentic and safe, to giving. It's life's response to: Anochi, Yahweh, Elohim.

Through history, the greatest people in the world, were people who were willing to die for Anochi. Peter, they tell us, died by being crucified upside down - and it resulted in one of the biggest revivals in the world. In Foxes Book of Martyrs, it talks about Philip, and the way he died.

Philip was in a town called Heliopolis, and Caesar built these columns in the town. He said: you have to walk through those columns, to pay homage to me as God. Philip walked around the columns - He wouldn't go through them, so the authorities of the city brought him and his family out; and they said: you're going to walk through those columns. He said: I will not.

He had six children. They took the youngest and killed it. He said: now you'll walk through. He said: I will not. The story goes that his children screamed out: dad, dad, don't do it! God is worth more than that! Wow! So one at a time, they killed Philips children. Then they got to his wife, and she said: don't do it - Gods plan for these people, is worth more than you giving in now - and they killed her. Then they got to him, and he said: kill me if you like, I won't walk through. They said: we're not going to kill you; we're going to let you live with the fact that your family died. That was Philip.

One of the greatest revivals ever to happen, happened after that; and then the story goes that the Roman platoon, who was in charge of the killing, actually came to Philip later and said: you must serve the one true God - tell us about Him. Philip led every one of those people, who killed his family, to the Lord; and later they came back to him, and they said: can we call you dad? We took your children away from you, but we'd like to be your children now. Can we call you dad?

He said: absolutely. I did it, so that you could have Anochi; that the church will find it's greatness in making a life's response, that makes our whole life about responding to Gods offer - to increase our authority inside the hedge of praise and submission.

We don't get authority by aggressiveness; or through demands. We actually gain our authority through being generous, and serving, kind and compassionate, gracious, slow to anger.

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, to be your God. Have no other Gods before Me”. That is the message of the Ten Commandments.

Closing Prayer

Lord, we honour You, and we thank You for who You are. We proclaim that: you are King of the Universe; and you are God and we are not - so we give You our life again afresh and anew. We respond to Your offer of Anochi.

Just right now, under your breath, why don't you have a response to God. I want you to say something like: “Thank You for getting me out of slavery”.

Why don't you just become aware right now, of where would your life be, if God hadn't touched you. It's very important to remember where we came from.

Lord, thank You for Your offer of Anochi. Thank You for Your offer to increase us inside the hedge of praise and submission.

I want you to respond with two things:

1) I want you to ask Him: Lord, how can I make that happen for someone else? Lord, give me a name. Give me a name of someone I need to call, even tonight and encourage them, bless them, pray for them. Give me some people I need to feed. Give me some naked people I need to clothe. Maybe I need to write an extra cheque and help some people in Africa. Maybe that's what I need to do.

I need to make Anochi happen for somebody else. How can my life be a response to Anochi? How will you make it happen for others? How will you let the world know what God looks like? How will you respond? What are you going to do about it? Anochi Jehovah Elohim.

2) I want your second response to be personal to you and God - yet out loud.

You serve a God who believes in you, more than you believe in Him. You serve a God who reached down and got you out of slavery, before you did anything to deserve it. Remember that, and never forget it, and be merciful and kind to other people.

You're meant to show the world what God looks like, when a person develops their whole life as a response to Anochi. He's the best God. You don't need another God. Have no other Gods before Him, none!

I'd like you to just spend one or two minutes - maybe just one, just one minute out loud, beginning to thank God. You want to do it in the spirit, do it in the spirit. If you want to do it in English, do it in English; but whether you do it in English, or do it in the spirit, do it loud!



Foundations for Your Success (3 of 6) (Shane Willard)  

Thu 14 May 2009 AM « Back to Top

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We don't like spirit, because we can't control it. It doesn't obey our rules. Where is God? How big is He?

If you want to live a successful life, you've got to organise your life to where God is with you all the time; not a statue/idol that's with you one minute, but not the next. We can't make God manageable.

To have the best relationship with God, don't make your prayer life about words and needs, He already knows what your needs are.

The supply of everything I need, which is as close to me as the air that I'm breathing, I stop and become aware of that.

Foundations for Your Success (3 of 6)

Review

Last night we talked about the first line of the Ten Commandments, all night long: I am the Lord your God. I am the Lord your God.

What we discovered was: God's heart towards us.

I hope what you took away from last night, is that: God is nice. We're actually more comfortable with a God who's judgemental, than we are with a God who's loving. I reckon it takes more faith to put trust in the fact that ‘God is Kind’, than it is that: ‘God is full of Justice.

I want for us to really get our head around the fact that: God wants to marry us, leaven and all - He wants to be with us.

Main Message

The second commandment, in Exodus 20:4 – “You shall not make to yourself any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons, to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands of those that love Me and keep My commandments.”

There's a couple of ways to read this... The rabbis taught was that every scripture is interpretable to four levels okay: Peshat; Remez; Derash; and Sod; [meaning: Plain; Hint; Seek; Secret].

At the end of the day, that we're just Joe and Jane okay, we're just these guys (draws stick figures). If you were here last night, you'll remember there are a lot of complications with a 4-D person trying to communicate with a 2-D one, huge.

If I said simple things like: Joe, in my world I can extend my arm out. Joe says: what in the world are you talking about? I can't. He's stuck in his 2-D world; so given the number of complications that exist between a 4-D being and a 2-D being, can you imagine the complications that exist between an infinitely-dimensional God, trying to communicate with a 4-D person? At the end of the day, we are just finite; so the rabbis said: “an infinite God limited Himself to the language of men”.

That's how the Bible came about, that God humbled Himself, and He limited Himself to the language of men. So because God limited Himself to the language of men: every scripture has four levels of interpretation; and is like a diamond, that depending on how you turn it in the light, has 70 different facets of truth. So we just never can get our head totally around God. We're just Joe and Jane.

But this command, on the surface, is this: “Don't put statues of other Gods in your house, and bow down to them” - and I think that that would be fairly irrelevant to us. Most of us would not struggle with that. If someone gave you a statue, of something that could have been God - there's something inside of you that just won't allow you to place it in your house. You'd think it's creepy, and it would give you a really weird feeling inside, so you just wouldn't do that.

So then the question becomes: what else is going on here? What is deeper; and there's two big things going on here, two incredible questions. When we answer these questions, or begin to journey to the answer to these questions, we begin to lay a foundation for the success in our life.

Those questions are this: 1) How big is God? 2) Where, exactly, is He?

These are the deeper underlying truths going on here. If you realise that once you ‘make God into an idol’, then there is a place where that idol lives - a place where He can be ‘here’, but He's not there. Once God becomes an idol, once there's an idol made to represent who God is, then you can organise your life around God being: ‘with you’ in some circumstances; and God ‘not being with you’ in others.

God says: if you want the best life, we're not going to do it that way. We're not going to do that!

Keep in mind the context. How would the First Century people have seen this? These people were enslaved for 430 years; and they saw this is as a 10-word Katubah; a 10-word marriage proposal. God is wanting to marry them; and not just to marry them, God is wanting to use them to create the best culture the earth has ever seen - a culture so blessed, that the whole world's going to want in on it.

If you remember the first word of the Ten Commandments was ‘Anochi’, which meant: your authority is multiplying inside the hedge of praise and submission. The first word of the Ten Commandments was Grace. The first word of the Ten Commandments was: this is my idea to increase you, to make you bigger.

He says: if you want to live a big successful life, you've got to organise your life, to where: God is with you all the time; that you don't worship a God that's: with you one minute, and not with you the next. That's going to lead to all kinds of problems, so we can't do that.

We also can't make God manageable; we have to examine our ideas around God.

Perception is everything. The Hebrew word for iniquity is the word Avon (A-V-N).The Hebrew language was originally pictures, not letters, so every Hebrew letter is a picture; so every Hebrew word is a comic strip. Avon was: ‘an eye’, ‘a hook’, and ‘fish-multiplying’. So a Hebrew person read the word ‘iniquity’ as: “whatever your eye hooks to, multiplies”.

Here's the principle of the second commandment: however you conceptualise, God gets huge - and you actually begin to buy into this lie that says: you're right, and everybody else is wrong – as if you, a 4-D person, has figured this infinitely-dimensional God out; and we can't do that. We can't live like that!

So my first question is: where is God? In white European cultures, innately we believe that: God is in heaven. We believe that God is in heaven, because we come from Europe; there's a really big powerful church in Europe, with big buildings named after apostles, who they said (they've done a lot of good things in the world - I'm not damning them) - in their idea of God, God was: ‘way up there’; and we're: ‘way down here’. You need to have somebody go between you and God - Gods are far off.

They even influenced the translation of the Lord's Prayer. When Jesus was talking about how to relate with God, He said: ...and when you pray, do not keep on babbling (like the Pentecostals do), for they think they'll be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, nor in your prayers make it about your needs - for don't you know, your Father in heaven knows what you need, even before you ask.

Jesus says: if you want to have the best relationship with God, don't make your prayer life about words, and about needs. Well, umm hello!

Let me ask you this question: if you took all the words, and you took all the needs out of your prayer life, what would be left?

Jesus says: if you want the best life with God, don't make your prayer life about words, and about needs. But when you pray, say this: “My Father, who is in heaven” - horrible translation. The word there is ‘Ouranos’, which is plural. The problem with translating it 'heaven' is that: 1) it doesn't fit; 2) if our Father is in heaven, where's heaven? Is it somewhere in New Zealand? Is it in Longreach, Australia? Is it in Utah somewhere? Like where's heaven?

So Jesus would have been saying: My Father, who is in a place, which I have no idea how to get to? No, come on!

If you're going to translate it ‘heaven’, you have to at least translate it ‘heavens’, because it's plural; but in 90 per cent of Hellenistic literature, the word Ouranos is translated 'air that we breathe'.

So Jesus was saying: my Father (who is as close to me as the air that I'm breathing) - hallowed be thy name. The word ‘hallowed’ just means: to ‘render’, ‘acknowledge’, or ‘become aware of’.

As a strict Jew, this is how you would read it: “the supply of everything I need - which is as close to me as the air that I'm breathing - I stop and become aware of that”.

The Hebrew people called it ‘God-awareness’; that we walk in an awareness of God all the time - and that is prayer.

It actually fits the first mention of the word prayer in the Bible, in Genesis 4, last verse - “Finally, the sons of Enosh called upon the name of the Lord”.

The word ‘called’ there, is three letters in Hebrew - three heads. The first letter is the picture of: ‘front of the head’; the second letter is the picture of: ‘back of the head’; and the third picture is: an ‘ox head going into a yoke’.

So the first idea of prayer in the whole Bible was: “a turning of the head, in order to face the one, who can bear the burden”. Get your head off yourself, off your words, off your needs - and you get it onto your Father - who's as close to you, as the air that you're breathing.

To the Hebrew people, the actual name of God was 'breath'. When Moses asked God: what is Your name; it's translated: My name is Jehovah. Actually what He said was: My name is Yod-He-Vav-He; which phonetically does not go together. It'd be like me saying: my name is Norshbin-Jabin-Yeshbinshavenhavenjaven - it didn't even make any sense.

Moses grew up in a culture where: if you could learn your Gods name, then you could control him. So Moses says: I want to control you - what is your name? God says: you can't box me in - are you kidding me? My name is Yod-He-Vav-He; essentially, My name is breath. The rabbis taught that the name of God was actually breathing; that essentially it mimicked the sound of breathing. Later they wrote things like: the name of God sustains life.

When you give birth to a baby, the first thing it has to do, to live, is to say the name of God. It has to breathe. The last thing someone does, before they die,: is they take their last breath; they quit saying the name of God. As you're listening to me, all of you, involuntarily, in and out, you're saying the name of God, over and over and over again, in order to sustain your life.

How gracious is God, that if you were to make an appointment with an atheist at a coffee shop, that the very breath it would take for him to say: “I do not believe in God”, he's actually utilising the name, of the one he doesn't believe in, to sustain his own life? How nice is God to let him keep breathing?

It is the name of God, that: “God is as close to you, as the air that you're breathing.

In order to live the best life, you have to live a life with that awareness; that if God is somewhere else, and you're in here, then that does not work. If God is in here, with you now; but when you go to work tomorrow, God's not there - I would say to you that we're missing something; that actually, the best life is found in: every morning, becoming aware, that the Mighty One is in you now. He's in you!

They called it ‘God consciousness’- that was prayer. If I go to the mall today (the giant Hastings mall, walking through the incredible metropolis that is down-town Hastings), that walking through that... If I stop and become aware of: the Mighty One - that's as close to me as the air that I'm breathing; that I'm just as much in the spirit, just as much in prayer - as if I was on my knees somewhere.

In accessing God, you have to understand where He actually is. What is the proximity of God? If your concept of God (your idol around God), is that: God is in heaven, and you're down here - I would say that we're missing something, that we're not living the best life; that God is actually as close to you as the air that you're breathing. That's why at rabbis, when they prayed for people, a lot of times it says: “and they breathed on them” - Jesus did this all the time.

There are websites dedicated to how horrible Benny Hinn was for ‘breathing on people’; but all you've got to do is look at how Jesus prayed - on many occasions (John 20 is one of them) it says: “and with that he said: receive the Holy Spirit - and he breathed on them”.

Why? They believed God existed in their breath. If God lives in my breath, then if I breathe on you - fair enough. So you have this idea of God: that He is everywhere; so where is God? Then the second question is this: how big is He?

How big is God? Qhat are my concepts of God? What are my concepts about the things that God would, or would not, do? All of us have them, and whatever they are, they are idols. They're idols! Whatever they are, however we conceptualise God: God would always do this; God would never do that; God would go this far; God wouldn't go this far - whatever those concepts of God are, they become idols.

The first part of the second command is the obvious one, which is: don't have statues of other Gods in your house. Don't carry pictures of your old boyfriends around, this sort of concept.

But the deeper concept, for those of us who've gotten past that, is this: don't live your life with God being here, but not here. God needs to be with us everywhere. For us to live the best life, we need to walk in a constant awareness that: the Mighty One is with me; right now He's with me, just now, the Mighty One is with me now. He's with me now, and He could do mighty things through me.

Whatever Jesus did, He could do through me; because I'm not a big shot - I'm a very small shot, with a big shot living in me. It's God in me, that God is my life. In the Hebrew language, there is no word, not one word, for ‘spiritual’; or for 'spiritual life'. That's something we made up, this idea that: this part of our life is a spiritual life; that part of our life is a natural life.

No, no, your whole life is spirit. Your whole life is spiritual, because you're a spirit. We spend forever trying to make our natural man spiritual; but you can't make a natural man spiritual, your whole life is spiritual. Everything you do is spiritual, everything to the smallest minute detail - it's all spiritual; and so where is God?

