» View one page at time »

Hosting Shane Willard (2010)

Shane Willard

Deaf/Hearing-Impaired Audio Transcripts


Hosting Shane Willard (2010) (Shane Willard)

Leaders Meeting (Shane Willard)

Pashat, Drash, Remez and Sod (1 of 4) (Shane Willard)
The Hebrew people interpret the Bible through four levels. Pashat is: simple; plain meaning - the cleanest, plainest meaning of the text. Remez is a hint, or an allusion, to something before before it. Drash is a life application, that whatever you find in the Bible, if you cannot apply it, then don't talk about it. Sod is mystery, a realm of Bible interpretation that only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you.

Hebraic Definition of Kingdom (2 of 4) (Shane Willard)

Shane Willard 2010 (3 of 4) (Shane Willard)

Shane Willard 2010 (4 of 4) (Shane Willard)

The Cross and the Resurrection (Shane Willard)
Jesus died on the cross for you, not to just forgive you of your sins, but to empower you to be nice to other people. There's a cross that Jesus bore for us, that we could not bear; and at the same time, there's a cross that He called us to bear, because we can. We look at the case for believing in the resurrection, and then look closely at some of the imagery - the Passover Lamb; and the mixture of blood & water that flowed from Him; the Folded Napkin; and the Dirty Roman Sponge. From Eden, a river called Hope flowed through a land called Suffering. Colloidal Gold gives water a red colour, symbolising that hope.

What do Kingdom people look like? (Shane Willard)
A study of the Beatitudes - Jesus first sermon. A popular new Rabbi, he presents a yoke that is easy, and a burden that is light; He emphases heart attitudes over keeping all the laws. There are a lot of people at the end of the day, who think they're in, but they're actually out. Tzedak (Righteousness) always produces Tzedakah (Generosity, or righteousness-revealed). Jeremiah 22:16 "He took care of the poor and the afflicted, so it is well with him. Is this not what it means to know Me, declares the Lord, your God". The happiest people set their passions on meeting the needs of others.

Audio


Leaders Meeting (Shane Willard)  

Thu 22 Apr 2010 « Back to Top

Audio»  Share»  Website»  

Leaders Meeting Shane Willard 22.04.2010

[unclear 00.00.00]

[Shane Willard] Well I love being here. I purposely scheduled this as my last - I've been three weeks in South Africa. We went to seven different places in three weeks and then I was in Australia for three weeks, and now I'm here. I purposely made this my last stop because this is a place I can come and I don't have to manufacture energy, because there's a natural energy that is around the place anyway and so it makes it easier on me. I really appreciate your church. I think your church is a church of strength and it's a church of energy. More than anything I think that the feeling - take this okay, take this for what it's worth as someone who travels the world and is in different places every week. When you're in different places every week you can gauge certain things and so as someone who travels the world and is in a different place every week, this is one of the most loving places that I've ever been to in terms of the environment that people would feel when they come in.

So that's a big testimony to you, so what I'm going to share - I had it in my heart to share something with you today and I spent some time preparing it, my last days in Brisbane and then you know, looking at it. This is the first time I would have shared this, so give me some sort of creative leeway here because I'm still working some of this out too, but I felt to share something with you because the environment of this church is so precious and it's so particular and it's so unique that it's up to you to maintain it. So what I want to talk to you about today is the state of your heart. It's the state of your heart. I entitled the talk State of the Heart Leadership. Every year someone does a State of the Union address, the President of the United States does a State of the Union address and it's very important at that point to get his perspective on where things are. So I want to talk to you about how important it is to on a regular basis - everything we're going to talk about today is not a one time decision where you go to an altar, you get prayed for, you get delivered from something.

It's not a one time decision; it's something that I think we'll find that we have to deal with on a regular basis, because the tendency with European Christian is when hear something like this they ask themself the question, well which one am I? Like for instance the parables [unclear 00.02.32] where Jesus says okay, people's hearts are like this. When someone scatters the seed of God's word it either falls on good ground or stony ground, or thorny ground or hard ground, so the tendency is to say well which one are we. Which one are we? The answer is yes. The answer is you're all of them, depending on the topic okay and depending on where you are, and depending on what kind of pressure you're feeling. Pressure does things to people. Pressure does things to people that other times it wouldn't. Stuff comes out and it's inappropriate. Listen, it's inappropriate to judge anybody's heart based on how they're acting under pressure, just like you wouldn't want someone to judge your heart in one moment of you lose your mind right?

So with that in mind I want us to investigate some things here. This is a scripture from Matthew 15:17 through 20. This is Jesus, He's speaking to a group and the context of this scripture is - okay, let me give you the context of the scripture first. So the context of the scripture is the Pharisees are having a moment with Jesus where they're being very critical, and if you've ever been a communicator you understand how frustrating this. Every now and then - it doesn't happen often, but every now and then I'll get done with a meeting and you've worked hard to - the emotion it takes to really do a meeting well, you work hard to do it. After the meeting some self-appointed church prophet who is the guy in charge of whatever's true and whatever's an error in the church comes up with his Bible open wanting to tell you why everything you said was wrong. That's very annoying. It's very, very annoying because what he's saying is he's right and everybody else is wrong and anyway, so testing grace.

So anyway they're coming in and they're doing this and it's like a rapid fire sort of thing. Finally they run out of things to criticise Him for and this is what they say: Jesus, don't You notice that Your disciples, they don't even wash their hands before they eat? And Jesus, it's like He's at the end of the road with this, like if you're going to criticise that - now as a communicator this is so important. As a communicator when you're communicating with a group of people the most important thing is your starting point. You have to back up until you have some kind of common ground, so in this passage of scripture Jesus has tried to go this way and they were critical. Then He tried to go that way and they were critical, then He tried to go this way and they were critical. Jesus continually backs up until He can find some common ground, and once you can find some common ground and says okay, can we at least agree on this, then you can go forward. That's Communication 101.

You have to start with something everybody's on the same page with and then move somebody somewhere that way, so this was the common ground. This is what He says: Don't you see that whatever enters your mouth goes into your stomach and then eventually out of the body? So Jesus backs up to the point where He says okay, you guys aren't agreeing with anything so let's try this. When you eat it goes into your stomach, and then you eventually have a bowel movement. [unclear 00.05.48] That is a - [laughter] you don't get much more safe than that, like can you imagine being a Pharisee? You're trying to criticise everything so finally Jesus backs up and goes okay, when you eat something it goes into your stomach and eventually you have a bowel movement. The Pharisees would have been like well you can't really argue with that can you, right? [Laughter] So now He's finally got His common ground and then this is what He says. See its okay, so we do agree on that: eat, stomach, bowel movement. It's all connected.

Okay, then He says but the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart and these make a man unclean, for it is out of the heart that comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony and slander. These are the things that make a man unclean. So He's whacking their entire idea of unclean and clean. They had created an incredible system to define people as unclean or clean. They had this massively complicated system. There were 613 rules in Leviticus, 613 commands to live the best life, and it had nothing to do with salvation. It had nothing to do with forgiveness. All you had to do to be forgiven was put your faith in a lamb on Yom Kippur, so in the Old Testament they were saved by grace through faith, [unclear 00.07.12] faith in a lamb. In the New Testament we're saved by grace through faith in the sacrifice of a lamb - no difference. In Leviticus there were 613 commands to live the best life. The word Torah doesn't mean law, it just means God's teachings and instructions for the best way to live.

So there were 613 commands, but that wasn't hard enough. There's something in people that wants to make God harder to live with, so they made 3,000 more rules on top of the 613. Now why would they do that? Why would they do that? Because in the Old Testament if you broke the Torah what did you have to do? You had to bring a sacrifice and it had to be a spotless sacrifice. Well if you didn't have a bunch of spotless lambs hanging around and you needed a sacrifice where would you get it? Conveniently you could buy it from them, so isn't it convenient that the people you could buy the lambs from actually made it harder to keep so that you would need more lambs. Now why would they do that? So that they could make money. They were getting wealthy on religious guilt. We would never do that would we? So what they did is then they said well because of our rules we've never murdered somebody. We've never committed adultery, we've never done this, so they set themself up as something bigger.

So Jesus shows up and wrecks their entire concept of clean and unclean. He shows up and goes you're impressed with yourself because you've never murdered somebody? Well that's not very impressive. How many people actually murder people? Not very many. I'm going to ask you do you hate people? Is it in your heart? You're impressed you've never committed adultery? Well woopty-do. I mean how many people could say I've never committed adultery? A lot. My question is what's come out of your heart; do you lust? Jesus wrecked everything. I mean He shows up - He even wrecks their ideas of salvation right, like I'll give you an example. There's this one time there's a paralysed guy that gets lowered in from the roof of a house and this is - now listen. I was raised Pentecostal, I was discipled Baptist, I went to a Presbyterian Reform Seminary and I've been mentored by a Pentecostal rabbi for eight years and I'm telling you, this story doesn't fit any system of theology I've ever heard but it's right there in the Bible, it's in Red Letters.

It says that a paralysed guy got lowered in from the roof of a house and it says and Jesus saw the face of His friends and proclaimed his sins forgiven. Jesus saw the face of His friends and proclaimed his sins forgiven. Now can you imagine the reaction of the crowd? You can't call him forgiven! What did he need to be forgiven? He needs a lamb. He needs to take the lamb to the temple. He needs to talk about his sins to the priest. The priest needs to offer the lamb as a sacrifice for his sins. Everybody knows that's the only way to be forgiven, everybody knows that! Jesus goes no, no, no, there's something else going on in his heart, it'll be okay. It'll be okay - and He was whacking their concepts of salvation and He was whacking their money making schemes. He started to make everything about the heart. Now this has huge implications for leaders. The first implication is this, is that the condition of your heart will determine the atmosphere of your leadership. The condition of your heart always determines the atmosphere of your leadership. Let me give you an example what I mean.

You could always say the right things, but you can almost never hide the tone of how you say it. I'll say it this way: you can be right but be wrong at the top of your voice. This is true if you're having relational conflict, you know, those of you who are married, you guys understand what I'm talking about. You love someone with all your heart but there's still conflict and so in that conflict there are times when you can be right but everybody in this room, whether you're married, single, whatever, everybody in this room has had relational conflict where their side was right but actually they were wrong because of their tone. In being right they were actually wrong. Here's another thing you can't hide, intensity. Intensity. The true test of ministry in the First Century was something called the Disposition of Messiah, the Disposition of Messiah. The Disposition of Messiah was found in Exodus 34:6. He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness, so that when someone's heart is right concepts and principles that someone knows almost never change. The tone and the intensity of which it's communicated is what changes, so when your heart is doing well the tone and the intensity of your leadership is a Disposition of Messiah tone. When your heart is not doing so well it changes the environment of which you lead okay, so that's number one.

Number two, the condition of your heart will shape the environment in which you lead, so the first thing [unclear 00.12.27] will determine the atmosphere of your leadership. The second thing follows on, that will eventually shape the environment in which you lead. Unhealthy leaders create unhealthy environments. Unhealthy leaders create unhealthy environments. Unhealthy environments are taxing and draining because unhealthy environments eventually fill up with unhealthy people, because unhealthy people are comfortable in unhealthy environments. It is normal for them. In an unhealthy environment all healthy people either get unhealthy or they leave. In an unhealthy environment all healthy people either leave or become unhealthy. Creating healthy environments is the key to drawing healthy people okay? The condition of your heart will eventually be the factor that draws the moral and ethical environments around what we're doing. It'll draw the values around what we're doing. It'll actually determine who's going to be comfortable around you, who's going to be comfortable.

Listen, if you're surrounded by nutcases there's something to be said for that. There's something to be said about being compassionate and wanting to help people, but if you are surrounded by them all the time it might be saying something about you. [Laughter] If you look around and go well just everybody around me has got a problem, the problem actually might be you. It actually might be you. So Jesus is talking about how important it is to guard a heart. Now I've written down there are four leading causes of heart disease, four leading causes of heart disease and once again when you listen to these your tendency is going to be well, which one of these am I? I would say yes, it depends. It depends. The first type is guilt, guilt. Now guilt, if someone is struggling with guilt, something in secret okay where someone's struggling with guilt you will notice this in their leadership, because underlying guilt is simply this: it's an attitude that says I owe you, I owe you. I owe you.

Let me give you some traits of a guilty leader. First, the guilty leader finds it difficult to trust other people. A guilty leader finds it difficult to trust other people. Why? Because in themself they don't trust themself. They know that they're not acting trustworthy, so therefore no one else is acting trustworthy so they can't trust anybody. The find it difficult to trust. Number two, the guilty leader builds walls instead of communities. Why? Because you need something to protect your secret, so they build walls instead of communities. Number three, the guilty leader comes across distant and distracted, distant and distracted. Now once again your tendency here is going to be two things; which one of these am I? And the other tendency is going to be wow, I hope such and such is listening right now, right? [Laughter] I would encourage you not to take that. I would encourage you to actually sort of step out and investigate yourself. The guilty leader comes across as distant and distracted.

Number four, the guilty leader often overreacts to people who share their weakness, so what I mean by that is listen, if you ever see a preacher on TV who is focussing very hard on one particular sin, I promise you somewhere deep in their heart they struggle with it. [Laughter] You always preach your weakness, always. I preach my weakness. You guys have heard me enough. What would you think my weakness would be? And I'll be just open with you? My weakness is that legalistic sort of wondering if God likes me because I've done bad things sort of thing. I grew up old school Pentecostal. In old school Pentecostalism if you sinned God left. You had to get re-saved. You lost your salvation every time you sinned. My granny got saved five times a day. [Laughter] She did, five times a day and here was a woman who never cut her hair in her whole life. She died at 90 and on her death bed, on her death - she just died back in August. On her death bed she was worried that they might have to rush her in to surgery and cut her hair. Why? Because her pastor told her if you cut your hair you're offending God and you're endangering yourself of hell.

So here's a woman who never cut her hair in her whole life. She'd never worn make up in her whole life, never worn jewellery in her whole life, never wore slacks in her whole life, never went to a movie in her whole life. If she knew that I was at the movies she would pray earnestly that Jesus would not come back while I was in there [laughter] because Jesus would never go in there to get me out. [Laughter] She got saved five times a day and the reason she chose five times a day is she broke her waking hours into three and a half hour spans. Every three and a half hours she would have a moment where she would confess the sins of the last three and a half hours to God so that she wouldn't run the risk of forgetting any. This was a crazy sort of bondage system. I was messing with her on her 85th birthday. I said listen granny, I'm taking you out for your birthday. I used to take her out on a date. I'd take her on a date about once a week or so because she was by herself. Granddad had died. I work for myself so I could organise things so I'd take her out on a date in the middle of the day.

I'd take her into a nice restaurant and I'd tell everybody this is my date and she's smiling and you know, she's got her walker and [laughter] she's in there. So one time I said granny, after dinner I'm taking you for a makeover. She said what! I said I'm serious, I've got it all set up. They're going to give you a nice hair cut, they're going to spruce everything up, got you some jewellery organised, I've got you a nice outfit. This is going to be fantastic granny! The fear of God came over her! [Laughter] She said no! No, no, no, I can't do that. She said I wouldn't want to send myself to hell and she said maybe someone else too. I said granny, how are you going to send anybody to hell? She said I'd hate to give a man a lustful thought. [Laughter] I'm like you're 85! Like nothing's in the right place, are you kidding me? Like a lustful thought? [Laughter] So here's someone who - and being around my granny, granny was hypersensitive to people who struggled with those things. Why? Because we preach our weakness, so I grew up in that environment. So somewhere deep down in my heart, somewhere deep down in my heart if I messed up bad enough when I lay my head down at night I wonder if God likes me. I wonder, I struggle with that hard so when you listen to my preaching what does it focus on? It's a lot of grace and a lot of wait a minute, Jesus is nice and a lot of this stuff.

I sort of go over the top with it. I sort of go over the top with it. Why? It's because of my own weakness and my own guilt. Now is focussing on the grace of God a bad thing? No, if you're going to focus on anything that's probably a pretty good thing to do, but everybody ministers and everybody - this is my point: everybody ministers and everybody leads out of their weakness. So whatever you're feeling guilty about secretly, I promise you it's coming out in how you're leading. If anybody's paying attention they can tell what you're struggling with by how you lead, by how you lead. You cannot hide this stuff because it's coming out of your heart alright, so guilt has the attitude of I owe you. Now here's a consequence of that. The consequences of that are this: number one, a culture of suspicion, a culture of suspicion. Everybody's wondering is someone out to get me? Is someone - what's their motive there? And this could be simple things. This is where on a staff in a church this will kill a church, this will kill an organisation.

If Steve says today Dave, I'm going to go meet with so and so in the church. I'm going to have lunch with so and so in the church, so Steve leaves and then Dave calls a meeting with you three and you and says Steve's going out with this guy. Now I wonder what he's trying to do? I wonder what his motives are? Once we start assuming that Steve has improper motives we destroy the unity in the organisation. Now listen. If you've fazed out listen here, this is so important. The Hebrew concept of unity is this word: ahad. Ahad. That is a Hebrew word that means compound unity, compound unity. It's a special word. For something to be a - I'm not a scientist so forgive me if I'm using the wrong words here - for something to be a homogenous sort of thing where it's one [that's one thing, 00.22.19] but for something to be compound, in other words it's got many parts but it comes together as a whole, that's the idea of ahad. It'd be like saying the All Blacks played together as one okay? You've got however many people are on a rugby team and they're playing together as one. That's ahad.

Now this is so important. One of the three primary scriptures in the Torah that the Jews focussed on is Deuteronomy 6:4. It's called the Shema and it just says this. They would do this morning, noon and night: Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one, ahad. Ahad - so that the Lord is unity inside diversity. He is compound unity okay, He's compound unity alright, so unity inside diversity. So God is ahad. We are made in the image of God alright, so if God is unity in diversity so are you, and everything about you is unity in diversity. Think about it, you're three in one right? You're spirit, soul, body, and each individual part is its own individual part. At the same time each individual part affects the others. If you get depressed does it affect your physical body? Yes, you lose your appetite, you sleep more, this, that and the other okay, so if you get sick in your physical body does it affect your soul? Yes, absolutely.

Then each individual part is ahad, for instance how many parts are in your body? Thousands and thousands and thousands and if only one part gets sick it affects the whole body, for instance have you ever had kidney stones? Anybody ever had kidney stones? You have. Did you go to work that day? [No.] You wimp, what's wrong with you? It's just your kidney, a stone about that big right? It's just like that. You ever had pneumonia? Anybody had pneumonia? [Yes.] Did you go to work that day? What's wrong with you? The whole rest of your body's healthy, just that one little part is filled with fluid and you can't work, you wimp? [Laughter] Like what's wrong with you? Why? Why is this? It's because your body is ahad; it's a lot of different parts but they all affect one another. Your soul is ahad. Your soul and your body react ahad. The universe, the Bible says this, that God holds the universe together. God holds the universe together [unclear 00.24.42] this is just transitive property.

If God is ahad and God is holding the universe together, then ahad is one of the forces that holds the whole universe together. This is true. The relationship between ocean temperatures and climate, the relationship between - there's a guy, I can't think of his name - but he came up with and found what they call the Butterfly Effect. Do you guys know what the Butterfly Effect is? It wasn't just a movie. The Butterfly Effect was a guy that was studying meteorological patterns and what he did, he was at MIT which is the top engineering school in America. He created an algorithm for wind pattern and he was playing with it on a computer program. Well the long and the short is, the story goes that he went into his algorithm one day and he was in a hurry and he left off the final three decimal points. So you've got to understand his algorithm, let's say - I don't remember the actual number but it was something like this: [unclear 00.25.45] okay. So something like this and when he got in a hurry he left those three numbers off, he just typed in that. And so he left and he came back an hour later and what he found was that the effect of those numbers being left off in the wind patterns had dramatic climate devastation 100 miles away. So they asked him, they said well what does that mean? He said well what it means is those numbers in terms of wind is the equivalency of the wind that is created by one puff of a butterfly's wings, he said so the logic goes if a butterfly puffed his wings in the wrong direction at the wrong time it can cause catastrophic effects 100 miles away in weather patterns, so he coined it the Butterfly Effect, the Butterfly Effect. That's ahad.

Do you realise how ahad the universe is, when God has to keep His hands on the direction of the butterflies' wings? That's ahad. That is holding the universe together. If the world quit spinning on its axis properly we'd all die very quickly, like these are all ahad ideas. Now listen, ahad is the force that's holding the universe together, unity in diversity is holding the universe together. Listen to me. When the universe faces an ahad breakdown the universe starts to break down. When your body faces an ahad breakdown, your body gets sick and you get disease, this kind of thing. Listen, if the universe cannot handle a breakdown of ahad this church doesn't stand a chance. You with me? [Yeah.] When the universe - like if the ahad of the universe starts breaking down you would have catastrophic effects, catastrophic effects and this organisation, as good as it is, is nowhere near as strong as the universe. If the universe cannot handle a breakdown in ahad then this church won't stand a chance. The organisation won't stand a chance.

You have to create an environment that does not tolerate sabotaging ahad. Listen, mistakes - yes, as a leader this is my philosophy. I've let my leaders make as many mistakes as they could, like without destroying something. I would let them make as many mistakes as they could. As long as they were journeying with the right heart I didn't care about their mistakes, but when they started sabotaging ahad that's when I'd cut their head off. Like I was on staff at some big churches and the only people I can remember ever having to step down out of leadership, it wasn't for adultery or addiction or anything like that. When someone was messing up, if someone messed up and they came to us and said listen, I've messed up, we always helped them. That was no problem, but when we started hearing people talking about other people, when we started hearing slander and gossip and things that break down ahad, no. No, we can't tolerate that here.

My pastor that trained me, there were a lot of guys in leadership who messed up with pornography or messed up with whatever and he would always help them. He wouldn't expose it - because they wanted help. [unclear 00.29.16] as long as you want help I'll help you and I will not expose you, and that's healthy. That's healthy but man, when that guy got word that there was this group of people and they were downing this group of people and it was breaking down the unity of the organisation, he would cut their head off. Why? Because the universe can't handle it. How much more can an organisation not handle it? So this is the effect of having guilt in your heart is a culture of suspicion. Number two, a culture characterised by professional courtesy rather than genuine community. Okay, let me say that again. When we're leading with guilt in our heart it's a culture characterised by professional courtesy, rather than genuine community.

Number three, the consequences of having guilt in the heart: very surface relationships because you're insecure about people knowing what's for real. [Yeah, that's right.] So my question to you before we go any further in this is do you have any secret things that you're dealing with that is affecting how you lead? Is there anything in your heart that only you know that's affecting how you lead? Is there anything where this guilt is entering into your leadership? Alright, then the next one is this. First is guilt, second one is anger, anger. Anger has the underlying heart attitude you owe me, you owe me. So guilt is I owe you and that's unhealthy; anger is you owe me. Now here are the traits of angry leaders: angry leaders overreact to unmet expectations. Angry leaders are prone to fix blame on individuals rather than systems, so instead of looking at the system of the organisation and how we can change that we fix the blame on one particular person or this particular thing. Typically it's not true. Typically it's a system problem.

Angry leaders punish failure and more often than not someone with anger in their heart, they refuse to accept responsibility for their own failures. So here's the consequences of that. When that's going on in our heart here's what it looks like in leadership: one, a culture of fear where you're scared to mess up all the time; a culture of cover up so then you have a lot of secrets which produce more guilt, then you've got a real mess; a culture of fear, a culture of cover up and then a culture where right - listen, a culture where right is defined by what pleases the boss instead of what's the best for the organisation. You don't ever want a culture that's defined by what pleases one man. You want a culture that's defined by what's best for the organisation alright. So the next one, first one is guilt, second one's anger, third one is greed. So guilt is I owe you, anger is you owe me, greed is I owe me, I owe me. Here are some traits of a guilty leader and if you find this to be true about yourself we're going to have to deal with this okay.

Greed. Here are some traits of a greedy leader and if you've found traits of this in yourself we'll have to deal with this. If there's any growling Mike will handle it, okay so [laughter] the greedy leader is reluctant to share the credit. A greedy leader is reluctant to share the credit. If there's something in you that you find it hard to share credit with somebody else, there's something in your heart needs to be dealt with and listen, that doesn't make you bad. It makes you normal okay. Everybody deals with this stuff. This doesn't make anybody bad. This is normal stuff that we all deal with. Number two, the greedy leader is reluctant to share the rewards of success, so they want to sort of hoard it to themself. Number three, the greedy leader will change the rules in the middle of the game to suit them - nothing's more frustrating than that in anything. Let's take a marriage for instance. A marriage, whether you realise it or not, starts out with a basic agreement between two people.

It has basic tenants to it like I will love you, you will respect me. It's a pretty good idea right; I will love you, you'll respect me. And inside that it has even more tenants to the basic agreement, like it's a pretty good rule stated or unstated that your husband should not come home and greet you with a punch in the mouth every day, pretty good rule right? Like if he did that he would be breaking his basic agreement alright. [Yeah.] Pretty good idea for you not to address him with obscenity-laced tirades, probably pretty good right? So pretty good for the wife not to address him like that, pretty good for the husband not to address - and whether you've stated it or not stated it these things are understood agreements. Every relationship like that that you have understood agreements about sexuality, you have understood agreements about how we're going to handle money, like it's a pretty good idea for one of the two not to go out and borrow $50,000 without consulting the other person right. Like this is a pretty good idea.

Now in Hebrew culture when you broke your basic agreement it was called marital unfaithfulness okay, marital unfaithfulness. So in a leadership culture as in a relational culture we have to keep our rules and our agreements consistent. It doesn't mean that we don't change our rules; it means that when we change the rules there's a general agreement that that's the best way to do it. You don't change it in the middle of the game okay. Number four, the greedy leader will sacrifice the good of the organisation for the sake of personal gain alright, that's the heart. Now here are the consequences of that. Here's what the culture will look like if we don't deal with that: number one, it's a culture where decisions are made with the good of the leader in mind rather than the good of the organisation; number two, if you want to know if there's some greed in our hearts in terms of leadership - I'm not talking about in terms of money. That's a whole different one. I'm talking about in terms of leadership. If your culture ever becomes defined by turf wars, if the culture of your organisation is ever defined by turf wars somewhere there's greed in our heart that needs to be dealt with.

So if the children's guy is fighting with the youth guy, so if the children's guy is fighting with the teen's guy you've got a turf war. Now in this church's situation if the children's guy is fighting with the teen guy it's a case of schizophrenia because it's the same guy okay? [Laughter] He's fighting with himself. Okay, so this is MY side of the budget. This part of the money should be this, MY department, so there's no sort of consideration to wait a minute, hold on, what's best for the organisation? Any time your organisation starts struggling with turf wars there's greed in some people's hearts that needs to be dealt with, needs to be dealt with. Number three, a culture of secrecy. Why? Why is there a culture of secrecy? Because I don't want you to know everything that is going on, because I want the bigger piece of the pie. See the guilt, the secrecy and guilt is this: I don't want you to know what I'm secretly dealing with. The secrecy and greed is I don't want you to know what I'm doing because ultimately I'll get a bigger piece of the pie that way. It's a scarcity mentality as if there's not enough to go around.

Alright, the fourth type of problem here is jealousy and I don't mean here, I mean in this talk okay. I'm sure that all of us deal with this all the time, jealousy. Jealousy has the underlying thought, it's an entitlement thought. It is God owes me. I deserve something. Let me ask you a question. Do you ever get secretly offended when you're not noticed? Do you ever get secretly offended when you're not noticed? That's a sign of jealousy in your heart. The jealous leader is quick to point out the failures of others. Why? Because they think they're entitled to the promotion, and if someone else doesn't get the promotion then they will. They're quick to point out the failures of others. Number two, the jealous leader is reluctant to facilitate someone else's success. They're reluctant to facilitate someone else's success. Although the spiritual principle is this: whatever you make happen for others God makes happen for you. So actually if you want God to bless your side of the ministry, the best thing for you to do is to partner with someone else in a different department and help them win. That's the spiritual principle. If you're a car salesman the best thing you could do is help someone else sell cars. God will handle the rest for you.

Number three, a jealous leader is threatened by talented or popular people in the organisation. You see this a lot in transition, like when an organisation goes through transition and someone else comes in and their gifts are obvious, boy the jealousy comes out. Listen, when someone walks in and they're obviously more gifted in a certain area than you, if you get jealous - that's where it challenges the jealousy in your heart. That's when it does that. When you have a transition of personnel jealousy comes out. When you have a transition of authority rebellion comes out. Why? Because someone who has rebellion in their heart, once the authority structure is set someone with rebellion in their heart will figure out a way to manipulate the system in order to get what they want. When you change the authority structure now those same people have to come up with a new way. They have to start all over and that's bad. It's bad.

Number four, the jealous leader measures success in terms of other's failures. So the variable in a jealous leader's thing of success is how is everybody else failing, not how is the organisation winning. Now here are the consequences of that: a culture filled with negativity. Why? When there are turf wars and there's all of this stuff and you don't want anybody else to win because if they win it means you lose, then it's filled with negativity with everybody pointing out the problems of everybody else. Two, a culture void of leadership development. The reason you can't develop new leaders in that culture and that environment is because no one wants anybody else to win, and listen, I'm telling you something. Someone with a real leadership gift will not tolerate being in an environment where it's impossible for them to win. They won't do it. They'll leave. They'll leave. Number three, it's a culture that does not recognise and celebrate high achievers. They don't recognise and celebrate high achievers. Okay, now we talked about a lot of the negatives. Let's get at least one solution for each one okay.

So here are some solutions, four habits of a healthy leader. These are four heart diseases; let me give you four habits. The cure for guilt: the cure for guilt is to confess. Within the realm of reason, like let me tell you what I mean by that. There are certain pastors in the world that I would never tell them what I'm struggling with, never ever in a million years. Why? Because I'd look the next day and it would be on their internet blog. [Laughter] It would, and in their heart they would think they were protecting the body of Christ, when in actuality they're just jealous of the gift of God on my life and they're trying to bring me down. So there are certain people I would never tell my stuff to and it is wisdom not to be an open book to everybody. However if your organisation can't be set up in such a way where the people in this room at least are safe, then the organisation's going to suffer. This organisation, for it to be most effective, you ought to be able to be struggling with something and you share that with her and know that it's not going to go out there. You've got to.

