Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque.
We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world. We do this with one another through worship by the word to the world.
Well, good evening everybody. Welcome, welcome, good to see you here. If you have a Bible, and I'm sure you do, open it to the book of Acts chapter 20, the book of Acts chapter 20 and we're going to be just in a couple of verses there. Verse 22 will be our beginning. Where we find that Paul wrote, and I see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify of the gospel of the grace of God.
Lord, we thank you tonight for your word. As we open it, open our hearts. Help this time to be truthful and graceful, powerful and practical, in Jesus' name, amen.
Take your memory back to the glory days of the space shuttle. I recall the first time I ever understood how they were going to transport it from California back to Florida, because you see they were reusable and they took off from Cape Canaveral or Cape Kennedy in Florida, but they landed in Palmdale near Edwards Air Force Base and the problem was, how do you get it back from California to Florida? Towing it along I-40 would be kind of dicey going nationwide.
So could you just imagine the meeting at NASA within Houston or somewhere in Florida, and they say, how are we going to get this thing back, and the engineer had to raise his hand and go, let's put it on top of a 747 and fly it back. I mean, Photoshop didn't exist in these days, so when I first saw it, I thought, no way are they going to fly this thing and take off, and then go to 30,000 feet, but they did time and time again. In fact, they flew it to Europe like that. They flew it all over-- all over the world and there's a principle here that we find in this example, and then our text tonight, because when this plane, which is extreme, or any plane takes off, two laws are in conflict with each other.
We've all been on a jet airplane of some kind and you know that feeling rumbling down the runway and you get to a certain point where the pilot is putting the yoke forward, putting the accelerator forward and pulling back on the yoke and the plane trembles. Just that moment of kind of rumbling and what's happening in that moment is two laws are in conflict with one another, because you've got your law of gravity that's saying, you aren't going anywhere. Forget about flying, you're stay right here, and that's pulling down on the plane, but then you have the equally valid laws of aerodynamics and they're saying lift and thrust and payload in flight.
And so in that moment the laws are really in tension and in conflict and which one wins depends upon the thrust and the power of the plane. That's the principle we see in the Christian life in the contradiction of unbelievable behavior by well meeting Christians and we find that in Romans chapter 7, where the Bible talks about that very law, because Paul says there, I delight in the law of God. Ah, but then I see another law in my members.
We might paraphrase that and don't turn there, but it's Roman 7:22 and 23 and he said, I delight in the law of God, OK. That's the lift, but I see another law at work in my members. That's the gravity and that's the war, the Civil War, for your will that's going on in your life. Those laws are at work in your life today. One wants to draw you back to things Earthly, to things sensual, to things of this world, and keep you down and grounded here and it's a valid law, but the law of lift is law of the Holy Spirit, the law of delighting in the word of God, the law of a God who wanted you to soar and have a fruitful, productive kingdom life.
And the question is, which law is winning in your life? So we have these opposing forces at work in our life resulting in sometimes puzzling behavior and that famous phrase, I thought you were a Christian. Detectives solved a mystery like that using two fundamental principles, motive and opportunity. You see that in shows all the time. Did they have a reason to do the crime and did they have the opportunity to do so, and so the first thing we look at tonight is our motives. That's the name of our study, motive.
What makes us do what we do? Why do you make the choices that you make and what does it take to rock your boat and what will you do when it gets rocked, because it will. Jesus said you will have tribulation in this world. The question is, what moves you? What does it take to move you, to motivate you, to have you change your choices, rearrange your priorities and make a difference of how you're living?
So as a case example, we find this story in the book of Acts in the final chapters of Paul's life, who understood this struggle very well. He's the one who wrote, of course, Romans chapter 7. He wrote-- he lived out this passage in the book of Acts. We find in verses 22 and 23, Paul is facing a dangerous future. He's in Ephesus, a church he founded in Turkey. He's with the Ephesian.