How big is He? What limits or boxes do you put around God, and say: God has to operate in this? How can you box breath? I think God messes with people's heads! In the scriptures, and every time a man tried to get his head around what God was, He just said - He gave him things you can't box up: I'm breath; I'm wind - can't do that.

He describes Himself as two things. Physics says: Force equals Mass times Acceleration; but God describes Himself as things that have infinite force, but no weight. He said things like: I'm light. Light weighs nothing; but a laser can cut through steel.

Infinite force, no weight; God says: that's Me, I'm an anomaly. I don't obey - I make the rules - that's Me.

He said: “I'm the word”. Words have infinite force; but no weight? Oh a word: I hate you - infinite force, no weight. I love you - infinite force, no weight. God said: I'm that. I have infinite force, but I can't be measured. You can't put a box around Me. A word has infinite force, but no weight? That's the word.

So the commandment is two things. On the surface it's: don't worship man-made things; but underneath that is: don't try to represent Me with anything you can create.

Observation: 1) while He was getting this command, the people were down there already - making an idol! It was just ‘in them’, to need something to worship - an object. God is trying to get across, that in order to have the best life: we have to walk with an awareness of God - that He is bigger than anything we can ever imagine.

Let me give you a couple of ways to say that...

1) Don't try to make me Manageable. God's saying: don't try to ‘manage’ me - you can't manage me! I'm things like: light; and word; and mercy; and wind.

2) Don't try to define me to a Location. Don't try to make me live here, and not here - that's not Me.

You realise this was antithetical to every major culture in the world. Every major culture in the world, at that point - their Gods lived in temples, and they built things to represent them.

God says: I'm so much bigger than that, you can't even imagine it, can't even imagine it. Don't put Me in a place where you could be with Me, or without Me. I am your life.

What boxes do I have for God? What boxes do I make God fit in? Only you know the answer.

Here are some boxes: He's in heaven - God's in heaven.

You know the idea that ‘God is in heaven’ is exactly what this command is trying to get us not to do? Don't define me to a location. I'm everywhere. What God would, and wouldn't do - we have all of these things. This is different for every culture, and this command takes care of all others.

If God is the centre of our life: you wouldn't steal - because you trust God; you wouldn't murder - because you believe God will take vengeance; you won’t covet - because you have God at the centre. To take God out of the centre - it ruins everything else.

After the first two commands, God adds a warning: “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God - punishing the children of the sins of the fathers, for the third and fourth generation; but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me, and keep My commands”.

God is not trying to make us good. God is trying to make us free, and in order to live the freest life, two things have to be true:

1) We have to walk all the time in an awareness of Almighty God.

You live in New Zealand for goodness sake, this ought to be easy. I mean, how hard would it be, to be riding down some of these roads, and just stop for 10 seconds, and look at that great mountain and think: the God who put that there - He lives in me. He's as close to me as the air that I'm breathing. What would your life look like, if you stopped and felt the truth of that all the time; and in your imagination, you built that down to be true in your life?

The Bible says – and we quote this all the time – “the truth will set you free”. Actually it says: “You will know the truth - and the truth will set you free”. Truth, in and of itself, doesn't make you free at all; it’s about knowing the truth - and I'm talking about a deep knowing.

Hebrew people ‘feel’ thoughts; Greek people ‘think’ thoughts.

We're followers of Jesus Christ in here, and most all of us would believe that: Jesus Christ has forgiven us of every single sin? Jesus forgave you of every single sin? I'm not trying to confuse you - so you believe the truth, that: Jesus has forgiven you of every single sin, and you're completely innocent before God.

Now with that being a believed truth, how many of us have felt guilty in the last week? Yeah, so you believe you're innocent, but you feel guilty. That's not doing anything for you. When you believe you're innocent, but you feel guilty, then the truth that you're innocent doesn't matter! We have to take the truth that God is with me. What we just stopped, and became aware, that the Mighty One was in me; that He's not in heaven somewhere - He's actually in me!

God's not trying to make us good - He's trying to make us free.

Deuteronomy is a re-telling of the Book of Exodus; and in the re-telling of this command, something interesting happens...

Deuteronomy 4:13 – “and He declared to you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgements, so that you might do them in the land where you go over to possess it. Therefore take good heed to yourselves, for you saw no kind of likeness in the day Jehovah spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of fire”.

So there's that whole ‘he spoke out of the fire’. They ‘saw languages, inside fire’ at Mount Sinai.

He says: “remember you didn't see any likeness”. You saw things that you couldn't get your head around - things like: voices inside fire; wind; trumpet sounds - things that you can't contain.

“...lest you act corruptly, and make yourself a graven image, the likeness of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish in the waters beneath the earth. And lest you lift your eyes up to the heavens, and when you see the sun, moon and stars, all the host of heaven, lest you should become driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has allotted to all the nations under heaven.”

If you can think it up - I'm not that.

Deuteronomy 4:23 (a couple of verses down) – “Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make yourself a graven image, a likeness of anything which Jehovah your God has forbidden you. For Jehovah your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. When your fathers, sons, and sons of sons, and when you have remained long in the land, and have dealt corruptly by making a graven image the likeness of anything, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord your God, to provoke Him to anger.”

If you can imagine it - I'm bigger than that. Anytime you take a concept, that you as a 4-D person can put God in; and you say: “God has to live in here”, all you're doing is cheapening your life. You're going against the very nature that God made us to be.

Let me give you a common, and currently very relevant, example. Do you guys know, that the style now, is for men to wear women's jeans? Have you seen this? You guys are wearing them now – unbelievable! No, no, they're cool, they're very cool. That's what's supposed to be happening. What they do now is: they cut men's jeans, so that they would fit women's legs - and they're called skinny-jeans, right? I was given a lesson on this, I was doing the conference at the Dream Centre - huge, huge thing - and the whole band was wearing these jeans. In one of the breaks they said: Shane, in order to be cool man, you got to get you some skinny jeans! And I said: do I look skinny to you? They said: no, no, no, that's cool man. You can't be cool, unless you're wearing skinny jeans.

I said: but they look very uncomfortable! Like: highly, highly, uncomfortable. They said: oh they're very uncomfortable - but they're very cool! They're very cool, and so you have to get these. You have to go get some skinny jeans.

They said: as a matter of fact, we'll “sow them into your life” - we'll pay for them! So they took me to this shop in the Gold Coast called Diesel, which is like the skinny-jean capital of the world. So we walked in, and these jeans were $550 Australian dollars - wow! Whoa! $550, so I walked in, and I said: listen, they're going to buy them for me, but I want the most ‘unskinny’ skinny jeans you have. I want the skinny jeans for fat guys alright - that's what I want.

So we walked in, and so they got me the fattest skinny-jeans that they could get, and they got me a shirt to go with it, and I went into the dressing room to change. I squeezed my big rear-end into them, and just really trying to get my legs up in them; and once it got to my waist it was fine - I mean they fit my waist. It was cut fine at the waist. It's just the way they cut the legs, and everything else... so you squeeze, squeeze yourself into these jeans.

I held my breath. I could hardly breathe, and I buttoned them up, and then put the shirt on, and I walked out, and the girl that was working at the Diesel shop that was putting it all together, I walked out and she went... (shakes her head). And so I agreed with her. I went back, and I was peeling myself back out of these jeans, and... You know when you have a moment, when you look at yourself in the mirror - and I started to have a moment of feeling sorry for myself. The thought hit me: you're getting old! You can't wear cool jeans, you're just getting old. You're just really, really, really getting old - and so I'm putting my other jeans back on; and I realised - it hit me!

I looked at myself in the mirror, and I said: you're not getting old. Men were designed by God, to have room in the front of their pants! To go against the basic grain of that... is asking for trouble! You just are; and I would say to you guys: bless you guys. How you're sitting with one leg in the air, I have no idea! Or they're both in the air spread? Okay, that's fair enough. I've no idea what's going on back there, but one day the skinny jeans aren't going to be cool anymore - and you're going to look back on this moment and go: what was I thinking!? I lived in a way I couldn't breathe - for what? To be cool! Young men - you look pretty cool. I can tell you, you were designed by God to have room in the front of your jeans man, be free! God designed it!

Any time you go against God's basic wiring, you're asking for a problem - a big one. We could apply that in 100 different areas, but I can tell you this: God wired you to be a spirit; so when you try to operate with God outside of spirit - when you try to say: God's got to fit in my box - no, no, no. God's got to fit His box.

When you say: God lives here - but not here; we've stepped outside of spirit, and you're going against the grain. You may as well be trying to squeeze yourself into skinny jeans. You're going way against the grain.

Exodus 33:18. Once again we're asking the question: where is God; and how big is He? One of the great leaders of all time is having an encounter with God, and this is what happens between Moses and God. It says:

“and he said: I beseech you, let me see Your glory”. So Moses says: God - let me see all of You.

“And He said: I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I'll be gracious, and I'll have mercy on whom I'll have mercy”. In other words: you can't possibly understand Me.

He said: “you cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live. And the Lord said: behold, there's a place by Me, and you shall stand upon a rock, and it will be while My glory passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and cover you with My hand. And I will take away My hand and I will show you my back side, but My face cannot be seen”.

There's a lot going on here, let me give you a couple of thoughts:

1) Form versus Function.

Hebrew people see function; Greek people see form. It says: “and God hid Moses in the crevasse of the rock with His hand” - so us white people from Europe we all picture a giant hand - God's hand.

But a Hebrew person thinks function. He thinks: what does a hand do? A hand holds, comforts, hides, protects, touches. It's all about what a hand does. The ‘strong arm of the Lord’, the ‘hand of God’ - these sorts of things are all function. Why?

God does not have a hand, God is spirit. As a matter of fact, to try to put a form on God, is exactly what this command is trying to get us not to do - so you're thinking: function, not form. “and God hid Moses in the crevasse of the rock with His hand” - He's hiding him, He's a shield - it's a cover, it's a cloud; because the very next sentence doesn't work...

If you're picturing a giant hand, then when it says: “and God showed Moses his back side”... I mean, if God's hand is big, God's butt would be huge! It would just be: WHOA! It's covering the sky! We wouldn't think that way, right?

So it's not God's “hand” - it's what God's hand “is doing”; and it's not God's “back-side” - it's about the function of the back-side of God. So what is the function of the back-side of God?

The Bible says: “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all”.

Psalms says: “Blessed is the man who walks into the presence of the Most High, for he's dwelling in the shadow of the Almighty” - which leads a question that: if God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all - then how does a being of ‘pure light’ cast a shadow? In order to cast a shadow, something else has to be brighter.

But it says: “Blessed is the man who walks into the presence of the Most High, for he's dwelling in the shadow of the Almighty”; and so the picture is that: there's a man in the presence of pure light. There is a shadow being cast, but who's shadow is it? The man's; and so what its saying is that, when you're in the presence of God - the shadow of the Almighty is you. It's you!

You see this come into play in the New Testament. The Bible says that Peter was so ‘in the presence of God’, that his very shadow carried the power of God - and raised somebody from the dead; so you see this kind of stuff, where you're ‘in the presence of God’, all the time.

It says: “God is light, in Him is no darkness at all”. We know from science that light is travelling away from us at 186,282 miles a second (speed of light). We know that the universe is expanding (at the speed of light); and we know (from the Bible) that God is holding the universe together - so doesn't it stand to reason that the universe would expand, at the same speed, of the substance of which God is? So the universe is expanding at the speed of light; God is light; and God is holding the universe together.

The purpose of light is to hold pictures. Your eye doesn't see anything; it just takes a picture, and sends the image to your brain, and your brain tells you what you see. If Moses saw the “back-side of light”, he would have seen where light had been - which would be the past! It would be the past - which is how the rabbis said that he wrote Genesis - without living it.

Imagine Moses sitting there, in the crevasse of the rock: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was formless and darkness; and the spirit of God...” - he saw the past! Moses could only handle God's trace parts. We cannot even begin to comprehend the smallest part of God.

To think that we could ‘figure God out’ puts us past Moses. To think that we could confine God to a particular system of theology is prideful. One of the Hebrew pictures of God is breath. How can we confine that?

Isaiah 26:4, the prophet is commenting on the character of God, and this is what it says: “Trust...”

You don't have to ‘trust’ anything that you already know. You didn't get in the car tonight and go: I trust that I know my way to church. You didn't get in the car tonight, put it in D and hit the gas, and go: well I hope it goes forward and not backwards. You didn't sit on one of these chairs tonight and go: man, I hope this holds me - I'm ‘trusting’ that holds me. No, you know the chair will hold you, you know the car, if you put it in D, is going to go forward. You know your way to church. You know your way.

You don't trust anything that you know fully. Trust, in and of itself, has an unknown element to it. It has something unknown to it.

“Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah, is the everlasting strength”.

The word for ‘everlasting’ is ‘olam’. Olam is often translated ‘everlasting’; everlasting-life; but the word ‘olam’ actually means: ‘to the vanishing point’, ‘properly concealed’ - it's like chasing the horizon.

The prophet Isaiah is saying that, part of walking with God is: embracing what you can know about Him; but another part of walking with God is ‘the trust factor’. There are things about God we'll never be able to comprehend, because to chase after God, would be chasing after something we will never find the end of. God is so huge, that to embrace this God, is to embrace a God beyond what we can comprehend. This takes faith, because we're stuck in time and space, and God is not.

We can't make time move any faster or any slower. We can only be in one space at one time, and we can't beam ourselves anywhere. God is the exact opposite of that.

In John 4:24, there's this lady, and she says: my ancestors say to worship God on this mountain, and your ancestors say to worship God “on that mountain - what do you say?” And Jesus is like: umm, hold on, don't you get it? Neither is true.

“God is spirit, and they who worship Him, must worship Him in spirit”. You can't confine God like that.

God is as close to you as the air that you're breathing.

As big as He is, eternally huge in the cosmos - He still is infinitely concerned about you, and willing to enter your very breath.

God is so humble, that He's willing to live in your very life, and be carried by you, to make you a divine taxi cab.

In order to live the best life, we have to live our life eternally-conscious that: the Mighty One is in us, and He is bigger than anything we could ever imagine. Jesus is saying: God is not a thing, existing in time or space. Things exist in time and space.

We can define everything by space and time. We know that that's a water bottle, because of the boundaries that it carries: the container that it's in, the way it looks. We know that this is a podium, because of how it looks; the boundaries that make.

God is saying: I'm not that. I'm going to be different than anything you ever know. I'm not going to be definable.

We don't like spirit, because we can't control it. It doesn't obey our rules. With God we lose control, because we can't fathom Him.

