Walking With Jesus
Transcript of Online Service
Sunday 3rd May 2020
Good morning Seacoast.
As you can see, I’ve decided to take things from a different perspective this morning.
I’m sitting here with all of these empty seats behind me. It’s very quiet. It’s even a bit lonely. Although I do have Dean here attending to all the technical things.
I wanted to show you how stripped back it all is here without you!
And doesn’t it just highlight the very fact that YOU are the church? Together we are the church. This building is incredible – a wonderful resource and a gift from God.
But without you – it’s an empty shell.
Having said that – I know you are watching. I know you haven’t flown off to some desert island somewhere. Well, for a start, you’re not allowed.
But secondly – we are joined together by something far great than physical proximity.
We’re joined together by our common love for Jesus. And that love for Him extends out to one another.
I want to speak more about that in a moment. But let’s first of all, surrender ourselves – our lives – our whole body, soul and spirit – in worship.
I have passed on all your thanks and gratitude to our worship team for the amazing job they are doing. I love it that we will always have these worship sessions now to replay in our own homes, any time we want. They’ll be great for connect groups to use as well.
And thank you again for your faithfulness in giving. This has blessed us all… and those who have responsibility at Seacoast for the finances, for all the expenses we still have, plus our ongoing commitments to missions, the extra support we are able to give to those who need it…. It just confirms what we already know – that your love for God, your desire to see the kingdom of God established under all circumstances – never falters.
Just a reminder for those who may not have heard – the INC conference that was scheduled for July, has now been postponed to July next year – for obvious reasons. All current registrations have been automatically transferred across to next year. Please feel free to call me about that if you need to.
Let’s get ready to launch into my message for this morning – and make sure you have your bread and juice handy for us to share communion together as we close.
But I have a bit of a treat for you…. I thought you might feel a bit more connected if you were reminded of some of the amazing people we share with in the Seacoast Community. It’s not everyone – but I grabbed a few photos from over the past 12 months or so… mostly photos that were taken as a celebration of our church life together. And I’ve added a couple of extras.
I hope it blesses you..
I wish I had a photo of everyone, but that’s not a bad little sample. What a great bunch. I think it does us good to be reminded of just what we have here at Seacoast. And our hearts are always big enough for others to connect in.
But this morning, as I sit here in this empty building – and as we contemplate our time in isolation… I just keep coming back to that feeling that everything is being stripped back.
It’s a strange feeling – and yet I think many of us believe that there’s a purpose in it – that God is wanting us to make the most of the opportunity we have, to revaluate the way we live
- the way we connect
- -and to have fresh eyes as we look at those things that are really important to us – the things we value the most.
But I think there’s even more to it than that.
As I was thinking and praying about what the Holy Spirit is wanting to say to us today – I sensed that He is wanting us to come back to the simplicity of knowing what it means to walk with Jesus.
And I use that word “walk” with purpose.
What happened to us? How did we become so busy? How did we get to a place of racing and rushing from one thing to another?
All the conveniences and technology and the wonders of the 21st century that were supposed to make our lives easier – have actually caused us to fill our lives with even more demands.
I don’t know about you – but I’m constantly thinking that I should have called that person – I should have allowed more time for that sermon preparation – I even wake up in the middle of the night thinking about what I need to do the next day.
And I’m sure my life isn’t near as hectic as many of you, especially when you have young families to care for on top of your work commitments.
I feel like the Holy Spirit is saying – just give yourself a break – take a moment to breathe – and try a walking pace for while.
I know there are lot’s of scriptures that speak about running the race – running towards the goal…. But even our running is more of a slow paced marathon – not a frantic sprint.
There are many scriptures that speak about the journey of life – as a walk.
Galatians 5:16 says – WALK in the Spirit
Romans 8:4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not WALK according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:10 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should WALK in them.
Ephesians 5:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 And WALK in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
There are many scriptures I could share with you that speak about life’s journey as a walk.
We have been watching a few episodes of a series called “The Chosen.” Some of you, I know, have already seen it.
It tells the story of the gospels that presents the life of Jesus and the disciples in a very natural and everyday way….
I mean, the miracles and the teachings of Jesus could never be described as ordinary or natural – but the way that the disciples relate to Him – it could easily be you or I walking in their place…
But it’s the way they simply walked and shared their lives – the way they gave themselves to Jesus as their teacher – their Master….
And many of the extraordinary things that Jesus said – it’s in the context of simply walking along the road – sitting around a table or a campfire…
And when Jesus performs a miracle – like turning the water into wine at the wedding – or laying His hands on a leper – I found myself overwhelmed with emotion because everything He did was out of love and compassion.
He wasn’t looking for fanfare. He was simply responding with heartfelt love for others.
The video drew out the humiliation and shame that the parents at the wedding were feeling because the wine had run out – and that’s why Jesus responded. It wasn’t about the wine
– it was about His compassion for this family that were doing their best to make this celebration a moment to always remember – and to serve and honour their guests.
When Jesus gently put His hands on the stone pots and raised His eyes to heaven – I was reminded – Jesus has a huge heart for everyone – and cares about even the most everyday things.
And as you read through the gospels for yourselves – make it a walk with Jesus.
Don’t rush through the stories as matter of fact details… Allow the Holy Spirit to breathe upon the words – reveal their true meaning…. Listen for the heart message… Don’t make it a race with Jesus – take your time.
We want to know Him for Who He really is.
But we also want to know Him so that we can walk out our own lives like Him.
And we don’t want want to either run ahead of the Spirit – or lag behind. We want to walk alongside Him – with Him.
Do you know what one of the dangers is of running ahead of God – racing though our day like machines?