The only way to be healthy as an organisation is to be able to take things that are in darkness and put a big lamp on it. It's the only way to do it is to bring stuff out into the open so it can be dealt with. It's the only way to do it - and the only way to do that is to create an environment of safety. Like if you're struggling with drinking 17 shots of Whiskey every night [you look like that would be 00.43.15] [Laughter] I mean you ought to be - if you want to deal with that, for this church to be healthy if she wants to deal with that she ought to be able to deal with that without fear of losing her job. [That's right.] She ought to be able to go to Mike and say Mike, you don't know this about me but I want to put a big lamp on something here. I struggle with alcohol, like I'm not talking about I have a glass of wine at dinner. I'm talking about I have a bottle in an hour. I'm talking we've got massive problem here. Huh? [unclear 00.43.54] Yeah, I don't know. [Laughter] So it depends on who you are. [unclear 00.43.59] But she ought to be able to say this thing is controlling my life, I need help, and she needs to know that if she's that open and that honest that she is in no fear of losing her job over it.

And she's in no fear of it being talked about from the stage, and she's in no fear of it going through the whole church. She's in no fear of getting an email from a church member three days later that goes I want you to know I'm praying for you with your issue. [Laughter] We have to have an environment where people can confess and put big lights on things in order to have health okay. Listen, we are hesitant - listen, this is so important. We will all, all of us will follow leaders who make mistakes, all of us will. Every person in this room if you're healthy will follow a leader who makes mistakes, but none of us in this room - well let me say it this way. All of us in this room will follow leaders who make mistakes, but all of us in this room equally are reluctant to follow leaders who cover up their mistakes. [Yeah.] We're all okay with making mistakes because why? Because we all make them. It's when there's a light on something we're all okay with that. If there's a light on something it's okay, but when someone's covering something up that's when we're reluctant to follow people. Alright, so as long as there's a light okay.

Number two, the cure for anger is not prayer. Listen, I believe in prayer, I do, but I could pray for you 'til Jesus comes back and you're still going to be angry. The cure for anger is not prayer. The cure for anger is forgiving people. Now prayer might be the catalyst to get you to forgive somebody, but it's got to somehow end in you forgiving somebody. Listen - and I'm talking about this in terms of leadership. The people around you cannot grow without failing. You can't grow without failure. You can't help them grow if you're not willing to forgive them. There's an awesome story, a guy named Tom Watson Senior, he's the founder of IBM okay. In the middle of IBMs big growth they hired a new junior executive and within three months that junior executive made a decision and he made a mistake. He made a huge mistake and that huge mistake cost IBM $10 million okay, so $10 million this junior executive made a mistake.

Tom Watson Senior who is the founder of IBM asked to meet with him the next day, and so the guy for sure thought he was going to be fired so he walked in with his resignation letter and all this and he was deeply apologetic and repentant and that kind of stuff. He said it was a mistake, I'm sorry Mr Watson. I'll offer my resignation. I apologise to you, and Tom Watson Senior said man, I don't accept your resignation, nor was I calling you in here to fire you. I'm not going to fire a man that has just cost me $10 million to train. [Laughter] That would be dumb. You don't fire someone who's cost you $10 million to train; you forgive them, help them learn from it so that they can grow. See we have to create a culture of forgiveness. We have to create a culture of forgiveness. To forgive - this is how you forgive. You must identify what has been taken from you, and then cancel the debt. [Wow.]

Rabbis, including Jesus - this is so important on forgiveness - rabbis, including Jesus, define forgiveness as cancelling debt, cancelling debt. They do not define forgiveness as pretending like it didn't happen. They do not define forgiveness as forgetting. They do not define forgiveness as pretending it didn't hurt. If someone hurts you you could actually say listen, you hurt me real bad. It did hurt. It did hurt. What you did was wrong and it hurt me really bad - but here's what forgiveness is to Jesus. Forgiveness is you don't owe me any more. [Yes, that's right.] Whatever I feel like you owe me, you don't owe me. I have felt in the past like you owed me something because you took something from me, but from this point on it's not that what you did wasn't wrong, it's not that what you did didn't hurt. It's just from this moment on I cancel your debt. You don't owe me one more thing. You don't owe me one more thing. That is forgiveness. That's forgiveness.

One of the scariest verses in scripture is when Jesus said - He talked about this in Matthew 18. You guys know the story, it's the guy that owed more than he could ever pay the king and so the king cancelled his debt. Then the guy goes out and he finds a guy that owes him 300 denarii or something and he chokes him, and he has him put in prison until he could pay his debt back. Then word got back to the king and the king then pulled him in and said I forgave all that debt of yours and you didn't forgive this guy for his small debt? Are you kidding me? Then Jesus says so the king hands him over to the torturers to be tortured until he could pay his debt back and [unclear 00.49.05] then this is scary. Jesus said this is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. Yi-yi-yi right, because see here's the point of it. Here's the point. It is cancelling debt frees you up, like most of the time when people hurt you they couldn't pay you back even if they wanted to.

In extreme cases you really see this, like I had a 40 year old woman come to see me in my counselling office and her dad had sexually messed with her her whole childhood. Then her dad at 74 years old gets saved, 74, gives his heart to the Lord. He comes to her and asks for forgiveness for what he did, and he said to her I wish I could give you your childhood back. He wanted desperately to pay her what he owed her but could he? No way, he can't give her her childhood back, so even if he wanted to pay it he couldn't pay it. So what's the best thing for her to do? Cancel his debt. Why? Because if she holds - listen, if you hold a debt over somebody that they can't pay even if they want to, all that's going to do is torment you because they can't pay it. They absolutely can't pay it. It's forgiveness. It's forgiveness. Listen, it's very important. The story seems to indicate that one of the most important things about forgiveness is remembering what you've been forgiven from.

It's very important never to lose sight of what God delivers you from, very important. If you ever lose sight of what God delivered you from you'll look down on people who haven't been delivered from that thing yet. I'll give you an example of this from my personal life. I am - how can I say this? I am follicly endowed okay, I'm hairy okay so [laughter] and look, I tried to deal with this. I've confronted my mother on it okay. [Laughter] [unclear 00.51.18] Yeah, I know. I said mum seriously, seriously, what was my dad? Not who, what? [Laughter] I mean if I took my shirt off it looks like my mum shopped for men in a zoo okay. [Laughter] I was like you know, mum, I mean did you have a one night stand with an orang-utan? I mean what happened? [Laughter] What happened to me, seriously, because my brother's not hairy and my dad's not hairy and I've got this right, so I'm going - you know. And I missed it totally when in the late '80s a hairy chest was cool and of course in the late '80s I was in the sixth grade so I didn't have a hairy chest.

Then it got uncool and then this happened [laughter] and then now by the time it's cool again I'll be old and no one will care. It's just weird. I just got a bad deck of cards with it, so anyway I was getting my hair cut one day and I was wearing a t-shirt. I don't have a whole lot of hair on my back per se but I had some at the top right here and then at the bottom. At the bottom it looked like an upside down Christmas tree going into my pants. [Laughter] It was weird, so anyway the girl who was cutting my hair, she's a friend of mine and she's cutting my hair and she says oh Shane please. I said what? She said you are far too good looking to have this. I said what are you talking about? She said there's hair on the top of your back coming up out of your shirt. [Laughter] I said that is not the top of my back, that's the bottom of my neck. [Laughter] She said no, it's the top of your back. I said no, it's the bottom of my neck. Now if you ever struggled with being hairy you understand there's a huge difference between the bottom of your neck and the top of your back. [Laughter]

She says please let me take care of it, please? Shane, please? I said whatever. She said I'll do it for free. I said yeah, whatever, so I was expecting a bzzz-bzzz kind of thing. Next thing I know I feel this warm sensation going across. [Laughter] And once it's on there's only one way to get it off! [Laughter] So she rips it and then I've got this bare spot, so she goes oh this is going to look stupid. Now I've got to do all of it. [Laughter] So she does the whole thing, including the Christmas tree right [laughter] and for the first time since I was like 16 I felt the feeling of cotton on my back. It was weird. So like three days later I was going on vacation, so three days later I'm sitting around by a pool and this guy walks by. This is only three days later. This guy walks by and he gets by me, he's got hair on his back and I went that's disgusting! [Laughter] You ought to take care of that! [Laughter]

Now what happened? In three days I had forgotten what I'd been delivered from. [Laughter] Once you go through that once you've got to keep it up. Now I get it done all the time right and my back is hair free which is really quite nice. [Laughter] But I always remember what God delivered me from. [Laughter] Listen - [unclear 00.54.54] No, no, no, I got it. [Laughter] There's no Christmas tree there. [Laughter] Now listen, in your leadership it's very important that on a regular basis because you will never arrive at this, on a regular basis that you stop and become aware of this question: where would my life be if God hadn't touched my life? [Yeah, that's right.] Where would my life be? If you ever lose an awareness of where your life would be had God not touched your life, then you will take away from other people their right to fail with a good heart.

Now listen, you should never put up with someone purposely sabotaging ahad, and the reason is because your organisation cannot handle it. It can't - but someone making honest mistakes, as good leaders we have to give people the freedom to fail. That's the only way to grow people okay. Listen, this is so important. This is so important. Private grudges always result in corporate chaos. [Wow.] Anything you do in secret always manifests in public. Private grudges always result in corporate chaos. Jesus said it this way about your prayer life. He said when you pray go to your Father who is in secret and say this: My Father, who's as close to me as the air that I'm breathing, hallowed be Your name, okay. Later, in John 17, He said Father, I have manifested Your name, so what Jesus hallowed in secret He manifested in public. Anything you hallow in secret - to hallow means to render, acknowledge or become aware of. If you want to know what you're hallowing in secret, if you want to know what you're hallowing period, ask yourself this question: when you're alone where does your imagination go?

The last three imaginary conversations you had, what was the topic? Who was it with? What happened? That's what you're hallowing in secret. Listen, we love imaginary conversations. We do. All of us love imaginary conversations, and the reason is because we never lose right? You never lose an imaginary conversation. If you lose an imaginary conversation get your head checked. It's your imagination, you can win okay? [Laughter] So if you lose an imaginary conversation you've got different problems. You can always win an imaginary conversation, always. But if you want to check the state of your heart ask yourself this question: your last three imaginary conversations, who were they with, what was the topic and who won? Who won? And those are things that need to be dealt with. Private grudges always result in corporate chaos. What you hallow in secret you'll manifest in public. If you hallow in secret the fact that people don't like you - well, they're just not going to like me. If I got off that plane yesterday and thought gee, I have a good relationship with this church but this time it's going to be different. They're not going to like me - how ridiculous is that?

But if I hallow that in secret you realise I'll do something that will bring that out of you. What you hallow in secret always manifests in public. If you hallow depression in secret you'll be depressed in public. If you hallow rejection in secret you'll be rejected in public. If you hallow in secret you'll be angry in public. Private grudges always result in corporate chaos. Why? Because of ahad. Listen, if you can just be mad - see this is where the lie is. People say well my anger's between me and God. Listen, if that's true fine, do whatever you want to do. God can handle you. I'm serious. Do whatever you want to do that's between you and God, but the problem is it's never between you and God. It's always between you and God and whoever's in your organisation, and then the broader reaches of the organisation. You could actually sabotage - just like the Butterfly Effect, your anger, your breath of anger in the wrong direction can have catastrophic effects far away from you, always. Why? Because of ahad, so we have to deal with that.

So the cure for guilt is to confess, put a big light on something. The cure for anger is to forgive. Number three, the cure for greed - that one's obvious - is give, give. The cure for greed's writing a cheque, not prayer. I mean of course prayer can be the catalyst to it, but it better end in that. Generous giving, both strategic and spontaneous, breaks the power of greed in our life. Generous giving forces us to face some of the deepest fears we have as a leader, which is not having enough. Generosity is so important to God. I'm going to preach this at some point this weekend because it's so important. [unclear 01.00.11] Developing - I will probably end the whole thing on Sunday night with developing a generous spirit, because I want to move - listen, when you're preaching there's a way you can preach because you have to and some of us do that - all of us do that at times. But there's a way you can preach because you actually have something to say, and there's a way to preach because it's Sunday but there's also a way that you're preaching to move people. I want to move people this week and I want to move into - let me just give you a taste real quick of this. This is how important generosity is okay.

Here is the word righteous in Hebrew. [unclear 01.00.47] That's the word righteous. Here is the word generous. [unclear 01.00.59] It's the same exact word. This is the verb form of this. It means to reveal it. You put a ['he' 01.01.32] on the end of any word, it means to reveal it. So righteousness revealed is generosity. There are 2106 verses of scripture that talk about the righteous' responsibility to be generous. In Hebrew it becomes obvious because it just says [tzedak 01.01.55] people do tzedakah. Like Psalm 111, Psalm 112:5, a righteous man deals generously. Out of all the adjectives that He could use to describe righteousness He calls them generous; a righteous man deals generously. Listen, there's something that nourishes your soul when you do something for someone else without expecting anything in return. I want to tell you something, it does something to you. It does something to you.

The rabbis called it - I don't want to preach the whole message because you'll hear it Sunday night. The rabbis called it this, [tzakute. 01.02.27] The rabbis said that it is possible to know God even outside of the Torah if you're practising tzakute; that you know God when you give without any expectation of return. I may as well go where no man will go. I'll do it Sunday night - unless you tell me not to - but this is something the Lord showed me recently. You guys can handle this right? [unclear 01.03.00] There's this scripture that always scared me to death, always did and it says this - Jesus is talking: Many will say to Me in that day Lord, Lord, and I'll say I never knew you. So Jesus seems to indicate that there are a lot of people at the end of the day who think they're in but they're actually out. That's scary right? [Yeah.] Why? Why is that scary? Because you think you're in right? [Yeah.] So what's separating you from them? They've cried out Lord, Lord. Have you, right? So they argue. They say hold on, You're mistaken. Remember us, we've cast out devils? We've prophesied. That's us.

Now here was my problem with that scripture. I could not find a separation point between me and them. Could you? Can you? What separates you from them? Have you cried out Lord, Lord? Yes. Have you cast out devils? I have a couple of times right. I mean if it happens here I'm just handing you off okay, but [laughter] I mean I've done it a few times. Have you ever prophesied? I have. So my problem with that scripture was what separates me from them? It scared me. It did, just being [introspective of it. 01.04.21] I've cried out Lord, Lord. Jesus seems to indicate there there are a lot of people at the end of the day that think they're in but they're actually out, and the people He's describing sound like Pentecostal leaders. So I went to my Bible College professor - he has this doctorate in theology. I said what do we do with this? This was his answer: It doesn't apply to you. That verse doesn't apply to you. I said why? He said because you're saved, that verse doesn't apply to saved people, [some are 01.04.50] unsaved people. I said well dude, with all respect they thought they were saved. He goes yeah, but it just doesn't apply to saved people. I said man, that doesn't cut it. He said it's going to have to cut it, it's the only answer I have. [Laughter]

The question becomes it seems to me - I'm just giving you my journey okay. It seems to me in that scripture that the central question is what does it mean to know God? Then the question is is there any way in scripture that God defines what it means to know Him? [Yeah.] Right? Because we could make up anything we want and you know what? Fifteen years I've prayed prayers like this: Lord, if I'm in that category please be nice enough to tell me. Then I found an answer. I was studying something else and the Lord showed me a scripture where He actually defines what it means to know Him. Then I started looking and I can't find another scripture anywhere else in the whole Bible. It's in Jeremiah 22:16. This is what it says. I'll quote it directly because I've put it in my memory. This is what it says, this is God talking: He took care of the poor and the afflicted, so it will go well with him. Is this not what it means to know Me, declares the Lord your God.

So God defines knowing Him as having a generous spirit toward people who can do nothing in return. When you have a generous - and you think about it, how well does that fit in with the rest of Jesus' teachings? Who is the only person in Jesus' whole ministry that Jesus said went to hell? The only person, there was only one? In His whole three and a half years that Jesus actually proclaimed that guy went to hell - who was it? The rich man who overlooked the poor man. Jesus deals with everybody nice, everybody: a woman caught in the act of adultery - ha, you'll be okay. A divorced five times, shacked up with the sixth one - He's like can I get you a drink? You look like you need a drink. [Laughter] Thieves on crosses - no, okay. People throw a dice for His clothes - Father, forgive them too. Prostitutes, washing His feet with her hair - He says oh your faith has healed you, yeah, your faith has forgiven you, it's fine.

But there was a rich man who overlooked a poor man. That's the guy that goes to hell. Yi-yi-yi. Who's the only person in Jesus' whole ministry that did something so horrible God killed him? There's only one. It says that God blessed all the work [from this guy's hands 01.07.33] and Jesus said hey, there's a lot of hungry people out here. What are you going to do with all your spare food? The guy goes I've got this great idea. I'm going to build bigger barns and store it up for myself. Jesus said God's going to kill you. Tonight God's going to kill you actually. Wow! Who are the only other people in the Bible that God killed, in the New Testament that God killed? Ananias and Sapphira. What did they do? They stole the offering to the poor. Is this not what it means to know Me declares the Lord. Listen, the greed in our heart has to be taken care of. In the Bible there are 2106 scriptures that connect righteousness with generosity, that when someone journeys to a generous heart that's when they know they're righteous.

1 John 3:16 says this. It says - give me some ability to paraphrase here. 1 John 3:16 says let us not love in word only, but in word and in deed. So if any of you have material goods let him share with those who have material need, for it is in this generosity that we can know we belong to God. In other words there is something in developing a generous heart that is equated in the scripture to righteousness; 2106 scriptures talk about generosity and righteousness going together. There is almost an equal amount of scriptures that talk about wickedness and greed going together - generosity/righteousness, greed/wickedness. Jesus said it this way: The outside of your cup and platter are clean, but the inside of you is full of greed and wickedness. He could have easily just said wickedness; greed and wickedness, they go together okay, so we have to handle that part of us. Alright, so the cure for greed is to give. Now number four, the cure for jealousy is to celebrate. The cure for jealousy is to celebrate. We need to go out of our way to celebrate publicly the things that threaten us privately.

If we celebrate publicly the things threaten us privately it breaks its hold on our life.

I heard a guy talk about this in America. He pastors a huge church and well actually, I don't mind telling you his name. You guys have heard of Andy Stanley, Charles Stanley's son? [Yes.] He pastors a huge church. Have you guys heard of Louie Giglio? [Yeah.] See, you guys have more heard of Louie Giglio than Andy Stanley. Now Andy Stanley was talking about this once and he talked about how he had to get a point where he dealt with something. Louie Giglio and Andy Stanley were friends from childhood. They are the two that got together and started North Point which is now running well over 40,000 people okay, so on many different campuses. So they got together and did this. Well in that Andy was the senior pastor and he was the speaker; Louie would share the pulpit with him. But what started to happen was Louie Giglio started a singles ministry on Tuesday night called 722, so this was on Tuesday night and it was for singles only, so you're really sort of limiting your base.

Tuesday nights, singles only, he was drawing 4,000 people, okay, 4,000 people which Andy was fine with. Well one night all he heard was how it was so packed it was standing room only, it was this, that and the other. Well one night he had to cover for Louie and so they announced hey, this Tuesday Andy Stanley's going to be at 722, so Andy gets there and when he gets up to speak - this is after the music was over and everything, so everybody had time to get there. When he got up to speak he said there was huge gaps in the auditorium. There was way less people there than were normally there, and he said something got in him about Louie Giglio's success. Something got in him and he knew that if he didn't deal with it he could lose his friend and it would damage his organisation, so here's how he dealt with it. On a weekend service he gave Louie the pulpit and he got up and publicly celebrated the success of Louie Giglio. He said as he was doing it it broke the hold of jealousy on his life. The cure for jealousy is to publicly celebrate things that privately threaten you, to publicly celebrate things that privately threaten you. Celebration will break the power of jealousy over your life.

So my question to you is this, is who - and it will be different for everybody - who threatens you privately? In your private thoughts who in this organisation right now threatens you privately? And I want you to make a plan to celebrate them publicly, celebrate them publicly. Even if it's in the form of an email, even if it's the form of a letter, even if it's the form of just talking him up, talking her up, whatever it is. I want you to go out of your way. This is not about right and wrong; this is about breaking the power of something over your life. Listen to me, this is my conclusion here, listen to me. Four things that are true of you as a leader: number one, you want, in your heart you want to follow someone who is willing to acknowledge that he or she has failures. You want to follow someone who will acknowledge their failures. You also want to follow someone who won't hold your failures against you, so you want to follow someone who will acknowledge their failures; you want to follow someone who won't hold your failures against you. You want to follow someone who will share the credits and rewards of success with everybody, and you want to follow someone who will publicly celebrate your victories.

Let me restate that. You want to follow someone who will acknowledge their failures. You want to follow someone who will let you fail and won't hold that against you. You want to follow someone who's willing to share the success of it with you, and you want to follow someone who will celebrate your victories in public. Now if that's true about you wanting that, then wouldn't it stand to reason that other people want that as well? So if you want a leader like that the best thing for you to do is to become a leader like that: one who acknowledges their failures, who lets other people fail, who's willing to share the reward for success, and who celebrates people's victories publicly. When you share people's victories publicly and handle their failures privately they will die for you. When you handle - listen. When you handle their victories publicly and you handle their failures privately, those people will be loyal to you to the grave and that will create a healthy organisation, because it gets greed and guilt and anger and jealousy out of the question, and never ever, ever tolerates a breakdown of ahad.

You have to handle quick. When your body breaks down ahad you get sick. I got strep throat in South Africa and do you realise that, I mean I was travelling that day. I was starting to get sick the night before and then I had to travel the next day. Thank God that the worship leader at the next church was a physician because I simply said to him I'm really feeling bad, like I'm really feeling bad. He took one look at my throat and he went eergh, and I had to speak that night. He said can you push through that? I said yes. He said well after tonight come to my house, I've got something. We've got to start you on something tonight or this is going to get bad. What's the point I'm making? The point is that if we turn a blind eye to a breakdown of ahad all it does is multiply the problem. When it comes to ahad breakdown you have to handle it quick, swift, with a razor knife okay.

Well that's what I had to share this morning. Sorry I talked so long, that was over an hour. I apologise, but that's what I had to share so I'll just - if you want to discuss or whatever, I'll cut this off now.

[File ends 01.15.42]



Pashat, Drash, Remez and Sod (1 of 4) (Shane Willard)  

Thu 22 Apr 2010 AM « Back to Top

Audio»  Share»  Website»  

The Hebrew people interpret the Bible through four levels. Pashat is: simple; plain meaning - the cleanest, plainest meaning of the text. Remez is a hint, or an allusion, to something before before it. Drash is a life application, that whatever you find in the Bible, if you cannot apply it, then don't talk about it. Sod is mystery, a realm of Bible interpretation that only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you.

Science tells us that no matter how good I speak tonight, by Tuesday you'll only remember four per cent of it, unless I put some graphic image around it, that'll help you remember. So a couple of ground rules for the night... Number one, we have to have fun. Number two, we have to admit that if we're going to get the most out of this, we have to admit that we're wrong about God. If you define right as without error, wouldn't you agree with me, that all of us are all wrong? That actually God is too big to get our heads around?

I want to give you principles from God's word that makes Him even bigger than ever before, and not just that. I want not just to make Him bigger than ever before to you; I want it to change our lives, to where we more and more and more will partner with the leadership team at this church, to build the kingdom of God right here. That's what we're looking to do and I want us to change our life.

Christianity lost a lot of its credibility in the Middle Ages, because there was a shift in Christianity. That shift in Christianity made it all about going to heaven one day. It all became about: hey, come to an altar, pray a prayer that we made up, and when you do that you're born again, and you'll get to go to heaven one day.

Now is there truth in that? Sure, there's truth in that. Should that truth be celebrated? Sure. Is it the main thing? No. It's the start of the main thing. See God wasn't just looking to get a group of people into heaven. God was looking for a radical new culture; that is going to show the whole world what life would be like if He was in charge of it today. It's about bringing a kingdom to earth, not waiting to go to heaven one day; and so we're going to explore a lot of these thoughts.

If we're not careful, we teach the cross as primarily a mode of forgiveness. Is it a mode of forgiveness? Of course: behold the lamb of God, He takes away the sins of the world. Of course it was. Is it just a mode of forgiveness? No.

In the First Century if you asked people: why did Jesus die on the cross; this is what their answer would have been: Jesus died on the cross to defeat the devil, the enemy of our soul, and his entire way of living; that the cross was an in-your-face confrontation to a way of life. It wasn't just a method by which we put our faith in something, so we can suffer and then one day die and go to heaven. The cross was an in your face confrontation to an entire new way of living. It was the defeat of one way living in favour of another.

The writer of Hebrews calls Jesus' death on the cross the culmination of the ages. Does that sound like somebody died, and you put your faith in Him, and say a prayer, then you suffer and then you'll die and it'll all get better? The culmination of the ages, that sounds like a rock concert doesn't it? Where'd you go last weekend? I went to the culmination of the ages! It was awesome! [Laughter] You should have been there man - it was the culmination of the ages.

See we aren't just meant to wear the cross around our neck. We're not just meant to put the fish on our car, or to wear the armbands. You know what, it's Thursday night. You're giving a Thursday night to come to church and seek the face of God. I have no doubt in my mind that you're a believer in Jesus Christ. My question isn't: are you a believer in Jesus Christ. That's not my purpose tonight, my purpose is: now what?

So you've been recreated in righteousness and true holiness. Okay, now what? So you're learning your identity in Christ. Great, now what? I'm not so interested in: are you going to heaven one day. I'm interested in: are you saved when your husband leaves his underwear on the floor? I'm interested in: what that does to your life.

I'm really not interested if you're saved in here. It's easy to be saved in here; it's easy to lift your hands in here; it's easy to pray in tongues in here, it's easy to be in alignment with God in here. What I'm more interested in, is when you go out there. Are you saved when someone cuts you off on the road? Are you saved then? Are you saved when you stop by the grocery store on your way home from work, and you've had a stressful day, and you end up in the line with the slowest cashier in the store? Are you saved then? Are you saved when you stop by the retail store, and everybody who works there knows nothing about what you want? Are you saved then? Are you saved sir, when your wife falls asleep a little bit too early? May as well be real - are you saved then?

It's easy to be saved, if saved is just: hey, say a prayer one time, and you get to go to heaven one day. That's easy, but is that all the salvation in Jesus was talking about?

Every preacher at times preaches because he has to. There's a meeting on, and you've got to preach right? But sometimes there are those of us who, when we're preaching, we're not preaching because we have to. We're preaching because we actually have something to say. Over the next few nights I actually have something to say. As a matter of fact I have so much to say we won't get to it. I do. I do, and my point for the next few nights is not to give you information.

But we can't talk about these things without talking about humility, and here's what I mean by that. Every one of us, to get the most out of God, we have to walk with awareness that we're wrong about Him, that there's constantly something new He could teach us, that you've never cornered the market on truth. Are you saying Shane, that there's not absolute truth? No. There absolutely is absolute truth - but you absolutely don't know it. Are you saying that you've arrived at it?

Let me show you what I mean by this. If this circle represented everything that could be known about God, and I handed you this marker and I said: I want you to come up, and I want you to colour in the part of God that you understand. If this represents everything that can possibly be known about God, then how much of it do you know? What would it be? A dot! Like here's mine right, and would yours be much bigger? Alright, so yours - and yours would overlap with mine a little bit right?

So if we went through the whole room and I handed you a pen, anybody in here want to be so proud to say they'd colour in a big portion of it? I mean truly, so if I handed it out, a lot of our dots would overlap, so at the end of the night we might have that. Then for the one self-appointed prophet of God in the room, who thinks they have all the truth, and everything that comes off the pulpit that doesn't agree with them, well that person's in error - we'll give you that just for the sake of argument. We'll give you a line - but at the end of the night, there's still a lot of white matter isn't there? We are constantly in a journey with God.

Let me prove to you what I mean. How many of us good-hearted people, who are journeying towards the heart of God, how many of you have a greater understanding of who God is today than 10 years ago? Absolutely, so your circle - it grows. How horrible would it have been for your life, if 10 years ago, you would have decided: I have learned everything I need to learn about God, and anything that doesn't agree with what I know now, cannot be true?

If you're a computer and you shut your system off to any outside input, the computer becomes irrelevant. Do you realise that this is true all the way through the Bible, that for the Bible to even have been formed like it is, it required men of God to be humble with what they thought they knew? Do you realise that the revelation of God progressively got more gracious?

Before Leviticus was written how did you please God? How could you please God before Leviticus was written, how did they do it? They guessed! They didn't know - they guessed.

Here's what they knew: that gods required sacrifices, and gods required self-mutilation. If you want an incredible read on this you could read “A History of God” by Karen Armstrong. An Orthodox rabbi gave it to me to read on a plane, so I would quit talking to him, because he wanted to sleep. A History of God - and I devoured it. It's a historical treatise of what they believed about gods, and things like this.

Here's what they all believed about gods: gods were far away, and they lived where? Up in the sky, somewhere up; so if you're going to please a god or a goddess, who lives somewhere in the sky, how do you do that?

Two things: you offer sacrifices. How much sacrifice? You didn't know, you had to guess. So you would offer a sacrifice. If it worked, you thought: well I got that one right. If it didn't work, then you had to do what? Offer more, it obviously wasn't enough. So you were constantly escalating your sacrifices, and there were a lot of cultures who escalated their sacrifices to the point where they were sacrificing their children.

So what would you do? You would kill the sacrifice. Where would you kill the sacrifice? You would take it to the highest place you could find. They were called the “High Places”. Why? Where did god live? Up; so you wanted to get as close to god as you possibly could, and you did that by going up. When you killed the sacrifice, what did you do with it? You burned it. Why? Because when you burn something, where does the smoke go? Up; so they did this over and over, and the escalation was unbelievable - the stuff they did to please the gods and the goddesses.

They wanted sacrifices and self-mutilation. You see this with the prophets of Baal. What did they do to get god's attention? Cut their arms! You see this in the radical Catholic church a long time ago. Some of the monks, they would do what? They would flog themselves. That was no different than the ancient gods and goddesses. Sacrifice and self-mutilation.

There's this one story, there was this goddess named Kibela; and she morphed later into a goddess named Diana, who later morphed into a goddess named Artemis. Their headquarters was in Ephesus, but the following was all over the place. Kibela, Diana, Artemis, they were all the same goddess. They were very sexual in nature. She had six sets of breasts, and just very, very provocative and sexual.

The teachings of the goddess Kibela was that you can find the most enlightenment, by how many different ways you can express your sexuality. So the temples to the goddess Artemis, Diana and Kibela had temple prostitutes, that you would buy and take them in. You would explore your sexuality in order to worship the goddess Kibela.

Now originally Kibela was the goddess who was in charge of hunting, so she was in charge of making sure that men when they went out to hunt could find food. She was also in charge of the protection of small animals, which was a bit of a conflict of interest! Now there was this recorded famine - a three and a half year famine, in an island called Sardis. Well what they did is, they called a meeting, and all the men of Sardis got together, and they said: obviously we have done something to offend the goddess Kibela. There are 5,000 men there, so they asked: what should 5,000 men do, to show Kibela that we are submitted to her, and are willing to do her will? What do 5,000 men do towards a woman, to show that they are committed to her?