One of the biggest barriers to having a great relationship with God is: if you're addicted to being right, and are a control freak - which wouldn't apply to any of us would it? Making others bend to their will?

With God we lose control. To worship a God, who is spirit, means: we have to give up control, and choose to just trust. You can't get your head around Him. You can't be right about it.

God does not expect you to be right. The pressure is off from that. The rabbis said it this way: If we spend two hours tonight talking about God, if 95 per cent of what we said was wrong, God would still be pleased - just because we gave up a night to talk about Him. You're a 4-D being. You're just Joe and Jane man, just Joe and Jane. You're doing your best to try to figure out a God, an infinitely-dimensional God, and you're a four-dimensional person.

God does not expect you to get it right; God just expects you to journey. When you look at Jesus, the people who ticked Jesus off the worst was the people who actually thought: they figured it out; who thought: they were in, and everybody else was out.

One rabbi said: “There are things that I can know about God because He revealed it, but there is also a sense of God that I cannot fathom. To walk with this God, means I have to embrace both sides”.

I have to embrace both sides. God is indescribable. Let me give you one example (I stole this from Louie Giglio) that really spoke to my heart. If you just take a piece of paper, and you look and the thickness of the paper; the distance from the earth to the sun (one astronomical unit) was one piece of paper. To have a stack of paper representing the distance from the earth to the nearest star, you would need a stack of paper 21 feet tall (268,335au). That's unfathomable!

To represent the distance across the known galaxy (10e5 light years, or 6.3 billion au), we would need a stack of paper 310 miles tall). To represent the distance across the known universe, we would need a piece of paper 31 million miles tall.

What if we could get in a capsule, and go to the end of everything we can know about God's creation? What would happen when we got to the end? There would be a door there, and you would open that door, and there would be a whole other realm unexplored. God is Olam - you can never get to the end of His bigness. If you got to the end of the known universe, and you opened the door - there would be a little garden gnome playing a flute!

If you got to the end of the known universe, and you opened the door, you would actually open it to a whole other realm of things we haven't even thought of. God is that big. This is why we're constantly learning things.

Think about medicine now, versus then (50 years ago). When I was 12 or 13 years old, I had a stomach ache, and I told mum. I said: mum, I can't go to school today, I've got a stomach ache; but she wasn't sure if I was faking it or not, so she said: I might have to take you to the doctor - and normally that would do it; but I said: don't care, I'm hurting.

She told the doctor: he says he's got a stomach ache, I can't tell if he's faking or not; and the doctor said: don't worry about it, I'll figure it out. He said: this ain't my first rodeo, I'll figure it out. So he walked in there and he said: son, let me ask you. He said: you're stomach's hurting? I said: very badly. He said: well I'm going to have to check it out. I said: what? He said: I'm going to have to look up in there!

Now I was only 13 years old, but I know there was only two ways there - I had a 50/50 shot - neither one of them sounded pleasant; and I said: is that really necessary? Can't you just give me some pills or something? He said: well I can give you pills, but I need to look to see if what I'm giving you pills for is actually it - so I need to look. So he reached behind him, and he picked up something that looked like this. He held it, and he looked at it in such a weird way. He said: this is called the ‘Iron Horse’ - that was his word for it. “This is called the Iron Horse - I'm going to lube this up, and I'm going to insert it in your rectum”. They say it so nicely!

“I'm going to insert it in there, press as far as I can (until it stops) - and then I'm going to blow air! When I blow air, your intestines are going to straighten up – so I can shove it some more; then I'm going to blow air again, and shove it some more. When I get it as far up your behind as I can, I'm going to insert a camera in there – and then pull it out slowly, and look and see what I can see.

I thought: is that really necessary? I mean like: honestly? I said: look, I'm just hurting, give me some pills. He said: no, I've got to... I said: listen, you do what you got to do. I'm in pain, you just do what you've got to do - and he looked at my mum, and he said: “he ain't faking”! He's telling the truth! He said: man, we haven't done anything like that since the '50s! And then it hit me later - those poor people who grew up in the '50s. They actually did that to people!

If you're here tonight, and you've been Iron-Horsed, we need to pray for you for deliverance! I mean - my goodness! If you're here tonight, and they did that to you - I am so sorry! We'll be glad to pray for you tonight.

But think about it, think about medicine now. Do you realise that in 50 years, we're going to look at how we treated cancer, and we're going to go: what were we thinking? We're constantly learning new things.

God is infinitely big, but God is also infinitely small.

In 1911 they discovered atoms. Before that, they said: molecules were the smallest part of you. Then they said: wait a minute, no, no, no - atoms make up molecules. Later they discovered protons, neutrons and electrons. So they said: the protons, neutrons and electrons make up the atoms, so they're actually the smallest part of you. Then in the 1950s, they discovered baryons - which make up the electrons; so they said: wait a minute, no - baryons are now the smallest part of you. Then in the '60s they discovered mesons, which make up the baryons, which make up the electrons; they said: no, wait a minute, okay, mesons are the smallest part of you. Then in 1968 they discovered quarks, which make up the mesons, which make up the baryons, which make up the electrons, which make up the atoms, which make up the molecules, which make up you. Then in the '80s they discovered something called gluons, which make up the quarks, which make up the mesons, which make up the baryons, which make up the electrons, which make up the atoms, which make up the molecules which make up you.

How many of you know, that the longer we journey - and the bigger the microscopes get - the smaller the intricate details of your life are actually going to be? God is infinitely big; but to fully understand God, you have to understand: not only is God ‘infinitely big’, God is ‘infinitely small’ - concerned about every small detail in your very breath - because that is where He lives.

To truly ‘walk with God’ means embracing the idea that: I will never walk beyond God. I have to trust Him.

Are you a co-operator with God; or a manipulator of Him?

When we make God manageable, our concept of God becomes an idol; and here's the worst part of it: we always force ourselves to bow to our idols; but worse than that, we force everybody else to bow to our concepts of God.

Whatever idol about God we make - we make everybody else bow to what we think is right (and we're in, and everybody else is out).

So let me close this session out with a few application questions...

1) What are my concepts of God?

2) Are those concepts bringing me to light, or to darkness? Are they putting me in bondage, or leading me to freedom?

3) Where are my ‘concepts of God’ making my ‘addiction to be right’ and ‘to control’ even worse? Where is my concept of God making me an unloving person? Where do I believe that I'm right and everyone else is wrong - I'm in, everybody else is out?

4) Last question. Can I give up all that - to simply trust God - that He is the big Mighty One living in me?

Closing Prayer

Lord we give you that thought tonight - that you are actually living in me.

Just right now, where you're sitting, would you shut your awareness out to everything else, and just become aware of: the Mighty One, who can bear the burden.

What would you feel like, if you could feel God now? What would it feel like, if He flooded your very soul?

What would it feel like, if this room filled up with water, and that water was the love of God? What would it feel like if it was enveloping you now?

What would it feel like, if God got bigger in your life? What would happen in your life, if God was huge?

Lord we bless you tonight, and we proclaim to you that: You are King of the universe - and we are not.

Forgive us Lord, for where we've conceptualised You, and made an idol out of You.

Forgive us Lord, for where we bowed to something other than You - and forgive us even more, for where we made other people bow to it.

Forgive us for that Lord, in Jesus' name. Amen.



Remember the Sabbath, Keep it Holy (4 of 6) (Shane Willard)  

Thu 14 May 2009 PM « Back to Top

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Is God still the creator, even when He's resting? Am I me, regardless of what I'm producing; or is my entire life and worth defined by the number of bricks I can make?

Anything we do around Sabbath that puts people in bondage, instead of bringing relief to a situation, misses the point. The last thing a group of slaves needs is another piece of bondage - and we're no different.

When our worth becomes about bricks, we become machines. Sabbath is a day where you live like your work is done, even if it isn't - and that is healing. The world goes on, because God is God, and you are not

Remember the Sabbath, Keep it Holy (4 of 6)

Exodus 20:8. Remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy.

If you're here right now, and you're going: oh goody, goody, goody, he's going to tackle something controversial - no. Let me tell you what I'm not going to do tonight: I'm not going to try to solve theological problems around Sabbath. I'm not going to talk about what day it is. I'm not going to talk about: what time you celebrate it; what you're allowed to do; what you're not allowed to do.

All of it misses the point. What I am going to do, is try to bring out the heart of Sabbath - by relating to the first people who would have heard this command - people who'd been slaves for 430 years. All they knew was slavery, days defined strictly by how they made bricks; and finally God says: here's what we're going to do. We're going to create a culture that is so awesome, that the whole world's going to want in on it; and here are the first 10 rules of that culture: You should take a day off.

If you've been a slave for 430 years, and God lays down the law; and one of the laws is: “take a day off” - you are relieved! You are not put in bondage - so anything we do around Sabbath that puts people in bondage (instead of bringing relief to a situation), misses the point. Any box you put around Sabbath, that does not bring relief, it brings bondage.

The last thing a group of slaves needs is: another piece of bondage. And you know what? You're no different than them - something has had your life. I want to put a spin on the Sabbath, one that might set us free, if we catch the spirit of it.

Exodus 5:15 (same group of people) – “and the overseers of the sons of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh saying: why do you deal with your servants so harshly? There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us: make bricks; and behold your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people. But he said: you are lazy! You are lazy! Therefore I say: let us go, let us sacrifice to Jehovah. Therefore go now and work; for there shall be no straw given you, yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks”.

Please do not read this just for the content. Read this for emotion, and try to identify with these people, and maybe ask yourself: who am I in this story?

“And the overseers of the sons of Israel saw themselves in affliction after it was said: you shall not take away from the bricks of your daily tasks.”

This is a culture that's all about: what you are doing, for the person who owns you? When you can't produce for the person who owns you, they kill you. Life in Egypt was all about one thing: achievement, and production of bricks. From birth to death, for 430 years, it was all about: what you could do for somebody else.

It was all about what you could work, and achieve, for somebody else. Somebody else was defining your worth, based on one thing: how many bricks could you make. Are we any different today? I would say: the answer is no.

For your wives, a lot of times - your worth is defined by: how well you keep your house; how well you keep your children; how well you keep up with all the people's schedules; how well you do all the things that a woman has to do. And now we're journeying into a place where, not only does a woman have to do all those things; but because of taxation and what-not, women also have to be breadwinners as well - because you can't eat without both people working. What happens is: your worth, as a wife, becomes defined by: how many bricks you can make?

Husbands, I can tell the wives: TV makes the guys out to be the bad guys; but I can tell you this: there is tremendous pressure on men to provide even more. It's inside the heart of every man, to feel his success or his failure, based on: how well his family eats. When he has to look at his wife and say: I'm sorry, you're going to have to work for us to live - something happens inside of him, that starts to destroy him. Why? Because, in a way, his worth is defined by: how many bricks he does, or does not, produce.

I would say to you tonight, that our society in fact is not much different than theirs. We don't actually have a Pharaoh standing over us, but we have: our conscience; the TV – Oprah and Dr Phil. We have people telling us, day in and day out - that our worth is defined by: how well we achieve. Our worth is defined by: how many bricks we do, or do not, make.

I think if we're honest, we will find ourselves in this truth - that we actually are no different than the people who got up every day, and when they went to bed at night, their worth was defined by: how well they produced bricks.

The job of every slave-driver is to take your dignity away.

The first slave-driver was the serpent. The lie of the serpent to the woman: “if you eat of this fruit, you will be like God”. That was a bad plan. Eve was already perfectly one with God; but she traded ‘oneness’, for a chance to ‘be like’. She traded: oneness, for likeness. She traded: perfect oneness with God; for a chance to have her life defined by how well she could navigate good and evil.

Bad plan, because: if you make 100 decisions in a day, and if 98 of them are good but 2 of them are bad - you go to bed thinking about those two. Any time you have your life defined by: how well you produce; or how well you navigate good and evil, it's a bad plan; because no matter what side of the tree of knowledge and good and evil you pick from, it's the wrong side.

The first lie of the enemy, to the first woman was this: it is a better plan to have your life defined by how well you produce things (and we're no different now).

Genesis 1, the creation story. God produces stuff - stuff that advances itself, which is a great leadership and business lesson. When you invest in something that makes money in and of itself; it's a better deal than you having to put your hand to it all the time. So Gods way of making things, was a way that advanced itself.

Genesis 1:31 – “and God saw everything that He made, and behold it was good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day, and the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work, which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made; and He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all of His work, which God created to make”.

For six days God creates - He achieves, He produces, He makes bricks; and then for one day, God rests.

If God rests, then God is not creating. Is God still the creator, even when He's resting? Is He still who He is, regardless of what He is producing? Is God any less God, when He's resting, than when He's producing?

There should be a sense inside of us, that God is God, no matter what He's doing; that God’s divinity is not dependent upon what He's doing at the time.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: “Our God will deliver us, but even if He doesn't, He's still God”.

God will heal you, but even if He doesn't, He's still God. He's no less God, whether He's healing you or not. He's no less a healer, whether He's healing you at the moment or not. He's still a healer. God is kind, no matter what He's doing.

Am I me, regardless of what I'm producing; or is my entire life and worth defined by my bricks?

In Exodus, they're in a wilderness - which in the ancient Near East, was reminiscent of a transition, or something undefined. They're moving from a life that was defined by bricks, to something better. In the movement to something better, He says:

“Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God. You shall not do any work, you nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your man servant, nor maid servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger within your gates; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that's in them, and rested on the seventh. Therefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it.”

A couple of observations: 1) God affirms work. He likes it. In fact, He has a basic disdain for laziness. In one place it says: don't feed a lazy person, because you'll enable his laziness; in other words: let a lazy person feel the hunger. Maybe that'll motivate him to work.

God affirms work. He likes it. The Jewish people worked six 12-hour days (72hrs). We work five eight-hour days (40hrs). No wonder why they're producing more - but they rest on that seventh.

God has meaningful work. Even in perfection, before sin, He gave them jobs to do - big jobs: name all the animals. That's a big job! He had meaningful work for them to do.

Sabbath meant (in Hebrew): to cease work, or to rest. The command is not to keep a day. The command essentially is: to be like God, and have one day that is different from every other day. Have one day in seven that's different than every other day.

Because of men, the Sabbath has evolved into a list of things you do and don't do: be bored for the Lord, in other words. That was never the point.

The point was to stop working, to have a different day, to have a day that reminds you that you are worth more than what you produce. That is something very healthy to do. The scriptures teach Sabbath, not as stuff you don't do, but as something you do, something you enter into; that for six days you're labouring, and then that seventh day, you enter into rest.

There's an interesting scripture in Hebrews that says: I want you to try. I want you to strive to enter into Gods rest - sort of an oxymoron. I want you to strive to do that.