It was very success-- big success story for Paul and he's there on his last journey to visit that church and he says-- he wants to go to Jerusalem and he says, but the Holy Spirit is saying tribulation and chains await me and as he made progress toward the journey, more and more people warned him of what might happen and he understood it would be a dark day for him. But the pivotal phrase is right there and we need to look at it very carefully, but none of these things move me. That was Paul's attitude towards knowing what was going to happen to him-- to him.
What's curious about this story is that Paul, of course, did go to Jerusalem, did have Festus and Felix and all the rest and what happened to him in both Jerusalem and Caesarea. But what's very interesting is that Paul-- the dream that Paul had was to go to Rome. Paul wanted to go and preach in the queen city of the world, the capital of the Roman Empire, and God in this case did not have a direct flight. God had a connecting flight in Jerusalem for him.
For Paul to get what he really wanted, he had to do something that was dangerous, because he went-- he went to Jerusalem, which he knew it was going to be dicey, but it got him to Rome and our God is like that sometimes. He's giving us nonstop flights, giving us connecting flight through a place. We may not want to stop at Indianapolis on our way to Maui, but sometimes that's the way it works.
What moves you? Abraham Maslow had a-- he's a behaviorist. He came up with the theory of human motivation, the theory of human motivation. If you can imagine you can make a note of a pyramid It's very simple, a pyramid in the bottom rung, the bottom third of the pyramid is survival, air, water, food, the instinct for procreation. That's what the basic motivation for all mankind, we share that and we share that with the animal kingdom, of course, as well.
You get up in the morning, you don't think about eating you go foraging about in the refrigerator, because that's just instinctive. It is a drive that we all have, but a little bit of the pyramid, the next rung comes safety and shelter, and then finally you move up two more rungs and you find first belonging, and then you find self-esteem and belonging we do share also with the animal kingdom. They travel in packs and hordes and flocks and whatnot and we're tribal. We have communities and cities and conglomerates. We don't like to be alone, we gather together.
That's a natural instinct that we have and this is where we part ways with the animals, at the-- at the point of belonging, because they're tribal and we're tribal, but they don't have a sense of self esteem, of self identity, of self actualization. And the next wrong, the final rung up to the top of the pyramid is a need to make a difference, the need to make an impact and animals don't have that.
I know you cat people are going to be distraught about this, but fluffy is not laying by the fire thinking esoteric thoughts about his legacy and what not. They're thinking, did you get the tuna fish, and so this is what distinguishes mankind as a motivator, that we're motivated by the basic survival instinct, but there's more than that. It's richer and deeper, the need the need to express ourselves and to make-- and to have making a difference and to have self-esteem and at the same time, many negative forces are being exerted upon your life, on your soul to motivate you, to move you in carnal directions, even in evil directions. Some of them are spiritual, some of them are demonic, some of them are just earthly and sensual.
The Bible-- the Bible wisely warns us to pay attention to our motives. Jesus said that pride and notoriety are infamous destroyers of pure motives. He said beware of practicing your righteousness as a motive before other people in order to be seen of them. So that's a poor, faulty, inferior motive. Likewise, Philippians says, do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. So don't act out of pride, don't act out of ego.
So for tonight I've chosen to look at three more of the worst offenders of inferior, faulty, and even dangerous motivators, motives in our lives, issues that are faulty, the fear of failure, the baggage from the past, and the envy and pride of the heart. These are the three we're going to examine tonight as we keep in context that Paul let none of these things move him. He was rock solid. He set his face as Jesus did, like a flint to complete his mission.
Fear of failure, fear of being found out, Pastor John Bevere has written a book called Killing Kryptonite. And recently he had a devotional come out of that that talks about his addiction to pornography prior to becoming a Christian. And he couldn't shake it once he got saved and went into the ministry, and it obviously hounded him and plagued him. And he tried the typical techniques to overcome an addiction like that and was unsuccessful and he came to realize that his motive for stopping the pornography habit was his fear of being found out and damaging his ministry. And then once he pivoted to the fear of damaging his relationship with Jesus, he found victory.