So 5,000 of them self-castrated, they took knives and they castrated themselves, and they threw them on the altar. They burned them up as an offering to Kibela - 5,000 men went through this procedure that day, so that Kibela would be pleased with them. Actually if you go visit Sardis today, that altar is a tourist attraction; so if you're ever walking through a tourist walk in Sardis, and you see an altar - don't sit on it!

So what they did to please the gods and goddesses got worse and worse and worse. Finally, God appears to a man named Abraham, and He says: Abraham, My name is El Shaddai. Now you've got to think about this in context. The Bible does not take place outside the space-time continuum of human history. It takes place within a story, so there's a guy named Abraham. Who did he worship? Lots of idols, but you know - he worshipped the sun during the day, and the moon at night. If you worship the sun during the day, and the moon at night, and you have all these other idols, what question are you left with? Who's in charge? Who's the God in charge?

How does God reveal Himself to Abraham? Abraham says: what's your name - you're the only God talking? What's your name? And He says: My name is El Shaddai; which translates: I'm God Almighty. In other words, I know that deep inside your heart, you're wondering who's actually in charge. I'm the one in charge - that's Me.

You see this in the New Testament as well. Paul shows up at a place called Mars Hill, and it says: I see outside that you have a statue to a God, and it says under it: to an unknown God. He said: I'm here to declare to you who this is. In other words, God didn't show up to Abraham and go: I am the one true Almighty God. No, He says: hang on, you've got a bunch of gods, you're asking a question, who's in charge. I'm just here to tell you: I'm the one in charge. Abraham says: great, well at least you're talking. Tell me - what do you want from me?

Now think about it, think about our discussion. What two things did the gods want from their people? Sacrifice and self-mutilation; so what did God tell Abraham to do? He said: I want you to circumcise yourself - self-mutilation - which would have been an interesting conversation wouldn't it? Abraham's like: well the other gods want us to cut our arm. You want me to do what? With what? So God's first command, to a 90 year old man, was to circumcise himself with a rock.

So God's first command to a 90 year old man was: rock; swing hard; don't miss. Imagine the shaky 90 year old man - oh God, oh God! He definitely wouldn't want to miss. So He says: I want you to self-mutilate. What's the other thing He asked Abraham to do? Sacrifice his son.

Now do you notice that there's nothing interesting about that at all to Abraham. That is totally normal, except for the part of the body. He says: You want me to self-mutilate, and You want me to sacrifice my son? Yes! That's no different than the other gods and goddesses.

You notice Abraham in that story- he doesn't have to ask how. It says: so Abraham took Isaac to a high place. How did he know to do that? Well he knew to do that, because that's what the other gods and goddesses asked for, so he takes Isaac up to this high place. He goes to kill him, and you guys know this story, what happens? God stops him and actually provides the sacrifice.

That is the first time in the history of the world, that a God was recorded to stop a sacrifice, in order to provide one? So there was something different about this God. This God wasn't a taker - this God was a giver.

The Talmud tells the other part of the story. The Talmud says that when this happened to Abraham, he was so moved with the compassion of God, he immediately went home, and he took an axe and a stick, and he destroyed all the idols in his house except one. He left the biggest one standing, and he put the axe in its hand. So the next morning, Abraham's father comes in, and says: Abraham! What happened here? Abraham says: isn't it obvious? There was a fight amongst the gods, and that one obviously won! His father said: that's impossible because I made them with my own hands; to which Abraham said: then why do you worship them?

Let me ask you a question. How long was it, between God talking to Abraham the first time, and Abraham destroying the idols? 20-25 years? A long time, so God journeyed with Abraham for 25 years, and it took 25 years of Abraham journeying with God for Abraham to get the guts to destroy his idols.

God was patient enough to allow it. Why? Because God's not insecure. God's infinitely more secure than the average Christian. He's not threatened with other people's journeys. Do you realise how humble Abraham had to be, to journey with God? Can you imagine if Abraham would have said: nope, this is what I know to be true about God - gods are takers, not givers. I'm killing my son anyway!

Do you realise that these people journeyed until the Book of Leviticus was written. In Leviticus, which is the book we call the law, it's like the harshest book in the whole Bible; it says: Leviticus was the most gracious book ever written up to that time. Why? Because it was the first time in the history of God, that a God said: this is exactly what you have to do, to be close to Me. Up to that time they were guessing, so they were offering more and more and more and more and more.

In Leviticus it says: for the forgiveness of sins, once a year on Yum Kippur, each family must bring a spotless lamb. So in Leviticus it says: to have your sins forgiven, this is what it takes: one sacrifice, per family, per year. Do you understand that there would have been people there going: there's no way God's that nice! There's no way God is that kind! There's no way God wants us to be with Him so bad, that He's willing to make it that easy. There's no way it can possibly be that simple - one sacrifice per family per year? Unbelievable!

It's not that easy - so here's what they did. This group of people created an oral tradition. There were 613 commands in Leviticus. These people made an oral traditional that added 3,000 commands to the 613 given by God. Why? Because they needed God to be harder than that!

Jesus comes along and begins to wreck everybody. Jesus comes along and He says: no, no, we're not going to do that. One sacrifice per family, per year, that's too hard. Here's what we're going to do. We're going to do one sacrifice, for the whole world, for all time - and people couldn't handle it.

No, no! That's impossible! That doesn't match what we know about God, so they killed Him - which is actually what provided the sacrifice, because Jesus showed up and he wrecked their ideas of unclean and clean. He wrecked their ideas of who was in and who was out. As a matter of fact, Jesus said to one group of people: at My banqueting table, many will come to Me from the north, east, south and west - but you who actually think you're in, will be the ones shut out!

So Jesus seems to indicate, that at the end of the age, the dangerous place to be, is the one who thinks they're in. Whoa! He comes in, and He wrecks their ideas of clean and unclean. He comes up to prostitutes and goes: oh, your heart's okay, you're clean. They're going: what! You can't call a prostitute clean! Oh yeah, I can see her heart, she's okay. She's okay. Her faith has forgiven all her sins, it's alright. They're going crazy!

Like there's this one time, there's this tax collector in a tree, and there's 5,000 people behind Jesus. The one thing the 5,000 people have in common is: they hate the guy in the tree. He walks up to the guy in the tree, and He says: hey man, you come down, I'm coming to your house today. And it says Zaccheus was so moved with the compassion of Jesus, that this is what he said: Hey, I'll give half of what I have to the poor.

Jesus said: that's it, salvation's coming to him. Can you imagine their response? No! You can't say salvation's come to him. What do you have to have to be saved? You have to have an animal. You have to go to the temple. You have to talk to the priest about offering this for you. This is what you have to have to be saved.

Jesus is like: no, his heart changed. He gave half what he had to the poor; his heart had to change so salvation's come to him. They're like no! You can't say salvation's come to him. He didn't get saved our way! We would never do that would we? You have to pray OUR prayer, at OUR altar; and if you don't pray OUR prayer, OUR way, at OUR altar - then we're in and you're out.

Jesus was dealing with the same things, like there's this one time - you want something that'll change your life? Go look through every salvation experience in the New Testament. It's unbelievable the humility these people had to have. How did Paul get saved? Light appeared, knocked him off his donkey, and what did he do? He looks up and says: what must I do to be saved? Jesus said: finally you are; so Paul simply asked a question. Zaccheus gave half of what he had to the poor.

There was a lady caught in the act of adultery. They brought her out, and said: Jesus, the Torah says: stone her. What do You say? He says: okay, the Torah says stone her; I say stone her - but I also say: you can't throw stones unless you're perfect. So everybody gets tired of holding their rocks, and they put them down and they walk away. He waits until they all walk away, and He says: hey lady, where are your accusers? She says: they're not here. He said: then I don't condemn you. I don't condemn you. Why?

Because the Torah said: you had to stone someone caught in the act of adultery, but the Torah also said that you have to have two witnesses to condemn somebody. Jesus couldn't make her sin go away, so He simply made the witnesses go away - which automatically declared a mistrial - quite brilliant really.

So she answers a question; Paul asks a question, Zaccheus gives half of what he owns to the poor; the centurion says: surely He was the Son of God. There's another guying saying: be merciful to me, a sinner oh God. There's one prostitute who washes His feet with her hair. He says: your faith has forgiven all your sins.

I was raised Pentecostal. I was discipled Baptist. I went to a Presbyterian Reform Seminary, and I've been mentored by a Pentecostal rabbi for eight years. I've covered the gamut, but this story - nothing in the whole theology I've ever seen fits it. It says that Jesus was preaching, and it says that a paralysed guy got lowered in from the roof of the house, and this is what it says: and Jesus saw the faith of his friends, and proclaimed his sins forgiven! So can you get saved by having the right friends now?

The crowd there went: you can't call him saved! You can't call him forgiven! You can't do that - not based on someone else's faith. He says: so that you'll know that I have the authority to do what I want - get up and walk! Jesus is brilliant! Can you imagine if the writers of the Bible went: that doesn't fit OUR method of salvation, so therefore it can't be true, so we'll hold it out from the whole world. No, it just doesn't work. We have to be humble.

You've got to understand that European Christianity is filled with largely white men, who think they're smart enough to take a European English concept, and place it over a Jewish theological truth, then try to call it true. And these men, as big as God is, they write books called Systematic Theology, which means this; we have figured out a system that God always works in! Really? You've figured out God? Isn't that something! You're a real trooper!

God is not able to be figured out. He's too big. His word is too multifaceted for us to get our whole head around it - no way; and you know what? Aren't you glad about that? Like seriously, if we were serving a God that we could get our measly head around, wouldn't you be worried you were serving the wrong one?

Here are some good examples. You guys came for some revelation; here's a revelation. The Torah says don't touch your own poop. Pretty good plan right? Why? Because 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 fiddling with your poop. Right? Pretty unhealthy. Don't touch your own poop. Good idea.

And the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel saying: I want you to cook food, and use poop as fuel. People there would have said: God would never say that - but He did once. And the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel saying: I want you to lay naked on your front lawn, 70 days on one side, 70 days on the other - to get your tan even. God would never say that - but He did.

The Torah says: don't marry Gentiles; and: stone all prostitutes; and the word of the Lord came to Josiah saying: marry that Gentile prostitute. The Torah says: don't eat bacon. In Acts, Peter shows up at the first assembly of God in Jerusalem with a barrel of pork rinds. They say: Peter, you can't do that! Why? Because the Torah strictly forbids it! He said: but Jesus told me I could eat whatever I wanted. They said: did Jesus tell you you could eat whatever you wanted when He was walking this earth? He said: no. He said: I had a dream last night, and Jesus appeared to me in a dream, and said I could eat pork now - and we make a doctrine out of that. Do you realise that with current European Christianity thinking, he would have been cast out as a heretic?

For the church to regain a lot of its credibility, we have to lose our addiction to being right. When you're addicted to being right about something, you are setting yourself up for a disaster. Let me tell you what I mean. Let's say we're Gods, for the sake of example, and let's say I'm a Chairman of the Council of the Gods. Let me say to you: I am bored with you, so I move that we create people. Let us create people and let us use this board to create people with, so we create people on the board. He has a giant head this guy. [Laughter] Okay, let us call them Joe and Jane. For the sake of relevance and time let's say we make them in our image and our likeness. Let's say we give them a similar mental capacity as we do. At the end of the day here's the problem with Joe and Jane; Joe and Jane cannot possibly fathom our world, because they're stuck in two dimensions.

Everything about their world is two dimensional, so let's say I said let us write a book. We will call this book the Bible because we want Joe and Jane to know about us Gods. Let us tell them about our world. Do you realise that even the simplest things in our world blow their mind? For instance, what if I said: Joe, you wouldn't believe my world. In my world I can extend my arm out. Joe says no way! Unbelievable! Jane, God says in his world he can stick his arm out. That is unfathomable!

What if I said: Joe, in my world I can be in front of you and behind you, all at the same time? Joe goes wow, it begins to blow his mind. Do you realise these are the simplest things in our world? What if I had somebody who understood say physics. What if I had somebody who understood physics explain nuclear trajectory to Joe and Jane. Their heads would come off. Everything I do, anything I do to them; if I stick my hand through their world what would they see? They would see my hand in two dimensions which what does that look like? Five circles coming at roughly different times, followed by a series of dashes. Five dots followed by a series of dashes.

Joe says to Jane: did you see that? That was five dots followed by a series of dashes, and then it disappeared! Jane says: you know what? I think it was bigger than that. I think it was the hand of Shane! Joe says: are you smoking crack?! That was just five dots, followed by a series of dashes. Who's right and who's wrong? Both.

It's just their perception of God in two dimensions, and if I'm a loving, caring God, I'm not thinking they can ever understand me. What I'm wanting them to do is engage me. The rabbi said: if we talked for two hours tonight about God, if most everything we said was wrong, God would still be pleased - because we spent a night talking about Him, instead of something else - it's the heart of God.

Every dimension, mathematicians call it a degree of freedom. Let me show you what I mean by that. Give me some artistic margin here. If this is a puzzle space, and this is the piece that's supposed to go in that puzzle space; if all you have is two dimensions, can you ever twist this around enough to get it in there? No. What do you have to have to do that? You have to have a third dimension. You have to be able to pick it up, and put it over the top, and drop it down. That's called a degree of freedom. Every dimension you live in, adds a degree of freedom.

That's why if I tried to explain this to them - what is this in two dimensions? It's a circle. What is this in two dimensions? It's a rectangle. What if I wrote to Joe and said: listen, in my world the same object can be a circle and a rectangle, all at the same time. Joe goes: unbelievable! How's that possible, a circle and a rectangle at the same time? Of course it's very easy. All you need is an axis to turn something on. A salt shaker, anything changes shape if you can turn it. That's a circle, that's a rectangle, any way you look at it. You just need something to turn it on.

Now listen, these are the complications that exist when a 3-dimensional person tries to communicate with a 2- dimensional one. How many more complications exist?

How many dimensions does God live in? A lot! I mean He could be everywhere, all the time; at least 3; and maybe 300 more we haven't thought of. How many complications exist when an infinitely-dimensional God tries to communicate with 3-dimensional people? Huge, and in order to journey with that God, what does it take? Large doses of humility! Everything we're going to talk about this weekend requires, at the end of the day, humility.

The First Century rabbis called it: the Disposition of Messiah. It's from Exodus 34:6. It was the basis of all prayer and Hebrew thought. God consciousness around His character, He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness.

He is the Lord, the Lord; He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness; that we must be filled with humility; that when we're dealing with other people, that we need to have an attitude, a disposition, a countenance, that is: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness.

That if we're going to be kingdom people, we have to know inside of our heart, that our journey with God is just that - it's a journey; that we never arrive at it, until we get to glory. At the end of the day, we're just Joe and Jane. We're just 3-dimensional people, trying to make sense of an infinitely-dimensional God, and that leads us to the heart of our God.

One of the interesting things that I learned, any time you're looking at a piece of literature you have to look at a couple of things, and the Bible is no exception. First, and in no order of importance: you have to look at the historical truths that were true of that day. If you know about when something was written, you can go back and read the history around that day, to sort of figure out what was going on. It's very important to understand what they're talking about, so the first one is historical truths.

The second thing you need to look at is euphemisms; or idiomatic expressions. An idiom is any figure of speech that is particular to a certain culture. So New Zealand would have their idioms - I know Australia does. Australia has fair-dinkum. No one else in the world uses that language that I know of.

A euphemism is a figure of speech, which is used to say something softer. Let me give you an example. Someone died – we say someone “passed away”. That's a euphemism. In Australia they have a horrible euphemism for death, they say: “carked it. Oh, that guy carked it! What is that? Like would you rather die, or cark it?

Figures of speech are very important, and they're very important to interpreting letters and books and things like this; for instance let me give you an example of how important a figure of speech is. Let's say I gave Allie a gift here. Let's say that I find this gift that I know she'll like, and I write her a letter and put it with the gift, and at the end of the letter I say something this: Allie, I really hope you like this. It cost me an arm and a leg, okay?

So let's say Allie is a pack rat, and she goes and she puts that in some draw somewhere, and 2000 years from now some archaeologist is excavating where she used to live. Under about eight levels of earth they find this desk, and inside this desk they find this preserved note. They find this note and it says: Allie, I hope you love this. It cost me an arm and a leg. Can you imagine the guy going: how romantic is this guy? He was willing to have his arm and his leg chopped off, in order to give her something!

Of course we know it's a figure of speech for: it cost a lot; it's expensive. So we have historical facts; figures of speech; euphemisms; idiomatic expressions – and also literary style - any sort of style that is particular to their writing. Also you have to ask yourself: how did they interpret their own literature? Now these are rules that govern the interpretation of any piece of literature. We just happen to be talking about the Bible tonight okay.

Now the Hebrew people interpret the Bible through four levels: Pashat, Remez, Drash and Sod. Interesting the acronym on it is PRDS, which is where they got their idea of paradise. In other words, they said: if the Lord reveals to you all four levels of a scripture - you are entering into Paradise.

Pashat is: simple; plain meaning; the cleanest, plainest meaning of the text. My theology professor in college told me this: if the plain sense of the Bible makes sense, then seek no other sense. He was my hermeneutics professor. If the plain sense makes sense, then seek no other sense. That is a very Greco-Roman, Greek, Western way of looking at an Eastern book. They honoured the plain meaning of the text; but they also understood that there were three other levels underlying it – and they would seek those senses.

This whole session is an introduction to what we're doing; that we have to humble, servant minded, disposition of messiah. For the rest of our time together I'm going to say: well, there's a Drash on that; and there's a Remez here; and I want you to know what I'm talking about.

Remez is a hint, or an allusion, to something before before it. Let me give you a great example of this. John 21, there are so many remezes in there, it's unbelievable - I'm going to pick one. John 21, you have seven disciples going fishing. Jesus has risen, but they're out fishing. Jesus decides to show up and cook breakfast for them on the beach; and it gives some details there, that aren't necessary to the story, so you've got to ask yourself a question: what's the author trying to say?

It says that He was standing over a pit of burning coals. One of the disciples named Peter jumps out of the boat, drags this net of 153 fish ashore - which is another remez - dragging a net of 153 fish ashore; he comes up to Jesus, and it says that he stands there with Jesus over the burning coals. Why would the author include that? When was the last time Peter stood over burning coals? What was he doing?

He was denying Jesus. The last time Peter stood over a thing of burning coals, he was denying Jesus. Now he's standing over a pit of burning coals; and Jesus doesn't even bring the sin up. He simply says: Peter, do you love Me? Peter says: yes, I do. He says: let's go then, let's do ministry together. So Jesus restores Peter, over the same picture of which Peter was denying Him - without bringing it up. See, these are hints alluding to something in the past.

Drash is a life application. No matter what you ever find in the Bible, if you cannot apply it, then don't talk about it. That was sort of their thing. You always look for life application, and you apply with questions. It is never your place to tell someone where they are in God. It is only your place to ask the right questions, so that they sort of discover it - Jesus did this all the time.

Sod is mystery. This is a realm of Bible interpretation that only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you - and they honoured that. Whereas western hermeneutics says: oh, if you just let the spirit reveal anything to you, it can get way off there and wacky. Are they right about that? Yes. They're scared that if you let that go - it's a slippery slope to nowhere; but the truth is that you can't throw all the baby out with the bath water. You have to be mature enough to let people journey; so what they said was that scripture was so huge, and because God is so big, He limited Himself to the language of men.

They said scripture was like a diamond, and it had 70 facets to it; and it depends on how you turn it, as to how the light goes through it. So every scripture has 70 different ways for light to go through it - with four different levels of meaning. So when any pastor or anybody says: hey, I was studying this scripture, and I nailed the real meaning... Wait a minute Joe and Jane. Hold on. We're dealing with something that is living, and active, and is sharper than any two-edged sword.

Let me just prove it to you, with something very practical. Have you ever read a scripture and then three years later read it again, and it meant something else to you? It's living! It's active! It's sharper than a two-edged sword.

So in our journey we have one more session tonight; and two sessions tomorrow. We're going to journey with the heart of a servant, with a heart of humility. We're going to journey into some great things in God's word, that hopefully will help us establish the kingdom of God; so the next session we'll start talking about the Hebraic definition of kingdom, and how we can establish that in our lives.



Hebraic Definition of Kingdom (2 of 4) (Shane Willard)  

Thu 22 Apr 2010 PM « Back to Top

Audio»  Share»  Website»  

Shane Willard 2010 (2 of 5) Shane Willard 22.04.2010 pm

[Shane Willard] Very good. We'll be done by nine o'clock tonight. You can spend some time looking at our resource table again. I appreciate you coming back there. It's the only way that we fulfil what our mission is in the world and I just appreciate you being a part of it. A couple of things about it; we've got some new stuff, one on the beatitudes will come out throughout the whole week. It will sell out by Sunday so if you want it I'd go and get it, and also the Jewish Roots of Easter as well. Those two will sell out pretty good. Let me tell you real quick about something we've done that I'm very excited about. I and my brother, we have started a - my brother developed it and I'm just showing up in there. He developed an online classroom where I can go in there and my goal is to teach people the same things my rabbi taught me, and so once a month, it's only once a month for one hour I'm in there to sort of teach people to enhance their Bible study. It's not meant to replace a Bible college or [unclear 00.01.06], it's not meant to replace anything. I definitely don't want to be your pastor. [Laughter]

What I'm offering is - [unclear 00.01.14] - I know I don't, you've got a good pastor - amen. What I'm offering to do is to teach you guys or whoever wants to be in there the very things that my rabbi taught me all the way from the beginning. We've already done it; we've done two sessions. Anything you've missed is archived. All you've got to do is click on it, you can listen to it and catch right up no problem at all and so I'd love if that's something you'd want to do, I'd love to have you in there. You can check out website out, it's just right on the front page of our website, shanewillard.org and you can check that out. Our next class will be somewhere around the second week of May. What I do is I do several classes every month that are time zone specific, so we have like a South Pacific time zone one, we'll have an American time zone one and a South African time zone one. Of the three or four you'll find something that fits your schedule. If you can't find something that fits your schedule change your schedule - I'm just kidding. [Laughter] If you can't find something that fits your schedule then it'll all be archived. All you've got to do is click on it at your convenience anyway okay? So you could check that out.

Alright, now what I want to do now is I want to talk to you about euphemisms, idioms, things like this that'll make the Bible come alive. We won't get through most of them tonight. We'll have to come back tomorrow because there's just too many to do and so the first one I want to talk to you about is the idea of kingdom, kingdom. In the Bible when you see things like kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, let me just give you a couple of phrases that mean the exact same thing: kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, or they sometimes use this phrase: inherit the land or inherit the earth. The kingdom of God had nothing to do with going to heaven one day, nothing. The phrase the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, inherit the earth, things like this, these were all synonymous of what life would be like if God was in charge now. Jewish Christianity, rabbinical Christianity was nothing about going to heaven one day. It was all about what can we do to bring heaven to earth. It wasn't about a journey into something; it was about bringing that something to us and to everybody we encounter.

It was a summary statement of the things God is for coming over the top of the things that are absent of what God is doing. It was a summary statement of what would life be like. See it was all about bringing something to earth. The birth of the church, which we'll talk about later - not tonight, at a later time - the birth of the church was all about creating a community of people who are a radical new culture that's going to show the whole world what God would look like if He were living it out. It's not so much a group of people who are on their way to heaven. That's ridiculous - as much as it was a group of people who were bringing heaven to a community. Are you with me? Its two totally different things. Even their concept of hell was mostly - if you want a whole teaching on the Jewish concept of hell, which is nothing like what we think, it's back there. It's called All Access Pass - but their concept of hell was mostly hell on earth, like let me give you what I mean.

There were two words for hell that Jesus used; the first word was this, Gehenna. The second word was this, [unclear 00.05.07] and to teach hell properly you have to teach both. Jesus used the word hell 18 times; 15 was this one, three was this one. Of the three two were figures of speech. Only one time, once, did Jesus use this word in terms of a person and a place of fire, only once. Now Gehenna was an actual place in Jerusalem. It found its origins - here's what happened. Here's the history of Gehenna in a nutshell. There were some bad kings and they started sacrificing children in fire. You can read about this in the Book of Jeremiah. It says there was a place called Gehenna and it was called the place of Topheth. Topheth means place of burning and what they would do essentially is they would burn the children in fire to the god Molek okay. Don't quote me on this but I think it was the first born 10 year olds, so the picture of Gehenna is you have a bunch of reluctant first born 10 year olds being dragged to Gehenna to be thrown into the fires in order to appease Molek.

Along came a king named Josiah. Josiah decided we're not going to burn children in fire anymore. The reason is because he was eight okay, so it wasn't going to bode well for him alright, plus he has a bunch of second grade classmates going come on man, throw me a bone here, you're the king! [Laughter] So he changes this, which leaves the king in a bad place. What he did is he had the sages search the annals and they found Leviticus, and in Leviticus it says you shouldn't throw your children in fire so he says this is who we're going to go with. We're going with this god. Now the problem is if you're the king and you're responsible for how to use all the land, if you have a piece of property that has been used to sacrifice children what's the matter with that property? It's now useless. I mean can you imagine if you're here and you're in real estate, can you imagine trying to sell a house on a piece of property that was used to sacrifice children for three generations? It just wouldn't work. Can you imagine; hey, we're developing this new piece of land. It's called Poltergeist Acres. [Laughter] It's too spooky. It has this Children of the Corn feel to it doesn't it? [Laughter]

So they couldn't do anything with it, so what Josiah decided to do is he said well since we can't do anything else with it what we'll do is we'll make it the town garbage dump. We'll make it the town garbage dump. Now here's the thing; garbage stinks, so what they had to do in Gehenna was they had to keep the fire going all the time so that the smell of the garbage wouldn't reach the city. It wouldn't reach Jerusalem. So they kept the fire going all the time to drown out the smell. The other thing they used it for was for a tomb for people who could not afford it, so they would use it as a tomb so all the time there were funerals going on. You'd see people throwing people up into fire, so there were funerals and tears and things like this. The other thing was is all the stray animals - where do stray animals come to get food? Garbage dumps, so all the stray animals would come in and they'd scavenge for food so all night long you would hear them barking and biting one another, trying to stave off each other so they could eat.

So in Jerusalem Gehenna was called the Place Where the Fire Doesn't Die and There's Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth. So when Jesus says these things endanger your life of Gehenna, what's He saying? Is He talking about if you do these things you might go to hell one day? No. To Jesus hell, 15 of 18 instances of hell - I think that's like 86 per cent - 86 per cent of the time Jesus said the word hell it wasn't talking about hell one day, it was talking about hell now. Every time He uses the word Gehenna He's talking to Christians, so see to Christians what do we talk like - how do we talk about hell? Hell is for who? Them. When? Then, right? So hell is about other people in the future right, but to Jesus hell was about me now. It was mostly about me now. He says hey, here are some things that send your life to hell. Jesus said the word hell, Gehenna 15 times, hell on earth 15 times, and He said six different things will send your life there. Six different things will send your life there: one, holding anger in your heart; two, calling someone an idiot; three, fearing man instead of fearing God; four, unforgiveness; five, pride; six, greed.

He said these six things - that's the only times He ever used the word hell - was about people who struggle with holding anger in their heart. That has nothing to do with us does it? People who at times think they're better than other people and call them a fool. We would never do that. People who actually think they're more important than they are - really? People who hold unforgiveness in their heart, people who are greedy and overlook the poor. These were the things - in other words what's He saying? He's saying if you live like that you're endangering your life of the garbage dump. You don't want your life on the garbage dump; you want to live a fuller life. Now the other hell was Hades. Hades was the hell you really wanted to avoid. That's the one we think of as the one beyond the grave. He only uses that word once. He uses it three times; twice as a figure of speech, for instance the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The only time He uses it in terms of someone going there is who? [unclear 00.11.47] Exactly. There's a rich man and he overlooked a poor man. That's the guy that goes to hell. Amazing - out of all the sinners Jesus dealt with; a lady caught in the act of adultery. He's like it's going to be okay. It's going to be okay. How nice was God to that lady? What does He say to her? I don't condemn you, now go and sin no more.

Don't we say it backwards? We say it go and sin no more so God won't condemn you. Well no, that's backwards. Jesus is saying since I don't condemn you now go and sin no more. See we read those lists that Paul makes; see to it that none of you do this, this, this, this, this, this, for this is not behaviour becoming of saints. Paul says because you're saints don't do this. We say don't do this so you'll be saints. We even talk about repentance that way. We say - I'm not saying you do, I'm talking about in general. We say repent so God will be kind. If you repent God will be nice to you. I would suggest to you that God's nice just because He's nice. I would suggest to you that your actions don't do anything to affect God; it's actually your revelation of who God is the whole time that changes everything. It's the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. God's nice to everybody. Jesus was nice to everybody - except for He said there's this rich guy and he overlooks a poor guy. That's the guy who goes to hell.

It's amazing that even in hell - you think about that story. Even in hell the guy's in flames - it's a weird story - it says he's in flames and he looks up and he sees Abraham and the beggar. You mean out of all of heaven those were the two people who happened to be standing there? So he looks up and he sees Abraham and the beggar, and he says Abraham, I realise that's the beggar. Hey, do me a favour. Send him here to give me some water. This guy's in hell and he still thinks he's better than the beggar. Abraham goes what? No, that's not how this works. I'm not sending him to hell for you, what are you talking about? He goes okay, then send him back to earth to serve my family. Abraham says no, that's not how this works. It just doesn't work that way, and the rich man says no Abraham, let me tell you how it works. That's when Abraham goes someone who's this far gone, in other words if you're on fire and you still think you're better than other people there's no hope for you even if someone rose from the dead. No, no. No, it's not [unclear 00.14.27] so my question is this before you dismiss yourself from that conversation, you realise we are the rich men?

If you drove here tonight in a car and it has like a motor okay, [laughter] I don't care if it's a 30 year Hyundai. Listen, if you drove here tonight in a car you're in the richest eight per cent of the whole world. If you left your other car at home, like you and your wife, you each have a car, you're in the richest one per cent of the whole world. If your car is sitting at a home that has a concrete foundation and wood is it's basic building material you're in the richest one-tenth of one per cent of the whole world. We are the rich man. The question is what are we going to do about it? See the kingdom of God, we lose it's meaning when we make it about going to heaven one day. It's not about going to heaven one day. It's about conquering hell's hold on the places in this earth. It's about looking around and seeing the places devoid of what God would want it to be like, and then doing something about it. That's what it's about. It's about establishing a kingdom on earth, a radical new culture that'll show the whole world what God would look like, what God would look like if He was here living this thing out. That's what the kingdom of God is about.