We use time, to create space; space is just: stuff that exists in space. We use time to create space. For example, we use 40 hours of time, to create a pay cheque (space/stuff); and we spend time fellowshipping to produce relationship.

We measure a day by the rising and setting of the. We measure a month by the moon (lunar cycles). We measure a year by the rotation of the earth around the sun. So we measure time by the planets, and so we use time to create space (stuff).

Sabbath is a day where we are free from the bounds of time and space. Let me just give you a couple of definitions of Sabbath....

1) Its a day of the week to remind myself that: I am not a machine. If you want to be whole, you need that.

2) Its a day I need to know that I matter to God - not because of what I do; I matter to God - just because God loves me.

When our worth becomes about bricks, we become machines.

Sabbath gives wives, husbands, workers, employees the energy they need to make another week.

The ancient rabbis said about Sabbath: “It gives us the energy to survive the voices that consume my world”.

As you go through a week, there are voices: Mummy look! Mummy look! Mummy look! Mummy look! Honey, come here. Honey, come here. The dishes need to be done! The dishes need to be done! Go to bed Johnny. Do your homework Johnny.

All of these voices consume your world. Sabbath is a day where you take a break from all of them - because all of those voices create cracks in your soul. That's why, if you're a mum here tonight, and you have more than four children, your eye twitches. Something happens, there's too many voices in your world. It does something to you. If you're under a lot of stress at work, there's something that happens.

Where have we missed God, because of all the clutter and the noise in our world? There's one scripture that says: God was with me all the time - I just didn't know it. Where have you missed God, because of all the noise, and the voices, in your world?

Sabbath was the day where you step back and you mended. If you picture your whole life as a windshield, you mend the broken places, so that you can go through another week. If you go through another week without it, the breaks get worse, and worse, and worse.

It is reminding us that: God wants to spend time with me, without me doing one thing for Him. He just likes me.

Big question: are you okay, without your achievement?

For example: are you okay, when you have to say ‘no’ to things you can't afford? Are you okay with yourself if you gain 20 pounds? Are you okay, not accomplishing something? Are you okay leaving one realm – bricks; and entering into another?

A new car (or a bigger house) is a great thing to have, but: if you're not enough without it - you'll never be enough with it. You'll never be enough! A bigger house is just more to clean - it's just more bricks! If you're not enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.

Matthew 3:17. Jesus is baptised, and God says: “this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”; and He said that before Jesus had done anything. Sabbath was a day to remind you of this.

Matthew 13. The word of God is like seed, and when you throw seed out it lands on four types of soil. It lands on good ground, stony ground, thorny ground, or hard ground; and the way we tend to teach that is this: which type of ground are you? Are you good ground? Are you stony ground? Are you thorny ground? Are you hard ground? (As if you're one or the other, all the time).

The truth is: we are all four types, depending on the topic. If I'm preaching on tithing, and you're a tither, then it's good ground; but if you're against tithing, then it's going to be hard ground, until God softens your heart about that.

If I'm up here preaching on anger, and you're a very peaceful person, then that's going to be good ground; but if you've got an anger problem - you might have promised God 100 times that you'll cure your anger problem, but that stony ground won't let it - it just depends on the topic.

The one I want to focus on is the thorny ground. Matthew 13:22 – “the seed falling among the thorns refers to people, who hear the word of God, but the worries of this life, and the deceitfulness of wealth, choke the word out, making it unfruitful”.

He says: the thorny ground are good-hearted people. They hear the word of God. They allow it to be sowed into their life, but the thorns choke it out. Two things choke the word out of good-hearted people: the worries of this life, and the deceitfulness of wealth.

The word ‘worry’ there, in the Greek language, is something that causes us to split. In other words, I'm here, but I'm actually there in my mind. I'm here tonight, but in my mind I'm worried about how I'm going to pay my bills. I'm worried about the three meetings I have tomorrow. I'm worried about that new client that I'm - I'm thinking about the faxes I might be missing while I'm here. I'm worried about the fact that I had to turn my cell phone off, and I'm missing my emails. I'm worried about who might be trying to call me. I'm worried about that son that's away from the Lord, I've been thinking about him a lot. It's anything that causes us to split.

It's anything that makes us not be fully present. It's anything that says: I'm here, but I can never be fully present in the moment, and get what God wants me to get. I'm here; but I'm always here and somewhere else. That's the worries of this life.

The ‘Worries of this Life’ is: a ‘failure to be here’. I'm playing Lego with my kids, but all I can think about is the manager's meeting tomorrow. I'm being a wife or a husband, yet my mind is on another problem; so everything suffers because nothing gets my full attention. It's the worries of this life.

Jesus says: you could be a really good person, and the seed of the word of God can come into your life; but it'll never take root, if the worries of this life have choked it out. It doesn't mean you're not a good person - and all of us fall into this category at times. All of us have missed God, because of the worries of this life.

The ‘Deceitfulness of Wealth’: this is a lie that's future-oriented. It's a lie that says: if I just had this, I would be happy. There are people in the world who are worth $60 billion US -and they still get up and go to work every day, trying to figure out a way to make more - and we wouldn't be any different. It's the deceitfulness of wealth.

See there's a six and one rhythm built into creation (a circaseptan biorhythm). God did it, animals do it. They did a study years ago at a zoo: they put a certain group of animals out for seven days in a row; and they put another group of animals out six days, and let them rest the seventh day, and they did that for three months. The ones they let rest on the seventh day, actually were healthier, happier, better animals, and it was unbelievable what it did.

God set it up - you cannot go against a law that runs the universe. You can't do it. We're addicted to accomplishment, achievement, action. When we take a Sabbath, just to do it, we'll become depressed - because we miss the rush. You get so addicted to achievement actual chemicals are released in your brain (serotonin). When you first try to take a Sabbath, by two o'clock in the afternoon you are depressed, because we missed the rush. But when we take a Sabbath for the reasons God wants us to, it saves our lives.

Let me give you 4 definitions of Sabbath to the Hebrew person, and you just pick the one that means the most to you.

1) Sabbath was a day for you to get the energy you need for another six days.

2) Sabbath was a day for God to mend, and put back together again, that which was broken.

3) Sabbath was a day for complete honesty with God.

4) The Sabbath was a day that was unlike any other day (my favourite definition, the most common). It was one day in seven, that didn't look like the other six, therefore hitting a reset button in your brain, to let you start over. It's brilliant, which leads me to this application:

Do you have one day in seven that is unlike any other day? If not - why not? Why not start now?

Do you realise that: if it's a day, that's unlike any other day - it's going to be different for everybody? If you're a mother with six children, your day will be: a day without laundry. And guess what? The laundry will be there the next day! It will be okay. It will. It will be alright.

What day of the week do you not check your email? Do you have one day in seven, that you don't check your email? If not, why? Do you really believe you're so important, that if you didn't check your email for a day, that the world would quit turning?

Do you realise that, to think we're so important, that we have to stay in constant connection - to think we are that important to this world, puts so much pressure on us, that we'll die? That the journey to wholeness actually is found in taking just one - just one.

Have six days where you check your email 45 times a day; but one day in seven - why not make it different?

Why not remind yourself, one day in seven, that the world keeps going - even if you don't know what's going on in it? I'm telling you, if you do that for a month, it will reinforce a truth that will save your life, which is this:

The world goes on, because God is God, and you are not.

Do you have one day in seven, that you put your list away? Some of you are wired up to have lists, I'm not, so my one day in seven might be a day I get a list out. What day in seven do you put your list away? Do you know how healing it is?

If you get it, it'll save your life. Do you know how healing it is? Try it. Just pick one day this week - I don't care what day it is, but preferably not a day you have to work for a guy who's writing you a pay cheque. Take one day this week, where you pretend like the list is done, even if it's not. You're going to wake up the next day, and the world will still be turning, and the list is still going to be there, and you'll remind yourself: it will be okay. There's something very healing about that.

What day of the week can I not get in touch with you by cell phone? What day of the week, if I text you, would it be pointless? What day of the week do your chores not matter? And we wonder why we're broken. You know we all need deliverance, and we all need God to help us - and we do, we need that kind of stuff; but some stuff is just common sense. A lot of the pressure we put on ourselves, is put on by ourselves.

God designed us to have one day in seven that was different than any other day. Wives - if your house is a little bit dirty (or a lot dirty) - to have one day where that doesn't matter will save your life. It will be there tomorrow. It will. It'll save your life, and it might save your marriage.

Sabbath is a day where you live like your work is done, even if it isn't - and that is healing. Sabbath is a day where you are freed from your slaver driver of things to do. Sabbath is a day where you remember that He is God, and the world will go on, even if your list doesn't get done. To live differently is counter-productive.

There's a six in one biorhythm in creation, so if your rhythm isn't changing every seven days, if there's not one day in seven, that resets you to another rhythm - your life is boring. You get stuck on one rhythm. You're boring and counter-productive.

If you get thrown into a tizzy because of one interruption to your schedule, then you will miss out on God's best for you. One of His greatest miracles of all time (the lady with the issue of blood) was actually an interruption to His schedule. Imagine if Jesus had said: lady, I'm on My way somewhere, get away from Me, I've got a schedule to keep? No, we've got to step back and remind ourselves: God is God, and we are not. Interruptions are often Gods way of re-acclimating us to a new rhythm - and we need that.

Let me just give you some application questions.

1a) Who are the most important people in your life? There should only be a couple, unless you have five children. If you have five children, please write all of their names down. I'd hate to see them in counselling later. Mummy wrote his name and not mine! Who are the most important people in your life? Take 30 seconds and write their names down. Just do an honest assessment of how broken we are.

1b) Are you choking? Are you a good person, who can't seem to move forward in God, because the thorns have got to you? The people you just wrote down: are they getting the most of your energy; or are they getting what's left over? Are they being put first; or is everything else? Are the urgent things taking the place of the most important things?

2a) What are you called to be doing? What are two things you're doing in this world, which no one else can take your place and do? If you're a wife to a man, no one else should be taking that place. If you're a husband to a woman, no one else should be taking that place. If you're a mother to a child, no one else should be taking that place. If you're a pastor over a certain area, no one else should be taking that place. What are the things that you are doing, that no one else can do?

I would say this: the best wisdom for your life would be to delegate everything else.

2b) Is that getting the most of your energy; or is it only getting what's left over?

I'm telling you, if I was doing this in a counselling office, it would cost $120 an hour. These are huge questions. Let me ask it this way: If you were to move house tomorrow, what would you keep? What would you sell? What would you give away? What would you throw away? Why not do that today? If you're keeping stuff in your house, that you would throw away if you moved tomorrow, then all it's doing is taking energy from what you should be doing today.

We've got stuff-itus, and I would say this to you. If I took a look at your diary, and it didn't coincide with the people who are the most important, and the calling from God, then you're choking. You're choking! The cure for both of these things is Sabbath.

The Sabbath is a day where we separate ourselves from the worries of this life. There's something that is healing about taking a day back from all of our ‘lists’, our ‘things to do’; to have one day in seven that's different than every other day - that gives us a reset button. There's something about that, which cures us from: the worries of this life, and the deceitfulness of wealth.

Take a blank piece of paper, and draw a line down the middle. I want you to be honest with God about the worries of this life. The things that has caused you to be ‘here, but really there’, write on one side of the line called 'The worries of this life - that you can do something about' (versus those you can't).

I don't have a job. Well you could go apply for 50 jobs a day until you get one. There's an element that you can't do anything about, but there's an element of that you can; so the worries of this life that you can do something about; and the worries of this life that you can't do something about okay? This will only be between you and God, very therapeutic.

Let me help some of you. Whatever you're writing - God already knows. Whatever you're writing - He's not going to think any less of you, or any more of you. He already knows, and He likes you anyway.

I have an adult son, who I'm worried is away from the Lord - I can't do anything about that - He's an adult. You have to believe God for him, nothing you can do about that. Barack Obama - I can't do anything about him. Not one thing. He's too cool, can't do anything about him. You can't do anything about the New Zealand dollar. Exporters, you're happy with it; but people like me, who take money out, we're very sad with it - can't do anything about it. Separate the worries that you can do something about, on one side; from the worries that you can't, on the other.

If you can do something about it - then do something about it; but I want to end tonight with the side that you can't do anything about.

If the worries of this life, and the deceitfulness of wealth, have kept the word of God from taking root in your life; and it's because of something you can't do anything about, then tonight I want you to have a holy moment with God, where you be still and know that He is God, and you are not.

Be still, and know that He loves you, regardless of whether what something works out, or what something doesn't; that He is no less God, or no more God, regardless of what happens - that that is where trust comes in.

I challenge you also, to begin to take a Sabbath - to have one day in seven, that's different than every other day; to remind yourself to be whole.

Closing Prayer

I want you to clear your mind of everything. If you are worrying tonight, just for the next one minute, I want to minister to you. I just felt that the list, and you doing some business with God, was effective.

Just wrap your awareness around God. I want you to repent for thinking you're so important that you don't need a Sabbath; or even worse - you're too busy to take a Sabbath. That's kind of the point.

You need to make a commitment with the Lord, to have one day in seven, that's different than all the other days. Just try it for the next 60 days, and see what happens in your life. Just have a headache tablet ready for the first couple of ones, and then you'll get used to the idea, and it'll give you pleasure: to sit back and know that God is God, and you're not.

If this room filled up with water, and it totally enveloped you, and you could still breathe, and that water was the love of God, what would you feel like now? To be totally enveloped with a God who is committed to increase you - what would you feel like?

Lord, I ask You now to just flood the souls of every person here, fill up all their cracks, fill up all their broken, hurting spots. Lord, we confess to You right now that we're broken, hurting people, with a lot of pain and a lot of cracks, and Lord, I ask that right now, that You would fill our broken hurting cracks, fill those spots in our soul, that are filled with pain and worry and distress and pressure. Fill them up with You, Lord. Just now, would You just let Your presence flow through this place. I can sense Your presence just going right through this place now.

Just take a deep breath in, breathing in God, and then a deep breath out, knowing that God is in your breath. Lord, as we breathe in, would You just fill all the broken spots in our life. Forgive us for the thoughts Lord, that we think we're God. We're not. Heal our brokenness God. May we be keepers of the Sabbath, in Jesus' name. Amen.



Honour (5 of 6) (Shane Willard)  

Sun 17 May 2009 AM « Back to Top

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How do I honour someone who wasn't honourable? Nobody's parents are perfect. Honour is not ignoring wrong things, or saying wrong things are right, or having no boundaries.

Honour has more to do with what we pass on to the next generation; than how we respond to the previous one. It's maintaining godliness through our generations. It's choosing to be honest about the ungodliness, and choosing to break the cycle.