You see, his motive changed and his method changed and that brought him closer in relationship to God, that pure motive and that's just the motive of the fear of failure, because fear is a strong driving factor in our life, the fear of letting other people down, the fear of not achieving certain goals that are set before us. These things can all motivate us in a very powerful way, because we have a desire to please, a desire to reach and to have goals and whatnot and there's nothing wrong with being a driven and successful person, but when that's your prime motivation for what you do spiritually, that's when you're headed for trouble.
Fear is definitely a faulty motivator, and then the past can motivate us, because we bring habits and addictions and guilt into our Christian experience and sometimes we try to make up for them and sometimes we're burdened down by them and we think, this is the way that we are and they become a motivator to deaden and dampen our enthusiasm for things of the kingdom. We think, well, I just could never-- I could never be, I could never do, I could never achieve, and people unfortunately contribute to that.
Now you look at that space shuttle and you have to imagine that any human being, I mean any human being up until 1960 or so, the jet age after the Korean War would look at that-- and that weighed, by the way, just under a million pounds, a mil-- a million pounds of metal. The 747's about a half a million and the space shuttle's about $200,000 in petrol and whatnot, but any human being would look at that and go, there's no way that's ever going to fly.
There's one guy that went oh-- Galileo would say no, Newton would certainly say no, Copernicus would say no. One guy might say, well, Leonardo da Vinci would go, I think I can work with that and he might believe in it. Well let me tell you something, the same thing is true about you. People look at your life and say, that person, that much baggage, that much weight, that much background, no way they can fly for Jesus.
If one guy who looks at you and says, I think I can work with that, it's Jesus and he wants to be in cooperation with you. He says, you can fly. I don't care what your past is like. I know what your future can be like and it's all about your present decision to serve, submit, and to follow him and so baggage is a problem. Jesus said, my burden is easy, my yoke is light, and we often are burdened down by the cares of the church and cares of the world and Jesus said, I didn't put that rock in your backpack. I am not the one that gave you that. If you're carrying a heavy burden to serve the Lord, you've got to lighten up your load. That's not the way God rolls. He wants you to enjoy serving him.
Yes there are trials and troubles and there is time for sacrifice and whatnot, but the matter of fact is that he gives you a light burden and easy yoke. In fact, I would submit to you, there's only one burden you should be carrying. It's true, just one burden and that is the burden of his glory. You see, the word glory in the Hebrew means weight and you're carrying the heaviest and the lightest thing in the world when you carry the glory of God. We bear the glory of God into the world. That's heavy.
It's "kavod" in the Hebrew and we have the opportunity to bring the light. The glory of God brings the shekinah glory of God, the supernatural light and a Christian who is walking with the Lord and walking in purity and walking in daily devotion with him, there's a luminescence about them. You glo-- we glow in the dark. You can tell a person whose got the-- it's the joy of the Lord and the Bible says the joy of the Lord will be our strength.
Sometimes I want to-- I have to say to myself and sometimes I want to say to my coworkers and people around where's the joy of the Lord here? This is like a funeral, as if he was moping around or what not. Where's the zeal, where's the passion, where's the joy, where's the promise? The joy of the Lord, and so that's heavy to carry his gl-- to bear-- that's all you need to carry. You carry the glory and he'll carry the rest. He carries the rest of the burden for you.
Fear, baggage, the habits, the addictions we bring into this life, and the Holy Spirit will allow you to overcome them. You can be more than a conqueror with whatever you're struggling with tonight. Whatever's rocking your world tonight, and if we passed around a legal pad, wow, it would be an amazing list right now and I would write all my stuff down too. We've all got things that are threatening to rock our worlds. We've all had those paralyzing phone calls, have we not?
I can think of about a half a dozen in my life. In fact, one just this summer. I got a phone call. I was standing up outside and I literally couldn't move my feet. My wife will tell you, I was-- I was paralyzed. The news I got was so overwhelmingly disturbing about a family member that I just I couldn't move for a while. We all face those. It's a phone call away.
I almost have-- I'm not exaggerating-- PTSD when I get phone calls from certain parts of the world, because I'm afraid it's somebody about a family member and It can happen, so that-- we have to be prepared for the trial we're preparing for, and so those calls are coming. I mean, it's just-- that's why Jesus said, you will have tribulation. You're going to be tabulated, so plan on it, prepare for it, and don't allow it to rock you. We want to get on Paul's page of saying, these things don't move me. I'm going to finish my course.