There are all kinds of euphemisms and idioms that we're going to spend some time going through that help us understand this. The first one - there's no order of importance. First euphemism, Hebrew euphemism, the first one: binding and loosing. Binding and loosing. Now listen, I am all for deliverance and I am all about getting people free from the spiritual things that are running their life. And listen, if you're here and you can get devils off people which I know you can, and I know that your pastor is great at it. If you can do that I say great, okay. I'm not the best at it alright. Actually all that growling scares me okay [laughter] but I'm - they start growling and...

[Mike Connell] That's just your own stomach.

[Shane Willard] Yeah, I know. [Laughter] No, it's not - you know. The first time I ever tried to get a demon out of somebody I didn't know what I was doing. I was 19. I still wouldn't know what I was doing, but I really didn't know what I was doing then, so I didn't know but I was the only pastor in the room and this woman started growling and going on. I saw her throw a 240 pound man up against the wall and I thought wow, we've got to do something here. [Laughter] I didn't know what to do, so these men tackle her and hold her down and they look up and they say Shane, do something. So I got up over her and this is all I did. I said you loose her in the name of Jesus, and this is what she did. She went NO! Okey dokey, I don't know. [Laughter] I don't know. That's my ace of spades, I don't have anything more than that. I don't know. [Laughter] Just kidding. [unclear 00.17.34]. Huh? [You got it right. 00.17.36] Yeah, so I sort of got scared - sort of nothing, I got scared. Then something came over me that was bold and so I sort of grabbed her and I just said you WILL loose her - because then it hit me, demons can lie. Like it's okay, like demons just lie so she could say no. It's like a three year old; go to your room. No! No, you are. Yes! [Laughter] So we were able to help her. We got her completely free. About seven or eight of them came out of her that night and got her completely free.

So whatever, if you're delivering somebody whatever you need to say to get them out say it. If it helps you to say Mary had a little lamb to them and they come out, fine. [Laughter] It's fine. Seriously, like do whatever you've got to do. [You're a worry Shane.] [Laughter] I know, but the phrase binding and loosing at it's core is simply this. It is a specific rabbinical phrase that talks about what a rabbi would allow, what a rabbi would loose, would forbid or allow in his way of life okay. So it doesn't necessarily - it has applications to deliverance but it's not limited to deliverance. You with me? A demon is a repetitive thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ. A demon is a spiritual force that rules your behaviour when you keep giving into it, so when you're talking about deliverance what you're typically talking about is getting someone to resist that way of living, come against it, renounce it and then the devil flees. You turn on it, right, so it has applications but it has further reaching applications.

It has to do with what we allow and what we forbid in our yoke, what we allow and what we forbid. A rabbi's way of living is called his yoke okay? That was his way of living, his way of interpreting scripture and this included the things that he binded and the things that he loosed, binding and loosing.

Now I've got to be very frank with you. I'm assuming I'm talking to mature believers okay, so if you're not a mature believer just shut me out for a second, but I'm assuming I'm talking to mature believers. This is so important. This is a very important facet of establishing the kingdom of God in your life. This is a very important facet of creating a new culture that's going to show the whole world what God will look like. This is an important facet of Bay City Outreach Centre. This is an important facet of what this church will look like in this community exhibiting the kingdom of God. It has to do with binding and loosing. Let me tell you what I mean by that. People who look up to you take their cues on how to behave from what you bind and what you loose. Binding and loosing was a very common thing. Let me give you an example. The Torah says don't work on the Sabbath. Do NOT work on the Sabbath. Well that has some questions left doesn't it? If I say to you don't work on the Sabbath, it's a commandment of God, what's your first question? Somebody said it - what's work? Can we define what work is and what work isn't?

So it was the rabbi's responsibility to bind certain things as work and to loose certain things as not work, so there were certain things you were allowed to do on the Sabbath, there were certain things you weren't allowed to do on the Sabbath, based on your particular rabbi's interpretation of what it means to work. It's binding and loosing. This is such an important thing. Let me give you an example of how powerful binding and loosing is in a negative way. My grandmother has gone on to be with the Lord now. She was 90 when she died. She has never cut her hair in her life, never worn make up in her life, never worn jewellery in her life, never wore slacks in her life, never went to a movie in her life. If she knew that I was at the movies she would pray the whole time I was in there that Jesus wouldn't come back while I was there, lest Jesus would not come in to get me out of the movie. She got saved five times a day; every three or four hours she would take a second and confess all the sins of the last three or four hours so that God would not leave her. This was binding and loosing they believed.

Why did she do that? Is it a sin to cut your hair? Not to you, but to her would it be? Yes, because it would have gone against her conscience. Like to cut your hair meant - her pastor told her if you cut your hair you'll go to hell right. If you colour your hair you go to a different level of hell alright? [Laughter] So like ah hell, hell. [Laughter] Oh my Lord! [Laughter] That's a different level of - there's a level of hell that you just can't imagine and she's bordering on it. [Laughter] If you were at the grocery store and you even looked at a glass of wine, done, hell. Why? Because her pastor said if you do these things I bind you from doing these things. I forbid it. The Bible - and nobody says 'I' forbid it, they say scripture does. They come up with proof texting. They come up with their conclusion and then they find scriptures to prove the point they want to make, but how powerful was this on my grandmother's life? This is how powerful it was.

On her death bed she was worried that if they drew her into surgery that they would cut her hair. That's binding. That bound on her conscience. I was messing with her once; I said Granny - I took her on a date all the time. She was a widow so when I was home I'd once a week or so I'd go out and take her out on a date you know, it was pretty cool. So I'd take her to a nice restaurant and I'd tell everybody she was my date. Of course everybody got the joke and they'd play it up with her. They'd say oh, you must be a billionaire, you got you a good looking man! [Laughter] She'd go I know, I know and you know, so here's this old woman walking in there and it's going, you know - this is how binding it was to her. One time it was negative six degrees, negative six. I almost fainted. I picked her up - I knocked on the door, she opened the door and she was wearing her normal dress like she always did. But underneath the dress was a pair of track pants, underneath her dress. I'd never seen my Granny's legs covered in a pair of pants like that and I went - she went Shane, could I ask you a question? I said yes. She said you're a pastor right? I said yes. She said it is freezing. It was negative six Celsius - I said yes. She said do you think God would mind if I just put the pants underneath my dress because I'm just that cold? I said I promise you Granny, He's not going to mind.

See this was the [guy that 00.24.52] I was messing with once. I said Granny, we need to get you all made up, need the make up, jewellery, the whole kit and caboodle. She said oh no, I'd hate to send myself to hell, maybe someone else too. I said how would you send someone else to hell? She said I'd hate to give a man a lustful thought. [Laughter] I said you're 85 years old! [Laughter] Lustful thought?! Like - look, I accidentally saw her naked once. I mean - forgive me Granny - [laughter]. I accidentally saw her naked once and y'all, it changed my life [laughter] like seriously, like - I don't know - like, like nothing was in the right place. [Laughter] She looked like a hound dog in a shower cap. [Laughter] It was unbelievable! [Laughter] She could have worn a bikini to a sex addict's conference and cured them all. [Laughter] Like what in the world - lustful thought? Forgive me Granny. [Laughter] That's the power of binding and loosing. You've got an 85 year old woman worried about giving a man a lustful thought. That's heavy.

This same group of people - I grew up in the south in America. These same people who thought they would go to hell for touching wine; they thought they would go to hell for having their hair cut, they thought they would go to hell for wearing slacks. Those same people could hate black people with no conscience at all. How does that work? How is that possible? To be forbidden from make up but loosed to hate people who look different from you - what? That's the power of binding and loosing. It's important. Listen, if we're going to establish the kingdom of God here in Bay City, come on, would you agree with me that's what needs to be happening on a continual basis; not - Bay City does not need to be known as a group of people going to heaven one day. That will take care of itself. Bay City needs to be known in Hastings as the place in this community that is bringing heaven to every place hell is. [Applause] If we're going to do that it's going to partly come down to binding and loosing, binding and loosing.

Let's do a couple more. Rending the garments, rending the garments. There are a lot of images around the cross and things like that that are very meaningful. One euphemism or idiom is rending the garments. Let me tell you what it had to do with. Jesus said it this way: Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. It's a direct quote from Isaiah, Chapter 61 and 66, that those who mourn in Jerusalem will be comforted. Now the concept of mourning in Hebrew culture was very important. The concept was this: to establish the kingdom of God on earth one of the things that has to happen is you need to be willing to identify with the suffering of others okay, so here's what would happen. Let's say that Dave is a friend of mine and let's say that someone close to him dies. It is my responsibility as his friend to set up sitting shiva. It's just the word 'sitting' and then this, ['shiva'. 00.28.27] It means to sit for seven days. So I would organise seven days of mourning for him and what we'd do is we would take shifts and we would sit with him for seven days. It was called sitting shiva and here was the rule. In sitting shiva I was not allowed to speak to him unless he spoke to me, which is so awesome. It takes all the pressure off of me for having to comfort him in a situation that you can't comfort him.

It also takes all the pressure off of him for having to entertain me when he needs to be mourning. What I was doing was simply setting it up where we could just simply be together so he didn't have to be alone. They even took the identification with suffering one step further. Have you ever seen someone grieving? How ugly is it? It's ugly. What does a person who's grieving the loss of a loved one, what do they look like? What do their eyes look like? Puffy, red. How about the muscles in their face? Do you realise that when someone needs to cry and they're trying not to there is a crux point where you lose control of the muscles in your mouth, so they look sort of distorted and their eyes are puffy. It's not a pretty look at all. So here's what I don't want: he's my friend and I know he needs to mourn right, but I don't want him to be the centre of attention. I want him to be not alone and I want him to be free to mourn. I want to identify with his suffering so here's what I would do.

The first thing is I would put on sackcloth, and in putting on sackcloth it's taking off my nice clothes, putting on nasty ones. I would put on sackcloth so as to draw attention to myself and away from him, so that he's free to mourn yet I'm still there with him. It was my way of saying I identify with your suffering. The next thing I would do is I'd put on ashes. I would take ashes and I'd put it on my face. Why? So that his face isn't the ugliest face in the room, so that when people walk in they won't notice his distorted face. They'll actually notice the fact that there's a guy sitting there with ashes, and that sets the attention off of him enough so where he can feel free to mourn. How loving was that? I mean how awesome is that? The last thing I would do at the end of the sitting shiva, the last thing I would do is I would rip my clothes. I would rip my clothes. I would rip my garments. In other words it was the ultimate identification with suffering would be to expose myself. I would just rip my garments.

I want you to think about this. When Jesus died God would have mourned the death of His Son, which means He would have ripped His garments. In the heavens what is God clothed with? Light, so when God mourns the death of Jesus what happens? The whole world became dark. The darkness that came over the earth was simply a result of God keeping His own commands and mourning the death of His Son by ripping His clothes. On earth what were God's clothes? The temple veil. It's what held God back from being exposed to the world, so when Jesus died what did He do? He mourned the death of His Son by ripping His clothes, and the temple veil tore from bottom to top and it exposed the glory of God to the whole world so that now we, we are free to experience the glory of God as a result of God mourning the loss of His Son. Blessed are those who mourn for they'll be comforted, that when God mourned it actually brought comfort to the whole world.

See we talk about the cross as if it was free. We use language like the cross, the glory of God is a free gift. Okay, is that true? In part. Free to who? You, me. It's free to us - but it cost God everything and if we ever lose sight of what it cost God we'll take the glory of God for free and make it cheap. There's a difference between free and cheap. It is free but it is also priceless because it cost God everything, see? Now what's the drash here? What's the life application? My question to you is this: if we're to be the hands and feet of Jesus, if we are to be what God would look like to the whole world, where are you willing to identify with the suffering of others? Is there any place this week that you saw the legitimate suffering of other people and you were able to turn your back on it without another thought? That's not the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is when you see suffering - I'm not talking about laziness. I'm talking about suffering - that when you see suffering that you do something about it. The birth of the church - see, I'll talk about this later in detail, but the birth of the church, people when they look at disasters what do they always ask? The Haitian crisis, the tsunami, what do they ask? Where's God? Where's God?

Where's God is the wrong question. The question is where are you? You're the body of Christ. You're the kingdom of God. You are the picture of God to the whole world. When people say where's God it's like God's going no, no, no, no, where are you? Where are you? It's not like God is given any doubt as to what He's called us to do. He has called us to take care of the poor and the afflicted and the down and outer and the marginalised and the people going through disasters. He's called us to do something about it. He didn't call us to go to heaven one day. He didn't call us to be right. God did not call you to be right; He called you to be kind. He called you to look around and say hold on, there is an issue here of hell on earth and the kingdom of God is the answer to that. What am I going to do about it? Where am I going to identify with the suffering of others? One more and then we'll close for tonight, one more euphemism.

The cutting off of the ear, the cutting off of the ear. There's a story - you guys would know it well - it says they come to arrest Jesus and it says that - it's interesting. In Matthew, Mark and Luke it says a certain companion of Jesus cut off the high priest's servant's ear, so in Matthew, Mark and Luke it says there's a certain companion of Jesus and he cut off the high priest's servant's ear. In John it says Peter cut off the high priest's servant's ear.

[Mike Connell] [unclear 00.35.37]

[Shane Willard] Yeah, so Matthew, Mark and Luke are like we're going to protect Peter here. We're going to leave some area of doubt. John's like no, we're throwing Peter under the bus. I can't have the whole world thinking it's me right? [Laughter] John's just throwing Peter right under the bus. So it says he cut off his ear and what does Jesus do with that ear? Puts it back on. What's going on here that is of deeper significance? There's a plain meaning there; Peter gets mad, cuts off the guy's ear, Jesus heals the ear - but there's a bunch of ramezes here. There's a bunch of hints and illusions. To understand the New Testament you have to have a working understanding especially of Leviticus. It moulded their culture okay, and you can understand this scripture by looking at Leviticus. If you have your Bible turn to Leviticus 21. If you don't just listen. Leviticus 21, this is going to open this scripture up to you big time. I've got five minutes and this is hugely applicable to establishing the kingdom in our life okay, listen to this.

Leviticus 21:18, here we go. For no man in whom there's a blemish shall draw near: a blind man or a lame man or disfigured man or deformed, or a man that is broken footed or broken handed, or a crookback man or a crushed one, or one who has a blemish in his eye or scurvy or a scabbed person, nor anyone with crushed testicles. That was a problem back then okay, that was a problem. The reason is because when another king took over another area they didn't want them reproducing past him so they would take the young men and they would put them through a procedure where they would take two rocks and [makes the sound of banging the rocks together 00.37.22] crush them together okay. That would keep them from reproducing, so if that happened to you you were disqualified from doing what God's talking about here. No man of the seed of Aaron the priest in whom there was a blemish shall come near - it doesn't mean they can't come near to anything. What does it say? Oh good, here we go - that shall come near in order to offer the fire offerings of God for he has a blemish. He shall not come near to offer the bread of his God, but he shall be able to eat the bread of his God, the most holy of the holy; only he shall not go into the veil, nor shall he come to the altar because he has a blemish.

Now here's the problem. In that culture you were a rabbi because you earned it. You were a priest by birthright, so priests and kings were born into their position. Rabbis had to earn it. Now any time you have a system where you're born into something you have the potential for bad eggs. Look at their kings. Their kings were godly, godly, godly, ungodly, ungodly, godly, ungodly, godly, sort of medium godly, ungodly, godly, godly, ungodly. They'd got through these patterns. Why? Because you were born into it. There wasn't any proving ground or development okay, you were just simply born into it. So how do you handle it when a priest is a bad egg? Well God says listen, if they have any physical blemish you can't starve them. You have to let them live among you and they can eat the bread, even the holy bread. They can do that, but they can't offer offerings and they can't go into the veil if they have a blemish. So what they would do to keep the bad eggs off of the ceremonial parts is they would sneak up behind them and they'd clop off the bottom of their ear. They'd take off their ear lobe okay.

The book of Josepha which is a Jewish historian, he talks about this practice of lopping off the ear lobe okay, and the reason was is once someone had a physical blemish it kept them from offering offerings and from going into the veil. So the servant of the high priest, if you're the servant of the high priest what are you studying to be? The high priest. The servant of the high priest is actually leading the charge against Jesus. Peter takes his knife out and cuts off his ear. What's he doing? He's saying this: If you are going to kill the real temple then you have no business serving in the temple made with the hands of men, so if you're willing to kill - if you're so blind and so stubborn that you're going to kill the real temple, I'm going to make sure that you never serve in the temple made with the hands of men again - and he cuts off his ear. In other words you'll never be able to serve there again, never ever, ever. Ever never. What's Jesus' response? He puts his ear back on.

So in the [unclear 00.40.30] what's He doing? He's restoring physical appearance, He's restoring hearing, He's taking away pain, but there's something way bigger here. What's He doing to the high priest's servant? He's restoring him back to his office. He's saying no, no, no, I'll restore you back [to ministry. 00.40.47] Let me give you a revelation of the kindness of God here. Jesus is restoring to His ministry the man who is leading the charge to kill Him. That's how nice God is. Let me ask you a question. You want to establish the kingdom of God in your life? One of the questions we have to deal with is this: why is it that our tendency is to cut people's ears off? Why is our first response when you see this much weakness in a minister, why is it, why is our first response to find any reason to cut their ear off? Why is that? What is it about us that finds that fun? Why is our first response to cut people's ears off when the one we're supposed to be duplicating is actually the one putting people's ears back on?

Let me say it this way. Is there any place in your life where you want mercy for yourself, but justice for everybody else? Is there any place in your life where you're at the foot of the cross saying Lord, I've messed up, have mercy, have mercy, have mercy! But you look around the cross and you see other people who are asking for mercy and you go no, God get them - or if You don't get them I'll cut their ear off to make sure they don't serve You anymore. That's horrible. If we're going to establish the kingdom of God one of the first places we need to start is with our own and we need to make a habit of being people who put people's ears back on when possible, that we need to make a habit of putting people's ears back on instead of making it our first response to take people's ears off. Notice Jesus' response; what does Jesus say to Peter? Peter, put your knife away for if you live by the sword you will one day die by the sword. In other words if you make a habit of disqualifying people one day someone's going to disqualify you.

What was fixing to happen in a couple of hours? What was Peter going to do? Deny Jesus three times. Maybe Jesus was setting the precedent to save Peter's ministry as well, because if Peter carries out the judgement that he has to be judged by the same standard with which he judges. Jesus is like don't you understand? If you make a habit of cutting people's ears off one day someone's going to cut yours off and no one's going to be around to help. But when you have a reputation for mercy, then blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy. If we're going to establish the kingdom of God in this place and in our life we have to be people who look for opportunities to put people's ears on and not take them off. That will start our journey. Let's pray together.

Lord, You're awesome. We love You and we're humbled by You. We proclaim You are king. Lord Jesus. Would you right now in this moment, just in this moment would you to take a second and I want you to become aware of everything you've been forgiven of. Ask yourself this question: where would my life be today had God not touched it? Ask yourself this question: how many times has Jesus put my ears back on? Now I want you to ask yourself this: is there anywhere in my life, is there any person in my life that I can help put their ear on? Any word of encouragement, a letter, a reinstatement, something? I want you to ask yourself is there any place in my life where I'm forbidding things that are hurting people and I'm loosing things that are hurting people? Is there any place in my life that I need to identify with the suffering of others? Are there some kids I need to feed? Some orphans I need to clothe? Is there injustice that I need to bring justice to? I don't Lord want to be a person who's just on their way to heaven. I thank You for heaven, but I don't want to be a person just on my way there. Lord, would You use me as a vessel to bring heaven to every place there's hell.

If you'd like to join in on that prayer with me would you just put your hands out in front of you and say Lord, use me as a kingdom person. Lord, establish Your name over my life. The Bible teaches that the name of God can actually dwell over people or over a place, so let's begin to pray - let's do this actually. Let's get our head off ourselves. Would you begin to pray for the person on your left. Just say a prayer for the person whoever's sitting on your left; Lord, let the name of God dwell over them. Let the name of God dwell over them, the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love God. Let the name of God, the environment of that name, let it dwell over them. Let it dwell over them. Let the kingdom be established right there in that person. May this person not be a person on their way to heaven, but rather be a person bringing heaven to everywhere there's hell.

Now would you begin to pray for the person on your right, begin to bless them as a dwelling place for the name. Let Your name dwell - the Book of Deuteronomy says the name can dwell a certain place. Let the dwelling place for Your name rest on this person. May they be compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love people. May the kingdom be established. May it be established right here. Now let's pray for this church. Lord, we pray for our church. Lord, let the kingdom be established here. Let this place be a dwelling place for Your name, the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love God. May this church not be a people who are going to heaven one day, but also be a people who bring heaven to hell right here on earth. Lord, may we be an establisher of Your ways over the top of something that is hell on earth. Lord, we give ourself to You again in Jesus' name. Amen. [Amen.]

Well thanks so much for being a part of what we're doing. I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow night. I hope you guys were blessed by that. Thanks for letting me be your guest. [Applause] God bless you real good. [Applause]

[Mike Connell] Wonderful. That was fantastic wasn't it? Tomorrow night we'll start to take up offerings for Shane to bless him, sow into his ministry but hope you've enjoyed it tonight. It's been really good hasn't it? A real [whizz. 00.47.39] Man, I love it, just opening up about lopping off ears, that's brilliant stuff so thank you. Let's get away quickly so we can get back tomorrow night. God bless you. Thank you sound men, lights and camera man, appreciate your work.

[File ends 00.47.51]



Shane Willard 2010 (3 of 4) (Shane Willard)  

Fri 23 Apr 2010 AM « Back to Top

Audio»  Share»  Website»  

Shane Willard 2010 (3 of 5) Shane Willard 23.04.2010 am

[Mike Connell] ...His inner spirit into your presence. We come with thanksgiving and praise in honour to You. What a great and mighty God You are, an awesome God who continues to amaze us. We honour You tonight. [Prays in tongues 00.00.12] Come on church, let's pray. Come on, lift our voices. Let's lift our voices and give honour to Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, king of kings. [Prays in tongues 00.00.25] Lord, You're so good to us, so good to us. We thank You Lord tonight. [Prays in tongues 00.00.41] Wonderful Jesus. Father, we pray Your anointing to flow powerfully through Shane tonight, great liberty, great release, great freedom. We thank You for Your servant, for bringing him here. Thank You Lord for the wealth of the word and the depths of the word he carries. Let him feel and sense the flow of Your spirit tonight, leading, directing as he opens up the word of God to us. Lord, we just open our hearts to receive, to be fed, to come alive and to change and we give You all the honour and all the glory. Let's give the Lord a clap shall we. [Applause] Amen. Let's give a great big welcome to Shane as he comes tonight. Fantastic.

[Shane Willard] Awesome.

[Mike Connell] Great to have you here.

[Shane Willard] It's awesome to be here. You guys are awesome. Very good. You can be seated. We're going to take a journey tonight in scripture. I know exactly where I feel like the spirit of the Lord wants us to journey tonight and we'll get part the way there in the first session; we'll get all the way there in the next session. I get excited as a communicator when I have a clear direction, I know exactly where I want to move a group of people and we started this last night and this will culminate Sunday night. Sunday night will be the most important message I would preach probably in the world now and so it's something else. The whole week we're talking about how to establish the kingdom of God in your life, and so last night we talked about how the kingdom has nothing to do with like heaven and hell. It has more to do with what a group of people are deciding to do to bring heaven to earth, and so if we're going to be kingdom people a couple of things are true. One, we have to be flexible. We have to be humble enough to say wait a minute, we're just Joe and Jane. We have to be flexible.

We have to move when God moves. I mean if you think about the history of God and the history of things, Christian history is moulded by people courageous enough to do something different. Christian history is moulded by people courageous enough to do something different. Think about it. When Moses was talking to the burning bush and he asked the burning bush, You're God, what's Your name, what did the burning bush tell him? My name is Jehovah. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Well hang on, to Moses who was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? El Shaddai. Jehovah did not reveal Himself to Abraham; a God named El Shaddai did. So this burning bush says My name is Jehovah, I'm the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so Moses says no, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was El Shaddai. The burning bush says I revealed Myself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, but by My name Jehovah they didn't know Me. They didn't know Me.

Now do you understand that if Moses is a Pentecostal theologian we don't even get the Book of Exodus? Do you understand that if he takes the stance with the burning bush like we would have; no, no, God is one, God is El Shaddai, God can't have more than one name and still be one, that's impossible. But because he was able to be flexible and sort of move with what God told him we ended up getting greater revelation of who God is, because did God's name stop with Jehovah? No. He said I'm Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Tsidkenu, I'm Jehovah M'Kaddesh, I'm Jehovah Rohi, I'm Jehovah Nissi, I'm Jehovah Shammah, I'm Jehovah Shalom, I'm Jehovah Jireh. All of these names of God begin to be revealed and do you understand that every time He revealed His name He was just revealing another part of His character, but if you had some staunch theologian there going no, no, we have figured it all out about God. Nothing else can be done, then we miss something.

The name of God continually revealed Himself until Jesus came along, and then one writer said it this way, that God saw fit to give Him the name that was above every other name, whether that name be written in heaven or written in earth or under the earth, that the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. That the nature of journeying with God requires us to be flexible and humble - listen to me. I have something on my heart for this church tonight. I want you to listen to me very carefully. If this church is going to be a kingdom church then you have to move with what God's doing. There are churches in this world that were kingdom churches that are no longer kingdom churches, and it's not because they're bad people. It's just they quit growing. They quit moving. It's just because they quit moving with what God was doing. Listen, what worked yesterday is not going to work today and what works today for sure will not work tomorrow. In any corporation, any business, anything you're doing you have to challenge the process constantly in order to change what's going on. Change, transition, things like that are good and listen, you guys all have your own walk with God. You all have your own walk with God and so you guys journey with God and if God tells you something different you go with what God tells you.

But I'm telling you this; in the next 15 years the happening, relevant churches will be churches that are defined by two things. One is the supernatural move of God; two is social justice. Those two things will define the next relevant church. Relevancy has been the buzz word in the church. What do we do to be relevant? There's churches all over the world trying to be more and more relevant, so what do they do? They build prettier buildings. What do they do? They make rules about the age of people on stages. What do they do? They start changing how they dress, as if the shirt you wear makes you relevant or not. It doesn't make you relevant at all. It has nothing to do with relevance. What it is is good hearted people seeking to be more relevant, and I'm telling you I know this as sure as I'm standing here. The churches that the next generation are going to flock to are not churches with the most sophisticated programs. They're the churches that have the supernatural power of God and are focussed on making other people's lives better, the down and outer, the people who have less. Those churches will be the most relevant churches in the next 15 years.

Now you can take that as a prophetic word. You can take that as wisdom from a teacher, or you can take that as a thought from a redneck from South Carolina. However you want to take it you take it, but I'm telling you it's the truth. For us, for us to be kingdom people we have to be determined to bring heaven to every situation and not rest on our laurels that we're going to heaven one day. We have to be determined to bring heaven to every situation and not rest on the fact that we can come here on Sunday morning and have great praise and worship. Is it good to have great praise and worship? Sure. Is it good to stand up and pray in the spirit and worship God? Absolutely. Is that the end of anything? No. It should be the beginning of everything, that the church found it's origins at a place called Sinai. We're going to talk about that later. The church found it's origins at a place called Sinai. At Sinai God told them this. God said I want you to be a kingdom of priests. Now these guys were already forgiven. They were already delivered from Egypt. They were already in covenant with Abraham. They were already all this stuff.

He said this is what I want you to do. I want you to come regularly and meet in My presence so that you can take what you get out of My presence and make everybody else's life better. It wasn't an end-all, be-all. It was I want you to be a group of people who are determined to show the whole world what God would look like. The whole world needs to see what Jesus would look like, and this is going to ultimately bring us to a generous spirit which I'll talk about later. But to be kingdom people we have to constantly ask ourself the right questions, and so there's some scriptures tonight I want to look at with you that bring up some questions about what sort of kingdom person am I, what sort of kingdom person am I. So I want to start tonight with the story of the Alabaster Box of Perfume, the story of the Alabaster Box of Perfume. There are actually two instances where Jesus - because it's in different gospels it looks like there's only one instance, but when you read it close enough you realise there are actually two.

There's a lot going on here historically and there's a lot going on here that'll challenge our heart. Okay, the first one is in John 12:1 and then following. We'll read through for the slide guy, we'll read through to Verse 8 okay, John 12, Verses 1 through 8, so here's the first instance. It says this - it's going to come up on the screen. Jesus therefore, six days before the Passover - so when did this take place? Six days before the Passover - so six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him supper there and Martha was serving, but Lazarus was one of them reclining at the table with Him. Mary took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples, who was intending to betray Him said why was this perfume not sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor people? Now he said this not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief and he had the money box, and he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said let her alone, so that she may keep guard of it for the day of My burial, for you will always have the poor with you but you'll not always have Me.

Okay, so we'll come back to the basics of this story because the same basic story happens four days later. The next instance is in Mark 14, Verses 1 through 9. The same thing - it's almost word for word, the same thing happens four days later, two days before the Passover. Here's what it says. Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking at some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill Him. But not during the feast they said, or the people may riot. While He was at Bethany reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the leper - so in the first instance six days before He was at Mary and Martha and Lazarus' house. In this instance He was at a man named Simon the leper - a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. So here's that same pure nard perfume again. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head, so in the first instance where does she rub the perfume? On His feet. In the second instance where do they rub the perfume? On His head.

So the first instance is a rubbing of the feet with the pure nard; the second instance is a pouring on the head of the pure nard. Something is relevant here. So some of those present were saying indignantly to one another why waste the perfume? Now here Judas Iscariot's not the one protesting, its other people standing there and it says some of those so there's a plurality of people going she's pouring pure nard on His head, this can't be right. It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor, and they rebuked her harshly. Leave her alone Jesus said. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to Me. The poor you will always have with you and you can help them any time you want, but you will not always have Me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on My body beforehand to prepare Me for My burial.

So in both instances, whether He was rubbed on His feet or rubbed on His head with this pure nard, His defence of the person doing it was they're preparing Me for My burial. They're preparing Me for My burial, so in both instances He defends the person that other people are attacking. He says I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her. Now what's going on here? What's going on here? First of all you have to understand history. Remember last night we talked about peshat, remez, drash and sod? There's some plain stuff here to Hebrew people that isn't so plain to us. In that culture it was hospitable if I had you as a guest in my house, it was customary for me to provide water in a bowl for you to wash your feet. Why? Because you just walked. Where? Through Israel which is really dusty okay, so I would provide water in a bowl for you to wash your feet, so that your feet feel better and my house stays cleaner okay. So it was customary to provide a bowl.