Be thankful you're alive; realise your parents were a part of fallen humanity; give up the urge to take vengeance, and to judge - realise they were wounded too.

Honour (5 of 6)

Exodus 20:12 – “Honour your father and your mother, so that your days will be long in the land that the Lord your God gives you.”

Review

This is way bigger than a guy going up a mountain, and coming down with two tablets of stone. This is about a group of people who've been slaves for 430 years. All they knew was slavery for 430 years; get up, make bricks, get beaten, whatever. There was no dignity.

The job of every slave driver is to take your dignity away. The same thing is true today. You should be able to find yourself in this story pretty easily. If something drives your life, other than God, then it's a slave driver for you; and the job of the slave driver is to take your dignity away.

If you're a man, for instance; let's say you struggle with lust; and let's say you have a hard time getting away from the computer, and doing all the things associated with that. There are times in that slave driver, where you think you'll die without it; but the truth of it is: whenever it's over, when you lay your head down at night, you feel worse than you did before; because the job of the slave driver is to remove your basic dignity.

If your slave driver is anger, and you just can't seem to not blow up; you feel like: I'll die if I don't blow up; but when you actually blow up, when you go to bed at night, you feel worse than ever before. The job of every slave driver is to take your dignity away.

That's the job of Egypt. In Egypt, if they wanted to kill you - they killed you. If they wanted to steal something from you - they stole it; if they wanted your wife - they raped her. It didn't matter. The Israelites were less than human!

So God's trying to take a group of people, who've been taught they were less than human for 430 years, and He's trying to teach them how to be human again. In teaching them how to be human again, He's trying to create a culture that the whole world's going to want in on.

The Ten Commandments starts with: “And the Lord spoke all these words and said this; I am the Lord your God”. In the Hebrew language there's three words: Anochy Jehovah Elohim - I am the Lord your God. You could say “I am the Lord your God” by saying "Jehovah Elohim” - but they put this word in there “Anochy”.

Broken down into letters (which are then read like a cartoon strip), the word Anochy means: “your authority is going to multiply inside the hedge of praise and submission”. So the first word of the Ten Commandments is Grace. Its: I want to make you bigger. I want to restore your worth. I want to take you out from under the yoke, of a slave driver that's taking your worth away, and I want to restore your worth; and in that, I want to create a culture that the whole world's going to want in on.

It's amazing, the grace of God. I learned something just today, about the grace of God. This is a dollar coin, and I found it in the parking lot; so probably overnight that dollar coin had been driven on, stepped on; whatever was on the bottom of people's shoes was on it. There's no telling how long that dollar coin just needed someone to pick it up. There's no telling what sort of rough thing has happened, what kind of hot or cold.

Here's what hit me: no matter what that dollar coin has been through, as I hold it in my hand right now - it's still worth a dollar. If you found this in a pile of cow poop, it would still be worth a dollar. If you found it in a toilet, and you needed it so bad, you dug it out of it; it would still be worth the same, as if you went to the bank, and asked for the newest one made. Its worth is not determined by what it went through; but by what it is - and that is what God is trying to do.

God is trying to get a group of people to understand that: your worth is bigger than bricks. Your worth is bigger than anything you do; and part of you living a worthy life is: treating other people like they're worthy.

So we're not going to murder, we're not going to steal; and we're going to take a day off. We're going to honour the basic dignity that's in the life of every person. We're going to honour the human condition.

God is saying: through no act of your own, I chose you, to show My love to you, in order to show the whole world that I'm a loving God. Welcome to being human again.

Introduction

It's in that context that we read this scripture: “Honour your Father and your Mother.

Some of us would feel nauseated about that. As soon as we read that, there's this nausea feeling that comes over us; because our parents weren't honourable.

Some of us, our parents were good people; but whether our parents were good people, or not-so-good people, the command is the same: honour your father and your mother.

The obvious question exists: how do I honour someone who wasn't honourable? How do I do that? I hope to give you some things today that will help you with what honour means; and how you can continue to honour your parents, even if they're not honourable people.

Main Message

Nobody's parents are perfect. My parents were good parents, great parents actually. My dad is up every single morning at 4.30 in the morning praying for me, for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid he got up about 5.45; then when I was a later kid he got up about 5.30; by the time I was a teenager he was getting up at 5.00; and now he gets up at 4.30. The other day he said something like: 4.15 comes early in the morning; and I thought: dad, if you keep getting up that early, by the time your 80 you're going to eat breakfast the night before! He's up every morning praying for me. It's an honourable thing - but dad wasn't perfect.

Dad was a Vietnam vet, who enjoyed scaring people. He thought it was hilarious to scare us. They were trying to teach me not to fall asleep again, after they woke me up. I'm not a morning person, so mum would wake me up, and shake me, and sit me on the side of the bed. I'd sit on the side of the bed, and I'd get comfortable and fall back to sleep.

So dad decided: I'm going to teach him not to do that; but he didn't tell mum about this, because mum wouldn't have allowed it, Mum just figured he was praying somewhere. He got up under my bed; so mum shook me awake, sat me up on the bed, and I'm sitting there, and he waited for me just to get relaxed - then he reached out and grabbed my feet! That was dad - and $2,000 in counselling later - here I am!

He loved to scare me. One day he put himself in my closet, and my closet opened like this. Kids believe that bogey-men live in the closet anyway, and dad opened my closet, and he put himself in there - and a crucifix. So I get up, it's like 6.15 in the morning, I'm 9 years old. I walk over to the closet to choose my clothes for the day, open the closet - and there's my dad. That was dad. He loved to scare us.

So my dad wasn't perfect, but dad was a good man. Mum was a good woman. She wasn't perfect either. You don't ever tell on mum. Listen, if you're here today: don't ever tell stories on your mum. It's not right! She gave you birth, so just kind of keep her stuff secret. Mum's perfect right. Mum's good!

My parents were great, so when I see “honour your father and mother” I think: okay, that's fair enough. But I know that there are people in this room who've been violated by their dad. I know there are people in this room whose mother left them to drink alcohol. They chose alcohol, over a life with you; and the pain and the brokenness and the empty spots that that left in your soul - to read something like “honour your father and your mother” - it makes you nauseous.

I think central to dealing with this is this question: Is God's way the best way or not? If you could go to heaven without Jesus, would you still follow Him? If heaven and hell wasn't the issue, is Jesus still worth following?

Hopefully the answer is yes. Hopefully you don't follow Jesus simply because He lets you into heaven. Hopefully you follow Jesus because you really believe that His way is the best way to live. Hopefully it's not a fire escape; hopefully you follow Jesus because you really believe that: the best way to receive is to be a giver. The best way to live is: to forgive people who hurt you.

Hopefully we really believe that, and the Ten Commandments are no different. When you look at the Ten Commandments, most of them are easy to buy into: don't have any other Gods. Alright, check. Don't have idols in your house, check. Remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy, check. Don't use God's name in vain, check. Don't kill people - alright, that's a pretty good plan. Don't steal - alright, that sounds right. Don't commit adultery - well alright, that sounds okay. Don't lie - well alright.

But when it comes to “honour your father and your mother”, somehow we make that conditional - as if God didn't know your story; and God does know my story. What we have to believe is that: God's way, and God's plan, is the best, regardless.

I think we missed it, just in a basic definition of terms. Let me give you three things that honour is not - that sometimes we confuse as being honourable.

1) Honour is not: ignoring wrong things.

I have a counselling background, so I've had people in my office, and they can't come to admit that: the way they grew up was dysfunctional. They can't say: this was destructive - they can't say that! The reason they can't say it is, somewhere deep down inside of them, they really believe that: if they admit that, somehow they're dishonouring their parents.

Honour is not ignoring it, like it didn't happen. Honour is not that! Actually the honourable thing, at some point, is to actually sit back and admit: this was wrong. Honour is not ignoring wrongs.

2) Honour is not: saying that wrong things are right.

The very next step, once I ignore wrongs, I start thinking that: what is wrong, is actually right. The huge risk is this: to create a new normal. We create a new normal; so our family is running around thinking we are normal, and everyone else is weird. That's crazy!

Whatever defines our normal, defines our life. Think about how TV has changed. One of the big reasons that the divorce rate has gone from 11% to 57% since 1967 is the feminist movement. The feminist movement took over Hollywood in 1967, and they were good-hearted people, I'm sure. What they were trying to do was probably try to help people; but this was their basic belief: women are more evolved than men. Women are therefore more complex, they're more evolved; and so men need to grow up and be like women.

They said: women receive love by love; and men receive love by respect (because they're Neanderthals). But if they were actually more evolved, they would actually learn to receive love by love; and if everybody is receiving love by love, then that will help everybody get along better, because we're all talking the same language. That was their thought.

They were dead wrong. God designed men to receive love by respect. God designed women to receive love by love. The command in the Bible is for husbands to love their wives; but the command in the Bible is for wives to respect their husbands. God does not have to command women to love their husbands, because women love naturally. God does not have to command men to respect their wives, because men respect naturally. God has to command us to do the things that don't come naturally.

So they took over the TV, and they did exactly what Hitler did to Germany. Hitler took over Germany by propaganda, and they changed the characters on TV. Think about the TV shows in the '50s and '60s: Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver. In all of those family comedies, all of the comedy surrounded the teenager in the home, or the kid in the home; and at the end of the 22 minute show, the genius father comes in and saves the day. That's how it was.

They changed that in 1967. In 1967 they wanted men to change, so they started making men look retarded on TV; and all of a sudden the main characters on TV were: Archie Bunker; Homer Simpson; Hank (the guy from the King of the Hill - of you weren't my son, I think I'd hug you - that guy); Al Bundy (from Married with Children); Kevin James (from King of Queens). Think about these guys - John Goodman from Roseanne - think about how they started portraying the American family, and they portrayed it as normal.

The best one is Everybody Loves Raymond. It's one of the greatest shows on TV - it's hilarious; but in Everybody Loves Raymond, it embodies the psycho-pathology of what it means to create a new normal. In Everybody Loves Raymond, Debra Barone treats him like he's an idiot. She actually calls him idiot; she calls him stupid, she tells him he doesn't measure up - and she does it in front of everybody. She withholds sex from him. She says: you're not getting any from me, unless you do exactly what I say. So she calls him an idiot, and withholds his basic need for respect; and then she withholds his #1 physical need, unless he does exactly what she says.

So Raymond gravitates himself across the street to the only woman in his life who respects him - and that's his mother; and so you have this huge psycho-pathology going on. It makes for hilarious television, but it makes for a horrible life - a horrible life. It became the new normal, and we run the risk of creating a new normal when we don't honour; when we think that honouring is somehow turning a blind eye and saying: okay, that's okay. That's okay.

I was at a friend's house once for Christmas time, and the whole family's sitting there. The mother, the matriarch of the family - you've got grandchildren and children - this person would have been in her 60s probably, late 50s - and she didn't like the gift that the father gave her. So the father gave the mother a gift she didn't like, and she started screaming obscenities. I'm talking about she used the 'f' word about 25 times. And then he started using it back, and they started calling each other names, and everybody started yelling, and I wanted to find somewhere to hide. But after all the yelling was done, in two or three minutes, everybody laughed, slapped five and went on - and I went what just happened here? They said: oh, that's just how we are. That's just how we are!

If you want to know if your family has created a new normal, ask yourself this question: do I use the excuse “that's just how we are”? We never say that about good things: I'm just happy - that's just how I am. You know what? I'm just generous - that's just how I am. I'm just kind - that's just who I am - take me or leave me. No, we use those things about problems like anger and resentment and rage, and very dysfunctional things. We use “that's just how I am, take me or leave me” - of course most people will leave you, because you've created a new normal.

Honour is not creating a new normal. Honour is not ignoring the wrong. Honour is not saying what was wrong is actually right.

3) Honour is not: having no boundaries.

One of the Hebraic definitions of hell is to live in a boundary-less place. If you're living in a situation where someone can treat you any way they want, and you have no recourse - that's called hell.

Actually the honourable thing is to have boundaries. Sometimes the honourable thing is to say: dad, I love you, and I can be with you in this situation; but I can't be with you in that situation. In this situation, I love to be with you; but in this situation, where there's going to be whiskey involved... When you get drunk, it embarrasses me, so I'm drawing a boundary. I'll be with you here, but I can't be with you here; and it's not that I don't love you, it's that I do. That's honour.

Honour is not ignoring the wrong; honour is not saying what was wrong is right; and honour is not living without boundaries.

Let me give you a definition of what honour is. In Hebrew culture, honour has more to do with what we pass on to the next generation; than how we respond to the previous one.

To say: I honour you dad - that's one thing. But the heavier thing is actually what I'm taking away, and perpetuating to my children, and my children's children, and my children's children's children. The honourable part, in terms of me and my dad, has to do with what I'm passing on, so that when my dad is dead and gone one day, his great-grandchildren are reflecting a heritage of godliness.

Let me prove it to you. I'm going to talk about your pastor, because he's not here. I would just say this: he's one of the top five pastors in the world, that I know. You ought to stay behind him. He's one of the great guys I've ever met in the world; but let me tell you this: I don't know what his dad was like - I have no idea. His dad could have been a pastor; his dad's dad could have been a pastor; Mike Connell could be a fourth generation pastor, I do not know. Mike Connells dad could have been an abusive, drunk, horrible person, who spent half of his life in jail, in and out, and come home and beat him up. He could have been unbelievably horrible. I don't know, I've never met the man. I've never had a conversation with Mike about it, but it's irrelevant. Let me tell you why.

The decision Mike Connell has made for his life, to live a life of godliness, makes me assume that his father was godly. I just naturally assume Mike comes from a godly line - and he might; but if Mike Connell is the first generation of people who decided: I'm going to live godly - then it makes other people assume his whole line is godly; so that now all of his children live godly lives, and then their children will live godly lives. By the time there are four generations down, no one will remember the ungodliness that was before; and Mike would be the hero of the whole family.

That you want to honour your dad, honour your mum - you say: well they're horrible people. Still, you want to honour them? Make a decision today to change the cycle of ungodliness in your family, to start a cycle of godliness; and in four generations from now, no one will remember the ungodliness; they'll only remember the godliness, and you in fact will be the hero of your entire family line.

That honour has more to do with what you do “out there”, than what you do towards them. It's the same thing in here. Dave Connell's a great pastor. I've travelled the world - listen, I'm not an expert on many things but I am an expert in pastors. Dave Connell's a great pastor, and you ought to tell him that every now and then. But let me tell you something; to tell him that he's a great pastor, that is honourable - but that's light. He'd rather you respect the name of Bay City out there. He'd rather you reflect Christ-likeness out there. He'd rather hear: you're a good father to your children out there. He'd rather hear: you're a good wife to your husband out there.