Fear, baggage, and then envy, envy is like being on a plane and there's parallel runways and you're on Southwest and you look over and there's the guy in these big jumbo jets with three floors and they're drinking champagne and having caviar and dancing around. You're going-- and you've got water and peanuts you're going, what is up with that? Runway envy, Paul said the race-- I have to finish my course.
In Hebrews he said, run with patience-- listen-- the race set before you. You got your own race. They got the wrong lane over there. They got their own runway. I don't know what's going on over there. I've got-- I'm in my plane, I'm in my lane. Run your race, the set before you and don't be distracted. Comparing yourself with others is not wise.
When I ran track I learned very quickly about what they called the staggered start and it seemed unfair at first. If you're on a half mile-- 880, roughly a half mile and you draw lane number one you're standing by the infield. Well, the guy on lane number 10, he may be 30 or 40 yards ahead of you and you're like, what is up with that? Why is he getting a head start? That's not fair and you realize, of course, they're running a longer oval. It's the identical race.
That's how we are. We look at somebody and then go wait a minute, that's not fair. Look what they've got. Look what God's given them. They don't have the trials I have. They've got better DNA or better bone structure or whatever it might be. You don't know where they started. You don't know what they're carrying. You don't know what's ahead of them. You don't know the kind of race. You might be on a flat track. They may have steeplechases and they may have minefields and whatnot to go through. You don't know. Stay in your lane. Stay in your own lane.
When they have a thoroughbred and you've run horses much, some horses can't race without blinders. They're distracted everything that's going up. When you put blinders on, they stay in their lane. When you're running a track race, you can't be worried about the cheerleaders and worried about the-- oh, how's the pole vault going while you're running. No, you've got to stay in your lane.
Charles Spurgeon had a mega-church in London, England, Metropolitan Tabernacle, megachurch. He preached to thousands, amazingly, and one time he's preaching to some pastors and leaders And one came up to him afterwards and says, Pastor Spurgeon, you've got thousands of people listen to you. You print your in the trial every Monday in the London Times and whatnot and I only have 80 people coming to my church. And Spurgeon looked back at them and said, well, I think on Judgment Day 80 souls will be enough for you to give an account for. His race was enough. That was a race God had given him.
Now, in the parable of the talents, one, five, and 10, those people in different lanes may have different talents. They have different skill sets, different callings than we do. Who are we to judge another man's servant? Pay attention to your own, and so-- and the talents also are not firm and fixed. Jesus said they can change. He'll move them around based on your faithfulness. If you're not performing, he'll take one talent and give it to a guy who is. So you can chan-- you can change your position. Run the race set before you.
That's what Paul says here. so you must avoid natural impulses. Christianity is a counter-intuitive life. It doesn't go with-- go with the grain. It's not natural to forgive. I'm much better at vengeance. I'm much better at rewinding and replaying and oh, what they said to me, oh, what I-- here's what I-- if I ever get a chance again, I've got it all laid out here. Oh, they're real-- I wish I'd said-- oh, next time I'm going to get them. That comes natural to me, probably not to you, but this happens to me. I have these little mind games I play with myself.
It's not natural to be generous, especially in the first world. It's more intelligent to be thrifty and secure and plan for your retirement. It's not natural to give to God's kingdom, not at all. It's not natural to leave our comforts like Paul does here. Most people would-- if he had a life coach, he'd say Paul, I'm thinking you shouldn't go to Jerusalem you see, and it's not natural to do-- we need to answer a high-- listen, answer or a higher calling than our natural instincts. It leads to victory. It leads to adventure, it leads to an abundant, fruitful life. As children of the King, we must be royal and we must be loyal in the midst of a wounded world, because we are a royal generation, we're a holy priests called out of a depraved and decadent society called to be lights shining in the midst of darkness. We're Royalty.
