You Have A Platform

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You Have a Platform

Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White

Sunday, 5th May 2019

You might have noticed that Venese and I weren’t here last Sunday.  Actually, if you didn’t notice, that’s probably a good sign!

But a huge Thankyou to Sheree – the feedback we’ve had from that message has been wonderful – it obviously spoke clearly to many of you…  thanks to Bill, Samuel, Ben and the team…  plus the kids workers, welcomers, kitchen people and coffee makers…   I counted up once that it takes over 40 volunteers to run our Sunday mornings… and each week, many of those who fill those roles are often different…

The sign of a healthy church is that it isn’t focussed and dependent upon one person or couple…  it’s actually the body working and growing together, with all the different parts building one another up with the gifts and graces that God Himself has supplied…

So Thankyou…

Venese and I were in Newcastle of all places.  The main reason for us was to connect with the Network of pastors that we relate to… those with very similar churches to Seacoast…  and we had Ross Abraham, our movement leader, and others, speak into our lives.  

But we were also there for a conference that the Newcastle Church put on – and if you have been around Pentecostal circles for a while, you would have come across the main guest speaker – Danny Gugglielmucci.  

If you haven’t heard of him, you might remember a beautiful song called “Healer”.  

The words start out with this:

“You hold my very moment

You calm my raging seas

You walk with me through fire

And heal all my disease

I trust in You, I trust in You

And I believe You’re my healer

I believe You are all I need.”

Well, Danny’s son wrote and sang that amazing song.

Danny told the story of how his son, the one who wrote the song, was taken from a Sunday morning service – to a mental institution…  

The fallout from the full story of how it came to that point, was nearly more than Danny and his wife and family could bear.  It soon spread throughout the whole Christian community in Australia and around the world.  Danny went on national TV to try and explain what happened.  That was in 2008.  I remember it well. 

Then… three and a half years ago, Danny’s other son was struck by lightening and killed in front of 100 kids at a youth camp.  Danny says there are still days when he just weeps and weeps with the grief.

Now Danny himself is in a battle for his own life…  although I don’t think he used that term…  He knows where the battle really belongs.  But Danny pretty much came from chemo treatment in hospital to the conference.  He has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

And now his daughter is struggling with her faith because of all that has happened to her brothers and her father. 

I’ve said to a couple of people already, you can just imagine how raw and real the conference messages were from him.  He spoke straight from his heart…  

But if there was one thing that I picked up that may have the potential to be a life changer for some of us, is that wherever we are in life, whatever we’ve been through, wherever God has placed us for this moment…  everyone has a platform from which to bring the truth and the life of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

And I have to say – I was blown way – having heard Danny preach about having a platform – when I read through Sheree’s message, and at one point she makes the statement about “remembering times when God has been faithful in the past (and how it) builds a platform on which you can stand to believe for the next thing.”  I’d add there for this particular message – to help carry you through whatever the next thing might be.

We all have a platform to stand on.  And everyone’s platform might look a bit different.

When we come to a Sunday gathering, I have a platform to speak from…  it’s right here behind this pulpit.  Occasionally others have the privilege of speaking from this same platform as well.

But this pulpit is only one of many, many platforms that God provides for us to be witnesses and to share the truth.  I have other platforms as well, and they have nothing to do with pulpits and meetings.

And if I refer straight back to Danny Gugglielmucci…  he said his platform has changed dramatically.  He’s handed over his church in Melbourne some time ago.  He was speaking at conference, but he no longer has his own church pulpit to regularly speak from.

Do you know what his platform is now?

His platform is the testimony of his life, his journey of grief, and how he has worked his way through to the place of oneness and intimacy with Jesus, particularly over the past 10 or so years…  and it’s as he shares that journey every day with the doctors, the nurses, friends, family, complete strangers like Venese and I…  that’s what he stands on as his new platform.

The way he has learnt to trust God more deeply, to lean into Him more closely, to know God’s love for Him in a much more real and authentic way – that’s his platform.