I mean to come in here, and act like you're a good wife - that's baloney; to go out there and actually live it - totally authentic. To come in here and act like you have integrity in your business dealings - baloney. Anybody can do that for two hours. It's what we hear from out there; that when you go out there, and you're reflecting the name of Christ, the name of Bay City, and the fact that he's one of the pastors here - and everything reflects that. To honour him, is to honour him out there, not in here.

To honour him, is to honour him at lunch today, not in here; that's the small thing. The big thing is what we do away from Pastor Dave. It's what we do away from him, not what we do to him – with God, it’s the same way. Is it honourable to God to come up here, and jump around, and raise our hands, and sing at the top of our voice? Is that honourable? Of course it is, but only in small part.

What really honours God is when that does something in your heart, that changes the way you act out there; that makes you notice people who aren't eating, and you understand it's your responsibility to feed them. You notice naked people and you give them clothes; you notice sick people and minister to them; you go to prisons and you help people.

To raise your hands in here, and jump around - that's only a small part of it. What good does it do you, to raise your hands, and sing at the top of your voice, if you're only going to go home and be mean? Honouring God has more to do with what you do at home, and on the street; what you do for the poor person, and the naked person. Honouring God has more to do with that, than with this!

This ought to be an outflow of that, not the other way around; and God has to address this in Isaiah 1. God's talking to the prophet, and He says: I'm sick of your church services. I'm sick of your festivals, I'm sick of your sacrifices, I'm sick of your music, I'm sick of your traditions. I'm sick of all those things; and you know what was true of every one of the things? God thought it up!

God essentially says: I'm sick of all the ideas I gave you, of how to worship Me; because you come into My house and you worship Me with all the proper things; but then you go out there, and you leave a hungry person to die, instead of feeding them.

It hasn't translated into generosity in your heart. Honour has more to do with what you do out there, than what you do in here; the same with your parents. Honour has way more to do with what you do away from your parents. Teenagers: honouring your parents - to tell your mum and dad: “I love you. I honour you”; but to then go out and dishonour their name - that's dishonour! It has more to do with what you're doing out there, than in here. It has more to do with what we pass on.

Let me just give you three definitions of honour. Honour is...

1) Maintaining godliness through our generations.

It's actually doing some heart examination, and investigating: what part of my family heritage do I need to pass on? My dad's prayer discipline - I need to pass that on; but his propensity to think it's hilarious to scare people - I need to stop that. My mum's heritage of being generous - my mum is the most generous person I know in this world. Compared to what she makes, she writes bigger cheques than anybody I've ever seen, to all kinds of things. She lives a life of generosity, and I need to pass that on; but there are things in my mum's life that I need to say: no, no, no, wait a minute, that was wrong. It's choosing to pass on the godliness.

2) It's choosing to be honest about the ungodliness, and choosing to break the cycle; so that we pass on godliness, but we break the cycle of ungodliness, to the next generation.

It's tied to a promise of land, that we will “live a long time in a land”. This has nothing to do with a long life. There are other scriptures that talk about long life, that's fine. This has to do with when you walk into what God's best is for you. That the key to living a long time in that land is: to perpetuate godliness; to continue to honour. It has to do with the time in the land; it has to do with the health of an entire society.

In order to heal from the wounds of the past, and create a life of godliness, how do we get over this? How do we get over the fact that our parents were ungodly? How do we get over the fact that they were destructive? How do we get over the fact, and still honour, and move forward something to the next generation? Let me just give you a couple of very simple thoughts that hopefully help you.

2a) You need to develop an intense gratefulness for the fact that you're alive. We have to realise that before we deal with our parent's issues, we have to develop an incredible gratefulness for the fact that God used them to give you life. That in fact God created you in the spirit, and He put in all your personality, and all your passions, and all your gifts and talents; He breathed a vision into your heart, and a dream into your life; He built you in the spirit, and He said: you know what? I need two people to come together, so I can put some flesh on this - this is a great idea right here - and that idea was you.

So before your parents did anything wrong to you, they were actually used by God to do something very, very right - which was put flesh around His big idea - which was you. Before we deal with the whole anger and bitterness and rage about: oh, I was dealt the wrong set of cards in life - before we deal with all that, we have to actually step back and say: you know what? Hold on, before we talk about this any further, I need to stop, and I need to breathe, and I need to be thankful that two people came together and gave me life. Before they did anything wrong, they actually did something right, and that was give you life.

2b) You have to realise that: they're only a part of a bigger scope of fallen humanity; that you were not special; that everybody has dysfunction. You look at Jesus, and His family life in the Book of Matthew - Jesus' genealogy is like Jerry Springer on speed! There was cannibalism, there were people who burned children in fire, there were prostitutes, there were drunkards; there were all kinds of things going on in Jesus' genealogy.

You're not unique, I'm not unique - all God's people have got stuff, because we grow up in a fallen world; and the Bible says it this way: “all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God” - and your parents were no different.

When we don't step back from the pain, we start to believe: I was given a wrong deck of cards. I'm the only one that went through this. No - you weren't; but before they did anything wrong to you, they did something right, which was give you life. Whatever happened to you - I'm so sorry, I am; and let me tell you what God says about that. God says “every tear you cried, He collected it in a bottle”. That's how much He cares. He cared about every tear that you cried, every bit of pain, every bit of violation.

But for you right now, you're 35, you're 45, you're 55, and it's held you back your whole life. Today can be a day of salvation for you, in the sense that you make a decision that from this day forward: for MY family, “as for me and my house - we will serve the Lord”. We are going forward, to perpetuate godliness, so that no one else has to deal with this. They were just a part of fallen humanity. So #1: you need to appreciate the fact they gave you life; #2: you have to realise that they were just a part of fallen humanity.

3) You have to give up the control-freakiness in your life – desire to take vengeance.

Every one of us, at times, thinks that we can do a better job than God - all of us. One of the things that God says there's not a job opening for, is the “earth's vengeance-taker”. There's not! The Bible clearly says: “Vengeance is Mine!” God is the greatest vengeance-taker on earth.

Proverbs says: “See to it that you don't explode in anger on your enemy, lest the vengeance of God get removed from him:. In other words, God is duty-bound to take vengeance on your behalf; but He will not, if you take His job. If you want to be the one that takes the vengeance - then have it - but God won't. Just step back, take your hands off of it, and realise that they are accountable to God, not to you.

Romans 14:10 says this: “Why do you judge your brother (or why do you despise him), because he hurt you? Don't you know that every person will stand before the judgement seat of Christ?” So see to it to make sure that you are not an offence to somebody. The only person in this world you're supposed to judge is yourself - to make sure that you're not being offensive.

In a room this size, I know there's at least one of you, who really believes that it is your job to be the moral police for the whole world. It's your job to sit back and go: that's wrong, that's right; they're wrong about that, they're right about that. Maybe you're even one of those guys who started one of those websites, apostasywatch.com, to guard the body of Christ from error.

Let me help you with something okay? It is not your job to be the moral police for the whole world! Your job is to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” - to make sure that YOU are not being an offence to anybody else. Anything, that anybody else is doing, is between them and God - and God can handle it.

When you apply this to your parents, let me tell you this: no matter what they did to you, there'll be something inside of you that wants to take vengeance; but I'm going to tell you this: the best thing you could do, is to leave it in the hands of the most righteous judge in the world. Only God knows what they went through. Only God knows their heart. Only God knows their motivation, and God will take care of it. You need to step back and live your life to the fullest.

So 1) be thankful you're alive; 2) realise that they were a part of simple humanity; 3) give up the urge to take vengeance, and to judge.

4) Realise that they were wounded too. That whatever they were doing, was out of some holes in their soul - and God collected their tears in a bottle too.

Why is it that most of us, we want: mercy for ourselves; but just justice for everybody else? Don't we do that? Like when we stuff something up, we go to the foot of the cross, and we say: God forgive me. God, forgive me. God, have mercy. God, have mercy. God, have mercy - but someone else screws up, and we go: God, get them! We want mercy for ourselves, but justice for everybody else - but it doesn't work that way.

James 2 – “judgement without mercy will be shown to every person who's not merciful - for mercy triumphs over justice”. Choose mercy. Remember how much you've been forgiven, and do likewise to other people; and also realise this: that they were given the same choice you were. They had a choice.

At some point they had a choice: I will perpetuate godliness; or I will perpetuate destruction; and unfortunately maybe they chose destruction. If they chose destruction, I'm so sorry; but your choice today is to stand up and say: as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. I will not make my children go through that - and I'm telling you, four generations from now, you'll be the hero.

The last thing, in terms of how to deal with the wounds of it, is this, is realise how big it is - that our survival as a society depends on it. It says that “your days will be long in the land”. That anger, contempt, malice, and slander - as it goes through the generations, it multiplies. It multiplies to the point where you've got people in this world today, who are destroying one another, and don't know why. They just know they're supposed to, just because mum and dad did it. That's all they know, and it perpetuates through generations.

As I understand it, God has a five-generation limit. His grace goes to three and four generations; but by the fifth generation, He'll destroy the whole generation, if they don't repent. Why? Because in generations, you're multiplying geometrically.

2 people have 6 kids; those people have 6 kids, and now you've got 36 kids. 36 kids have 6 kids... (6 - 36 – 216 - 1,296 - 7,776) You're left with a bunch of people that, if that infection, that distain, that bitterness, that malice, that resentment, that rage - if it gets into the fifth generation, there are enough people to destroy the entire fabric of a society.

God says: by my Grace, not my Judgement - by my grace I will judge; because it's gracious to save a whole society, by wiping out one generation. It's gracious, so our survival as a society depends on it. It depends on you and me making and maintaining a decision to perpetuate godliness in the next generation. It's about me and you perpetuating that thing all the way through.

Are you breaking the cycle, or are you perpetuating it? What cycle are you perpetuating; and what cycle are you breaking?

We need to say: what parts of my family were godly? And maybe sit down with your wife, and talk about: what habits did we learn? What habits did we learn from our home lives that are healthy, that we need to perpetuate (and make a commitment to do so).

Without any dishonour, with all due respect, what parts of our family did we learn that are dysfunctional, and it's destructive, and it's ungodly? Maybe you need to make a rule: there's no yelling in the house. Maybe you need to make a rule, like: I will not address my husband with obscenities. The lady that addressed her husband with obscenities - her seven year old granddaughter was sitting right there. What are the chances that that seven year old granddaughter is going to grow up calling her husband obscene names? Huge! Why? Because her grandmamma did it, and her mama does it. It just perpetuates all the way through generations.

Maybe it takes some person sitting down and going: we will not tolerate that any more. We will be a house that is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness. What cycle are you perpetuating? What needs to be broken? That is honour.

Ephesians 6:1 – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long in the earth. But fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath.”

“Do not provoke your children to wrath. If you want to get a sense of whether you're perpetuating ungodliness or perpetuating godliness, you need to understand whether or not you're provoking your children to wrath. If you're a man, and you're a dad, what I'm fixing to tell you, will require more bravery on your part, and more courage, than you can possibly imagine.

If you want to know whether or not you're perpetuating your children to wrath - ask them. Ask them!

Let me tell you something my dad did, that I honour him for. It was the best idea I've ever heard of any dad doing. My dad would be one of the most courageous men I know, because he did this. Every 30 days, my dad took me on a date, probably starting at about seven years old. Once I turned 12, I asked him to please quit calling it a date, because it was bothering me. So we had a man's night, but this was the rule. Now how courageous is this?

My dad said: Shane, on those nights, you can tell me anything you want to tell me. As long as you say it respectfully, you will not be in trouble; so it gave me an environment to where I could sit down with him and respectfully say: dad, two weeks ago you punished me for this, and you were wrong. You did not understand what was going on, and he could say: Shane, tell me about that. I could say: dad, you didn't understand. Dad, you overreacted to this. I felt like you overreacted to this – and we'd talk it out.

There were a lot of times that my dad sat across the table from me and said: Shane, I didn't understand that. Please forgive me for overreacting; and there were times where he looked across and said: Shane, you're a child. I'm an adult. I know you don't understand now, but one day you'll understand - the environment was there, so that I could be open and honest with dad.

Dad did that, so that my anger with him could never go past 30 days - that's brave, but that'll shut down “provoking your children to wrath”, because option #1 is: your children will learn they can be honest with you; option #2 is: that they can't be honest with you, and then you've got a whole new set of problems.

Parents are supposed to be the pictures of what God would look like, to your child. If I was to ask your child: based on how mummy acts, what is God like? What would that child say? Would that child say: God must be an angry, worried mess? Does God's left eye twitch uncontrollably? You know when we go to the grocery store; and mummy gets really mad at the cashier. Mummy says she's the slowest cashier in the store. How would your child say that God would act to the girl at KFC, when they mess up the order?

How are you presenting God to your children? Are you breaking a cycle or are you perpetuating something? What are you perpetuating? How do your children see God? Do they hear you and your husband, do they hear mummy and daddy talking about: hey, we need to take care of the poor this month. We need to make sure we feed someone who can't feed themselves. We need to make sure we clothe someone who can't clothe themselves; or do they simply see you raise your hand in here, and then hear you yell at each other at home - and you're teaching them that God's a hypocrite.

I challenge you today, as people of God, to increase your amount of time in God's Promised Land for you; by perpetuating godliness, and by honouring your father and your mother.

Closing Prayer

Now Lord, You're the best. We love you, and we honour you; and we proclaim that you are King of the Universe.

Is there anyone here today who says: I need to start perpetuating godliness in my life, by choosing to follow Jesus Christ? I have never made that choice to whole-heartedly, with everything in me - to follow Jesus Christ.

I might have come to church. I might have put the fish on my car. I might have the “What Would Jesus Do?” bumper sticker. I might even have the bracelet, the cross around my neck; and I realise that none of that's going to do anything for me in eternity. I know that it won't.

Today God's knocking at the door, and I need to make a whole-hearted decision to follow Jesus Christ. I realise nothing else I can do is going to help me in eternity. I need to make a decision to re-write the history of my family, if nothing else. I'd like to accept Jesus Christ today. It goes like this...

“Lord, Jesus Christ, thank You for coming; thank You for dying for me. I confess that I'm a sinner. I have no hope of saving myself, so I ask You Lord, to forgive me, cleanse me, come into my heart, and be the Lord of my life. I want to live for You in Jesus' name. Amen.”

Bible says about that: God is so excited about your decision, that He just stopped all of heaven to have a party for you. Welcome to the kingdom of God! It's a fantastic thing.

You serve a God who believes in you, more than you believe in Him.

The godliness heritage is sitting on you. It's your decision what you do with it.