We also must be loyal to our calling. We can't be double minded. We can't be two souled. We have to be committed to the things of Christ without reservation. Hey, we're immersed in a culture hell bent on insulting God. It's true. Our society strive to offend-- strive to avoid, rather-- strives to avoid offending anyone and everyone, except God. They'll insult him all day long.
Freud said, "man is not made in the image of God. Man has created God in our image." How arrogant, how insulting, remarkable arrogance. You see, in 2017 we're dropping in a ageless, cosmic drama between the forces of good and evil. Now we have a pretty good idea of the back story and the future, but we don't know all the details here, but there's something going on very heavy between the forces of evil and the forces of God and insulting God is the hallmark of a civilization in decline.
Ima-- imagine, you're parents here. What's the most offensive thing your child could say to you? I disown you. You're not my mother. You're not my Father. I don't know where I came-- I don't know where I came from. I'm not in this family. How offensive to say that. It's precisely what we say when we say, we just evolved, we just made ourselves, time, chance, motion, energy we just-- nothing-- what if you went to a art gallery opening in Manhattan, some famous artist who's got the big painting there. He's standing by it. People are oohing and aahing and trying to figure it out and what not and you grab the mic and go, excuse me, he didn't paint this. It painted itself. It'd be, security, out.
That's what we're saying to the wor-- that's what evolution says to us, he didn't make this. The artist didn't make this. We just made ourselves. All the order, all the beauty, all the things that God has done, macro, micro, inner, outer space just happened, random occurrences of mutation. We are just a glorified-- organized orangutan. We're just glorified mutations. How insulting to the artist. He's like, really, really? Read Job 38 and 39 and see how God feels about that.
Slandering God, insulting him, this world system works over time to deny that Jesus is the Savior, the church is the hand of God, you are the art of God, and you are the crown of creation and he is the artist. He's the artist. Slandering God cannot, will not go on indefinitely. This is a temporary phase God is allowing. This is not going to go-- no this is not-- it's not long term. This is not permanent by any means.
Take this, the primary fact that God says about humans is what, male and female, I created them. I was in a restaurant in Portland a couple of weeks ago and I walked into the restroom area-- and this is the truth-- the sign isn't just a woman with a skirt, little icon, men, women. There's like four things on it. I had a man and woman and they had a man with half skirt, half pants, there was an alien going nanu nanu, and there was-- yeah, it was like-- I didn't even know what I'd find in there.
And people are saying now-- more and more people are actually saying that sex is not determined at birth. You can choose over the course of your life what your sex-- do these people have mirrors in their showers? I mean, seriously. That is an insult to God's plan, that male and female he created them, literally calling God a liar about the most concrete fact imaginable. This is looking God in the eye and saying, I don't want to be like you, I don't want to be with you. C.S. Lewis said, at the end of the day, two kinds of people, one that say your will be done and those to whom God says, OK, your will be done.
Ravi Zacharias says, sin is not just breaking an abstract moral law. It is the violation of a person, the person of God. It's personal and the world system is composed of three elements seeking to drag us back down. Here's the elements of gravity in your life. You'll recognize them. Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life, lust of the flesh, plundering that which is holy, the violation of the person of God Himself, lust of the eyes, greed, when you try to make material become spiritual and to fill spiritual need it can never accomplish.
Pride of life, I will be the master of my soul Invictus and our Christian righteousness riles up over the issues abortion and homosexuality and on and on it goes. Yeah, look at all those sinners insulting God. Then as I began to develop this thought over the summer, I realized that that wasn't how Jesus went. In fact, I came to realize the only time Jesus ever really got angry was in church.
He wasn't-- he wasn't angry with the sinners and tax collectors and the publicans and the prostitutes. He was angry in church. The Bible says he sat down and made the whip himself. When he went in the temple, it was premeditated. It wasn't a flash of spontaneous anger. He thought about, he went in there, and he flipped over the tables. He called out the high priest. He just-- that scene in Jesus of Nazareth, I've watched it 1,000 times. Whitened sephulcures, den of vipers. It's a great scene. I relate to that.
