Go In And Sit

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Go In And Sit.

Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White

Sunday, 23rd August 2020

Good morning Seacoast.

As we all know, the way we live, and the restrictions we are living under, are changing constantly.  And the easiest way of dealing with that as far as church gatherings are concerned, is to simply continue to remain shut down.

However, the easiest and simplest option is not necessarily the best option – and there are other factors to consider.

A few of your church elders and leaders met during the week, and we have decided to make live Sunday mornings available to you again from early September.

How long that will last will depend on any further government rulings, but we believe we need to open the doors again and take things one week at a time.

You’ll find that the restrictions might even be a bit tighter this time round, but at least you will have the opportunity to gather with others on a Sunday morning, if that is what you are wanting to do.

We’ll let you know more details soon.

I just wanted to let you know too that Seacoast Church is a registered CovidSafe organisation. We have everything in place to keep things safe – but that will depend a lot on how we ourselves respond to the guidelines personally.  We’ll make that clear for you too before you get here.

No one likes it this way – but it is how it is…. 

I want to begin this morning by sharing a thought from our INC National Leader, Ross Abraham.  

It came across my path as I was at the very beginnings of preparing this message.  I had some thoughts of my own going around in my head.

I was sitting in front of my computer, with nothing typed onto the screen except the date – and I was just saying to myself – or more accurately – I was praying – Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit….   I said the words out loud.

I didn’t even know what words to say – but I knew the One who would be listening.  And He could read my heart cry for His word for the church better than I could express it.

I mentioned this last week – that sometimes you just don’t have the words…. 

Sometimes it’s just a groaning or a cry from your spirit – that’s all you have…. Sometimes that’s the most powerful prayer of all.

In the middle of that very simple prayer, my computer goes “ping”, and a notification pops up that a video from INC had just landed in my emails.

It was a short message from Pastor Ross, speaking from the new INC property called Besor Ranch – a beautiful place in the Tweed Valley.  It’s a property that will be used for all kinds of ministry – including Equine Therapy, a place of healing for troubled young people, a place for people to simply take time out from their hectic lives.   It sounds like an ideal place of healing and restoration.

You can actually book a cabin there now.  Just go to the Besor Ranch website.

Anyway – its from this tranquil place that Ross shares the story of King David – but more particularly the moment in 2Samuel 7, where David finds himself in an unusual moment of time…  

This is my version of the story…

David finds himself in a place of rest from fighting his enemies, from pursuing kingdoms, from striving to accomplish things for God…

So with time on his hands, David decides to build God a beautiful temple.  His motives were good – David realised that while he lived in a cedar building, God’s presence dwelt in a tent – and probably a fairly well worn tent by that stage.

I guess he wasn’t thinking that God also dwelt in the most glorious of places, with streets of gold with gates of pearl.  But his intentions were good.

Nathan the prophet hears the word of the Lord – and God says to David through Nathan – it’s not for you to build Me a temple.  Your son Solomon will be the one who builds for Me.

And it goes on in verse 18 to say:  “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord;”

We know that David, as a young shepherd boy, spent much of his time in a place of worship and intimacy with God, while he was watching the sheep.  But as King, he was on a quest to build God’s kingdom in whatever way possible.

But all of a sudden, King David finds himself again sitting before the Lord.

Ross shared part of Eugene Petersen’s writings about this very verse.

Eugene Petersen of course was a writer and pastor, and was the translator of The Message Bible.

He said:  

“David sat!  This may be the single most crucial act that David ever did – the action that put him out of action – more critical than killing Goliath…

David sat. An incredible feat when we begin to understand the conditions under which he did it – so full of desire for God he was – so bursting with plans for God.

Stopping David in that condition was like reigning in a team of runaway horses.  But Nathan stopped him.  More accurately, David let himself be stopped by God.”