A lot of husbands and wives need to go home today and say: we need to talk about this. What needs to change in our house? If you're willing to stand with me, and say: right now I'm going to take a stand: “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

We're going to investigate the godliness, and keep it going; but we're also going to say ‘no’, and repent to the ungodliness; and we will honour our father and mother to perpetuate godliness. Four generations from now we will be the heroes of this family.

Lord, we repent for the ungodliness of our past. We repent for racism and prejudice and greed, anything that's held our families back. Lord, we proclaim the blood of Jesus over that, and ask for a fresh start.

We make a decision today to perpetuate godliness; to honour our father and mother - by perpetuating godliness, and repenting from ungodliness. Lord, may this church be a haven of honour in Jesus' name. Amen.

Let the name rest on you. I bless you to go today to be people who ‘carry the name’.



11th Commandment (6 of 6) (Shane Willard)  

Sun 17 May 2009 PM « Back to Top

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God has not called us to be right - we're just Joe & Jane.

God has called us to be compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness. He's called us to show the whole world what He looks like.

Taking His name in vain is about: don't sign cheques I wouldn't sign, don't put my name to things that aren't me.

As a Christian, you're actually picking up and carrying (Nasah) the name (Shim) of God around with you. Shawv (in vain) means to live your life in a way that manifests (not disappoints) the hope that rests upon it.

The name of God rest upon a person (Ex 23:20), its a prophetic utterance of character (Exodus 34:6-7), it sits in a place (Deur 12:11), a force that provides protection (Ps 20:1), that has the ability to move with emotion - to fire a place up (Is 30:27).

It's a realm of awareness, that we can live in, or outside of (Micah 4:5). Its a force that brings about the best life (Jn 20).

The name creates a life so good, it's worth suffering & dying for (Acts 5:40-41). The demonstration of that life is so powerful, it threatens other people.

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, then you are blessed (1 Peter 4:14). Jesus: I have manifested Your name (John 17:6).

God has called Christians to be nice, more than He has called us to be right.

11th Commandment (6 of 6)

Review

We're just Joe and Jane. We can't be addicted to being right. We're just four-dimensional people, trying to make sense of an infinitely-dimensional God. It's not about being right - God has not called us to be right. God has called us to be: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness. He's called us to show the whole world what He looks like. We're just Joe and Jane.

Exodus 20, we've been talking about the Ten Commandments. I only got through five of them, this is the fifth; and so there's obviously five more. If you want a full discussion on it, see “Ten Commandments” – ShaneWillardMinistries.org.

The Ten Commandments is about a group of people that have been slaves for 430 years. All they knew was slavery; and God is trying to do a lot of things, but the primary thing He's trying to do is: He's trying to create a marriage relationship with a group of people, who've been slaves for 430 years.

The Jewish people see it as a 10-word Katubah - a marriage proposal. It was God taking this group of people, and He's trying to create the best culture on earth. He's trying to create a culture that will show the world what God looks like; and it's going to be so awesome, it's going to be so great, the whole world's going to want in on it.

He's trying to teach these people to be human again. He's trying to teach these people: what would it be like to live in a culture where you have to respect the dignity, and the image of God, in every other person. What would that be like?

What would it be like to live in a culture that perpetuates godliness, by honouring their father and mother?

What would it be like to live in a culture where God does not exist in boxes, that God actually is everywhere? He's spirit. You can't locate Him in a place.

What would it be like to live in a culture, where you can't kill people just because you can? You can't steal from people, just because you can.

God is trying to create the greatest culture on earth. He is not trying to make a group of people good. He's trying to make a group of people free.

Main Message

Exodus 20:7. – “You should not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless, anyone who takes His name in vain”.

So in the context of creating this incredible culture, in the context of creating a marriage between a group of slaves and God, in the context of creating the greatest culture in the world, that everybody's going to want in on, the third thing He says is: “Do not take my name in vain”.

When you marry somebody, you get the right to use their name. God is saying is: don't sign cheques I wouldn't sign. Don't put my name on things that I wouldn't put my name on.

We primarily make this a language issue; but when we make it a language issue, we miss the entire point. When we make it a language issue, don't ever say "oh my God" - as if ‘God’ is God's name.

Let me just clear something up real quick: ‘God’ is not God's name – it’s his title; and actually the English word ‘God’ has a pagan origin. Every word in the English language is pagan. Monday was a day to honour the moon god; Thursday was a day to honour the god Thor; Saturday was the day to honour the god Saturn; Sunday was the day to honour the sun god - so don't get caught up in language issues.

If you say “I'm not going to say any word that has pagan origins” - you would lose your entire language. The English language, as an entire language, is based in pagan origins - even the ways we get swear words. Swear words come about by whoever won the war. The words became dirty; and by Jesus' day, the Aramaic words were dirty. Why? Because the other people won the war, so they make the other language dirty. This happened in Serbia and Croatia, and it happened in English. The way we get our swear words, actually comes from the William the Conqueror.

William the Conqueror and the Normans attacked the Saxons back in the 1300s. William the Conqueror won the war, and the Norman word for ‘sexuality’ was ‘fornication’; but the Saxon word was another word that starts with an 'f'. The Norman word for something like ‘going to the bathroom’ was: poop, or crap; but the Saxon word was something entirely different. When the Normans beat the Saxons, their words became clean, and the Saxon words became swear words. That's all that happened.

You realise if the Saxons won the war, for me to say ‘fornicate’ from the stage, people would go: WHAT! As it is now, it's not the case; so it's never a language issue.

That's why Jesus was shocking people, when He'd say: if you say to your brother ‘Raka’, do you realise that He was swearing? He was, in their culture, using a dirty word - and people were going: Huh! His whole point was: you guys are making it all about language. I'm not concerned with what comes out of your mouth; I'm concerned with what's going into your heart that defiles a person.

It's not a language issue. It's not like saying: “oh my God” - although those things are probably distasteful, and we probably shouldn't do them - even that is irrelevant. Taking God's name in vain has nothing to do with language - it is far bigger than that.

Three main words in this command; the first word is Nasah, translated either "to carry", or "to take". The context is not "to say it"; even the meaning of the word doesn't mean "to say it"; it means "to pick it up"; “to carry something”, or to “take it”.

Don't pick up the name of God in vain, that's Nasah – to: don't carry around. The picture is that, when you call the name of Christ - when you wear a 'What Would Jesus Do?' bracelet; or a cross around your neck; or put a fish on your car; or wear some sort of Christian t-shirt.

When you identify yourself as a Christian, it's bigger than just going to heaven one day. You're actually picking up, and carrying, the name of God around with you. He says: don't take the name in vain.

The next word is ‘Shim’, which just means ‘name’. So it says: don't pick up and carry the name of God in vain.

Finally, the word ‘in vain’, is the word ‘Shawv’. So you have Nasah, which means "to carry"; you have shawv, which is translated "in vain"; and you've got Shim, which is “name”.

The translator's primary job is to make the verse readable. There is no way that they could translate the actual literal meanings of the words in order, because it would make it unreadable. Let me give you the full Hebrew dictionary definition of the word shawv.

It's translated "in vain" - that makes it readable; but this is the full dictionary definition: Anything that disappoints the hope that rests upon in.

He's saying: if you want to have the best life, the culture that everybody wants in on, here's what I want you to remember:

Do not carry My name in such a way, that disappoints the hope that rests upon it.

Carry my name in a way that manifests the hope that rests upon it.

When you identify yourself with Christ, there's two ways you can live: in a way that manifests the hope that rests upon it; or in a way that disappoints the hope that rests upon it.

Let me present this a few different ways:

1) Do not use my name for things that I would not use it for. Don't put My name on things that I wouldn't put it on. Don't sign cheques I wouldn't sign.

2) Be a co-operator with God, not a manipulator of Him.

I've been guilty of this. I confess this before men, I ask for forgiveness. I've done this! There's been times I've done it on purpose, which is really bad, but I had to mature past that. There have been times that I've done it by accident, and I didn't mean to; but all of us at some point have done this, where: we use God's name to accomplish our own purpose.

We have an idea, we really believe it's a good idea, but we're not confident enough to sell the idea, so this is what we say: “God told me”. When you hear somebody say "God told me" all the time, normally it's someone who's not confident enough to take responsibility for their own feelings. That's using the name of God in vain. Co-operate with God, don't manipulate Him.

3) Do not take my name, and then do things that are incompatible with who I am.

The name of God is defined a lot of different ways; but the primary definition of the name of God, to the Hebrew people, is found in Exodus 34:6 and 34:7, and it says this: He is the Lord. He is the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness God. He is the Lord. If you don't remember anything from tonight, remember that: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness. When you take the name of God, you are called to show the world what God looks like.

Let me tell you what that is not.

1) Its not: being ‘doctrinally right’. None of us are doctrinally right. We're just Joe and Jane, trying to make sense of an infinitely-dimensional God.

2) Its not: being the moral police for the whole world.

You are not called to tell the whole world who's right and who's wrong, who's in and who's out, who's in heaven and who's in hell. You're not called to do any of that.

What we are called to do is: to carry the name; which means we are to act: compassionate; gracious; slow to anger; abounding in love and forgiveness.

In the First Century, they called it ‘The Disposition of Messiah’. It was the primary test of ministry, particularly the prophetic. If someone gave a prophetic word in the First Century, they would test the prophecy; and the first question about the prophecy was not: “is it right or wrong”; the first question about the prophecy was: was it delivered in a manner consistent with the disposition of messiah? Was it delivered in a compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness way? What was the tone of the prophecy?

Let me say it this way: you can be right, but be wrong, at the top of your voice.

Are we carrying the name ‘in vain’; or are we carrying it in a way where, the world around us would look at our lives, and say: they are compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness?

Is it possible to never swear with your tongue, yet be swearing with your whole life? Is it possible that you would never say a ‘swear word’ with your mouth, but yet your whole life is actually profaning the name of God.

You're supposed to be compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love; so when you're critical when you gossip, slander, lose your temper, go off at someone, when you're mean, when you're judgemental. When these kinds of things happen, you understand that that is just as much ‘swearing’, as any other swear-word. Using God's name in a way that ‘disappoints the hope that rests upon it’; instead of a way that manifests it.

3) Don't be people who carry my name, and yet live however you want.

Don't be people who carry the name, and then overlook the poor; don't carry My name, and then lose your temper; don't carry the name, and then not forgive people; don't carry the name, and then gossip and slander and drag other people down; don't carry the name and be judgemental. The only way to carry the name of God, in a way that manifests the hope that rests upon it, is to be: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness.

How did the Hebrew people understand the concept of God's name?

1) As a description.

All we have is the full revelation that was given in the Bible. Obviously the Bible was limited to the language of men, whereas God is infinite. Hebrew people saw the name of God as a ‘prophetic utterance of character’. God's name was more about: who He was; than what you called Him.

When people's name changed, their character changed. When Simon became ‘Solid’ - they changed his name from Simon to Peter. God changed Saul's name to Paul. He changed Abram's name to Abraham, and Sarai's name to Sarah. When there was a fundamental change in their character, God changed their name; so what was the first name that God revealed Himself as, in the Bible?

The first name He revealed Himself as was to Abraham, and He said: My name is El Shaddai.

He says: Abraham, I want to make a covenant with you. My name is El Shaddai - that means God Almighty, and that made sense. Abraham worshipped the sun god during the day, and the moon god at night. Well when you worship the sun during the day, and the moon at night, you're left with a fundamental question: who's in charge? So God shows up and meets his need. He says: let Me tell you who's in charge, I'm in charge man. I am El Shaddai, I choose you Abraham, I want you to go.

They become somewhere between three and four million people in Egypt, and their God was El Shaddai. One day God chooses to reveal Himself a guy named Moses, and Moses said: what is Your name? God says: My name is Jehovah. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Moses' response was understandable: no way.

God says this, in Exodus 6: “I revealed Myself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, but by My name Jehovah, they didn't know Me”.

So God begins to expand the revelation of His name. Now He's not only El Shaddai, God Almighty; He's Jehovah, Jehovah what? Just Jehovah. Later He says: I'm Jehovah Rapha, in other words I'm a healer. He later says: I'm Jehovah Jireh, I'm your provider. He says: I'm Jehovah Tsidkenu, I'm your righteousness; Jehovah M'Kaddesh, I'm your sanctification; Jehovah Shammah, I'm the ever present one - I don't leave or ever forsake; Jehovah Shalom, I'm God, your peace; Jehovah Rohi, I'm the Lord; your shepherd; Jehovah Nissi.

He reveals Himself over time, over and over and over again to a group of people, until the concept of God's name got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger; until the New Testament says that God gave Jesus a name that was “above every other name, whether that name be written in heaven, or on earth, or under the earth; that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, to the glory of God, the Father”.

Jesus Christ lived in the flesh, the encapsulation of everything the name of God was; so it was a prophetic utterance of character. It was less about title, and more about a description of who a person was - that was name.

2) My name is: ‘in Him’.

Exodus 23:20-21 – “Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you the way, and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. Be on your guard before Him, and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions, for My name is in Him”.

So as they understood the name as a prophetic utterance of character; now their understanding expanded to: wait a minute, the name of God can actually rest on a person; the name of God can float around, and it can rest on a person. It could come on me, it could come on you.

I don't want you to lose track of the context here: that when the name of God comes on you, what is actually coming on you? Compassion, grace, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness.

What else is coming on you? Whatever you need - in the name - at the time. If you need healing, Jehovah Rapha comes on you; if you need provision, Jehovah Jireh comes on you; if you need peace in your heart, Jehovah Shalom comes on you. That the name of God can actually rest on a person.

3) A dwelling place.

Deuteronomy 12:11 – “then there shall be a place which Jehovah your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell”.

So now, not only can the name of God exist on a person; but the name of God can actually come into a place; that not only can the name of God rest on you, the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness God. Not only can it rest on you, but it can actually make this place a dwelling place.

How many of us agree we should make this our prayer: God, let Bay City Outreach Centre be a dwelling place for Your name. What would happen in the city of Hastings, if this church was known as a dwelling place for the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness God?

What would happen around Hastings, if the reputation of this place became: people get healed there; people get fed there; people get peace there? I have a friend who went in there, and her mind was all chaotic, and she left and now her heart is full of peace.

What would happen if it became a dwelling place for the name; when this place becomes fully devoted?

If we, individually, have the name of God rested on all of us; then we become a place (and it's a specific place), that God chooses to make His name dwell; that manifests the name of God, instead of disappointing the hope that rests upon it.

One of the reasons the church in general has lost its credibility, is because we made it all about getting to heaven one day. It's all about getting saved, and get to heaven one day, and we forgot our basic mission: to bring heaven to earth. We forgot our basic mission: to carry the name of God well.