The second thing it was customary to do is to provide droplets of perfume. Why? Because you just walked in the heat, you stink, so it will make the entire experience tonight more pleasurable if we have perfume. Now what happens here is something very different. In the Torah it gives many commands about not being wasteful and remember last night we talked about a rabbi's yoke and what they bound and what the loosed. So according to the command not to be wasteful what the rabbis decided was this, that in hospitality circumstances when you are celebrating someone coming to your house it is okay to use perfume, but it is not okay to use pure nard. It is not okay to do that. They saw using pure nard as a waste, so if you were wasting resources then you were violating a command of the Torah. They said when you're celebrating someone coming to your house you can give them perfume because that's customary, but you cannot use pure nard because that's wasteful, so the fact that she uses pure nard in both instances, the fact that that happens, the fact that they protest is actually okay because it would have been according to rabbinical yokes that no, you couldn't use pure nard.

So the fact that the writer's saying she's using pure nard, he's telling you why they're protesting. In one instance Judas is protesting because he's actually greedy; in the other instance there's a group of people protesting because she's actually breaking with tradition. She's actually doing something different. Here was what the rabbis said. You could not use pure nard to celebrate somebody, but you could only use pure nard if celebration was not the motive. You could use pure nard if celebration and rejoicing was not the motive, because that was seen excessive and luxurious. Jesus defends both instances by saying what? They're not rubbing the pure nard on My feet and on My head to celebrate Me; they're rubbing pure nard on My feet and head as an act of mourning for My burial. So He defends them by saying this is not an act of celebration and rejoicing. This is an act of mourning, and since it's an act of mourning it fits in with the law. Okay, you with me? So He says since it's an act of mourning and not rejoicing it fits the law.

Now who knows what the lady was thinking. The lady might have been going huh? But Jesus was saying this to sort of make it clear, so let me make some surface observations about this story. Number one, this story just like all of Jesus' stories, Jesus was called a Master of Haggadah which was a teacher with parables and different stories. All of Jesus' stories revealed truths about kingdom people and so we're going to find ourself in this story. This story exposes the religious tendency in all of us to criticise and judge people who do things differently than us. It exposes something in all of us - and it's in all of us. None of us are done with this - that judges and criticises someone who does things differently, especially if they worship God differently, especially if they lead differently; well if your leadership doesn't match my concept of leadership, then I'm right and you're wrong. It's our tendency to do that. When we engage in this behaviour we tend to disguise it with spirituality.

Do you notice in both instances they pick a very spiritual thing that Jesus majored on, giving to the poor. Does Jesus care about giving to the poor? Yes! A whole, whole lot, and so they used the main tenant of Jesus' ministry as their crux point of their criticism, so they disguised their greed and their critical spirit under the guise of spirituality. We would never do that would we? [Laughter] Would any - no one wanted to ask the question, would anyone else there have been willing to give a year's wages to Jesus. I mean they went and found something worth a year's wages and in one moment gave an offering to Jesus for it. No one seems to bring that up, but no one else there was willing to do that, no one else there. So let me just ask some questions real quick and then we're going to get into some historical truths about it. Is there any place in my life that I do exactly what the critics did; that I look around and I try to find anything wrong I can find with how someone else is worshipping or leading or something?

Is there anywhere in my life where I find myself looking around and trying to be critical, anywhere? Because if we do that we're missing a major kingdom principle, a major kingdom principle. When I do that am I disguising it under a disguise of spirituality? Maybe I'm just trying to help? [Laughs] Let me ask it this way. Do I need Jesus to set me free from my addiction to being right? Very good, someone admits it - either that or she's thinking about somebody else [laughter] which means she's doing exactly what I'm talking about. [Laughter] Now let me break this down historically to you. There are two different words - in both these stories there are two different words for anointing. The first one is [alafo 00.20.03] and the other one is [merizo 00.20.04]. Let me write those down - alafo and merizo, alright. Alafo and merizo. This one is the first one. It means a rubbing of the feet, and this one is the second one. It means a pouring on the head. In both instances Jesus says they're anointing Me for burial. Now what in the world's going on here? What in the world's going on here? In order to understand this you have to understand Passover lambs, because Jesus was the Passover lamb. Let me explain some history behind this.

Passover lambs had gone through two anointings; the first one is this. Passover lambs were chosen six days in advance so that they could be brought in and inspected for five days, so Passover lambs were chosen six days in advance so they could be brought in and inspected for five days. They were anointed on their feet at this time to proclaim that they were inspected and free from blemish on the feet and the ankles, because lambs would get scratched up from the rockiness so when they found a lamb the first place they would check for blemishes is the feet and the ankles. Most of them were disqualified right then, and once they were declared six days beforehand they said oh, these feet and ankles are clean, they would take anointing oil and they would rub their feet and their ankles with it to say these can be now inspected for five days. Now five is very significant. It's the number of divine strength in the midst of human weakness. In Hebrew five is the number of divine strength in the midst of human weakness. It represents favour, acts of loving kindness that perfects us by Jesus' help in our weakness.

The number four speaks of man's weakness. The addition of one to four is the addition of Yahweh's strength and power to overcome our weakness, for instance the Torah contains five books, the sum acts of His loving kindness to create the world and establish His ways in man. Abraham's name was originally four letters. When it was changed the letter 'h' was added and it became five letters. David took five smooth stones. The ministry of the elders in the church is a five-fold ministry. Israel departed Egypt in military ranks of five. Five days passed between the triumphal entry of Jesus and Passover day when He was crucified. During that five day period of loving kindness and our heavenly Father was revealed in the preparation of the Son to be the Passover lamb, no greater love than for something to lay down His life for something else. See the number five was very significant, so the Passover lambs were brought in, chosen six days before in order to be inspected for five.

When they were chosen six days before the only thing that was inspected was their feet and - well they have four feet so the feet and the ankles, so what they would do is they would anoint their feet and ankles with this oil that would say they had been now marked. So in six days before the Passover Jesus is at someone's house and they anoint Him for burial by doing what? Rubbing pure nard on His feet and ankles, on His feet and ankles. That was the first anointing. Now the second anointing happens two days before Passover. They were anointed a second time on their head to announce that they were free from disease or blemish, so the second time they were anointed on their head; first time on their feet six days before. There was a period of inspection, and then the second anointing was on their head, [note that 00.24.00] Jesus is the Passover lamb. So what happened to Him? He was anointed first on His feet and then later He was anointed on His head. The second anointing said no, they've been inspected again and they are free from blemish, free of blemish.

So Jesus' head was anointed two days before He was crucified, the costly spikenard all running down His body. It was a sign that He was well, without sickness or defect. It would maintain the status in the inspections given by the priest, the Pharisees and the scribes, He was found without blemish, a perfect lamb of God fit for His scourging and crucifixion, taking the sins of the world upon Him in His innocence and redemptive purpose. So first anointing was on the feet six days before, second anointing was on the head two days before, and then they were sacrificed. The Passover lambs were sacrificed on Passover at exactly the ninth hour. Passover happens on this, Aviv 14. That's the month, that's the day okay, Aviv 14 at exactly the ninth hour, so at the ninth hour. Now according to the rabbis the ninth hour was the exact moment that Adam and Eve were created. Think about it. It says that on the sixth day they were created on the eve of the Sabbath. The Sabbath would have started at sundown so it says that they were created between the evenings. Well in Hebrew culture evening is what we would call afternoon, somewhere between 12 and six, and so what they believed was and what was past down orally was that Adam and Eve were created at exactly the ninth hour.

So every year on Passover they sacrificed the lambs at the exact moment and the anniversary that Adam and Eve were created, so the first Adam was created on the ninth hour; the second Adam was sacrificed on the ninth hour. There was a lot that went on at this ninth hour. Every day in Israel they would have an evening prayer. The evening prayer happened at exactly the ninth hour. They would go from three to four, the first 30 minutes in silence, the last 30 minutes in praise and thanksgiving. In the first 30 minutes they would begin to offer their prayer, after the evening sacrifice for our sins was made. This happened at exactly three o'clock. After the sacrifice was made the priest would go into the altar of incense and offer the prayers up as incense to the Father as the sweet smelling savour. This all happened at the ninth hour. This was all going on on the other side of the mountain at the same time Jesus was going through His. The Passover lambs were killed on Aviv 14. The number 14 is also very significant.

The rabbis break the Bible down into sections. Those sections are not books like we are used to. They break the Bible down into sections called [taldof. 00.27.11] A taldof is a record or a genealogy. That's a taldof. There were 13 taldofs in the Old Testament, 13 sections. What they believed was that whoever the 14th taldof was about, that would be the messiah. So there were 13 taldofs in the Old Testament. How does Matthew start his gospel? And this is the record of Jesus of Nazareth, the messiah, right. He's starting - he uses the word taldof. He's saying this is the 14th taldof. This is the One. This is the One - very interesting. They actually had a belief that was called the Doctrine of [ben David ben Joseph. 00.28.03] It just says that whoever messiah is has to be the son of David and the son of Joseph all at the same time. How many times in the New Testament do you hear people addressing Jesus, son of David, son of David have mercy on me? Here's how you write David in Hebrew. [unclear 00.28.21] It's how you write David in Hebrew.

Now every Hebrew letter is a picture, every Hebrew word's a comic strip. Also every Hebrew letter is a number. They don't have numbers in Hebrew. Every Hebrew letter is a number, it's like Roman numerals. So every name has a numeric value. Go and learn what this means: they will become an antichrist and his number will be 666. That's very common to them. Every Hebrew name has a number. [D 00.28.57] is four, vav is six, [D 00.29.01] is four, so the number of David is 14. So the 14th taldof was about the son of David who happened to be the Passover lamb killed on the 14th of Aviv. Matthew makes a point of this. At the end of his genealogy he says - remember he's talking to Jewish people. He says so you see there are three sets of 14; there are 14 generations between Adam and David, 14 between David and Babylon, 14 between Babylon and Christ. Now what's the three in Hebrew culture? The number of complete witness; two is a beginning witness, three is a sure witness, so he says so you see we have a sure witness of 14. We have three sets of 14. Well how would he have written that in Hebrew? He would have said we have a complete witness of David. We have a complete witness of David.

Fourteen times three is 42 which is how you write Joseph, so he says so you see the 14th taldof is about the messiah who is the son of David and the son of Joseph, and one day He'll be the Passover lamb who is going to be killed on the 14th of Aviv. It's almost like these people had help writing all this. [Laughter] So the subject of the 14th taldof was the son of David and was slaughtered on the Passover lamb at the 14th of Aviv. So here's my question. You say well Shane, what's the drash here? That's really nice historical insight and that makes the Bible sort of come alive, but when I walk home tonight what does that mean for me? Well it means a lot of things. Let me ask you a couple of questions. Number one, where do you need God to demonstrate His loving kindness to you tonight? Given the assumption that God has shown you loving kindness, what have you done to respond to it? If we're going to be kingdom people we have to respond to God's love. The Bible says it this way, that God commended His love towards us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

God commended His love toward us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Do you realise that the whole story of the cross, the whole thing was God saying I love you first. Do you know how crazy that is? Listen, whoever says I love you first is taking all the risk. If you're in a dating relationship right now you know exactly what I mean. If you're young enough to remember your dating life you know what I mean. Who - yes. [Laughter] Whoever said I love you first is taking all the risk. You know what I'm talking about. Why? I love you. What are the - whoever says I love you first, what are the possibilities? What if they say I know? [Laughter] What if they say that's great, yeah right? What if they cry and run into the bathroom? [Laughter] Like there's all kinds of options. When I was a junior higher I wanted to ask this girl - in those days - I don't know what you call it now but in those days we called it going together. So I wanted to ask this girl to go with me. Her name was [Lesley Sherburger. 00.32.30] [Laughter] You might laugh but she was a babe. [Laughter]

So I made two critical errors. My first error was I told my friends I was going to ask her. Bad decision. Second critical error was I decided to do it before school which gives you a huge time limit, so as the bell was coming up to ring my guys started razzing me and that sort of thing, so I finally had to take the long walk across the school yard. You're walking across the school yard and your heart's going boom-boom, boom-boom. Your eyes get a little more focussed. Everything gets blurry around it. See my brother asked a girl to go with him once and she ran into the bathroom and that didn't go so well, so this was in front of the whole school and so I asked her to go with me. Now you understand that in that situation I was taking all the risk because her response was her decision, but my heart was already out there. That's true. One of the messages of the cross is this, is that love is risky. Love is risky. [What did she say?] [Laughter] Oh, she said yes. [Oh good.] [Laughter] Yeah. [So you ran in the bathroom.] Yeah, I ran in the bathroom, I was scared of her. [Laughter] Yeah, then I realised it was summer and she was likely going to see me with my shirt off and that wasn't going to work out too well [laughter] so - so listen, this is a principle of the cross. Jesus didn't just die on the cross so we could go to heaven one day. Jesus died on the cross so that those of us who'd been hurt, we can love again and the reason we can love again is because we can risk again.

Look, I'm a counsellor by trade. I've had heaps of counselling stuff and in general when you're dealing with a basically good hearted person who's basically mentally healthy alright, so in a marriage for instance; if you're dealing with two basically good hearted people who are mentally healthy, when they come and see you and they say we don't love each other any more, that's typically not true. What typically is true is that it's not that they don't love any more, they're just too scared to risk any more. So you have two people who aren't willing to risk with each other any more and as soon as you can't risk you can't love because love is risky by nature. So really part of the cross is setting us free to love again because it sets us free to risk again. Now my question is this. God has commended His love towards you. He's waiting on your response. Have you responded? If not, what are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? You say how do I respond? Well you show love to others. You tell Him you love Him back, He says great, go love My people. Go love My people.

Let me ask you this question. Where have we lost the big picture because of criticism and jealousy? These people were Jews. They knew that He was the Passover lamb. Some of them were His disciples. He was explaining this the whole time. They knew He was the Passover lamb. Hold on, they knew all this - six days before she's anointing His feet, two days before she's anointing His head, and they lost the big picture. Why? Because of their tendency to be critical and jealous and judgemental. So is there any place in your life that you're losing the big picture that God in store simply because of criticism, jealousy and judgementalness? What has Jesus' sacrifice rescued you from? Listen, it's very important. This is so important, one of the most important things I'll say. If you want to be a kingdom person you always have to remember what God has delivered you from. You always - if you ever lose sight of how much you've been forgiven, if you ever lose sight of how much grace you've been given, be it by God or other people or other people through God, God through other people, whatever it is if you ever lose sight of what God has delivered you from you will miss the kingdom of God.

I don't mean you'll miss heaven. I mean you'll miss His best on earth. You'll miss His best on earth. Let me ask you a question. Where would your life be today had God not touched your life? And if you ever lose sight of that - and we all need to think about that every day. Every year - in Deuteronomy 26 it talked about this. Every year when they gave their first fruits offering, it says they had to give their first fruits offering; they would lift it high in a basket, place it into the hands of their priest, but when they did that they had to proclaim in a loud voice my Father is a wandering Aramean. My Father's a wandering Aramean. In other words my Father is a homeless refugee slave. In other words I am wealthy now, but without God I would still be homeless. They reminded themselves all the time of what God had done with them. Why? Because if you ever lose that you'll look down on other people. Let me tell you a story that illustrates this well.

I'm hairy. [Laughter] I'm hairy. I'll just be very personal with you. If you saw me with my shirt off you would think my mum had a one night stand with an orang-utan. [Laughter] It looks like my mum shopped for men in a zoo. I don't know what happened. [Laughter] Honestly, I've had to confront her. I was like mum, what was my dad? Seriously, before God what was my dad? Be honest with me. I mean it's not like I'm Italian or something, but it's bad and I have a pretty hairy chest and quite a hairy [back 00.38.11] and then what started to happen was I started - guys, you'll know what I mean. Have you ever woke up in the morning and the night before there was nothing, then you look in the mirror and there's like a four inch hair coming off your shoulder [laughter] like somewhere over here? You know what I'm talking about? You're like that wasn't there last night.

Well this started happening and I started to get a patch of hair at the bottom of my back right here, and a little patch of hair at the top of my - the top right here. So it was awful looking, I mean it looked like with my shirt off it looked like I had an upside down Christmas tree coming up out of my pants right. [Laughter] I couldn't have that so one day I was at the hair cutters and I was wearing a t-shirt. The lady who cut my hair said oh Shane, please. I said what? She said you are too good looking for this, please. You've got hair on the top of your back that's showing out of the top of your t-shirt, and I said that is not the top of my back. That's the bottom of my neck. [Laughter] She said no, it's the top of your back. I said no, it's the bottom of my neck. She said no, it's the top of your back. Now if you're hairy you understand there's a huge difference between the top of your back and the bottom of your neck. [Laughter] She said Shane, please let me take care of that, please. Please me take care of it. I'll do it for free. I said well whatever, so I expected a bzzz-bzzz. The next thing I know this very warm sensation went across [laughter] my back. [Laughter, applause] And once it's on there ain't but one way to get it off. [Laughter] So she goes rip-rip [unclear 00.39.59] [Laughter]

But see now there's this big bare spot so she's got to do the whole thing. [Laughter] So she does the whole thing, Christmas tree and all right. She does the whole thing and for the first time since I was like 16 I felt the feeling of my shirt on my back. [Laughter] It was fantastic. I was going on vacation so like three days later I'm laying out by the pool and this - this is like three days later. This guy walks by and he's got hair on his back and I went that's disgusting. [Laughter] You need to take care of that. [Laughter] But see three days before I was that guy. Listen, if we ever lose sight of what God's delivered us from [laughter] - you think you're better than other people. Sometimes you have to remember you're deliverance cost you the hair off your back. [Laughter] Sometimes you have to remember, hold on a second, hold on a second. Listen. When my tendency is to judge and criticise the answer to that always is a problem within me, so if I step back and go what about this threatens my value system? See we like to guise it with spirituality: this is violating the Bible almost never, almost never. Almost always it's violating the value system you've developed around the Bible, almost always.

So when we have a tendency to be critical or I don't know, just jealous or critical; when we have that tendency the cure for that typically is to step back and go hold on a second, this is threatening something in me. Where have I forgotten what God has done for me? Even if they're making a mistake then at that point I let them be free to make that mistake because forgiveness and mercy reigns over justice - always. Alright, let's do another one. Thirty pieces of silver - this is so cool. This will take us up to our break. Thirty pieces of silver. This is what it says in Matthew 26:14 through 16. This is the NIV this one. It says then one of the 12 - the one called Judas Iscariot - went to the chief priests and asked what are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you? So they counted out for him 30 pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Him over. Now what's going on here? You've got a - why not just say a bag of silver? Why not, you know? Look, Jewish people don't waste words okay. They don't waste words, so when they start talking about specifics and they start using numbers you have to go back and ask yourself is 30 pieces of silver anywhere in the Torah?

Is the idea of 30 pieces of silver anywhere in the Torah and the answer is yes. In Exodus 21:32 this is what it says. If a bull gores a man or a female slave, the owner must pay 30 pieces of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull must be stoned. If the bull gores a male or female slave the owner must pay 30 pieces of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull must be stoned - so 30 pieces of silver was the redemption price put on the head of a slave. Thirty pieces of silver was the redemption price put on the head of a slave, so when the priests and Judas Iscariot get together and they say what is His life worth what do they say? Thirty pieces of silver. What are they saying? They're saying His life is worth the same as a slave, so to Judas Iscariot Jesus was not his Lord. Jesus was his slave. In Judas Iscariot's mind he treated Jesus like a slave instead of like Lord. Now do you do that? If we're going to be kingdom people the right sign has to be over Jesus' head. Is Jesus your Lord or is Jesus your slave? Before you're quick to answer let me ask you this. Your last 10 conversations with Jesus were you talking to Him like a slave or were you talking to Him like a Lord?

Did the conversation go like this: Jesus, do this for me. Jesus, do that for me. Jesus, handle this. Jesus, make this happen. Jesus, make that happen. Jesus, fetch this. Jesus, do that. Is that a slave or is that a Lord? That's a slave. So maybe even in our prayer life we're guilty of exchanging His life for 30 pieces of silver. Maybe we're saying hang on, I say He's my Lord but in actuality I treat Him like a slave. See it's very important to be kingdom people that the guy that we're following is actually king. He's actually the king. His way actually rules. Listen, whether you're talking about Jesus as a rabbi, Jesus as a prophet, Jesus as a priest or Jesus as a king, the same rule applies: His way goes, even if it doesn't match what you think is right. Like let me give you some revelation here. This is so - this is deep revelation. You ready? Here is the whole nutshell of Jesus' way in one statement. Ready? Be nice. Christians, be nice. When you're trying to decide what the right thing to do is be nice first. Be kind. Be generous. Do other people better than yourself. Be nice.

The king has requested that you be nice, that you forgive people, that you give people freedom to make mistakes, that you do these things. Is He your slave or is He your Lord? See Pilate entered into this discussion and this is so cool. I'll close this session out with this. Look at the Book of John, Chapter 19. He'll be able to pull it up on the screen, but if you want to flip there you can. You might want to take notes in your Bible. John 19:19 through 22, it says this: And Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened it to the cross and it read Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews, and many of the Jews read this sign for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city. The sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek and the chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, do not write the king of the Jews, but that this man claimed to be the king of the Jews. Pilate said now what I've written I've written. Now here's my question. To Pilate who was the king of the Jews? Caesar. Caesar was the king of the Jews, so for a man to say He was the king of the Jews, when he writes over the cross here is Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews, was he being serious or sarcastic? Sarcastic.

You would think that the Jews would have wanted to enter into the sarcasm. Why? Because yeah, you said You were the king of the Jews yet look at You on the cross. It was Rome's way of saying if anyone proclaims themself king other than Caesar this is their fate. Pilate wasn't even being religious with it - so why are the Jews so upset? Well here's what would have happened in those days. Let me just show you the four words first. Here's Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews. That takes four words to say, here they are. [unclear 00.48.37] Okay, it says it was written in Aramaic, Greek and Latin. [unclear 00.48.45] Now that's a lot to write in a piece of paper over a cross right, so what typically would happen is when someone put a message on the cross they would write it out in the most common language of the day. The most common language of that day would have been Greek because it was the Roman Empire, so he would have written it out in Greek and then in the other languages they simply used an acrostic okay. So if they used an acrostic on these four words what would it be? Y, H, V, H.

So over the cross Pilate writes this: here is Yahweh. Here is Yahweh. Do you see why the Jews got so mad now? Here is Yud, He, Vav, He. Here is Jehovah. Here is Jehovah. So interesting the name of God, so interesting. Did I talk about this last night, the name of God and the pictures on it and - okay. My meetings are crossing in my head. Every Hebrew letter is a picture, so every Hebrew word is a comic strip. First of all the letters Yahweh, they don't go together phonetically. You can't say them, so when Moses said what's Your name God? I want to know Your name. See in Egyptian culture if you knew your God's name you could control him, so God knew that so Moses said what's Your name? In other words Moses is saying how can I control You? Yahweh says My name is Yud, He, Vav, He, which phonetically doesn't - it'd be like me going my name is [Shishmenovshevhaminuman. 00.50.41] [Laughter] It's like what, that doesn't even make any - what, excuse me? Shishmenovshevhaminuman - I just turned Swedish - so anyway, so it just sort of wait a minute, hold on, that doesn't - come back at me again? No, Yud, He, Vav, He - Yud, He, Vav, He? Can you spell that? Yeah, Yud, He, Vav, He.

So the rabbis said well what is this name of God? What they came up with was that if you listen to it it's not how it goes together, it's how you sound it. Yud, He, Vav, He. They said the name of God was actually Breath, Yud, He, Vav, He. A later writer said the name of God holds life together. Isn't that true? What's the last thing you do before you die? You take your last breath, so when you quit saying the name of God you quit living. What's the first thing you do when you're born? You breathe. You have to say the name of God, so in order to sustain your life you have to continuously say the name of God over and over and over again. Isn't it interesting that if you met at a coffee shop with an atheist tomorrow, the very breath it would take him to say he doesn't believe in God he would be actually using the name of the one he doesn't believe in to sustain his own life? And yet God is kind enough to let him do it. How nice is God.

Oh, also if you look at the letters, remember every letter's a picture so every word's a comic strip, the picture of Yud is an open hand. The picture of He is an open window. It means to reveal something or it also means grace. The number is five - remember we talked about that earlier? The Vav is a nail or a hook, it depends on how you wrote it, and the other He would be an open window again which means to reveal grace. So the name of God is this: an open hand of grace is nailed to reveal grace. An open hand of grace is nailed to reveal grace, so over His cross Pilate says here is the open hand of grace that is nailed to reveal grace. Here is Yahweh. Now here's my question. What sign do you have over Jesus? Is He the guy that you have your quiet time with every day? Is He the guy that you spend your 30 minutes of quiet prayer with? Is He the guy you go to when you need an answer? Is He the guy that you ask to take of all these things in your life?

Are any of those things necessarily bad? No, but if all of that isn't under something that says wait a minute, at the end of the day this is my Lord. I will not trade His life and make Him a slave. I want to be a kingdom person - listen, Jesus is not there to serve you. You are there to be His hands and His feet to the whole world. You are there to be His hands and His feet. May we be people who die to our judgemental and critical attitudes in order to be kingdom people by remembering what God has done for us.

Let's take a 15 minute break. We'll come back and continue this thought.

[File ends 00.54.23]



Shane Willard 2010 (4 of 4) (Shane Willard)  

Fri 23 Apr 2010 PM « Back to Top

Audio»  Share»  Website»  

Shane Willard 2010 (4 of 5) Shane Willard 23.04.2010 pm

[Shane Willard] A couple of quick things. Some of you have come back to our table and you've asked me this question; which ones are the good ones? [Laughter] Listen, you cannot travel the world and market yourself poorly. Now it's not all about marketing but listen, I have preached tons of bad sermons. I just choose not to reproduce them [laughter] you see, because then people say listen, everything we get from you is good. That's because for every one up there I did 10 [laughter] and that's what you market so listen, some of the best places to start okay - people say where do I start? This is the best place to start if you don't have this. It's an all day seminar called How to Read the Bible Like a Hebrew okay and it will go through all the basic stuff. It'll really set you up well okay, so you could start with that one.

Another really good one back there is Jesus' first sermon. It's very important what someone says first in Hebrew culture, so I do a whole rabbinical thing on the beatitudes okay. It's called Be Happy. It looks like this - you won't forget it right? And the other thing that's very basic that will help you see the Bible a lot differently in a lot of areas is one called The Tabernacle of God where I go through all the pieces of the tabernacle. All of this stuff comes back through the whole Bible okay, and we've got plenty of these because most of these are fairly new. I've got plenty of these because I sent enough here for here and for Invercargill which is where I'm going in a month's time. But if we sell out I can get more from Brisbane. That would be a good problem to have okay, so you guys go back there and you can get as much as you can. It'll change the way you look at God forever. It also helps us to fulfil what we feel is our mission to the poor okay, so it's a pretty good trade; you give me something that helps me feed people, I give you something that helps you revolutionise the way you look at God. Pretty good deal okay, so you guys check that out.

Also I mentioned this last night but I'll mention it again tonight. We've started an online eMentoring program where once a month for one hour I'll be in an online classroom teaching people what my rabbi taught me. It'll be a little bit deeper than this because you've got to go back even further, but if that's something you want to participate in you can just check out my website and it's up there. Okay, let's keep going because I have somewhere I want us to get tonight and I'm just warning you already I'm setting you up, okay? I've been setting you up all night, because we have to deal with these things. These things are the things that are destroying the credibility of Christianity, is this idea that the kingdom of God means going to heaven one day. The whole world can live in hell, it doesn't matter as long as I go to heaven one day: that's the most selfish Christianity I've ever heard in my life. It's not what God called us to be.

Okay, Mark, Chapter 10. It's another imagery from Jesus' life that talks about what it's like to be a kingdom person, and the imagery is casting aside your garment, casting aside your garment. Mark 10:46 through 52, it's a very common story but there's an interesting verse right in the middle that we can read over if we're not careful. It says this: And they came to Jericho. As He was with the disciples and a large crowd went out to Jericho, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting on the side of the highway begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth he began to cry out and say Jesus, Son of David - there's that Son of David, Son of 14, so it could mean either one. He could have been saying Jesus, Son of David, or he could have been saying Jesus, Son of the 14th [taldof. 00.04.05] Either way it's the same thing. They're calling Him messiah. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! And then he warned him that he should be quiet, and he cried a great deal more; Son of David, have mercy on me!

And Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. They called the blind man saying be of good comfort, rise up, He's calling you. In other words hey man, it's your lucky day. It's your lucky day. Now here's the word verse: And casting away his garment he rose up and came to Jesus, and answering Jesus said to him what do you desire that I do to you? Now I want you to understand. Look at the sentence structure again: And casting away his garment he rose up and came to Jesus, and answering him Jesus said to him. Has the blind man said anything to Jesus yet? No. What did he do? He cast aside his garment and casting aside his garment was some sort of statement that Jesus knew required a response. It says in answering Jesus said to him what do you desire that I should do to you? The blind man said to Him my Lord, that I can see again and Jesus said go, your faith has healed you and instantly he saw again and he followed Jesus in His way.

Notice that in the First Century when someone got saved, when someone got converted it wasn't just a prayer belief experience; no, it was a decision to follow His way of life. It was about bringing the kingdom to something - but in the middle of this here's basically the story. Blind guy, crying out Son of David, have mercy on me! Son of David, have mercy on me! Son of David, have mercy on me! Finally Jesus says would somebody bring him to me? They say look, it's your lucky day. Jesus is calling you, and the blind man's first response was to throw aside his garment. Now you look at that in the natural and you would think that Jesus would think well you're a little too excited to see me, you know what I'm saying? Like if you got so excited to see me you started stripping off your clothes [laughter] I'd be like hang on, hang on, hold on right? And that's sort of the picture you get here, a guy getting so excited to see Jesus he starts throwing aside his garments. It's like whoa dude, put it back on! [Laughter] But you have to understand some history here to really get what he's saying.

It says that the blind man threw aside his garment. Well what was true - was there anything unique about a blind man's garment that wasn't true of anybody else's garment? Anything? Of course. In First Century Jewish culture you had to have a license to beg. You couldn't just sit out on the street and beg. You had to have a license to beg okay, so you would go through a legal process by which you proved your validity as a beggar, that you couldn't make money any other way okay. They would put you through some sort of test and different things to help you decide well can you actually make money another way, or are you relegated to begging. Once they knew that there was no other option for you to beg they would give you a license to beg. Now what's the problem? Especially for a blind person you can't display your license to beg right, because all it takes you to do is take your hand off it for a second and someone could snatch it and replace it with something else, play practical jokes on you, all kinds of things they could do to you.