We are in danger of not even seeing the leper crying out for help – or the tax collector up the tree. Of course that’s what Jesus encountered.
But what about us? Would we stand still long enough to see the pain in our neighbours eyes? Would we even be looking?
Would we notice if a friend became withdrawn and absent?
Would we have time to stop and pray for someone who needed God’s divine intervention? A miracle.
Because that’s what the true love of God looks like.
I was reading the other day about someone else’s research into how Paul used the word love in his writings.
Apparently, he used love about 20 times in reference to God’s love for us.
He used love about 5 or 6 times when talking about our love for God.
But it surprised me how many times Paul describes the love that we have for one another. It was nearly 90 times.
A classic example of this is in Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia.
Within a matter of a few verses, he says a similar thing three times:
Galatians 5:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
Galatians 5:14 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 6:2 The Passion Translation (TPT)
2 Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles.
So you can see as Paul speaks of Christ – of the Anointed One – He also encourages us to walk in the same love – and therefore fulfil the law.
If we could only learn how to walk – and not rush from one thing to another – because truly loving others takes time – it takes a committed choice – it takes faith…. But we are empowered!
Empowered by the Holy Spirit – in fact, as we know – love is the fruit of the Spirit. No wonder Paul says – walk in the Spirit.
I started out talking about how this rushing around relates to our own personal lives. It’s not good physically, emotionally or mentally for us to live in fast forward…
But Jesus seems to get the balance right – well, He does get the balance right always – in that He takes life at just the right pace – but He also shows us how that then makes room for others around Him to be seen – to be ministered to – to be healed….
I can only imagine how it must have been for those first disciples – to have to adjust their lives to walk with Jesus. It must have required some slowing down in some respects – and maybe some catching up in others.
But with him – it would have been just right.
Can you imagine the disciples when Jesus said, we’re going to feed these thousands of people. Their response was probably frantic.
Matthew 14: 14-21, ( Passion). “14 So when Jesus landed he had a huge crowd waiting for him. Seeing so many people, his heart was deeply moved with compassion toward them, so he healed all the sick who were in the crowd.[e]
15 Later that afternoon the disciples came to Jesus and said, “It’s going to be dark soon and the people are hungry, but there’s nothing to eat here in this desolate place.
You should send the crowds away to the nearby villages to buy themselves some food.”
16 “They don’t need to leave,” Jesus responded. “You can give them something to eat.”
17 They answered, “But all we have is five barley loaves and two fish.”
Here’s a thought. No one said walking with Jesus would ever be straight forward and easy. It’s a life full of surprises. It’s a life full of challenges. But it’s also a life full of miracles and divine encounters.
18 “Let me have them,” Jesus replied. 19 Then he had everyone sit down on the grass as he took the five loaves and two fish. He looked up into heaven, gave thanks to God, and broke the bread into pieces.
He then gave it to his disciples, who in turn gave it to the crowds. 20 And everyone ate until they were satisfied, for the food was multiplied in front of their eyes![f]
They picked up the leftovers and filled up twelve baskets full! 21 There were about five thousand men who were fed, in addition to many women and children!”
I want to exhort you to lift up your eyes towards heaven. Walking with Jesus is so much more rewarding in every way than running here and there trying to make it all happen by yourself.
I’ve shared the story before of when we tried to sell our house in Alstonville when we went to Brisbane for bible college. We believe God said it would sell – and not to rent it out.
But He wasn’t in a hurry. We know now that there was an important lesson in it for us. But I ran ahead….
After a few months of paying the mortgage on an empty house, and paying rent in Brisbane – plus paying college fees and school fees – we gave in, and rented out the Alstonville house.
After 18 months and the house still hadn’t sold, and the Holy Spirit bought a really strong conviction on me that I had been disobedient….
And as much as I had prayed over and over for His grace to cover the whole situation – He wanted to show me a valuable principle for life.
We asked the tenants to move out. It seemed crazy in a natural sense. That income was at least paying the mortgage.
They were good, faithful tenants – but I was more interested in what God was saying.
After all that time – the tenants moved out – and within two weeks the house sold – and for the price we originally wanted.
The moral of the story? Walk with Jesus. Don’t rush ahead. He knows what He’s doing. Stay next to Him so you can hear what He is saying.
In a way – it was like the story of the feeding of the five thousand.
We were stressed and frantic about how we were going to make ends meet. It’s like we had two fish and five loaves to put towards both a mortgage and a rental plus all our other expenses.
The real miracle was that we were able to buy another home in Brisbane then – on Austudy. That’s another whole story. We saw a house we liked – we felt God said it was ours even tough it wasn’t for sale. We approached the owners.
Turns out they were pastors. We prayed in their lounge room, which was about to become our lounge room. They were open sell. We prayed abut the price. We came to within about $4,000 – so we split the difference and bought it.
We know what it’s like to walk wth Jesus. That was an incredible time of God’s Fatherly care and provision for us.
But we need to remind ourselves every day that we need to keep our yes on Him and stay close.
Just as we close – let’s join together in sharing communion.
Let our prayer be this morning that we desire more than anything else – to walk by Jesus’ side. He made the way for us to do that.
Just as He is one with the Father – we are now one with Jesus the Son – and He has brought us into that incredible place of glory and relationship with the Father.
So as we remember His death and resurrection – remember also that we can walk right now in resurrection life – in eternal life – with all the riches of heaven at our disposal.
Dear Heavenly Father,
What a privilege we have – to walk with You every day of our loves.
Just as the disciples walked with You along many different roads – as they shared meals with You – as they simply did life with you – We make a decision this morning to walk with You also. Not to run ahead or lag behind. But to keep our eyes upon You always.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Let’s eat and drink together – and God bless you as you go Ito this coming week.