Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 11th August, 2019
Last Sunday I shared with you some of our journey in life and ministry… and as I told the story, I realised how the two seem to blend together as one.
And even in the most difficult times, there has always been this flicker of passion that would never go out… and would become ignited again and again… with a passion for God, for people, for life…
Sometimes it has been the Holy Spirit Himself simply overwhelming me with His love and compassion… and at other times, it has been more like a conscious decision on my part – a decision of faith – to lift my eyes above the circumstances and focus on God’s faithfulness.
I think all of us can also testify to moments of refreshing and revival within ourselves… and it’s these moments that have built one upon another, that have caused us to mature, to grow, to be strengthened in our inner man.
Last week I said I’ve decided I’m having a revival… regardless of what everyone else is doing. And I’ve found out that a lot of you are holding me accountable to my decision. Go you!
I’ve been contemplating what me having a revival looks like. Or to be honest, what we as the church together having revival looks like.
And I think that the message on Passion actually stirred my passion for God and the church..
I was also steering towards a message on joy for this morning. Apparently there are around 500 scriptures on joy or rejoicing in the bible. Not many on being happy, but heaps on having joy. Because happiness is dependant on what’s happening. Whereas joy is something that resides at the core of our being – it’s a fruit of the Spirit – and it isn’t related to circumstances.
But then I had this lightbulb moment – that the ultimate place I could be living, is where it’s not about me at all – it’s not about my little revival – but it’s all about the glory of God.
How would it be, if this church became all about God’s glory? If your life became all about God’s glory?
Not our glory – not our anything…
God’s glory is the weight and heaviness of His presence. It’s the richness and wealth of all that He is. It’s His splendour, His beauty, His power. It’s Who He is! It’s His nature and character. It’s His holiness. His goodness. His love.
All these things were once displayed and experienced in the tabernacle that travelled with the Israelites – and the temple that was built in Jerusalem. God’s presence and glory dwelt within the temple.
But we know now that we are the temple of God.
Paul says to the church – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
And what about this:
Ephesians 3:16-21, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Do you know what needs to be revived? We need a revival of the revelation of who we are in Christ Jesus. And a revival of the glory of God in the church!
You are a living temple. Out of the riches of God’s glory, Christ Himself has come to dwell in our hearts. And when we have Christ – we have the fullness of God…
There’s a power and a love just bursting to be outworked in you… bringing even more and more glory to God. And He does this all in the context of the church – throughout all generations.
We can all acknowledge that there are parts of the wider church that are a bit dodgy – and we ourselves have a way to go yet… But let the Spirit of God ignite within you a passion for His Church… His Bride… the one He gave His life for…
Let your inner man take hold of the revelation that you have everything you need to walk in might and power.
And I know some of you are facing big battles right now. Some of you have seen massive breakthroughs. Others are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I had to quickly race and put together an article for the Advocate newspaper this week because I just about ran out of time…
But all I could think of was how one day I can be grieving with someone who has lost the most precious person in their life, and they are in the depths of sadness and confusion – and the next moment I am standing on a spectacular headland, witnessing a brand new covenant of marriage being established as a young couple speak beautiful and eternal vows to one another – with their whole life ahead of them.
It’s the seasons of life. We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. And if we look for Jesus, we find Him in the midst of it all. So that’s what I put in my article.
And it brings us back to the scriptures again:
1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Romans 8:18-19, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”
This is what is coming – for the sons of God (men and women of course) to be revealed. But it will be the glory of God that is revealed in us – not our own glory.
It will be the goodness of God that will be poured out over Ballina and in fact over this nation.
And my prayer is Lord, do it quickly. Do it in me. Do it in us right now.
As the world around us gets darker, Lord shine Your light even brighter.
The federal and state governments are changing laws – it seems by the minute – that are removing godliness and righteousness from the foundations of our nation and our lives. And have you noticed, they all speak of death. Because the root of it all is in evil, death and darkness.
Euthanasia – the right to die when and how you want to – and perhaps even influence others as to when they should die as well. Why not?
Abortion on demand – the murder of babies in the womb. Babies who should have had a right to live by the promises of Ps. 139 – v 13,16-17, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”
That’s what has been spoken and declared over every conception.
I would be standing in fear and trembling if I was one of those politicians who voted yes for these latest changes to the abortion laws. They are staring directly in the face of God – who had a plan for each of these precious lives – precious in His eyes, let alone ours!
Not to mention the many women who are being misled now into believing that it’s all OK – afterall, the government has sanctioned it.
God let your glory come and arrest this nation. Let the weight of conviction and weight of righteousness be placed on the shoulders of those who are supposed to be representing us. We pray for our government… Holy Spirit arrest their hearts.
There’s more I could say about new laws in recent years producing death – but you might have to come and visit me in jail if I speak them out publicly.
But we are not defeated or overcome by death. We carry life – and life more abundant – and we are filled with the fullness of God and His glory so that we can do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ask or think.
I love the way Jesus responded to being confronted with the death of His friend Lazarus. He was faced with the reality of this man being dead for four days… he was in a tomb… and everyone knew that his body would have already begun to decay…
It was an impossible situation. They had called Jesus to come because Lazarus was seriously ill… but now it was too late. Death had won.