So your license to beg, what they did is they gave you a different coloured tallit. Everybody else's tallit was a certain colour but yours would be a different colour, so a different coloured tallit - a tallit was the prayer shawl that was the outer garment. So it says that when Jesus called the blind man, it says the first thing the blind man did was cast aside his garment and that action demanded a response from Jesus. Jesus says what do you want me to do for you? That's faith right there. Why? What was the blind man doing? He was throwing away his license to beg before Jesus ever did anything. He was throwing away his license to beg before Jesus ever did anything. Jesus said now that's faith. That's faith. When you're willing to throw away your license to make money because you're so sure that you're fixing to be healed, that's faith. That's faith. You say what does that have to do with me? Everything. Is there any part of you that's holding on to something that all it takes is for you to throw that away for Jesus to touch you? You say well what do you mean? Well let me be very practical.

Is anybody in this room going to a job that they hate every day, and deep in your heart, deep, deep in your heart you have a deep desire to start your own business? You have a deep desire to start your own business and you've been dreaming about it and dreaming about it and dreaming about it. You want to start your own business. You want to start your own business, but you keep going to the same job you hate every day. What's stopping you from stepping out in faith, casting off your garment and giving it a go? That's what this story's about. This story is about those critical moments in all of our lives where we have to make a hard decision to cast off a former identity in favour of a new one. This is a story about how kingdom people respond to opportunity. This is a story - not opportunity because most opportunity isn't of God, but this is a story about how kingdom people respond to Jesus. This is a story about people who say I want what Jesus has for me so bad that I'm willing to lay my license to do something else down in order to enter into something better. It's a story about that.

It's a story about a church who's willing to reinvestigate how they used to do things in order to enter into God's next season for them. It's a story of bravery. It's a story of courage. It's a story of a man who is willing to say you know what? The former things are going to pass away here. All things are fixing to become new for me and I'm going to be brave enough to enter into it. It's a story about that guy. This isn't just a story about one blind man throwing off his tallit to get to Jesus, no. It's a story about me and it's a story about you, and it's a story about what would happen to our life when we're willing to be brave enough to leave former things behind in order to press on to something better, to something newer, to something that Jesus is calling us into next. It's a story about not hanging on to tradition. It's a story about - and the Bible and history's full of these people. Martin Luther was this guy. He was. He was. Now the people who followed Martin Luther, they quit journeying and they slowly but surely became irrelevant. Why? Because they thought they'd found the end - it's never the end-all, be-all. It is what is God calling you into next.

Every one of us has a garment to throw off. What is it? What is it? Every one of us. Every one of us. Maybe you're the guy here and you're 48 and ever since you were 40 you dreamed of owning your own business, but you're still working for the same guy and you hate it. You feel deep down inside you're missing something, and all it takes is you to throw off your garment. Maybe, maybe as a church, maybe God's calling this church to investigate that the pieces of garments they might still be holding onto that's keeping them from the next step of what God's calling us to in the kingdom, this is a story - listen. When you hold onto your garments it keeps you blind. You can't see the next stage of vision. Listen to me. If you're struggling with seeing God's vision for your life maybe it's because of the garment that you're keeping around you. Maybe all it takes is not even releasing it but a willingness to release it in order to see the clarity that God has for us. It's casting aside garments, casting aside garments.

Now here's one more and then I'm going to bring us to where I wanted to get to. Whitewashed tombs. Whitewashed tombs. Jesus tells a group of Pharisees, He says you're like a bunch of whitewashed tombs. You traverse land and sea to make one convert, but after you get the convert you make him twice the child of hell that you already are. It's a pretty harsh statement. Whitewashed tombs - what's going on there? Well to fully understand this we have to understand Leviticus. Leviticus says that it is unlawful for a person to knowingly walk into a place where a dead body is. To knowingly walk into the presence of the dead makes you unclean, so Jesus tells these people you're whitewashed tombs. You're actually tombs but people can't tell you're tombs, because they're so clean. You're so clean on the outside but the inside of you is very unclean, so that your mere presence makes other people unclean. [Laughs] It's a pretty staunch statement.

He's like you're whitewashed tombs. In other words the outside of you looks pretty, but the inside of you, actually your very presence is making people unclean, unclean. It leads us to a question. You want to be kingdom people, you want the kingdom to be established. Let me ask you a question. Do you have any secrets? Is there any time where on a Sunday morning you come in here and your being is simply a whitewashed tomb? Everything looks good here, but the inside of you is dying and you don't want anybody to know? This is a story about what destruction looks like. It's a story about when you do that it doesn't just affect you; it affects everybody around you because it creates atmospheres and environments that no one can explain. When you're hurt is not dealt with, when your pain is not dealt with, what that does is it creates an environment of a whitewashed tomb. Everything on the outside looks clean and put together and all of that, but on the inside it's bad.

Listen, I pastored at a church of, I don't know, several thousand and my office was upstairs. I used to sit up there, I would watch people come into church. I'd see it. I'd see the husband and wife addressing each other with obscenity-laced tirades, then walking into the front door of the church; hi pastor. Why? Because they're struggling with something they don't want anybody else to know about. There's a character issue that is not dealt with and what happens is everything out here looks nice, but on the inside they're simply a whitewashed tomb and their very presence is affecting the atmosphere of the whole place. Listen, every now and then churches, families, everybody, everybody has to scratch the surface of the whitewashed tomb to see how much dead stuff is actually in there that needs to be dealt with - and that's kingdom. That's kingdom people.

Now the last thing I want to talk about tonight, and this is sort of my main point for the night is this - and everything I've talked about deals with this principle. There's a Hebrew principle of studying the Bible called [unclear 00.15.50] - I'll write it in English, light and heavy. Light and heavy. Every scripture has a light side and a heavy side. Light and heavy was a principle of rabbinical interpretation. It was said to help people live the best life. It was also meant to decide what do you do when the Bible contradicts itself. What do you do when the Bible contradicts itself, which we're going to talk about that here in a second okay? Like for instance Jesus said if your eye offends you pluck it out. Well if you're one of these people who takes everything in the Bible literally good luck! [Laughter] Shane, I take the whole Bible literally. It all is literal and it [unclear 00.16.35] I take it literally, I'm a literalist. Very good. Jesus said if you look at something sinful pluck your eye out. Go for it!

You never see any of His disciples - like He travelled with 12 men for three and a half years. Do you not think there was one lust issue amongst 12 men? [Laughter] And you never see His disciples showing up at the camp fire with a pencil with their eye on it; Jesus, I'm so sorry. [Laughter] In rabbi school these were light and heavy statements. Jesus is saying - what He's saying is that if you handle the sin issue when it's light it'll keep it from becoming heavy, but if you wait until it's heavy it's harder to deal with - light and heavy. Light and heavy. Jesus used these phrases all the time. You have heard it said don't murder but I say to you don't hate - light, heavy. Why? There was a group of people who got proud of themselves for never killing anybody. Jesus says you haven't murdered anybody? Well woopty-do! How many people actually murder people? I'm not concerned with the murderers; I'm concerned with how much hate is in your heart, how much stuff looks nice but on the inside you actually hate people. So to Jesus the heavy sin was hate; the light sin was murder.

You have heard it said don't commit adultery, but I say to you don't lust. The heavy sin was lust; the light sin was [not 00.17.56] committing adultery. You have heard it said this, but I say to you this. This is light and heavy statements. Another way you lose light and heavy is you would use light and heavy in order to decide what to do when the Bible contradicts itself, because light and heavy was so important. You want to handle something at the light so it never gets to the heavy. To understand this we have to understand a Hebrew definition of sin. There are three levels of sin in the Hebrew culture; first level is iniquity, second level is sin, third level is transgression. Now to understand this even further we have to understand the pictures on the Hebrew word iniquity. The Hebrew word iniquity is the word - let me write it out. Okay, [avon. 00.18.51] Avon, like the make up company right, okay. The old Pentecostals love that right. You see, I told you, even the word for make up is sin! [Laughter]

Okay, so avon - three letters, three pictures. The picture of the 'a' is an eye, the picture of a vav is a hook or a nail, and the picture of the nun is fish multiplying. So when a Hebrew person read the word iniquity this is what they read: whatever your eye hooks to multiplies. Whatever dominates your focus becomes very large. Listen to me, when problems are in clear view those problems are actually bigger than they actually are. In a mirror it says objects appear closer - objects in a mirror are closer than they appear okay? It's the opposite here. When something is a problem and that problem is in focus, the problem becomes bigger than it actually is because whatever your eye hooks to multiplies. Whatever your eye hooks to multiplies. I have seen a lot of people in good situations leave those situations because the problem appears big. I'm a counsellor by trade. I can't tell you the number of husbands who have left good women and four months later regret it, and all it was was the problem got bigger than it actually was. The wife leaves a good man and four months later she regrets it. Why? Because in actuality it's just the problem became the focus and whatever your eye hooks to multiplies. It got bigger than it actually was.

This is the concept of iniquity. Iniquity is whatever your eye hooks to multiplies. There are three levels to it. Let me see if I can explain this. Let's say I wanted that phone and so iniquity is my eye hooks to the phone and my need for it multiplies, okay? That's iniquity. Now in the Old Testament could you prosecute me for iniquity? No. Why? Because you don't know that I'm thinking it. Now here's sin. Sin is this. It says that a person sins when he's drawn away by his own lust and enticed, so as I look at the phone my need for the phone becomes bigger. At some point it creates a lust. Once it creates a lust and entices me, now I'm in sin - and let me just - if I could blow away some theology here and I haven't done anything yet. I've simply thought it, it's multiplied, my eye hooked to it, it became a lust and I'm enticed by it. That's sin. Transgression is when I actually take it, so I actually transgress the law. Now in the Old Testament could you prosecute someone for iniquity? No. Could you prosecute them for sin? No. Could you prosecute them for transgression? Yes, as long as you had two or three witnesses. So you had to have two or three witness of somebody transgressing the law. That's transgression.

Now this should give us a really big revelation of grace. Why? The prophet Isaiah says this: We all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way, but the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. In other words Jesus doesn't just forgive you for what you've done; Jesus forgives you all the way back to your eye hooked to it. In other words Jesus forgives you for the light, and then the heavy takes care of itself. But in terms of your life, in terms of living the best life, we have to handle things at iniquity so it doesn't get to transgression. A later writer said this: Fix hook your eye to Jesus, because whatever your eye hooks to multiplies. What would happen if we could dominate our own imagination and keep it from wrapping around things that God wouldn't want us to have? What would happen?

Listen, every affair, every affair that's ever happened starts with flirting - not every but most. It starts with somebody flirting with another, and then it takes the other reciprocating the flirt. That's where they mostly start. Now is that iniquity, sin or transgression? Iniquity. It's iniquity. You haven't actually committed adultery yet, you're just starting the process of becoming inappropriate. So if you handle it at the light it never gets to the heavy - you with me? That's just life wisdom. Now the other way that light and heavy was used is to determine what do you do when the Bible contradicts itself, and I want to stop here tonight by investigating a scripture because Jesus answers one really well. You might say well I thought the Bible never contradicts itself. You're right if you're talking about historical fact, but you're wrong if you're talking about commands. Often times commands put ourself in situations where you have two contradictory commands. There are books this thick written on it, it's called ethics okay, like what do you do in these situations.

Alright, let me give you an example what I mean. Leviticus says do not touch someone who's bleeding out. Do not touch someone who's bleeding out. Leviticus also says do not leave someone for dead. Can you see where you could be in a situation where that could contradict itself, alright? Let's read one. This scripture is a parable Jesus told - it's very familiar, out of Luke 10:25 to 37. I want to take 10 minutes or so and break this scripture down, and then I want to apply it to our lives. We're going to find ourself in this. It says this: On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. Teacher, he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life? What is written in the Torah, He replied, how do you read it? And Jesus - oh, I'm sorry - Jesus answered him, what's written in the Torah? How do you read it? And he answered love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself. You have answered correctly, Jesus replied. Do this and you will live, and he wanted to justify himself so he asked Jesus a follow up question; And who is my neighbour?

In reply Jesus said a man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of some robbers and they stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away leaving him half dead. And a priest happened to be going down the same road. When he saw the man he passed him on the other side, so too the Levite, when he came to the place and saw him he passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan as he travelled came where the man was and when he saw him he took pity on him. He went to him and he bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to the inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. Look after him he said and I will return. I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have had. Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? And the expert in the law replied the one who had mercy on him, and Jesus told him go and do likewise.

Now there's so much going on here. Any time you read a Hebrew parable you have to understand how they interpreted it. Hebrew people read parables for identification, not primarily for content okay. Hebrew people read parables for identification, not for content. Here's how it worked. Jesus was called a Master of Haggadah which was the ability to teach with parables. Now it took some skill to do it because this was how they thought about it. Any time you're reading a Hebrew parable the first question you ask is this: who is asking the question? Two - so who is asking the question? Two, what question is he asking? Three, who in the story would he identify with? The answer to the question is found in whoever the one asking it identifies with in the parable. Okay, does that make sense? So if I'm asking a question and you're my rabbi and you say let me answer you with a parable, I would be listening intently for whoever I would identify with in the parable and that would be the answer to my question, alright.

So there's at least two things going on here. The first thing is this, is Jesus is giving us a light and heavy interpretation of what do you do when you find someone left for dead, touching them versus helping them? What do you do? If you touch them you're sinning; if you leave them for dead you're sinning. Which one's the worst? Alright, so Jesus is doing that. The second thing He's doing is He's answering this guy's question, so let's go through this. Who was the one asking the question? Who is it? An expert Pharisee, so a top end Pharisee alright, so expert Pharisee. Okay, what question is he asking? Who is my neighbour. Why is he asking that? He comes to Jesus and he says what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus is so rabbinical, Jesus says um I don't know, how do you read it? You're a Pharisee, tell me your yoke, right and the Pharisee says okay, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus says that's it. If you do that you'll inherit eternal life, okay. If you do that you'll inherit eternal life.

So the Pharisee says well hold on then, who's my neighbour? In other words if I have to love my neighbour like I love myself, then let's define who are the people I have to love this way. So essentially he's drawing a box and he's saying in this box are neighbours. Who is in here? Now there are a lot of answers aren't there? Isn't there a lot of possibilities? Couldn't Jesus have said okay, just Jews. Just Jews. The Pharisee, okay - maybe He could have said only clean Jews. That would have even been better. What if He said only Pharisees? What if He only said the guys who live on your street, those neighbours? Like there are a lot of potential answers here and it's a very important thing because Jesus is talking about something called eternal life. He's saying if you want to inherit eternal life you've got to love your neighbour as yourself. The question is who's my neighbour? In other words who are these group of people that I have to love like I love myself? So Jesus says let me tell you a parable to answer this.

Now as soon as He said that the Pharisee would have been listening to the parable for who he identifies with in the story. In a Hebrew parable there are three characters as you see at the end of the parable Jesus said, so which one of the three acted like a neighbour, okay? There are three characters okay, so Jesus sets him up. So He says there's this guy that gets left for dead, okay. There's three people are going to walk by him. The first one is a priest and he walks right by him. Now two questions: one, would the Pharisee have identified with the priest? No. Priests were Sadducees. Pharisees and priests did not get along because they disagreed on what made up the scriptures. The Pharisees said that the Torah and the prophets made up scriptures; the priests said that the Torah only was the scripture, so they didn't get along at all. So as soon as Jesus said there's this priest that walked by the Pharisee would have been like okay, go on.

The second observation is this. Our tendency is to say bad priest, bad priest, you walked by. But maybe that priest's rabbi, maybe he said listen, it is a better thing for you to walk away instead of touching a person bleeding out. Why? Because the priest would have been going to offer sacrifices. If he touches the guy bleeding out he becomes unclean, which costs him his ability to offer sacrifices, so maybe that priest, if he touched the guy it would have cost hundreds of people their forgiveness that day - so it's totally plausible that the priest walked by. He says okay, the second guy's a Levite and the Levite walks by too. Now here's the question: if you're a Pharisee do you identify with the Levite? No, same reason. Levites were priests. Levites were Sadducees okay. The Levites believe that the Torah only was the scripture. The Pharisees were about two per cent of the population who believed that the Torah and the prophets were the scriptures. They were actually - I know this goes against some things - the Pharisees were actually the progressive, visionary thinkers. They were the ones who would look at our Bible and go that's plausible.

The priests of that day and the Sadducees would have said no, you've added too many books. Ezekiel, no way. Isaiah, no way. Joshua, no way. No, Matthew, no, no, no. It's got Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, that's it see? So the Levite walks by, same reason right. So here Jesus sets him up so good. In a Hebrew parable when you're answering a question, if you're not the first and you're not the second then you're automatically the third, so the Pharisee would have been on his toes - oh! Oh! Who am I? Who is my neighbour? Jesus says the third guy is a Samaritan. [Laughter] The Samaritan actually is the kind one. He picks him up and he takes care of him and he does all this stuff, and then Jesus asked him the following question. He says who acted like a neighbour? The Pharisee can't even say it, he can't even say Samaritan. He says the one who had mercy. Jesus said that's right, go and do likewise, you'll inherit eternal life.

So what's He saying? A couple of things, light and heavy. The first thing He's saying is this, is that when you're faced with a situation of touching someone dying or walking away to offer sacrifice, He says the light sin is always having mercy. The heavy sin is leaving someone for dead. Later He said this: I desire mercy more than sacrifice. In other words if you're act of mercy takes away your ability to offer sacrifice, I understand your heart. That was the light and heavy part. What was the other part? So in this parable what is Jesus' definition of a neighbour? Who does He tell the Pharisee is his neighbour? The Samaritan. In other words Jesus is saying your neighbour is the person you hate the most. He's saying if you want to inherit eternal life you have to grow in your kingdom mentality to where you can actually love the people you think you hate. He gives him a follow up tool to do that. He says the way to do that is don't ask how restrictive can we make this box. Don't ask questions like how restrictive can we make this box. Here's a better question to ask. A better question to ask is how can I be a neighbour to someone else? How can I actually make someone else's life better?

What's He saying? He's saying you're getting so caught up in the light you're missing the heavy. You're getting so caught up in who's my neighbour that you're missing all your opportunities to be a neighbour. Listen to me. When the spirits and the demons and the enemy of our soul, the things that can control our thoughts in a negative way and can sort of drive behaviour, listen, they typically are very subtle. They don't come in [unclear 00.35.15]. They come in very subtly and they get a foothold and a stronghold. One of the primary ways they do that in the church is this, is they make the church lose sight of the heavy in favour of the light. They take an organisation and they get everybody in the organisation so focussed on the light that they lose sight of the heavy. The get so focussed on questions like who's my neighbour? Well let's apply it to what we're doing. They get so focussed on questions like what songs are we singing? Is our lighting okay? How's this? How's that?

They get so focussed on the light that they lose sight of the heavy. People are starving. We need to feed them. People are oppressed with the demonic. We need to be a hand in delivering them. People's lives are going to hell day by day by day, and we need to be a part of bringing heaven to that situation. There are single mums here who have four children. Their left eye twitches uncontrollably and all they need for heaven to come to their situation is for a group of people to watch their children once a week just so they can have four hours alone of peace and quiet. That would bring heaven to that situation, and we walk by it. Why? Because we're worried about systems and songs and lights and fog and programs and all of that. We lose sight of the heavy in favour of the light and when the enemy of our soul can get us to focus on the light instead of the heavy, he wins.

Now listen, I'm all for details and being organised and all that. We should focus on the light. That is something we should do, but any time we get so focussed on the light that we lose sight of the heavy then the devil wins. There's a group of people in Charleston, South Carolina who are so focussed on women not cutting their hair or wearing slacks, or wearing make up and not going to movies, and making sure people don't take a sip of beer that they're willing to hate people of a different race and not feed hungry people, and not clothe naked people and not visit prisoners. They've gotten so focussed on the light that they lose sight of the heavy and when that happens the enemy wins and the kingdom suffers. People say oh, it's just between me and God. No. Listen, if it's just between you and God do whatever you want to do. God can handle you. It's the problem is it's never between you and God; it's always between you and God and it affects a whole lot of people.

May we be kingdom people who are focussed on the heavy. May we be people - and you know what? All of us, all of us struggle with this. Why? Because it's the devil's primary strategy. He had this guy who had memorised the entire Bible. The guy had - the Pharisees had memorised the whole Bible, the whole thing. He had a guy who had memorised the whole Bible, yet he was missing the point. How did the devil accomplish that? How did he accomplish that? Here's all he did. He said wait a minute, let's see if we can restrict this and ask the wrong questions. When we start asking the wrong questions the right questions go to the side and we lose our effectiveness. Listen, we have got to step back and get the bigger picture. The disciples who watched the alabaster box lost the heavy in favour of the light: she's pouring pure nard on Him! That's against the law! Jesus says do not lose the heavy for favour of the light: she's preparing Me for My burial. Can you keep the bigger picture here? We're six days away from Passover. I'm fixing to have the worst week of My life. Can you at least journey with Me?

Like no one ever got it. Jesus said you know, I'm fixing to suffer and die but when I die don't lose hope. I'll rise again. Like one time He had this very special moment with His disciples. He said look guys, I've got to tell you. This is going to get really bad and when it gets really bad don't lose heart. I'm going to come back, and one of them goes when Your kingdom's established can I sit at Your right hand and not Your left? Jesus goes [unclear 00.39.31] [laughter] you're focussed on the light. Please keep the perspective on the heavy. Please keep the perspective on the heavy. Listen, all of us need grace from God to be heavy-minded people, bigger picture people. Listen, until all the starving people are fed I don't think He's worried about 80 year old women giving men lustful thoughts [laughter] or wearing hats or pants or whatever.

Until all the starving people are fed I don't think He's really concerned about the length of your hair - men. Until all the starving people are fed I really don't think that Jesus cares that you watched a movie with a swear word in it. Until all the starving people are fed I'm not real sure, I'm not real sure that Jesus cares about all the gossip and opinions that go on in a typical organisation. Until all the starving people are fed and all the naked people are clothed, and all the sick people are healed and all the demon oppressed people are delivered, I think we've got our hands full. Can I get an amen? [Amen!] May we never lose sight of the heavy to criticise the pure nard. May we never lose sight of the bigger picture in trying to keep the smaller things. May we be kingdom people, determined, determined to bring heaven to everywhere we touch.

Lord, we give ourself to You again with all humility. Would you just quietly underneath your breath pray this prayer, or something like it. Lord, give me the grace to stay focussed on the heavy. Lord, give me the grace to stay focussed on the heavy. Lord, may I lose sight - may the light never be multiplied in my eyes. May light things never be multiplied in my eyes. Maybe you want to say something like this underneath your breath: I renounce any thought that has me focussed on the light. I repent from my focus on the light. May I turn back and focus now on the heavy. Just repent from those old thought patterns and step back in to God's best. Lord, we love You and we humbly say would You use us to build Your kingdom. May we be the hands and feet of Jesus.

[File ends 00.42.13]



The Cross and the Resurrection (Shane Willard)  

Sun 25 Apr 2010 AM « Back to Top

Audio»  Share»  Website»  

Jesus died on the cross for you, not to just forgive you of your sins, but to empower you to be nice to other people. There's a cross that Jesus bore for us, that we could not bear; and at the same time, there's a cross that He called us to bear, because we can. We look at the case for believing in the resurrection, and then look closely at some of the imagery - the Passover Lamb; and the mixture of blood & water that flowed from Him; the Folded Napkin; and the Dirty Roman Sponge. From Eden, a river called Hope flowed through a land called Suffering. Colloidal Gold gives water a red colour, symbolising that hope.

The Cross and the Resurrection

Genesis, Chapter 2. What I want to talk to you about today is a very important topic. I got enamoured a couple of months ago with the whole cross, and the crucifixion, and the resurrection. I went back and I read it, and I started looking for all kinds of Hebrew pictures and idioms and things like this, and anything I could find in there that made the story come alive.

The Cross and the Resurrection is about forgiveness: Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world; but it doesn't end with forgiveness. The cross and the resurrection is also a story about a public defeat of a way of living. One writer later in the New Testament says that Jesus defeated the ways of this world publically on the cross, so in other words the cross wasn't just about forgiveness. The cross was about me and you living something differently.

There's actually two crosses. There's a cross that Jesus bore for us, that we could not bear; that we owed a debt we could not pay. Jesus paid that debt for us. There is a truth about that. There is a cross that He bore, and the reason He bore it because we could not. At the same time, there's a cross that He called us to bear, because we can. He called us to pick up a cross daily, so here's my question, as we start this out: Is there any place in your life where you've embraced the cross that saves you, but you've neglected the cross you've been commanded to pick up?

Is there any place in your life that you've embraced the cross that forgives you; but you've neglected the cross that says: we need to give mercy and forgiveness to other people? Is there any place in your life where you want mercy for yourself, but justice for everybody else? Is there anywhere you find yourself at the cross going: God, give me mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy - but then you look around and you see other people at the same cross, and you say: God, get them!

So do we want mercy for ourselves and justice for everybody else? This is not what this was about. This was about a lifestyle. This was about a lifestyle of mercy and grace and forgiveness. This was about a lifestyle of generosity. This was about a lifestyle of giving yourself for other people. This wasn't just about going to heaven one day.

Christianity has lost a lot of its credibility because of this. Christianity has taught salvation as: come to an altar, say a prayer, suffer through life, die - it'll all get better then. That's how we do it. Come to an altar, say a prayer, suffer through life, die and you all get to go to heaven then - and so we made salvation all about getting to heaven one day. Is there truth in that? Yes. Is that the whole truth? No, salvation to these people was not just going to heaven one day. Salvation was living slave-driver-free today. It was about being delivered from the things driving your life; not so that you could just be delivered, but so that you could share that life with other people.

Let me summarise it in a nutshell: Jesus died on the cross for you, not to just forgive you of your sins, but to empower you to be nice to other people. Now that's some revelation. You got out of bed this morning for that one! That Jesus died to empower us to be who we really are. See any time you're put in a situation, where something is trying to force you out of what you really are, it's very uncomfortable. Any time you're put in a situation where you're forced to put on an image - you have two choices really. You can live out of who you really are, which Jesus recreated you in righteousness and true holiness, which means the real you is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness - that's the real you. Or you can live out of an image that you've created to impress people you don't like. You can live out of an image, and anything that forces you to live out of an image is uncomfortable.

This is a story about a journey from slavery to freedom, from anguish to relief, from bondage to freedom, from darkness to light. Salvation isn't just one day; it's here, now, today - and when we begin to see it like that, it changes our whole perspective in our life. Now let me start this morning by answering a question. Did the resurrection and the crucifixion, did it actually happen? Did it actually happen? Well of course you say yes, you're in church on Sunday. Listen, somebody challenged me on this, and it really helped my life. This is what they said. They weren't a believer obviously, and they said: Shane, let me get this straight - so you believe that God sent His Son on a suicide mission, but it didn't worry Him, because He knew that He would rise again on the third day? And you believe this, just because the Bible says so? And I thought to myself: this guy doesn't understand; but you know what? I realised that most of us couldn't give an answer to that without looking stupid, so let me see if I could help us with that.

That statement misses two important things: 1) it totally discounts the fact that the Bible has historical validity. It treats the Bible as some spiritual book that's all written on a level of analogy - that's what it treats it as. Any time you're dealing with a book that's dealing on a level of analogy, you can manipulate it here and there; but it totally discredited the historical validity of the Bible. 2) it infers the fact that the Bible is one document. So what he was inferring was we have this one book called the Bible, and the beginning seems to indicate that we need a saviour, and the end seems to indicate we need a saviour, so they manipulated the middle to make the beginning and the end fit. You know what? If the Bible was one book, he would have a good point; but here's what he's missing - the Bible is not one book; and let me help you with something. Christians do not believe in the resurrection simply because the Bible says so. It's not that simple, because the Bible is not just one book. The Bible is 66 books. Its 66 books, and it has historical validity.

When you send your children to school, they study history - hopefully. All of our world history books come from mainly two sources: the Gallic Wars and Tacitus' work. So you've got an historian named Tacitus, who wrote about the Caesars for them; and you've got a guy who wrote the Gallic Wars. The Gallic Wars, we have five copies of those manuscripts, and our world history books are based on them. Tacitus' work, we have nine copies of his manuscripts, and our world history books are based on them. Now let me ask you a question further. If our world history books are based on Tacitus' work, and Tacitus was employed by Caesar to write about the Roman Empire, do you think it's possible that some of his writings would have been biased in favour of Caesar? Why? Because he'd have got his head cut off otherwise right? So we have five manuscripts of the Gallic Wars, and nine manuscripts of Tacitus' work; we base our entire world history based on them, and no one questions whether or not it's valid. Yet Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts - we have 5,000 manuscripts of them, and they all say roughly the same thing, and it wasn't about a Caesar. It was about a Jewish carpenter who happened to be a rabbi.

So these things survived. If you put the resurrection on trial, and you were the jury, and I was the lawyer, here would be my case:

1) you have seven sworn witnesses that it happened. In the New Testament, seven different men wrote in their writings that they either saw what happened, or they talked to enough people who saw what happened, that it was credible. Here were the four men: you've got Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James and Peter. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James and Peter, so you have four businessmen, Jesus' brother, a Jewish theologian, and you have a medical doctor. All seven of these people said that there was clearly enough evidence; either they saw it with their own eyes, or they'd heard enough testimony to say: wait a minute, no, this happened.

2) Of these seven witnesses, 5,000 of their manuscripts survived. Now if you talk to anybody about textural criticism about any piece of literature, if you have 5,000 manuscripts that did survive, you've got a ton more over 2,000 years who didn't survive. So the fact that 5,000 manuscripts survived, about the witness of seven people, actually bodes very, very well. It bodes very well.

3) They were not predisposed to believe in the resurrection. None of them were predisposed to believe in it; so it wasn't like they wanted to believe it so bad, that they had to go find it. It wasn't that at all. As a matter of fact, it was the exact opposite. Every time Jesus tried to warn them that the resurrection, and the crucifixion, and all of that was going to take place, every time - they just didn't get it. It always says: they didn't understand what He was saying; like there was one really embarrassing time, where Jesus is having a real sort of gut-wrenching moment with them. He's like: don't you understand that the son of man is going to suffer at the hands of men? It's going to be horrible! He's going to die - but when you see these things, do not fret, because He's going to rise again.