And I really appreciated the realness, the rawness, the honesty, the genuine story of what God has done.  Because in the end, our testimony is not about us…  it’s about Who God is – What Jesus has done…  and Danny’s story wasn’t all about his grief…  it was about God’s strength, faithfulness, love, grace and compassion.

In fact, Danny says that he is seeing more salvations, more lives transformed, and more fruit from his life for the kingdom of God now, than he ever saw when he was the pastor of a thriving and growing mega-church.

It’s all because of Jesus.  He has identified with the suffering and death of Jesus – but he has also identified with the power of His resurrection, and the hope of glory that is eternal life in heaven with Him.

Romans 5:1-2,  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

And sometimes all we can say is that by grace, we do stand.  We stand on the platform that is before us.  

And let’s be clear – our platform comes as a gift of God… it comes by His grace, just as everything we have in this world has come to us.  Our abilities, our talents, our gifts…

The earthly experiences that we go through that cause us pain and grief are not from God.  They are from this broken and fallen world that we live in – and they are rooted in evil.  But the grace of God abounds in the midst of our broken world and our circumstances.  

God is our Redeemer.

Titus 2:13-14,  “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

And so I want to ask you to consider this morning – and ask yourself the question – what is my platform?

Where has God positioned me for this moment in time?  Where do I have a voice?  Where do I have credibility – a solid and sure foundation to share from? 

What stirs my heart to be zealous for good works?

Venese and I have been married for 42 years.  It’ll be 43 years in November.  That’s a platform.  You don’t get to 43 years of marriage without having a platform to speak from.  

And a platform doesn’t mean you’re the expert and the guru of what your life stands upon… in fact, it’s because of the trials and challenges and difficulties that you have been through – and have overcome by God’s grace – that you are able to stand up and witness to God’s influence in that area of your life.

God builds the platform…  If we strive in our own efforts to build some kind of worldly platform, it will always be vulnerable to being shaken and toppled.

You might have found hope and love in a second marriage, having journeyed through some terrible pain and grief in your first one.  That’s a platform to help others find hope through seeking God’s plan for their future.  God redeems our life, our joy, our hope – from past disappointment.  

Some of you are teachers.  Whether it’s in a Christian school or a public one – that’s your platform.  You have the precious lives of young people to influence and guide and sow into.   You have unique skills and giftings that others don’t have. 

We need to pray, especially as the election approaches, that our Christian schools and teachers will continue to have the freedom to express their faith in Jesus without hindrance.  And pray that SRE will still be allowed in our public schools.

Others of you are just incredible at hospitality.  You prepare meals and cakes and lay them out before others with genuine care and love…  that’s a platform for you to reach the hearts of people – to open them up so that they are able to trust you with your story – your testimony…

Hospitality creates an environment that is warm and welcoming.  What a platform!  

And of course, some of you have been through terrible trials and tribulations, and having come through the other side, you are able to speak from a specific platform of faith and trust in God that perhaps others haven’t experienced for themselves. 

There are so many people right now who need brothers and sister in Christ to speak from a platform of faith – a platform of healing – a platform of trusting in Jesus no matter what comes against them.  There’s nothing like the encouragement from someone who has walked through something similar to what you are facing.

And if God has given you a certain platform, He will anoint you to minister in that space.

When we looked at Danny Gugglielmucci last weekend, standing at that pulpit with courage and divine strength, we saw like a statesman in the faith.  He carries a father’s heart – a broken heart – but a redeemed heart – and that father heart anointing – that Apostolic Anointing,  flowed from him as he spoke about the reality of Jesus in his life.

1John 2:27,  “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

This scripture by the way doesn’t mean we don’t need instruction and teaching.  Obviously John himself was teaching them at that very moment, and taught many others through his various letters.  When it says you do not need that “anyone” teach you…  it may very well be referring to “anyone” that teaches a different gospel – a different doctrine – which was happening a lot around that time.  That’s what commentators seem to believe.

So the Anointing will witness to the truth – lead you to the truth – to the Word of God – to the true and pure gospel.  