So the name could: sit on a person; be in a specific place.

4) A force that provides protection.

Their next understanding of it was found in the Book of Psalms 20:1-2, and the writer of this Psalm is reflecting on God, and he makes an interesting observation about God. He says: “May Jehovah hear you in the day of trouble. The name of God of Jacob set you on high, sending you help from the sanctuary”.

So now their concept of this started to expand: not only could it ‘rest on a person’; not only was it a ‘prophetic utterance of character’; not only could it ‘sit in a place’; but now the name of God could actually be: ‘a force that provides protection’.

It could be a force that provides protection - that when the enemy comes against you like a flood; the name of God is what sets you on fire; that nothing can touch you; no weapon formed against you can prosper.

The name of God is ‘setting you on high’; that when you ‘carry the name of God’, the responsibility on you is to carry it well, to carry it in a way that manifests the hope that rests upon it, to everyone you know - that's our job.

God's job is, when we're carrying the name of God, is to make sure that when the enemy comes against us like a flood, He lifts us up on high. The name of God actually has the power to protect you from anything coming against you. That was their understanding, and then this understanding grew even more.

5) An emotion, that moves.

In Isaiah 30:27, the prophet is expanding the definition of the name of God, and he says: “Behold, the name of Jehovah comes from afar, burning with anger, and uplifting of smoke. His lips are full of fury, and His tongue like a devouring fire”.

So Isaiah expands the abilities of the name. Now, the name of God can not only ‘rest on a person’; and ‘rest on a place’; it can ‘provide protection’; and has the ability to ‘move with emotion’. There's an ‘emotion’ in the name of God - that can ‘move’; separating it from anything our name can do.

Can you imagine somebody saying: the name of Shane moved through the place with fiery emotion? No, their concept of the name had to do with what happens when the name of God shows up in a place.

When the name of God chooses to make this place a dwelling place, it should fire up our emotions inside. It should change the way we feel. It shouldn't just change the way we think (although that is big time); it should manifest itself in a difference in thinking, to the point where it changes how we feel; that we should feel the truth of the name of God.

How crazy is it, that for us to believe (with all of our heart) the doctrine of forgiveness - we believe that we've been forgiven of every single sin - yet we feel guilty. So we believe we're innocent, but we feel guilty - that makes no sense.

When the name of God comes into a thing, it changes the emotion in a place. It fires a place up!

So the name of God started to expand, and it wasn't just a prophetic utterance of character. Everything that was in this character could actually rest on you. It could rest on a place. It could provide protection - it could move with emotion.

6) A realm (of awareness) that can be lived in.

The next thing they understood, and this is really when it starts to click, is in Micah 4:5. Micah is a later prophet in the Old Testament, and he touches on something about the name of God, that no one before him had discovered.

If the people in Micah's day would have thought they had ‘figured it all out’, then they would have called him a false prophet for saying this; but they allowed people to journey with God, and this is what the prophet Micah says, in Micah 4:5.

“For all the people will walk, each one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God, forever and ever”.

So Micah says: the name of God is not just something that: ‘rests on someone’; can ‘be in a place’; protects, can move with emotion. The name of God is a realm - that can be lived in, or lived out. Everything you do, and everything you say, is in the name of something.

It's a realm of awareness: that we can live in, or outside of. You're either ‘in the name’; or you're ‘outside of the name’.

What dominates your awareness? Whatever dominates your awareness is the name you're living in.

You are meant to minister the name of God. We are called to minister the name of God; and I would suggest to you, that you're ministering the name of whatever you're ‘aware of’.

How many of you wives have ever been on your way home (alone), and you got mad at your husband? You're on your way home, you've got a 20 minute ride home, and you're mad with your husband.

What's going on in that car? It's just you in the car - what's going on in the car? Imaginary conversations, exactly! We love imaginary conversations. We love them. Come on, am I the only one that likes a good imaginary conversation? We love imaginary conversations, and you should - do you know why? Because you never lose, never!

In an imaginary conversation, you always win; and let me help you: if you're having imaginary conversations, and you're losing - get your head checked man - it's YOUR imagination! You can win!

For 20 minutes home – oh, you're letting him have it! Oh yeah, you're letting him have it - and he's cowering in the corner somewhere. And then there's a group of people, when you get home - and they're all taking your side, yeah!

You walk in, and all you're aware of is your anger; and when you walk in that house, I promise you, you minister your anger through the whole house. You walk in, your husband says: what's the matter with you? Oh, nothing!

Do you have any trouble ministering the name of Anger? No. If you were angry with me, you could let me know without saying one word. Why? Because you're a ‘minister of the name’!

You can minister depression. Has anybody, besides me, ever had a good, successful depression? It's fantastic! You can make your face look sad; you could sit off all by yourself; you could cross your arms. People will notice - they come over: what's the matter? Nothing! Why? Because you can ‘minister depression’.

You can minister in the name of: insecurity, rejection, abandonment - or you can minister in the name of the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness God.

What is the name of the God that you walk in? Each of us will walk in the name of something.

If I understand this correctly, this is what God's saying:

Don't say that you walk in my name, and then walk in the name of something else - which disappoints the hope that rests upon it. If you walk in My name, then be compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Manifest the hope that rests upon it.

So they understood it as a realm that could be lived in.

7) A force that brings about the best life

John 20:31 – “these are written, so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you might have life in His name”.

So now the name even expands even further, and the name is a force that brings about the best life. Actually it takes Micah's revelation, (the name is an awareness that you can walk in, or out of), and it says: if you live your life completely aware of the name of God, it brings about the best life - so it's a force that brings about the best life.

8) Creates the best life.

The next revelation is found in the Book of Acts 5:40-41, and it says: “and they obeyed him, and calling the apostles, they beat them; they commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go”. Once again, this is a reference back to Micah.

“In the name of Jesus" has nothing to do with saying: "in the name of Jesus"; it has to do with Being in the name of Jesus.

What they were speaking, was actually ministering out of a realm of awareness (Micah 4:5), that they were in the name. Acts 5:40-41 -“they speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go; then indeed they departed from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be shamed for His name”.

So now the name creates a life - in John 20 the name creates the best life. In Acts 5, they realise that the name creates a life that is so good, it's worth dying for, it's worth suffering for.

It doesn't say: they were ‘tormented’ for God, or they were ‘punished’ for God. It does not say: they were ‘shamed’ for God.

It says: they were ‘shamed for His name’.

This is a concept that is not true of other people. Your name does not travel on its own. Your name does not have power that people walk in and out of. Your name - no one will ever be beaten in the name of Shane - no one. People are beaten because they made a decision to live a compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness life; and that the demonstration of that life is so powerful, that it threatens other people.

They're not shamed because they were shoving religion down people's throats. They weren't shamed because they were thumping their Bibles, saying: we're in, you're out. They weren't shamed because they were saying: we're right, you're wrong. They weren't shamed because they were handing out tracts that ‘don't make any sense’. They weren't shamed for any of that.

They were shamed for living a life, that was worthy to be called of the name; and that the power in that life was drawing people to itself.

Acts 19:37. There's this guy named Paul, and he's in a place called Ephesus. Ephesus was the headquarters to the goddess Diana, and the goddess Artemis. He is in the epicentre of the goddess Artemis. The temple to the goddess Artemis is still one of the eight wonders of the world today, and he's winning so many converts to Christ, they don't know what to do with him, so they arrest him.

This is what Acts 19:37 (I don't have it in front of me), but the judge in the court says something like: Why have you brought these men to me, who have neither robbed our temples, nor have they blasphemed our goddess? Paul is in the epicentre of the goddess Artemis, and he's building one of the greatest churches of all time, and he doesn't say one bad thing about Artemis. He simply lived a life in the name of God, and that, in and of itself, drew people to itself - and that's what we're called to do. That's what we're called to be. We're called to demonstrate before we announce - to demonstrate. It's worth dying for.

9) 1 Peter 4:14 – “if you are reviled for the name of Christ, then you are blessed, because the spirit of God and glory rest on you”.

He says: you want to walk in the spirit? Then you walk in that realm of awareness that Micah 4:5 talked about. When you're in the realm of awareness of the name of God, then that is walking in the spirit. That's when the spirit of God and glory rest on you.

You want to be about glory? Fine, but glory is not primarily gold, and diamonds, and angels, and wind, and trumpets, and all that stuff. I'm all for all of it - great. When God does that stuff – it’s fantastic. But if that kind of stuff is it, then we've missed the point - that the glory of God always comes back to a manifestation of the name; which is: producing a group of people, it's producing fruit, that produces the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness God.

What good does it do, to have a church of people covered in gold dust, with diamonds in their shoes, seeing angels in the sky, and they walk out and be mean? No! That is not the point! The point of the spirit of God and glory resting on you, is that it produces something in your life of the name of God: the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness God.

1 Peter 4:15, which doesn't have anything to do with it, but I'm putting it in for my own self, because I just love this scripture. It says: “Truly, according to them, He is blasphemed; but according to you He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or a meddler in the affairs of others”. I love that.

This says: ‘busybody’ - I like that even better. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, thief, evildoer, or a busybody”. Isn't that awesome? I mean murderer - that's bad! Thief = bad. Evildoer = bad; but in the same list, he puts ‘busybody’!

Let me help you for a second. You want to walk in a way that manifests the name of God, let me give you the most common-sense advice I could ever give you. Mind your own business! Don't be meddling in the personal affairs of other people!

Let me help you with something. If they want you to know their personal life - they will tell you. And if they're not telling you, there's likely a really good reason why they're not telling you - and it's none of your business!

I feel better already. This is like a big counselling session. If you're one of these people, who waste time at home looking on the internet, to find all the trash on all the preachers in the world - stop! That is using the name of God in vain. We are called to something bigger and better. Don't be known to be a murderer, a thief, an evildoer or a busybody. Be known as someone who: walks in the name of God, and manifests it everywhere they go.

The conclusion there is this: the untouchable name of God is actually placed on you; so God entrusts His reputation to people. Why? I have no idea! He entrusts His reputation to people - namely Christians, who are carrying it. If you say you're ‘a Christian’, then you're carrying the name of Christ; so wherever you go, and whatever you do, God is present in your actions.

One writer says it this way: Whatever you do - do it in the name of Jesus.

How do you run your business? Are people seeing what God looks like, in the way you run your business? Do you have integrity, compassion, humility, love?

What kind of neighbour are you? How do you spend your money? If I looked at your cheque book, what would I see is important to you? Is it the things that are important to God, or is it just to you? How do you give? Are you generous?

How do you handle stress and problems? Are you an angry, worried mess; or are you showing people the profound trust in God Almighty?

Are you a forgiving person; or do you excuse and rationalise a reason to hold a grudge? How do you talk to, and treat, your husband? How do you talk to, and treat, your wife? What kind of representation of God are you?

If you, and your ideas, were the only concept of God that people had - what would they think of Him? Would they think: He's kind? Would they think: He's compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love - because that's what He is; or would they think: He's mean, judgemental, caustic, critical, cynical, a gossiper, someone who's insecure? What picture of God are you putting off on a day to day basis?

Is there any area in my life right now, which is swearing, and using the name of God in vain, to the world around me?

John 17:6. This is Jesus' last big sort of prayer – “Father, I have manifested Your name, to everyone You gave Me out of this world”.

“I have manifested Your name”. In that same prayer later, this is what He said: “Father, as You are in Me, and I am in You, let them be in Us, so that the world might believe”.

Your relationship with God is never about you and God; it's about: you, and God, and everyone in your sphere of reference.

“Father, as You are in Me, and I am in You, let them be in Us, so that the world might believe”.

This is about a group of people committed to showing the whole world what God looks like - and we will either carry the name of God in a way that manifests the hope that rests upon it; or we will carry the name of God in a way that disappoints it. That is using it in vain.

There's unimaginable power in using the name of God properly, because here's the truth - listen to me very carefully: If I can misuse the name, then I can use it. I can live in it. I can live it out. I can heal. I can deliver. I can encourage. I can show generosity. I can feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and bring encouragement to prisoners. I can give instruction, and if nothing else, if you're sitting there going: I can't do any of those things - listen to me: then you can be nice.

Just be nice. I mean, is that just a heavy revelation or what? God has called Christians to be nice, more than He has called us to be right. Can I get a hearty amen to that?

Is your life revealing the name, or profaning it? Are you manifesting the name, or are you profaning it?

I'm going to close this out with this story - it's an awesome story in the Bible. It's about a guy named Jacob, and Jacob is a mama's-boy. Jacob had severe psychological issues; because, first of all: his name was ‘Liar’, which I think you could agree, if your parents called you that from birth, it would mess you up. God to bed Liar, get up Liar, do your homework Liar, come to dinner Liar, do your chores Liar. It would be bad, but it even gets more complicated...

It says that: his father loved his brother more - and he knew it. Jacob was trying to do anything he could do, to sort of get his father's attention, and he wanted his father's blessing - but the father's blessing belonged to Esau.

But it says that his father was blind; he was laying there because he was old and blind. He's laying there, and he says: “is that you Esau?” Jacob said: “yes, it's me dad - it's me, Esau”. He says: “you sound like Jacob”. He says: “no, no, dad it's me, it's Esau, give me your blessing, give me your blessing dad - come on”. He says: “no, the blessing belongs to Esau - you sound like Jacob”.

Jacob had taken fur - it says that Esau was very hairy, but Jacob was fair-skinned. So he took fur, and he wrapped it around his arms, and he said: “no, no dad, feel my arm - feel it”; so Isaac feels his arm, and he says: “you sound like Jacob, but you feel like Esau” - so he gave him the blessing.

Listen to me very carefully: you don't deserve anything from God. Everything you have is by the grace of God. When you go to God in yourself, in your own name - you don't get anything. But when you put on Christ - you sound like ‘you’, but you feel like ‘Him’ - and the Father gives you every blessing that belongs to Christ anyway. That's living in the name.

One writer said it this way: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name”. Next line: “...and forget not His benefits: who forgives all of your sins, and heals all of your diseases”. Why? For He is the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness God, who does not treat us as our iniquities deserve, but gives us mercy that's new every morning. Great is the faithfulness of God.

You serve a God who believes in you, more than you believe in Him. He's trusted you to carry His name. He's trusted you, and me, and all of us, and as a church, as a dwelling place - He's chosen us to carry His name. Carry it well.

May you be: manifesters of the name of God; and not just carriers of it. May you never carry the name in a way that disappoints the hope that rests upon it. May we be people who carry the name that manifests the hope that rests upon it.

You can walk out of here tonight, completely aware of the name of God - and if you do that, then you're walking in the spirit of Christ, for the spirit of Christ and glory dwells on you.



http://mikeconnellministries.com

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