He's just having this heart wrenching moment, and one of the disciples goes: can I ask a question? Jesus says: yes. When we're in heaven one day, can I sit at Your right hand, instead of Your left? Jesus goes: you don't get it. See none of these people were predisposed. They were surprised when Jesus rose from the dead. As a matter of fact, all the disciples fled when He died. They weren't like: they're sitting there, and there was two guys who buried Jesus - it was Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Where did they bury Jesus? In a tomb. Why? Because they thought He was going to stay dead. They didn't believe that in three days He was going to rise again; or they'd have taken Him to His house ,and sat Him up at the table like Weekend at Bernie's. A bit awkward, but you have guests over to your house - oh don't mind Him. He's dead, He'll get up in three days - just sort of stretching Him out. Why? Because they believed He was going to stay dead. They weren't predisposed to believe this stuff.

4) All of their writings got them killed or exiled. It wasn't like they became popular because of this. They were either killed or exiled, and in some of their situations, history tells us that they were given a chance to keep their life, if they would just say that they didn't see what they saw. So they believed what they saw so much, that they were willing to die or be exiled for it. Do you see what I'm saying? It's not as simple as saying: I believe it, just because the Bible says so. If you're a Christian here today, and you believe it, it's not just because the Bible says so. It's because there are seven different witness, who in their writings declared: this is true; four businessmen, a Jewish theologian, the Lord's brother, and a medical doctor, gave written testimony that this happened. They weren't predisposed to believe it, and their testimony got them killed. If they would have just recanted, they would live; so the idea that this happened is true.

Now why did it happen? Did it happen just so that you could be forgiven? No. It happened so that we could live a different form of life, so that this church could be a place in this community that shares the light of what the life of the cross is all about. That's what it's about.

Now in that there's some serious imagery that comes around. In John 19:33-34 it says: but when they came to Jesus, and found that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. Instead one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water - a sudden flow of blood and water. Now there's a lot of imagery here. The first imagery is - you have to understand Passover lambs, which Jesus was. Passover lambs - it's outlined in the Mishnah how they treated them, and when they prepared a Passover lamb, they did so with two stakes - two wooden stakes, a vertical stake and a horizontal stake. They did that - you had to prepare a Passover lamb in a way that broke no bones, so they would put him on the vertical stake in a way that broke no bones. They would then insert a horizontal stake that would spread him out. Why? Because the Torah said that when you cook a Passover lamb, you have to cook it in such a way where the fluid doesn't bubble up on the meat.

So they would spread him out in such a way where the fluid would naturally fall off of him. They would lacerate his side with stripes, so that it would open up his side, so that the extra blood and water would flow out. They would take the entrails of the Passover lamb, and they would make a crown, and put it on the Passover lamb's head. This is all outlined in the Mishnah, way, way, way before Jesus. The last thing they would do, when a Passover lamb was being cooked, is just to make sure that all the extra body fluids were out of its body. They would take a knife, and they would puncture its side in a way that broke no bones. They would puncture its side, and pierce the heart, and any excess stuff in the heart would then fall out.

And so all of this was going on to say: wait a minute, this is the Passover lamb! So there was that aspect to it, but there's a specific imagery of blood and water, that I think really speaks to us today. This imagery goes all the way back to Genesis 2:10-12. It says this: A river watering the garden flowed from Eden, and from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first was called Pishon, and it wound through the entire land of Havilah, where there was gold, and the gold was perfect. Now there's a lot going on here. The word Pishon means hope, so it says this: out of Eden flowed a river called Hope, and that river wound through the entire land of Havilah. The word Havilah means suffering. So when a Hebrew person reads Genesis 2:10, what they read is: there's a river called Hope, that's always flowing in the land of Suffering.

In other words, if you're in the land of Suffering, there's a river called Hope flowing somewhere in it; you've just got to go find it. The Talmud says that Adam and Even spent 40 days with their feet in the river Pishon, after they were thrown out of the garden. Why? Because they were in the land of Suffering, and they needed to remind themselves that Hope was flowing through it. One of the ideas of the cross is that hope flows through suffering. Hope always flows through suffering. Any time you're in the land of suffering, the land of transition, the land of the wilderness/desert, any time you're in places like that, there's always a river called hope flowing somewhere in it - you've just got to go find it.

The problem is that there's more than one river in those places. There's a river called Give Up. There's a river called Blame Everybody Else. There's a river called Get Critical. There's a river called, you know, Just Spread as Much Turmoil and Chaos as You Possibly Can. There's a river called all of these things, but those aren't the rivers you're looking for. The river you're looking for is the river called Hope.

It says: you can know that you've found the river of Hope, because there's perfect gold there. Now this is so unbelievably cool. When you put gold, perfect gold in water, it makes a colloidal suspension, and it turns it all blood red. I was preaching something like this in Perth, and there was a scientist there, and he was moved to tears. He took me to his lab and he did it for me. He took four or five nanoparticles of gold - a nano-particle is a billionth of a gram - he took four or five nano-particles of gold, and he put it in a colloidal suspension of water, and he put it in a vial, and it looked like I was carrying my blood sample around with me. I used to carry it with me to preach something like this, but I was landing in a plane once, and the pressure blew it up. It just went poof, like this - but it looked like red cordial. It looked like a deep red Kool-Aid. It looked like a blood sample, so think about this. If the river called Hope is winding through the entire land of Suffering, how do you know which one is the river of Hope?

Well if the river of Hope has gold in the riverbed, what colour's the river? Red. The world gold is interesting. Every Hebrew letter is a picture, so every Hebrew word is a comic strip. There are three letters in the world gold. The first letter is an eyeball; the second letter is a man harvesting supply; and the third letter is a house, or a house of God. So you've got an eyeball, a man harvesting supply, and a house, or a house of God. So when a Hebrew person reads the world gold, this is what they read:

Behold, the one who brings us substance for survival, brings it to us in the house of God.

So when a Hebrew person reads Genesis 2:10, this is what they read: Hope flows through Suffering, because behold, the one who brings us substance for survival, brings it to us in the house of God, through a river of blood. Hope flows through suffering. When the water is turning red, it means that hope is flowing.

Fast forward - this same group of people end up going through a series of hugely unfortunate events. This same group of people end up as slaves in Egypt. There's a bunch of them, millions of them. They end up as slaves in Egypt. God decides to rescue them from their suffering, and it says: they cried out to God in their suffering, and God chose to rescue them from it. It says: they cried out to God in their suffering. What was the first plague? God puts 10 plagues on the Egyptians in order to let His people go. What was the first one? All the water turned to blood. To the Egyptians that was a curse, but to the Hebrew people there would have been a buzz in the camp; hey, did you hear? Water's turning red. Hope's fixing to flow in our situation! Hope is fixing to flow in suffering. Hope is fixing to flow in our transition. Hope's fixing to flow in our wilderness experience. Hold on a second, hope is on the way! Through a series of events, these people get out of Egypt. What do they have to walk through, to get out of Egypt? The red sea, hope flows through suffering. Red water, red sea - hope flows through suffering.

They get to the base of Sinai. Have you ever seen Mount Sinai? It's quite large. God calls Moses up the mountain. It's about a three and a half, four hour walk. God calls Moses up the mountain. Moses walks up there; God says: oh, I forgot to tell you to bring Aaron, go back down and get him - which that would have been an interesting conversation. Moses could have said: You're God, can't You like, you know, beam him up here? Can you pull some Obi-Wan Kenobi thing and just - I mean that's a long walk. Anyway, so he walks back down to get Aaron, and what does he find? He finds that they have already made a gold cow; and he gets so angry, he beats the gold cow into powder. He takes the gold powder, and he throws it into the water coming out of the rock, and what does he make them do? He makes them drink it for the remission of their sins. When he put the gold into the water, what happened? It turned red - hope flows through suffering.

Think about when a baby is born. A woman goes into labour, into suffering, and what mixes together? Blood and water. When blood and water mix together, no matter how bad the suffering is, there is a bundle of joy at the end of it. The imagery is endless. Later there's a rabbi comes along. People are wondering if he's the one. People are wondering: wait a minute, is this the one? He shows up - now there's a law in Hebrew Hermeneutics.

Hermeneutics is just a way of interpreting literature, a way of interpreting life, so there's a law and it's called the Law of First Mention. What it simply says is that the first time something's mentioned, defines all other mentions of it; and so it says that He shows up at a wedding to perform His first miracle. So His first miracle is going to define the purpose of all the other miracles. He shows up to do His first miracle; what was His first miracle? He turned all the water into wine. What was His purpose? What was His point? Was His main point to provide adult beverages for the party? No! His main point was to say to a group of people: you were living in suffering, hope is on the way, I am here now. Hope flows through suffering.

Three years later, they kill Him! They kill Him, and at the end of His life they stick a spear in His side. Why? Because He was the Passover lamb, but what came out? Blood and water; so at the foot of the cross is a steady flow of blood and water. What does that mean? At the foot of the cross, it's more than about going to heaven one day. It's also about hope flowing through whatever suffering you're going through. If you're in the wilderness, hope flows through suffering. If you're being rejected, hope flows through suffering. If you're going through a divorce, hope flows through suffering, at the foot of the cross. If everything in your life seems to be in turmoil, hope flows through suffering. If you don't know what the next assignment from God holds, hope flows through suffering. If you don't know where you're at, if you're completely lost inside, hope flows through suffering.

One of the messages of the cross is this: you don't have to wait to go to heaven one day. The message of the cross is that wherever you are, the water's turning red - hope flows through suffering. Bring yourself to the foot of the cross, and hope can flow in whatever situation you have.

The next image is this. It's called the Folded Napkin. Let me read this from John 20:6-7. They had buried Him in a tomb, and so people came to check on Him. John 20:6-7 it says: then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb, and he saw the strips of linen lying there. Then it makes an extra point: as well as the face cloth that had been around His head, and the cloth was folded by itself, separate from the linen. Now this is huge imagery, huge Hebrew imagery.

In First Century Hebrew culture, if you invited me to your house for dinner and I came there, at the end of our night you would know whether I wanted to come back or not, based on this. At the end of our night, when I'm done, I would take my facecloth, and I would scrunch it. I would fold it up, scrunch it like this, and then I would place it on top of the plate; so that when you came around and collected the plates, you would see a scrunched napkin. It would say: hey, he wants to come back, he enjoyed his time here. He wants to continue business with us, whatever your purpose was. But if I did not want to have any more business with you, I would actually take the time to neatly crease and fold my napkin, and I would lay it to the side of the plate, separate from everything else; so that when you came around and picked up the plates, you would see the folded napkin, and you would know he has no interest in ever doing business with us ever again. His business with us is now done, and it was my way of telling you that, without being confrontational - without being confrontational.

So that was the custom of the folded napkin; so when they go into Jesus' tomb, and it says that they find His burial clothes here, the strips of linen; but it says that the burial cloth that was around His head, His facecloth - they call it the shroud now - that the facecloth was folded neatly, and placed to the side. It was specific imagery that all of them would know. What was Jesus saying? Jesus is saying: My business with the grave is done, I'm never coming back here again. I don't have any more business with this at all.

A later writer uses this to make fun of the grave. He says: oh grave, where's your victory? Oh death, where's your sting? Don't you know that Jesus has no more business with you? He has conquered and taken away all of your power, all of your power. One of the messages of the cross and resurrection is this: that death has no sting, grave has no victory. Any place in your life that looks dead, any place in your life that looks dead, it either: should be dead; or a resurrection's guaranteed - either one. Either it's something you need to release; but if it's something that God wants in your life, nothing in your life that God wants in your life can die, because Jesus has done business with the grave. It has no power over you at all.

That has obvious implications for, if you're here today, and you've lost a loved one, and you're grieving. If you've done that, I would simply say to you that one of the stories of the cross is this. It's not just about: that your loved one is in heaven one day; no, no, no. It's about: that you can take hold of the fact, that the joy and the peace that comes with Jesus conquering any power of the grave, is the folded napkin.

The last imagery I want to talk to you about this morning is this: the dirty Roman sponge. There's this one place, one time, in the crucifixion that just doesn't make any sense; like it truly doesn't make any sense, when Jesus says: it is finished. Now in the movies, like in The Passion of the Christ, it looks like the cross was six foot in the air. They weren't. Crosses were roughly one foot in the air. Why would they be this high off the ground? Well a couple of reasons: 1) less work for the Romans; 2) less work to get them down; but 3) they were now close enough to the ground, where the people they hurt could come by and spit, and ridicule, and taunt, and do all that sort of stuff. They could strip them naked, throw dice for their clothes, things like this okay. So they would have been about one foot off the ground.

Well there's this one part in there, and it doesn't make any sense. It says: Jesus said "I'm thirsty"; and someone at the foot of the cross said "I'll go get You something to drink". Now why doesn't that make any sense? What have they been trying to do all day? Kill Him, the worst way humanly possible. So they've spent all day trying to kill Him, and yet at the end of it He goes: I'm thirsty; and they go: we'll try to find You something. That doesn't make any sense.

Then it says: someone went, and they found a sponge on the end of a stick, and soaked it in sour wine and vinegar, and they placed it up to Jesus' mouth for Him to drink. Jesus turns it away; and then that is the moment He says: It is finished. It doesn't make any sense, and it's the only place in the whole crucifixion story - have you guys seen The Passion of the Christ? Yes. Did you see it twice? No, why, you don't handle that right? Like there's just beatings and beatings and beatings and beatings. But for some reason, when someone went and got the sponge filled with sour wine and vinegar - for some reason, that is when finally the people at the foot of the cross, the Romans, they go: no! Stop that! He's had enough. Leave Him alone. That makes no sense. They're trying to kill Him all day; someone goes to get Him a drink, which makes no sense; then they offer Him a drink; and someone stops them and says: you've crossed the line there, don't do that. Don't do that. What's going on there?

When I found out what was going on there - it broke my heart - and it's going to break yours; because the story of the cross is two-fold. The story of the cross is about us receiving mercy, receiving hope, receiving our hope flowing through suffering, receiving forgiveness. But the cross is also about offering something back, about living a life that's different. Here's what was going on there.

In the First Century, they had public toilets, just like they do here; and look, all of us, even driving cars, have had moments where we just couldn't make it home right, and you have to find a toilet really fast. The same would have been true back then, because they walked everywhere, and they ate lentils all the time. Okay, so when they did this, a public toilet was somewhere - I could show you a picture of it. I have it on my machine. A public toilet was about as high as this stage is off the ground (3 feet?), and it was made of stone. Where the corner was, they would cut a hole this way around the flat part, and they would cut a hole this way around the bottom part so you could do either one with ease, okay.

So what would happen, every three or four feet was another hole - and this was all out in the public, like this was just right there in public sight. They had no shame about this okay. Now here was the problem. If you had to go and do something serious, like let's - we're all adults - if you had to have a bowel movement, how would you clean yourself? You really only had four options: you had a fig leaf, which isn't very absorbent right? You could find a handful of moss, and give it a go that way. That's kind of disgusting and messy right? You could use your left hand, which is equally disgusting, alright? Okay - or what happened was, is the beggars found a way to make extra money with tips; and what they would do is, they would find sponges, and they'd put them on the end of sticks. They'd come up behind people and after they were done, they would clean their rear ends for them. Now here was the problem: One sponge, 100 rear-ends - you've got a problem right. I mean seriously, can you imagine the guy at the end of the line: hey, can you at least turn it around? Can you do something?

So you had all kinds of problems; so what they did is, they found a way to sterilise the sponge between uses. They used it with spoiled wine and vinegar. They would mix spoiled wine and vinegar together in a bucket; and between uses, they would put the sponge into that bucket, and the bucket would kill the bacteria, and it would sterilise it okay. So when Jesus said: I'm thirsty; someone was cruel enough at the foot of the cross to say: You're thirsty? I'll get You something to drink; and he went to the public toilet, and he found a sponge on a stick, that was soaked with sour wine and vinegar. What did that mean? That it was a used one! They went and found used toilet paper, soaked it in sour wine and vinegar, and they shoved it up toward His face. Do you see now why someone had enough compassion to go: leave Him alone, that's enough? Do you see why now that is the moment where Jesus went: it is finished, I can't do anything more?

Let me ask you a question: Is there any place in your life, where you're receiving the benefits of the cross, but your offering back to Jesus is a dirty Roman sponge? Listen, when you come to the cross with a humble heart, wanting what the cross has to offer you, and deeply desiring to give that message to the world - then hope will always flow through suffering. But the way the Jews thought is this: any time you're at an altar, it's about what the sacrifice can do for you - but it's also about what you're offering back.

My question is this: is are you receiving mercy for all of your sins, yet your offering back to Jesus, actually is a dirty Roman sponge? If I could show you the imagery of it - if you take a dirty Roman sponge, soaked with sour wine and vinegar, and put it on the end of a stick, and you lift it up to Jesus, and shake it in His face, all it does is come back on you. That's all it does. When your offering back to Jesus stinks, it only affects your life. You still get the effects of the cross. These are the people that Jesus is going: Father, forgive them, they don't know what they're doing. They don't know what they're doing.

Those are the same people that God is forgiving completely, but the question is this. Is there any place where you have received the forgiveness of the cross, yet when you look at your life, it's simply a dirty Roman sponge being offered back to God? One of the messages of the cross is this: may our life be a sweet-smelling offering in His nostrils. That's what they wanted.

Jesus died at exactly the ninth hour. At the ninth hour of every day, the priest would break incense through the temple, and proclaim: Lord, let our life rise as a sweet-smelling incense in your nostrils. In other words, Jewish people wanted their life to smell right before God. This is an incredible imagery. One of the imageries of the cross is this: let your life smell sweet to Jesus, not like a dirty Roman sponge.

I would challenge you today, to not just receive the benefits of the cross, but actually allow the kingdom of God to be established in you, so that our offering back to Him is sweet, and not a dirty Roman sponge. I bless you today to be a group of people, fully aware that no matter where you are, no matter what suffering you're in - hope is on the way. The water is red.

Listen to me. Bay City Outreach Centre as an organisation - hope is on the way. Your mission is not over. Your mission is simply stepping into something greater and greater and greater. In the next two years you will look back on these moments, and you will see what God was doing all along, was increasing your influence - not just in Hastings but in the world. Water's turning red.

Let me speak to your families. No matter what your situation is in your family, you might have given up. You might be as a husband blaming your wife for everything. You might be as a wife blaming your husband for everything. You might be being critical, you might be looking around and seeing all the problems with everybody else. You might be doing that, and I would say to you: stop! That is cutting off your hope flow. You go find the river of hope. There's a river called Hope flowing somewhere in your situation. You've just got to go get it.

I would also say to you, that when you find the river of hope, may you keep the fire of gratitude lit deep in your heart. Pastor Mike brought up this earlier about Leviticus. It says that the altar in the tabernacle - God gave the fire; but then it says: but the priest had to keep it going. In other words, God is only responsible to give you the fire once; the rest of it is your responsibility to keep it going, by keeping the ash cleaned out. See we don't want to offer back to Jesus a dirty Roman sponge.

Now what I want you to do now is I want us to have about a 60 second moment with God. If you're here today, and you're a believer in Jesus Christ, I want you to take the next 60 seconds, and I want you to do business with God. I want you to get this thing settled inside of yourself. I want you to become aware of blood in the water, and hope & suffering; but I also want you to have a moment where you repent, and renounce any actions or attitudes that is really a dirty Roman sponge.

While they're doing that, if you're here today, and you've not yet made a decision to follow Jesus Christ, I would encourage you to do so. It's not the words of any prayer that will ever save you. It's the response to God in your heart, and right now you could feel God knocking on the door of your heart. You could sense it, and you know: I need to respond to this kind, loving, compassionate, gracious person. While the believers in Jesus Christ are doing their business with God, if you need to respond to that today I'd love to help you. I'm not going to embarrass you in any way, I'm simply going to pray for you, right where you are. Is there anybody that says: Shane, I need to make that decision this morning? If that's you, would you raise your hand? It takes a lot of bravery to raise your hand, even though it's the only decision you'll ever make that everybody will be happy for you - it's still brave. I'm proud of you. This is very serious business - I could feel God just calling me, and inside my heart I need to respond. It's the best decision you'll ever make. It's the start of your journey.

Great. What I want us to do is, I want all of us to pray this prayer out loud after me, with some 'go All Blacks' gusto okay? Alright, no shyness. This isn't a shy place. Let me just tell you something. I love this place. There's something about this place that nourishes my soul, and part of it is the energy in it; so I want all of us to pray this prayer out loud, after me. It's not the specific words of any prayer that'll ever save you, it's the response to God in your heart. I just want to put some feet around it okay? Everybody's going to pray this prayer out loud, and you just join in, because this is your prayer, your moment, your time.

It goes like this: My 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 life, be the Lord of it. And Lord, now I ask that You would bring hope to every place I'm suffering in Jesus' name. Amen.

Now I want to take a second, let's pray for each other. Would you grab the hand of your neighbour? If you feel comfortable with them, grab their hand. If they creep you out - don't worry about it. Alright, grab the hand of your neighbour, and I want you to begin to pray for the person on your left. Would you pray for the person on your left, that hope would flow in their situation. Whatever they're going through, let hope flow into it. Would you believe God for them, if they're sick in their body - speak hope. If their family's in turmoil - hope. If they're looking for a job - hope. Peace, love, hope flows in their situation. Now would you pray for the person on your right? Let hope flow in that situation.

Lord, we pray for this church. Let this church be a dwelling place for Your name, the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love God. May this entire community be touched by the environment that is in this place. Let the environment in this place multiply through this community, through every person sitting here. Lord, we renounce any criticism against this place; any criticism, we speak death to those words, any criticism against any leader here, any scandal, anything like Lord - we speak death to that. We will not allow those things to be spoken. We will live a different way. May the demonstration of our behaviour, may it show forth into this community, that this place is in fact a dwelling place for the name, in Jesus' name. Bless us with that. Amen.

Thank you so much for letting me be your guest this weekend. It has ministered to me, as much as it's ministered to you, maybe more. I love this place. As long as they see fit to keep having me, I'll keep coming back and it's because I journey in the spirit of this place. I travel the world okay, I'm in a different church every week. There's something about the environment in this place that nourishes the soul. You won't know it, until you didn't have it.

Sometimes you don't know what you do have, until you don't have it; and when that happens, you take something for granted - it's normal. Moses parted the Red Sea, turned around and destroyed the entire mightiest army in the world in one swoop. Three days later the people forgot what they had, and they were going to kill him, simply because they were hungry. When you forget what you have, you lose sight of things.

Now listen to me. I travel the world. I know what I'm talking about. I am not an expert in many things, but I am an expert in church environment and in pastors. I can tell you you have one of the greatest churches in the world right here in Hastings, New Zealand. There's something about this place, that if you allow it, it nourishes the soul. Never, ever, ever, lose sight of the grace that God's given you, simply by the fact that you're sitting here.

Now I'd like to invite you back tonight to be our guest. I've been speaking all week, and it's leading us up to one moment tonight. Tonight is the single most important message I ever preach in the whole world, and pastors all over this world are telling me: Shane, that has to go out. That has to. It's changing the way we're doing life, it's changing the way we're doing church.

I'd like to invite you back. Please do not miss tonight to stay home and watch NCIS okay? Listen, let me help you with this. Gibbs gets the bad guy - always. He always does. He's very clever Gibbs, okay? Very, very clever alright. You've got TiVo, you've got all kinds of stuff now, you've got DVRs. If you don't have a DVR - go get one, its 2010 okay. You could do that, and record your program. I'm telling you, tonight will be the single most important message I could ever preach to you. I'd like for you to be my guest. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your life this weekend. I'll turn this back over.

[Mike Connell] Praise the Lord, come on, let's give Shane a great clap. Shane, we just love you. Thank you for coming. Enjoy your ministry, my goodness. What insights we've been getting about the cross. Every time I hear new things about the cross, I feel very deeply touched, very deeply touched. Father, we just thank You, You love us. Thank You for what You're doing in our midst. Thank You for the river of your spirit that flows in this place. May we be strengthened, built and enlarged by it to become the people You want us to be and to influence the community as Your representatives. Father, we thank You for Shane. We pray You'll bless him, nurture him, encourage him, strengthen him. Lord, we give You the honour. Amen.



What do Kingdom people look like? (Shane Willard)  

Sun 25 Apr 2010 PM « Back to Top

Audio»  Share»  Website»  

A study of the Beatitudes - Jesus first sermon. A popular new Rabbi, he presents a yoke that is easy, and a burden that is light; He emphases heart attitudes over keeping all the laws. There are a lot of people at the end of the day, who think they're in, but they're actually out. Tzedak (Righteousness) always produces Tzedakah (Generosity, or righteousness-revealed). Jeremiah 22:16 "He took care of the poor and the afflicted, so it is well with him. Is this not what it means to know Me, declares the Lord, your God". The happiest people set their passions on meeting the needs of others.

We're going to take a journey in scripture tonight, starting in Matthew 5:6-8. This is a series of messages called the beatitudes. It's a series of statements that Jesus made. It was Jesus' first sermon. The beatitudes just started to amaze me. Part of the reason that the beatitudes amazed me is because, this is Jesus' first sermon, and yet the crowd was so big, that He had to climb a mountain to get away from them enough to talk. So in Jesus' first message, they had to climb a mountain to get far enough away, in order to talk to the people.

Now look, I've been preaching for years, and Mike's been preaching for years, and you're a fair-enough good-looking group of people, but I hardly have to climb a mountain to get away from you. So what would possess a group of people, to be so enamoured by this new rabbi, that they would flock from all over the place to see Him? You might say: yeah, but He was the Son of God. They didn't know that. As a matter of fact, because He claimed to be, they ended up killing Him anyway, so that was not the issue. What was going on here?

Here's what was going on. Jesus was the new rabbi, with something called S'mikah. So being the new rabbi with S'mikah meant He had authority. There were two rabbis with authority in Jesus' day: Rabbi Hillel; and Rabbi Shammai. They both died when Jesus was around 18 years old, and so the nation was waiting on the new rabbi with s'mikah, with authority. So everybody in Israel was either under Hillel, or under Shammai. Jewish historians called Jesus the Rabbi with the Third Way. In other words He had the authority to create another yoke; so rumour had it that this rabbi's yoke was easy, and His burden was light. His yoke was easy and His burden was light; so people would have flocked from all over the place in order to hear His new way of living.

So in the beatitudes, Jesus is identifying attributes of kingdom people. He's actually - the beatitudes are a rabbinical commentary on Isaiah 61 and 66. It's a commentary, not on how to be saved, in the sense of going to heaven one day; but how to be saved in the sense of being a kingdom person now. How do you do that? I love the beatitudes.

The first one is this: Blessed are the poor in spirit. That's the first one, and it's interesting that the literal translation is: blessed are people who are short on wind! So essentially He says: blessed are people who choose not to be long-winded. Blessed are people who don't like to hear the sound of their own voice. Blessed are people who don't have to be the centre of the party. Blessed are people who aren't secretly angry when they're not noticed. Blessed are people who do that; so all of these beatitudes are describing the same type of kingdom person.

Now in the middle of that He gives us this. In Matthew 5:6 it says: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they are the ones that will see God.

Now I want you to notice something about the structure here. This is written in a form of literature called a chiastic structure. It's very, very familiar in Hebrew writing okay. Basically a chiastic structure says the same thing twice, and then sandwiches the main point in the middle. So in this: blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness; and blessed are the pure in heart. They're the same people. This is the same exact person, and it's saying exactly the same thing. I want you to notice something, that to Jesus, righteousness comes from hungering and thirsting after it - never attaining it. That actually when you look at Jesus' writings, and Jesus' teachings - those who thought they had attained righteousness, were the ones who didn't.

It was actually found in a heart that said: no, no, we'll never arrive at righteousness. We're going to constantly pursue it - so blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they'll be filled. Blessed are the pure in heart. What is the difference between someone who's hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and someone who's pure in heart? Nothing. It's essentially the same thing and this is a very common literary structure, and it's called a chiasm. So you have: blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; blessed are the pure in heart; and the main point of it is to be a person who is full of mercy.

Now a couple of things I want to unpackage, particularly Verse 6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. The first thing we want to understand is the idea of blessed. What does it mean to be blessed? Well you've got to understand in the Hebrew language there are two words for blessed. The first word is the word Baruch. Baruch is a blessing from God to you; or from you to God; so you could say: Baruch ashem el shaddai - blessed be the name of the Lord - that is a blessing from you to God; Or you could say: God blessed me, and you could use the word baruch - God baruched me - he blessed me. So it's a blessing from God to you; or it's a blessing from you to God.

The other word for blessed is the word Ashri. Ashri is happiness, as a result of right decisions. Both of them are translated 'blessed' in the Bible; so whether it's Baruch, or whether it's Ashri, it translates to blessed. Let me give you an example, Psalm 1 says this: Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of mockers, for his delight's in the law of the Lord, and on his Lord does he meditate day and night. The word there is not Baruch, that word is Ashri. In other words, happy is someone who chooses to keep the right company.

Another scripture says: where there's no vision, people perish; but he who chooses to keep the Torah, that man is blessed. Again, the word is not Baruch, its Ashri. In other words, happy is someone who chooses to do things God's way. Happy is someone who chooses to do these things. It's not like there's some magical thing, that God just all of a sudden blesses people. No, that is true, and we ought to thank God for that, sometimes God just blesses us; but more often than not, God has set the laws of the universe in motion, and when we keep those things, we are happy as a result of it.

Now in Matthew, in the Hebrew version of Matthew, the word he uses for bless there is Ashri (and for all the beatitudes); so in other words, he says: happy is someone who is poor in spirit. Happy is someone who chooses not to be long-winded. Happy is someone who chooses not to love to hear the sound of their own voice. Happy is someone who chooses to mourn. Happy is someone who chooses to identify with the suffering of others. It says: happy are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. This one he says: happy is someone who chooses to hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they'll be filled.

Now there are two concepts here: 1) what is righteousness; and 2) what is pure in heart? So let's cover the 'pure in heart' one first. Now to understand pure in heart, there's two words: Tumah and Tahor. Everybody's either Tumah or Tahor in this culture. Tumah means: unclean, contaminated or impure; Tahor means: clean, sanctified or pure. So here's the basics of Tumah and Tahor:

There were 613 commands in Leviticus. Now those are what made a person unclean or clean; and when you were unclean, you had to have a sacrifice then, to become clean. So what did man do with it, and what was the point? The point was is that we need a saviour. We cannot save ourselves. Something else has to be sacrificed for us - that was the point. What did man do with it? Man made it into a complicated system of laws, that told people who were in and who was out - and that was never the point. They made 3,000 extra oral laws, to go on top of the 613; and so here was the problem - when you broke any of their laws, then you were considered Tumah. How did you become clean? You had to have a sacrifice. Where could you get a sacrifice? Conveniently, you could buy it from them; so the harder they made it to be clean - the richer they got. So what they did is, they used religious guilt, in order to make money. We would never do that would we?