But they didn’t know Jesus as well as they should have. They didn’t realise that the greatest power in the universe was about to unleashed.
John 11:39, “Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
I can understand Martha saying that. That’s a natural response. But we are being called – not deny the realities that we face – but not deny either the power that works in us for good and for glory.
I would have said exactly what Martha said – but I want to think differently. I want to have different expectations. I want to operate in faith that looks to the supernatural not the natural.
John 11:40, “Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
And of course, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He spoke right into the heart of an impossible situation. He spoke right into the face of death – and the glory of God shone in the darkness and brought life!
And here’s the thing… as I’ve been harping on over and over again… if takes the gift of faith to believe for this kind of glory. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
By we also know that faith works through love.
Jesus loved Lazarus. He loved Martha. He loves you and I.
And if we want to walk in the places of faith and glory that Jesus walked in, we need the same kind of selfless, unconditional love that He also carried.
We need the love of the Father – and to listen to what the Father is saying – just as Jesus did. He didn’t tell Jesus to raise everyone from the dead.
We can’t get away from the foundations of building ourselves up in faith by the Word of God – making sure that our motives are always grounded in the love of the Father – and listening to His voice; being guided by His Spirit.
It’s definitely not in self promotion or self glory… not in trying to undergird our own self worth and self anything…
Faith and love – that’s what will lead to the glory of God being manifest in our midst.
I believe this next scripture is also a key for us…
2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
When you look into the mirror and behold the glory of God, you can’t come with any veils – any coverings – and masks… We have to come with an unveiled face.
The trouble is – we all have veils… We all have masks that we hide behind.
Some of us have reinforced concrete walls, let alone a veil.
All those things have to come down, because the glory of God won’t dwell with false images, false representations, false coverings.
And those veils can be called religion, pride, self centredness, self righteousness… that’s on one hand…
And they can be things like unworthiness, rejection, fear, insecurity, etc on the other.
And we can fluctuate between them all…
Out of our rejection we rise up into pride. Out of our fear, we rise up into religious attitudes. The list of how that all works is endless.
God is calling us to look in the mirror without any of those things hanging over us, and see with pure eyes – Who He is – to see what pure love looks like – with true faith and trust…
He’s calling us not only to look in a mirror – but to embrace and be part of a relationship that is glorious.
Which leads me to probably the most exciting part of this message. Because this is the heart of Jesus for us. In fact, it’s His prayer for us.
His heart and desire is that we would actually become one with Him and the Father. And Jesus calls that – Glory!
I’m just reading selected verses from John 17 – and I found it hard to cut it down as much as I did… but this gets the point across:
John 17:1,4-6,9-10,13,20-24. (Passion Translation), “This is what Jesus prayed as he looked up into heaven, “Father, the time has come. Unveil the glorious splendor of your Son so that I will magnify your glory! I have glorified you on the earth by faithfully doing everything you’ve told me to do. So my Father, restore me back to the glory that we shared together when we were face-to-face before the universe was created.” “Father, I have manifested who you really are and I have revealed you to the men and women that you gave to me. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have fastened your Word firmly to their hearts.
So with deep love, I pray for my disciples. I’m not asking on behalf of the unbelieving world, but for those who belong to you, those you have given me. For all who belong to me now belong to you. And all who belong to you now belong to me as well, and my glory is revealed through their surrendered lives.
“But now I am returning to you so Father, I pray that they will experience and enter into my joyous delight in you so that it is fulfilled in them and overflows. “And I ask not only for these disciples, but also for all those who will one day believe in me through their message. I pray for them all to be joined together as one even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one.
I pray for them to become one with us so that the world will recognize that you sent me. For the very glory you have given to me I have given them so that they will be joined together as one and experience the same unity that we enjoy. You live fully in me and now I live fully in them so that they will experience perfect unity, and the world will be convinced that you have sent me, for they will see that you love each one of them with the same passionate love that you have for me. “Father, I ask that you allow everyone that you have given to me to be with me where I am! Then they will see my full glory— the very splendor you have placed upon me because you have loved me even before the beginning of time.”
This would have to be up there as one of the most intimate prayers that Jesus ever prayed. It’s like we get to listen through the walls of time, and hear Him pray on our behalf.
He prays that you and I would become one with Him and the Father in that incredible place of relationship called “Glory.”
And in that place is the most amazing unity… a oneness of heart and Spirit…
So when we live in that position of oneness with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, everything else comes together… and our motives become pure. Our hearts become pure.
We then find that place of true Anointing that is described in Ps. 133, where the oil of Anointing flows down not just over Aaron, as it’s described in the psalm, but over the whole body of Christ – the Church.
How can we pursue revival without pursuing the glory of God? Without pursuing the Anointed unity of the body? Without taking down the veils and false coverings that we put on ourselves?
As I close in prayer this morning – I want you to be praying your own prayer at the same time. Lay down your life again – it’s been crucified with Christ.
And put on again the life of the Anointed One – Jesus Christ.
It’s a daily choice. Let’s choose God’s glory this day!