The point here is – you have an Anointing available to you if you have indeed been given a platform.  And I believe we all have.  It’s not in our own strength and wisdom that we stand on our platform – it’s with the power and enabling of the Holy Spirit.

And just as we’re talking about truth…  and I’m mentioning freedom a few times this morning as well…  remember:  John 8:31-32,  “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

There is a battle for freedom going on right now.  It’s a battle to take away the effectiveness of your platform – your place and calling in the world – even the right to share your own personal testimony…  religious freedom – free speech – there’s a strong push, as you know, to shut the mouths of Christians.

But this scripture brings us back to a very simple principle.  Circumstances, governments, laws…  in the end, they don’t make us free – truth makes us free.

Good luck in waiting for the government to make you feel free!  Our freedom comes through Jesus Christ.  Our freedom comes through the truth we carry in our hearts – in our spirits…  

So we should never stop living out of the truth.  Once we stop living from a place of truth – we are no longer free.

Back in my Uni days – a hundred years ago – I had to create my own theory or basis upon which to build a counselling practice.  And I managed to incorporate my big picture Christian values into this theory…  so that I could get my assignment through – without compromising my beliefs and values. 

So I came up with this diagram all based around truth…  for us to maintain psychological and emotional health, everything in life gets filtered through truth.   

Anyway, it was just an assignment – but it worked.

And I recall that experience because the wisdom of the bible is amazing.  Freedom is about truth – it’s not about circumstances. 

I’m hoping that this message is stirring your own personal calling to mission.  Every one of us is commissioned to discipleship – leading others to know Jesus Christ – just as we know Him – just as we have experienced His love and power in our own life – and just as He has made us free with His Word.

But I also believe that this message is empowering because it’s not calling you to be something you are not.  If you’re not a preacher behind a pulpit – then don’t be a preacher behind a pulpit.  If the thought of going door to door handing out Christian tracts causes you to die a thousand deaths on the inside – don’t do it.

Yes there are times when we do things scared.  We push beyond our normal limits.

But more than anything, stand on your own platform.  Operate in your Anointing – not someone else’s Anointing.

Remember when King Saul got David to put on his own armour and use his own weapons?  It was a disaster.  David actually became more restricted and confined in Saul’s gear.  

David had different giftings to Saul – he had different weapons…  God had prepared him and taught him things that made him effective according to his own journey and experience.

And so God also Anointed David in a very different way than he Anointed Saul.

I’d love to be able to sing like our worship leaders…  I’d really love to be able to play the electric guitar like Dean.   I try hard not to covet Dean’s Anointing.  But if I stood on their platform – it would be a disaster.

If I asked Dean to preach he’d probably faint – or I’d never see him again… 

Let’s just celebrate one another – and recognise that unity and strength is built from diversity.

Romans 12:5-8,  “so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

Prophesy is a platform to encourage, build up and exalt…  giving is a platform to fund Holy Spirit led vision in God’s kingdom…  there are so many powerful and effective platforms.

Venese and I have some counselling training – I’ve got a bit of paper from a University, and another one from Bible college…  but when we spend time with a couple trying to navigate through a tricky time in their marriage, our platform is only very partially built on those things…  it’s mainly built upon 43 years of navigating through our own journey together as husband and wife.  We’ve learnt a lot from one another…  and that’s all I’m saying about that!

Why someone who is struggling in their marriage would seek advice from someone else who is struggling, is beyond me…  It makes sense, I think, to seek support from someone who has built a solid platform – a credible platform – over a long time.

I don’t know why I keep referring back to that, but all I’m trying to say is that you also have a very credible and real platform to testify to Jesus Christ in your life.  Use your platform.  

I don’t know if you’ve realised – but everything I’m talking about this morning is pointing us towards reaching others – our community – our world – for Christ.

Primarily, this is why we are here.

We are working through some evangelistic ideas at the moment that are based around genuine relational connections with people in our world.

We are all called to it.   But if you are particularly feeling a strong tug in that direction right now, I’d love to hear from you.

Allow the Holy Spirit to launch you from your platform into the lives and hearts of others.

Let’s pray…

 


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