So I’m listening to Ross speak, but even before that, I had this sense of heaviness on my heart – thinking about the many people around me – and if I’m honest – myself included – who are thrown off kilter because of where the world is at right now…. And for me, it’s not so much the world – for me it’s to do with the church.

But there are many people who are struggling to know how they fit in the world as it is – with people and plans having had the carpet ripped out from underneath them.

I know a lot of us would agree, as I said last week – that we needed this shake up – both in our own personal lives – but also in the life of the church…

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  That doesn’t take away the need to find a new path through the maze of uncertainty.

Perhaps you have a clear path forward.  Perhaps you have realigned yourself with what God is doing in your life right now.  That is awesome if that’s the case.  

But I’m only too aware that some are struggling.  Some are still on the journey of navigating the whole Covid upheaval.  

We’ll all get there in the end.  The church will flourish as I’ve said before.  

But coming back to David:

As David sat with the Lord – he was brought to a place of surrender.  Surrender of his own plans – plans for God – good plans…. He had to lay it all down.

For those who are wrestling with this unusual and even weird place we find ourselves in, I think God is drawing us into that same place that David was, where he went in, and simply sat with the Lord.

For some, it’s surrendering what we thought the last few months should have looked like – what we thought the coming weeks and months should look like…

But for others there’s an acknowledging and surrendering of something else.

Others I speak with just have this sense of weariness – a tiredness – a fatigue….  

The restrictions we are living under and the changes to our lives don’t seem that harsh on one level, and I’m thinking particularly in Northern NSW where we are.  

But the consequences are causing stress and grief for many.   Having borders closed has huge implications for some families, for those in business, and for those with serious health issues…. 

The uncertainty about job security….   Mental stress….  It’s slowly wearing people down.

Are you one of those people?  How are you going with things right now?

I believe the word of the Lord for us all is that we need to take some time, whatever else is going on – to just sit with Him.  Take some time out from trying to work it all out.

None of us know what things will look like in six months time.

Now is a time for finding a place of rest and peace and to be restored on the inside.

Sometimes tiredness and weariness isn’t about needing more hours to sleep.

It can be about giving your mind a rest.  Going your emotions a rest.  Stepping into a sanctuary of peace even as the world around you strives to do it all in it’s own strength.

It might be about coming to a place of surrender, like David, and handing over your fears to God, your concerns, your confusion and uncertainty.

Because this is who we are – we are children of God who have a Father who loves us and cares about the most intimate details of our lives.

Isaiah 40:31. (NKJV)

“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

I don’t claim to have all the answers either – but I know the Word of God does!

I know the Holy Spirit is always willing and waiting to lead us.

That’s why, when I didn’t have the words to start this message today, or even the words to pray…. I just said, “Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit…”. 

He is always ready to strengthen us…. He causes us to rise up with wings like eagles wings.   I encourage you to do some research on eagles…. They have incredible strength, and yet are comparatively light.  Lot’s of feathers, hollow bones, and yet have the power to pick up a lamb or a small animal and carry it high up to its nest.

And I’m praying for you that in your place of waiting and resting with the Lord, you will not only find strength, but you’ll find a place or lightness – like you’re carried on feathers…. Because you are able to lift off and hand over the weights of tiredness and weariness – or the striving to work everything out…

Listen to what it says in the Passion translation:

Isaiah 40:31

The Passion Translation

“But those who wait for Yahweh’s grace will experience divine strength.  They will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles, run their race without growing weary, and walk through life without giving up.”

Giving up?  What’s that?  That’s not who we are!

Surrender isn’t about giving up.  Surrender is about finding renewed strength.  Surrender is about restoration and renewed vision.  Surrender is about finding the peace of God – and being lifted up.

We grow through the difficulties of life.  We discover things about ourselves that we didn’t even know were there – as we face up to life’s challenges.

Where we sit determines our life.  David sat with the Lord.  

I think it’s an incredible and amazing truth that positionally, we sit wth Christ in heavenly places.

