Matt 14:32-15:20

Matt 14:32-15:20

You know what? Every time I pick up God's Word and start studying it, it offends me. It hurts my feelings, and it steps on my toes because it exposes me for who I am. Now, I can either close it up and toss it in a corner somewhere...or I can...take responsibility for what's in me.When you depart from the clear teaching of God’s Word or the study of God’s Word, you’re stepping into hypocrisy. If you’re telling other people they have to live good righteous lives, I’ll tell you what. You need to live righteous lives, but I’m not going to tell you that you can do that on your own. I’m not going to tell you that you can be good by going to church…

Who does God love? Everyone. Now, just because God loves everyone, does that mean that everyone’s going to heaven? No. He lets us choose. Even though He loves us, He lets us choose. We can either be with Him or we can be separate from Him. But yet, we still allow for ourselves to be affected by some of these teachings [ie, traditions]. We still try to use some of these guilt trips on the people that are the closest to us. When we see a brother or sister living in sin, what do we do? So often, we’ll go to them and say, “You know what? If you continue sinning like that, you’re going to go to hell.” Is that true? No. It’s not true. If you continue sinning, you are subject to judgement from the throne of God. If you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and you’re sinning, God will deal with you. We’re told as brothers and sisters to approach one another, to help one another to stop the sin issue, to step away from it, not to tell them whether or not they’re going to heaven or hell. It’s not my job. But yet we always try to make it about that, because it gives you that little extra twist of guilt, that little extra power…

We are people, so often, that honor God with our lips, not with our hearts. We look good and we sound good. We put on the clean clothes, and we put on the good act, and we show up to church, but yet I’ve heard testimony time and time again, when people have left church that they still felt empty, and they still feared eternity. If you’re here today, let me tell you, you do not need to fear eternity… All you need to do is face the issue of sin that you’re living in and turn to the One Who died on the cross and shed His blood for that issue of sin, and let Him deal with it. Ask Him into your life, and guess what? There is nothing about eternity that you need to fear any longer. Plain and simple. But so often, we allow for our teachings to rule over men, and those rules that we’re teaching, those regulations that we have that we place on men are simply only rules taught from the hearts of men. They have nothing to do with God’s Word…

And you know what? Every time I pick up God’s Word and start studying it, it offends me. It hurts my feelings, and it steps on my toes because it exposes me for who I am. Now, I can either close it up and toss it in a corner somewhere and say, “I think I’ll just ignore it,” or I can ask myself, “Why am I offended by this?” So often I’m offended by it, I’m offended because Jesus wants me to understand a way of living the way He lived, and I’m not living it, and it offends me. It hurts my feelings…

But what happens is God allows for scenarios to happen that then expose my heart. He shows me what is actually going on in here… And my toes get stepped on and I become angry when God exposes what’s inside. You know what? If it wasn’t in there, it wouldn’t come out of there. Nothing that you could do could make it come out if it’s not in there. If Jesus is truly in here, Jesus is going to come out of here…

It really does offend me to know that, guess what? I become angry because I have anger inside of me, and I have to change that. I can’t blame my neighbor any longer… I have to take responsibility for what’s in me…

You know why I have a hard time understanding God’s Word? Because I am dull of wit when it comes to spiritual things. I don’t pay attention. I pay more attention to my television than I do the Holy Spirit… See why God offends me? And now He’s telling me I’m dull. Sometimes we need to be whacked upside the head. And Jesus asks the question, “Are you still so dull?”

…See, it’s not about what’s going on on the outside. It’s about what’s coming from inside. We need to take note of what’s coming out of us. How we’re responding to the people around us. How we’re responding to husbands and wives. How we’re responding to children. How we’re responding to coworkers. How we’re responding to the people on the street that cut us off, our neighbors, those that we see in the grocery store. How are we responding to people? What’s coming out? That will give you an idea of where your uncleanness is. Now, if good things are coming out, there’s a good chance that you’ve had a good relationship with Jesus that week, and Jesus is spilling over, because guess what? If Jesus is on the inside, He will come out. He will display Himself, and His Word, then, is what is honored and magnified, not my traditions, not my wants, not my desires, but Who God is and what God desires…

Father, once again thank You for Your Word. Lord, I praise You that You offend me, and I would just ask, Lord, that You would offend me more. Lord, I know I have weaknesses in me. I know I have shortcomings and I know, Lord that “I” is the most common word in my vocabulary, and Lord, it needs to be about You. Help me, Lord, to recognize You. That when people see me, they see You. When I encounter people on the street, that they actually would be encountering You… Though I’ve, Lord, dealt with so many other things, I know there’s still problems and, Lord, You expose them. I just ask, Lord, that I would learn to deal with them. That I would give you the honor and the glory. That I would allow Your Spirit, Lord, to enter in and be what comes back out again. Thank You. Thank You for loving us unconditionally. Even though I am the mess that I am, You still love me.

Pastor Dave Elkins