So they used religious guilt in order to make money. Jesus shows up and begins to turn the whole thing upside down. He shows up, and a prostitute washes His feet with her hair. He says: oh, you're faith has forgiven all your sins; that turned this upside down! There's a paralysed guy lowered in from the roof, and it says that Jesus saw the faith of his friends, and proclaimed his sins forgiven - so that turned that upside down. Why? What did they need to be forgiven of? No, you've got to go to the temple, you've got to have a sacrifice. Your priest has to do all this for you. Jesus said: no, I see their heart. He began to turn their concepts of unclean and clean upside down. He blew apart their idea of who was in and who was out. As a matter of fact, in one place He was talking to a group of people who thought they were all in, and He says: hey, listen, at My banqueting table, many will come from the north, the east, the south and the west - but you who actually think you're in, will be the ones shut out.

So Jesus seems to indicate, that at the end of the day, the people who think they're in, are actually the ones in the most danger. This is a radical new concept. This is a concept that Jesus is coming, and He's blowing away their ideas of clean and unclean. He's actually making it more about the heart, than He is about behaviour or status. He comes in and He does this, and He begins to publically defeat this. Ultimately He publically defeats it on the cross.

You understand that the cross was a radical new way to live. It wasn't just about forgiveness. It was about a radical new way to live, because the revelation of God progressively got nicer. It went from: not knowing what to do to please Him; to bringing a sacrifice, one sacrifice per family per year; it went from that to that, then Jesus shows up and says: no, it's one sacrifice, for the whole world, for all time. So the revelation of God progressively got kinder. It progressively got nicer, and all along the way there were people who did not want God to be nice. Something about that threatened them.

So when Leviticus was written, there was a group of people who said: no, God cannot be this nice. We've got to make it harder - and they did. Then Jesus comes along and goes: no, no, it's even easier than that. The writer of Hebrews, he says: didn't you know, that all along, it was impossible for the blood of sacrifices to take your sins away? In other words, he says: didn't you know God didn't need that all along? He simply set it up, because you needed your conscious appeased. In other words, you thought you needed it, so God set it up so you would need it; and that made you feel closer to God, but all along God didn't need it.

Then the writer of Hebrews goes on to say: didn't you understand that Jesus died at the culmination of the ages? The culmination - does that sound like something boring? No, no, no. The culmination of the ages - that sounds like a rock concert doesn't it? Like where'd you go last weekend? How was the concert? Man, it was the culmination of the ages! It was awesome! We went to the culmination of the ages - that's what it sounds like.

Jesus shows up, and He begins to revolutionise their ideas of righteous and unrighteous. What does He do mainly to revolutionise it? This is what He does, He says: your righteousness really has nothing to do with your status, or even your behaviour, as much as it has to do with what you're hungering and thirsting for in your heart. He begins to turn it upside down.

So what did it mean to have a Tzedakah spirit? Matthew 5:20 says this - this is Jesus now, He's really messing with people. He says: for I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees, and the teachers of the Torah, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. He's being sarcastic. He's saying - because these were the most righteous people on earth. They made all the rules, and then kept them; so He's saying listen, if you want to attain righteousness that way, if you want to go that route, you can go that route - but here's what I'm telling you. If you choose to go that route, your righteousness has to surpass theirs, or you're not going to make it.

What's He saying? It's impossible to be righteous that way. There has to be another way, which leads us to a question. What does it mean to develop a righteous spirit? We've been talking all week about establishing the kingdom of God in our lives, and this message tonight is the culmination of that. It is the life application of: what do kingdom people look like. I want to talk to you for the rest of the night about what it means to develop a righteous spirit.

Now what is righteousness? Righteousness - this is not a word about withdrawing from evil. That's what I was taught. I was taught that if you didn't drink, you didn't smoke, you didn't chew tobacco, you didn't dress immodestly, you didn't watch the wrong movies; for women, if you didn't cut your hair, you didn't wear make up, you didn't wear the wrong kinds of jewellery, you didn't want to give men the wrong idea, you didn't learn to do any of this stuff, you didn't swear or curse or anything like that. Alright, so if you didn't do these things, then you were righteous.

Of course we made up what was righteous and unrighteous. In the south, in America, you couldn't wear jewellery, make up, slacks; you couldn't drink wine, you couldn't do any of that. If you didn't do those things, then you were righteous; but you could hate black people - that was okay. So our concepts of righteousness started to be jaded around things we withdrew from; so if you withdraw from the wrong evils, then you're righteous.

The word righteous in Hebrew has nothing to do with withdrawing from evil. It has everything to do with something you enter into. It has everything to do with entering into something; largely and namely to make other people's lives better. All through scripture, there is a connection between righteousness and generosity. Listen, there are 2,106 scriptures in the Bible that talk about the righteous' responsibility to be generous. All through the Bible righteousness and generosity are connected; and greed and wickedness are connected. All through the Bible, righteousness/generosity, greed/wickedness - 2,106 scriptures about this.

This is even in the language itself. The word for righteousness is Tzedek. This is the word that would always be translated: righteous; or righteousness. Remember now, every Hebrew letter is a picture, so every Hebrew word is a comic strip. In the picture Hebrew, the first letter is a fish hook with bait on it. It means: what lures you, what's the desire of your heart. The D is an open door; and the Q there is the back of someone's head, which means humility. So in the picture Hebrew, the word righteousness is this: the desire of one's heart, opens the door to humility. I want you to notice again, what is the starting point of righteousness? The desire of your heart. It's not your behaviour per se; it's that you're hungry and thirsting for something. We're hungry and thirsting for righteousness - so that is the word righteousness.

Now the word generosity is the word Tzedakah. Now so righteousness is the word Tzedak; generous is the word Tzedakah - it's the same word! It means: to reveal righteousness; so to them generosity was righteousness revealed. It begins to make sense as to why 2,106 times in scripture, more than heaven, hell, faith and prayer combined, the writers of scripture combined the ideas of righteousness and generous. Do you realise that to a rabbi, it is impossible to be righteous and greedy - you cannot do it. It doesn't even fit in the word; like to say someone is Tzedak, without producing Tzedakah, would be false - you can't say that. One writer said it this way: faith without works is dead. Are you really going to depend on dead faith to save you? I mean come on, so Tzedak always produces Tzedakah and that makes sense.

Let me just show you some scriptures around this, that really start to make this make sense. Matthew 6:22-23, its Jesus. He says the lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore, your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore, the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness? Now you've got to understand Hebrew imagery to understand this. In First Century Hebrew culture, to say someone had an eye full of light meant they were generous. To say someone had an evil eye - it meant they were stingy. The etymology of the phrase "don't give me the evil eye", means "don't be stingy with me". So Jesus said: if your eye is full of light - in other words if you're generous - then it'll bring favour to everything you do. If your eye is full of darkness - if you're stingy - then it'll bring darkness to everything you do; and then He qualifies it. He says: but if the light that is in you, is actually dark, now you've got a real problem. In other words, if your generosity has greedy motives - you're going to run into a real problem.

In the same passage, later He says: where your treasure is, there's your heart is, because you can't serve both God and mammon. In other words, if your heart, if your eye is full of light; if in your heart, you're hungering and thirsting to have a generous spirit; then this will create favour for your whole life. If you're stingy, it won't; and please be sure that you're generosity isn't greedy in its motives.

Check out this scripture, Jesus, He's saying this: be careful - Matthew 6:1 - be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men. In the Hebrew version of Matthew, what do you think that word is? Tzedakah, acts of righteousness, to reveal righteousness. In this context, He's talking about feeding the poor. He says: don't give to the needy before men. Don't do your acts of righteousness to be seen by men. If you do, you'll have no reward from your Father in heaven. Once again, Tzedak, Tzedakah, generosity.

Listen to this scripture, Psalm 37:25-26 says this: I have been young, and now I'm old, yet I've never seen the righteous forsaken, or his children begging for bread. All the day long, he deals generously and lends freely, and his seed is blessed. What's the connection? The writer of Psalm 37 is saying: listen, I've lived a long time, and I've never seen the righteous forsaken. Out of all the adjectives he could use to describe a righteous person, he doesn't say: a righteous person doesn't drink, smoke, chew, dress immodestly, go to the wrong movies, or say the wrong words. He doesn't make it about behaviour. What does he make it about? He says you could tell a righteous person is righteous, because he's dealing generously always; and you've got to understand, in the language, it just makes sense. He would have said: Tzedak people do Tzedakah.

Look at the other one, Psalm 112:5. A righteous man shows generosity and lends freely. He guides his business with fairness. Once again, in Hebrew all it would say is this: A Tzedak person shows Tzedakah. It has a ring to it. Now "the Righteous" is written "Ha tzedak", so its: Ha tzedak shows tzedakah. In other words, the righteous are the generous. It's developing a generous spirit.

How important is this, to develop a righteous spirit, a generous spirit? Very. I'll go where no man will go - I'm leaving tomorrow anyway, alright, so there's this one scripture, if I could be just totally open and honest with you - which I can - that scares me to death. If you have a heart beating in your body, it should scare you, because it's in red letters, and Jesus is pretty serious. This is what He says: Many will say to Me in that day Lord, Lord, and I'll say I didn't know you. Anybody scared yet? Why? Because many sounds like me, right? Sounds like I could be in there, right? Many will say to Me in that day Lord, Lord, and I'll say I didn't know you. They'll say: hold on, no, You must be mistaken. We're the guys who cast out devils, and we're the guys who prophesy. He said: yeah, but I still don't know you. So these people called many - that's a lot - these people called many, not only had cried out Lord, Lord, but they had operated in a bit of power. Now here was what scared me.

I could not find anything that separated me from them. I couldn't. Had I cried out Lord, Lord? Yes. Have you cried out Lord, Lord? Yes. Okay, well that fits. Have you ever cast out devils? Yes, I've done it a few times. Have you ever prophesied over someone, have a word of knowledge, things like that? Yes. So have I - so I and you sound like them. The people, it seems to me, that in this passage Jesus is saying: there are a lot of people at the end of the day, who think they're in, but they're actually out. They're actually surprised that He doesn't know them, and who is He describing there? Pentecostal leaders, people who've thrown out devils, people who've prophesied, people who've cried out Lord, Lord; yet He still didn't know them. That scared me to death. Why? Because I'm them, and 90 per cent of the people I minister to, fit this description! It was terribly scary, so I went to my seminary professor.

He has his PhD in theology, so he should know; so I said: listen, what do we do with this? This was his answer: Shane, that scripture does not apply to you, because you're saved; to which I said: look, I respect that, but with all due respect, they thought they were saved. These people He's describing, they are totally stunned, dazed, amazed and confused that He doesn't know them. He goes: yeah, but Shane it doesn't apply to you, because you're saved. I said: man, with all due respect, that doesn't cut it. He said: it's going to have to cut it, because it's my only answer. I said: well fair enough, he's just - okay, so am I right? We're just all - so for 15 years I've prayed a prayer like this. Lord Jesus, if I'm in that category, please be kind enough to tell me - like at least give me a chance here. I don't want to be totally dazed, amazed, stunned and confused, alright?

But doesn't the central question seem to be: what does it mean to know God? Is there anywhere in scripture that God says: this is what it means to know Me? You know what? I was studying something else, and I found it; and then I tried to find another instance of it. To me, I cannot find it. I'm not saying it's not there, I'm just saying I can't find it. I can't find any other instance, in all of scripture, that defines what it means to know God, other than this one, and it comes from Jeremiah 22:16. Listen to this. He took care of the poor and the afflicted, so it is well with him. Is this not what it means to know Me, declares the Lord, your God. So God defines knowing Him as having a generous spirit towards people, who can't possibly do anything to pay you back. Doesn't this seem to fit with Jesus' world, and His message?

Think about Jesus' message: Who is the only person, in Jesus' whole ministry, that Jesus actually said went to hell? Who was the only one? The rich man who overlooked the poor man; like Jesus dealt with all manner of wicked people - a lady caught in the act of adultery, He's like: I don't condemn you, it's going to be alright. There was a lady divorced five times, and she was shacked up with the sixth one. He's like: can I get you a drink, you look like you need a drink, right? There was a tax collector in a tree, and the tax collector in a tree gets so moved with Jesus' compassion he says: look Lord, here and now, I'll give half of what I have to the poor. Jesus said: that's it, salvation's come to you. That's it - he's got it!

Who was the only person in Jesus' whole ministry that Jesus said: God is going to kill you? There's only one. It said there was a guy that God blessed all the works of his hand, and he had all this extra food. Jesus said: hey, there's a lot of hungry people outside, what are you going to do with your extra food? He said: you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to build bigger barns, to store it up for myself, so that my soul can have peace, and I'll know I'll always have food. Jesus said: that's it - God is going to kill you. God's going to kill you! It just seems to fit His whole modus operandi. Is this not what it means to know Me, declares the Lord.

Check out this scripture, Isaiah 1:15-18 says this: When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you. Even if you offer many prayers, I won't listen. Your hands are full of blood. Wash and make yourself clean. Take your evil deeds out of My sight. Now listen, this is God having a rant. Now what do you think this rant would be about? Idolatry? Homosexuality? Something really bad like that? Well watch what it is. Watch what it is. It says: stop doing wrong, learn to do right. Seek justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the orphan, plead the case of the widow. Come now, and let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they'll be white as snow. What caused the move in God's heart, from "you wicked people" to "though your sins are like scarlet, they'll be white as snow"? What caused it? Generosity - it was all a generous spirit.

There was this one time, there's this guy, His name's John the Baptist. He's a Baptist! And you guys know Baptists, like they just don't have people skills. I can say that, because I was raised Baptist. Okay, so anyway John the Baptist is out in the desert - like he had no people skills. You read the stories about him, and you go: how did this guy build a ministry? This guy did things like eat bugs, don't bathe, things like this. So he has this rant in Luke 3:7. And John said to the crowds coming out to be baptised by him: you brood of vipers, who has warned you to flee the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance, and don't begin to say to yourself: you have Abraham as your father, for I tell you, out of these stones, God can raise up children for Abraham. Is that a way to build a church?

These are people coming out to be baptised by him, and he greets them with this: You basket of snakes. You fatherless people. There's a word for that, starts with a 'b', you don't want to call people that right? This is not really nice. Out of these stones, God can raise up children for Abraham - and it gets worse. Watch this: The axe is already fallen to the root of your trees, and every one of you that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into fire. This guy's not a Baptist - he's a Pentecostal on speed! It's like: fire, all of you! You fatherless basket of snakes, every one of you, you're on your way into fire! Now what do you think that whole rant was about? You would think, once again: idolatry, sexual immorality, the big one - homosexuality. You would think it would be something huge like that, but what was huge to them? The crowd says: um, what do you want us to do then? And what's His answer? That whole rant, this was His answer: Let the man with two tunics, share with the one who has none; and let the man with food, feed those who don't have food - it was all generosity.

This seems to be true all the way through the Bible. There's this one time, in a place called Sodom and Gomorrah where - Ezekiel 16 - it says: for the sins of Sodom I destroyed Sodom. Now what do you think the sins of Sodom would be? Sodomy, like we named it after the place. I mean listen, when your name becomes a verb, it's a bad day right? You don't want that right? If you walked out of here tonight, and go: man, he Shane-Willarded me - I don't even know what that means, but that's bad. You don't want your name to become a verb. It says: for the sins of Sodom I destroyed Sodom. You would think the sin would be homosexuality, but you know it didn't even make the list? This is what it said. For the sins of Sodom I destroyed Sodom, and her sins were: pride, apathy, laziness, gluttony, and overlooking poor people. It's greed, selfishness, thinking you're better than other people, eating more than you have to, when someone else is starving. It was refusing to be a kingdom person, to bring the kingdom to this world - it was that.

Check out this scripture, Matthew 25:31. Matthew 25, this is Jesus' last sermon. It's His last words - right after this, He gets arrested. Now when someone gives you his last words, it's very important to listen to what they're saying, and Jesus is saying: at the end of the age, when I'm judging the whole world, here's how I'm going to judge them. Pay attention, because I'm the one doing it. Matthew 25:31 - but when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He'll sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations shall be gathered before Him, and He shall separate them from one another, as a shepherd divides sheep from goats. And indeed He shall set the sheep on His right, but the goats on His left. Listen, when you're standing in front of Jesus one day, you want to be on His right; so move to your left okay?

Then the King shall say to those on His right: come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Then He tells them why: for when I was hungry, you gave Me food. When I was thirsty, you gave Me drink. When I was a stranger, you took Me in. When I was naked, you clothed Me. When I was sick, you visited Me. When I was in prison, you came to Me. Now look at the next verse, look at the wording. Then the righteous - now 2,106 scriptures talk about righteous people have a generous spirit, so you could easily say then the Ha Tzedak, the people doing tzedakah, the people feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked, and this kind of stuff. Then the righteous shall answer Him: Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You a drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison, and came to You? And the King will answer them saying: truly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to Me.

Then He will say to those on His left: depart from Me you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Why? For when I was hungry, you gave Me no food. When I was thirsty, you gave Me no drink. When I was a stranger, you didn't take Me in. When I was naked, you didn't clothe Me. When I was sick and in prison you didn't visit Me. Then they will answer Him saying: when did we see You hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, prison, and did not minister to You? Then He will answer them, saying: truly I say to you, in as much as you did not do it to the least of these, you did not do it to Me. Here's the last line of that sermon: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.

So in Matthew 25, His criteria of judgement was Tzedakah. Let me ask you a question. If you had to face Jesus today, would you be on the right, or would you be on the left? I'll ask another way. He took care of the poor and the afflicted; is this not what it means to know Me declares the Lord. Do you know Him? How important is it to develop a righteous spirit, a tzedakah spirit? Listen, this is from Matthew, this is Jesus. I love this. He says: when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites in the synagogues do on the street, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they've received their reward in full; but when you give to the needy, don't let your left hand know what your right hand's doing, so your giving is in secret. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. It's so important. He's talking about how even generosity can sometimes have a bad heart; so He says: you don't want your light to be darkness.

He said: here's how you can make sure your light's not darkness - when you give to the needy do it privately. Don't do so, as one who sounds the trumpet. This is such cool imagery. See, sounding the trumpet was something that would happen. Every weekend in their synagogues, they took an offering; but every day on the street of the synagogue, they had offering baskets available for the poor, and they would have them bolted down okay? The offering baskets had the opening to it was very broad at the top and very narrow at the bottom. Why? So you couldn't get your hand in there to steal it right, so money only went one way. You with me? But because it was broad at the top, and narrow at the bottom, it had the shape of a trumpet; so sometimes people would come by with their alms to the poor, they would take their coin and put their hand all the way down in there, and quietly drop it in. But others would come by, and they would throw their coins in, and the noise would reverberate down the street, and people would look, so that they would know that they had given to the poor. They called that practice sounding the trumpet, sounding the trumpet.

So Jesus says: when you give to the poor, don't do so as people who sound the trumpets. Every day they had a group of men who were responsible for collecting it. They were called the Gobey Tzedekah (Gobey means to collect). It means: the collectors of righteousness. So when people gave alms to the poor, what was it called? Righteousness, tzedakah; the collectors of righteousness. The word tzedekah is where we get the word Deacon from, the tze-dekah. The deacons were originally people who were supposed to collect alms, and make sure that the strangers, orphans and widows got fed that day. Jesus says: when you give, when you give your righteousness, when you do your acts of righteousness - don't do so as one who sounds the trumpet.

Now let me stop right here and give you some practical advice. The way they gave to the poor, was through reputable organisations, where they knew it was going to help people. So they had men in charge of distributing it. They were not against - listen, if you see a beggar out here, or a homeless person - they were not against you buying them a meal, or giving them money as the Lord led; but the primary place that you would give your offerings to the poor, are through reputable organisations, where you know that something good's going to happen from it. Like there's so many of them, if you don't know of any there's plenty. I just learned about one called Fred Hollows. There's this group in Australia, and the primary cause of blindness in the Third World is dirty water, and they can fix that, because it causes cataracts. So there's this guy named Fred Hollows, and he's going into places, and he's making blind people see for $30! It's like: what!

So you mean I could go to Hogs Breath tonight, and spend $35 on a steak; or I could take that same $35, and I could give sight to the blind. Are you kidding me? If you want to go to Hogs Breath - go to Hogs Breath; but done do so at the expense of taking care of the less fortunate. So you don't feel guilty if you go to Hogs Breath; just don't use money that God meant to bless other people to do that. Its reputable things. This church is a church of generosity. It's a church that does things all over Indonesia and Malaysia, they have a Ugandan orphanage. If you don't have anywhere to give your poor offerings, see these guys - they're doing the job. They're doing the deal, and I'm telling you, it's the Gobey Tzedekah. It's the acts of righteousness. Don't do so, as one who sounds the trumpet, but may we develop a tzedakah spirit. See this life of the cross, this kingdom life was all about making others lives better. If you want the kingdom to be established in your life, you have to make an internal heart commitment, not be perfect - this is not about being perfect. It's not about making up a mistake. It's not even about making 1,000 mistakes.

It's about having the heart that hungers and thirsts for righteousness; hungers and thirsts to make other people's lives better. Now to fully understand this, we have to understand a Hebrew concept. That Hebrew concept is called Zekute. Let me read you a definition of zekute. This was a common word in their language. It says this: Zekute is kind and generous acts, that God notices we do, that are not done out of obligation or result of a command, but out of free will, in order to show the love of God to someone else. The rabbis taught that there was a way to know God, even if you've never seen a Torah; and that way was through Zekute. Where did they get that from? Jeremiah 22:16 - He took care of the poor and the afflicted. That's what it means to know Me, declares the Lord, your God.

So what they believed, is that if someone was practicing Zekute - they actually knew God; and God, who saw their heart, would be determined to reveal Himself to them. In the New Testament, can you think of anyone who was counted righteous by God, simply on their generosity to the poor? Of course you can - I can think of two; Cornelius; and Zacchaeus was the other one. Zacchaeus gets so moved with the compassion of Jesus, what does he do? Look Lord, here and now I'll give half of what I have to the poor. Jesus said: that's it, he gets it, salvation's coming to his house. He understands what we're talking about now. He understands the kingdom.

There was a guy named Cornelius - you can read his story in Acts 10. Cornelius was a Roman centurion. Now let me tell you what that meant. If you were a Roman centurion, who had to be Lord to you? Caesar. Cornelius had other Gods as well. If you guys know the story, he has this dream where Peter comes to him in his dream. He doesn't know who Peter is, he just has this dream that Peter comes to him. So one day Peter actually shows up, knocks on his door, and Cornelius opens the door and Peter's there! You guys know the story; what does Cornelius do? He bows down and worships Peter. Peter has to correct him: No man, get up, I'm just a man. Don't do that. Get up! So here's a guy, who had proclaimed Caesar as Lord, and he didn't know it wasn't right to add Peter to his list of Gods. Would you call him saved? Is he saved in any systematic theology book in the world? No way. No way, but he asks Peter: Peter why are you here? Peter says: because God chose you to pastor the first church. The first gentile church Cornelius, congratulations, it's going to be yours! People are going - I mean would you want him to be your pastor? He just got up off the floor bowing to another man. Cornelius asks what you're asking: Why me? This is what Peter says: Because God has counted you righteous, because your generosity to the poor has went up as a remembrance to Him. In other words, Cornelius showed a tzedakah spirit, and God was faithful to draw Cornelius to Himself. Why? Because that's what it means to know Him. It's so important, Zekute.

Let me show you this one more scripture, 2 Corinthians, Chapter 9. It's a famous offering scripture that people use all the time, but I want you to see something maybe a little different in it. 2 Corinthians 9 says this: But I say this - He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully. Each one as he purposes in his heart, let him give not of grief nor of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that in everything, always having self-sufficiency. In other words, God wants to take your generosity, and make it to where you don't lack anything - self-sufficiency.

Now watch this: that you may abound to every good work. In other words, He wants to take your generosity, make you abound to self-sufficiency, so that more tzedakah can take place. As more tzedakah takes place, there's more self-sufficiency, which abounds to more tzedakah; which brings more tzedakah round which brings more self-sufficiency around, which brings more tzedakah around. It's an endless cycle. Watch the next verse. This is new testament ya'll - As it is written: He has scattered, he has given to the poor, therefore his righteousness remains forever. He scattered, he gave to the poor, his righteousness remains forever. Now he who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for the eater, may he supply and multiply your seed, and thereby increase the fruits of your righteousness. Do you see what he's saying? He's saying: when you give generously, it's called righteousness, and there's a fruit of righteousness called tzedakah. May God multiply your seed, so that the fruits of righteousness be increased.

Listen to the last verse: That you, being enriched in everything to all generosity, which works out thanksgiving to God through us. In other words, does God appreciate it when you say thank You to Him? Yes. Does He appreciate it more when you show you're thankful, by making other people's lives better? It's a heavier matter. There's one scripture, I didn't have it written down, it's just coming in my head now and there's so many of them. There are 2,106 to choose from. 1 John 3:16 - everybody knows John 3:16. 1 John 3:16 says this (give me some leeway to paraphrase this). He says: for let us not love in word only, but in word and in deed. For if any of you have material gain, let him share with those who have material need, for it is in this generosity that we can know we belong to God.

My question is this tonight. Do you want the kingdom to be established in your life? If you do, let me ask you a couple of questions: 1) do you know Him? Do you have a tzedakah spirit? 2) if you faced Jesus today would you be on the right or the left? Can you know that you're a part of this idea called the kingdom?

Here's a summary statement of Matthew 5:6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they'll be filled.

Here's the Shane Willard exegesis of it: The happiest people set their passions on meeting the needs of others. When someone lives to be generous to others, he's living for zekute; to show God's heart to restore all things back to his best. In that, God will determine that he shall be filled in his stomach as well as his spirit.

Do you know that in Matthew 5:6 it says: blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they'll be filled? The word filled there is the word to fill your stomach. So in other words, Jesus is saying: happy is someone who chooses to meet the needs of the down-and-outer. Happy is someone who chooses to meet the needs of the poor and the afflicted. Happy is someone who chooses to enter into a righteous tzedakah spirit. Happy is someone who chooses to do that; and when they do that, they'll never have to worry about food in their own stomach ever, ever, ever - like His kingdom people.

So let's apply this with a few questions. It's not my place to tell you where you are, it's my place to ask.

1) Are you generous? I don't know if you are. Only you know if you are. Are you generous? Is your eye full of light? Is there any place in your life right now that you've turned your back on the needs of others? Is there any place in your life right now that you've told yourself it's not my problem? It IS your problem. Who else is going to handle it? The body of Christ is the hope of the whole world. It is our problem. It is our problem.

2) How have we defined righteousness that needs to change? Have you been guilty of defining righteousness by not doing certain things, and thereby fooling yourself into thinking I'm a righteous person; when in actuality, righteousness is defined by a heart condition, that hungers and thirsts to make other people's lives better?

3) Let me ask it a better way. You're saved right? You're saved? Now what?What are you going to do with that? You're on your way to heaven? Well good, you've got 50 more years to live. What are you going to do? Whose life are you going to make better? Where are you going to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the whole world?

I'm standing up here, now please hear my heart. I have left my guts on this stage tonight, trying to communicate this. Please understand my heart. I come to you with the most humblest of spirit right now, that we're all in a journey. We'll never arrive at this. There's no one righteous, no, not one. Why? Because we will never arrive at this. It's a constant daily thing, a choice to say: I, I will, I will hunger and thirst to make other people's lives better. It's about entering into something.

How can you believe God for seed? The Bible says God provides seeds to the sower. Listen to me, God provides seed to the sower, not to the hoarder. He is duty bound to provide seed for you. He is not duty-bound to provide fruit. He's only duty-bound to provide seed, and how you sow your seed determines your fruit. How can you believe God for seed? I'm telling you, whether it's your household or your church, or your organisation or whatever, if you begin to live by your seed, instead of by your fruit, the fruit will take care of itself.

4) where can you practice zekute today? Is there anybody in your life right now, that you could make their life better, even tonight? This takes the form of all kinds of things, not just money. There are hungry people in this world that need to be fed. There are naked people in this world that need to be clothed. There are people who are in desperate, desperate need, and sometimes money can fix that problem. There are blind people that $30 can help them see. There are - but you know what, there might be a single mum in here, and she's got four children, and she's about to lose her sanity. Maybe zekute for her, is you calling and saying: you know what, this Saturday I'm going to watch your kids for four or five hours, and you don't have to do anything. You can go out, see a movie, go shopping. You can be on your own. You can go sit at the banks of Hawkes Bay, and look over towards the mountain, sit on the water, and just clear yourself, reset your batteries - and you would be practicing zekute, because there's nothing she could ever do to pay you back. That's zekute. That's making other people's lives better.

It IS your problem. What else are you going to do, watch Super 14? I mean what else are we going to do, watch the next re-run of CSI? Come on, what else are we going to do? What are we going to give our life to? Are we going to give our life to striving not to do certain things so we're righteous, or are we going to give our life to hunger and thirst to make other people's lives better?

Listen to me, the next generation of church will be defined by churches that live Zekute - it'll be defined. Listen, not my generation, but the generation after me - they do not care what you believe. Your doctrine is useless to them. They want to see a kingdom of God. They want to see a body of Christ that's actually meeting needs. My dad's generation, they were a mind generation - teach me doctrine, teach me truth, teach me this stuff. The next generation after me, that'll be important, but it won't be the most important thing. They want to know where does your doctrine feed the mouths of hungry people; where's your doctrine make other people's lives better? Does it work?

I bless you tonight to know, that you can be a church of the kingdom. You can be, and it comes down to each individual person, choosing to practice zekute. I bless you tonight to know, that the fate of New Zealand is not found in people in Wellington. The fate of New Zealand is found in the individual families represented here today, who will make a choice to live by Zekute; and it will go well with you, for this is what it means to know Me declares the Lord, your God. May we be kingdom people.

Let's pray together and I will say one more thing to you. I've taught you a lot okay; Thursday, Friday, today. I actually need to go away for about a year and read some books, so I can have something new to say. But listen to me. If you learned your brain full of stuff tonight, and through the week, but yet by Wednesday it hasn't changed your life - I have done nothing. It does nothing. So what if you know stuff? I want to know what are we going to do about it. One scripture says: let us not be hearers of the word but... [Doers].

Let's pray together and the first question I want you to ask yourself, between you and God: Lord, where can I practice Zekute tonight? This week? Where do we need to sit down and make a commitment to constantly do it on a regular basis? Where do we need to make this a lifestyle of giving stuff up so that other people's lives can be better?



http://mikeconnellministries.com

Sermons | Collections | 中国
YouTube | Vimeo | Podcast
eBooks | Paperbacks
Transcripts | 成绩单
Facebook | Share