Eph 2:4-6,  (NKJV),  “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

This is talking about now!  Not just when you die.  

That place of sitting with Jesus is a place of overwhelming security and peace – but it’s a place also of authority and strength – with all the power of heaven at our disposal.

It sounds like an epic fantasy movie…. But it’s real!  It is epic – an epic truth.

Grace has positioned us there – God’s grace!  The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead has raised us up in resurrection power to sit with Him as well.

I encourage you to keep that vision before you.  Look upon Jesus – look upon His glory…. Because it will change you.  It will change how you see yourself – how you see the world.

2 Corinthians 3:18

New King James Version

“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.”

And the more we look upon Him, the more we are able to let go of trusting in and depending upon the things we have set up as idols and strong towers in our own earthly lives….  Our own ambitions, our own treasures, our own natural mindedness in how things should look and be..

This is part of our surrender.  It’s letting go of false security.  

The more we behold the glory of God, the dimmer the things of this world become.

And part of our surrender, as we sit with Jesus, is the surrender of our own striving to make things happen the way we think they should happen.

James 1:2-4

The Passion Translation

“My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. 4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anything missing – I don’t want anything lacking…

And I can feel that coming out of a place of true surrender – we will enter into a newfound endurance and strength.

God was not calling David to build a strong and mighty temple – but to build and strengthen his own life – and the place to do that was by going in and sitting with Him.

How precious is being in that place?   We all have free access to sit with Him whenever we want.  It should be the greatest treasure of our life.

Matthew 13:44 (NKJV)

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

I think we would all agree that Jesus is our treasure – and when we realise just Who He is – we just want to hide Him in our heart – and everything else has little worth in comparison to the joy we have in Him.

But I was reading something in the footnotes of the Passion Translation that made me think about how Jesus must see us.

What if He saw us as the treasure?  And what if He was willing to lay down everything for us – to purchase us and redeem us.  And for the joy that He carried in His heart for us, He went to the cross and died on our behalf.  

There’s no what if.  That’s what He did.  The joy is what He felt at the thought of our salvation.  Heb 12:2 says, “For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross…”

This is the One who calls us to come and sit with Him.  He is the One who calls us to intimacy.  He is the One who knows what endurance is.

We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us.  

Just as Jesus humbled Himself and surrendered His life to the Father’s will, so can we.

Jesus only ever did and said what the Father showed Him.  That’s where we need to be.  

And if you’re watching this, and you are struggling with what Jesus might ask you to give up, then perhaps you haven’t yet had the revelation of what a treasure He is.  

There’s a place of coming to the end of yourself – of humbling yourself before God in repentance – acknowledging your sin…. And then lifting your eyes and getting a glimpse of the glory that stands before you.

He is a good good Father.  He knows you better than you know yourself.  And He knows what will bring you the greatest joy in life.  

And if that means surrendering some things – letting go of a few old mindsets – then it’s worth it.  

It’s worth it.  You’re worth it.  Jesus has already demonstrated your worth.  He has shown us how much joy you bring Him.

If you haven’t come to the place of laying down your own life and asking Jesus to come and live in your heart – right now would be that perfect time.

It’s a simple prayer:  Jesus – I’ve tried to do it on my own.  I’ve made some mistakes.  I’ve sinned against you.  But Jesus, I’m sorry for walking away from You.  

Right now I come running towards You with a repentant heart – but a heart that so desires to be filled with the joy of Your presence.   I receive Your forgiveness.  I receive Your grace and love.  Make me new.  Amen.

If that is your prayer, then lift off every weight right now, surrender yourself to the grace of God and to Jesus Christ His Son, and enter into eternal life.

Contact us and let us know if that’s you today.

For all of us – I encourage you to take some time – go in and sit with Jesus – surrender your life afresh to Him.  Let the burdens go – and trust Him.

He has an incredible future for each one of us – and for His church.

Be changed from glory to glory….  In Jesus name. Amen.

 


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