Then you're like, wait a minute, wow, what would he say to our church? What would he say to me as a Christian? Have I been merchandising the temple of God, and so that becomes uncomfortable. We need to move on. Because judgment begins at the house of the Lord and insulting of God, those issues that's what sinners do and I guess God is angry with sinners all day long, but he anticipates they're going to behave that way. It's our responsibility to illuminate them with the grace of God.
I was interviewing pastor Chuck Smith a few years ago for a documentary and I asked him, I said, Chuck, what was the most difficult part of your ministry? What really-- what hurt-- it was a personal question-- what hurt you the most and he got kind of wistful for a second and didn't really miss a beat and he quoted Psalm 55:13 and he said, it was not an enemy I could hide from. It was a friend who I had sweet fellowship with and went into the house of God with.
See, it's not our enemies that can hurt us. We're prepared. We have our defenses up for them. It's those in our inner circle. It's those we are close to. It'd those who we expect to get our back, but they choose to stab our backs. It's "Et tu, Brute," as Shakespeare said about Julius Caesar and Brutus and that principle is true. We've all been, unfortunately, betrayed by someone close to us, but I expanded that principle my relationship with God and I realized he has made himself vulnerable to his church.
It's not Satan that offends God. He's been through that. It's not-- it's not the world system. It's hi-- it's his people. It's those who are close to him, who commune with him, who he wants to have a relationship with. This is a real personal relationship. This is not a business or a moral or a legal obligation we have. We're dealing with a real person in the Holy Spirit, in God the Father, and in Jesus.
Perhaps you've heard the terms the church militant, which is a time before we're taken to heaven, the church triumphant, when we are in heaven, but there is a third and less attractive category. It's called the church disobedient, the church disobedient to the heavenly vision and we just can't afford to be guilty of that now can we? We need an obedient church, a church that insists upon fulfilling God's call.
The way Paul was able to do this-- this is supernatural what he did. If you think about it, if you are being warned, don't go to work tomorrow. Something awful is going to happen to you, but you feel you have to go to serve your purpose as a Christian and you're convinced in your heart, that's supernatural. It was because-- if you look at what he says here in verses 22 and 23, it's because he was fulfilling his course to testify of Jesus. He was determined to do that.
You need to have the same kind of clarity of vision. You need to have a certainty of purpose. The Bible says, make your calling sure. You ought to have a firm mission statement, what God has called you to do. He'll give it to you. I'm a personal witness of that, both by experience and observation and that's why Paul said, I will testify of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Paul overrode the natural instincts of those bottom rungs of security and safety and survival and he put his life at risk.
Here's another factor that drove Paul and you need not turn there. We'll put it on the screen for you. He was compelled, the Bible says, compelled by the love of God. For the love of God compels us, because we thus judge that if one died for all, that all died and he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, and the word compelled, you might have constrained in the King James, it means to be motivated. This is what compels and constrains and motivates him is the love of God and the fact that he couldn't keep it to himself. He felt it'd be a spiritual crime to be selfish with God's love and God's grace, but we need a proper view of the love of God.
We can't be victims of a sentimental version that's so popular in the church, a sentimentalize version of what God's love is really like. Lord isn't up in heaven cutting out paper hearts and making up hallmark verses about how he loves the church. That's not love. Paul understood that the love of God was deeper, richer. In fact, the Ephesians he says that you might know the height, the depth, the breadth, the width of the love of God.
We need to understand God's love. It's not simple and sentimental. It has many dimensions. We need a God who can forgive all sins, all your sins, all your sins without exception. We need a God powerful enough to create everything out of nothing, out of "bara," but humble enough to take on human flesh, strong enough to overcome death, yet weak enough to walk on Earth. We need Jesus.
And hang on now, don't get up and leave, we need an angry God. Now, this flies in the face of a lot of current trends and whatnot about the love of God and whatnot, but as Tim Keller said, life does not make sense without an angry God as being part of his composite character. Otherwise, who is going to judge injustice? Does it lie with us then? We need an angry God who's responsible for righting wrongs.
The Bible's emphatic. Judgment is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay. That's why we're told in 1 Corinthians 4:5, therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, because when the Lord comes, he will bring everything to light, things that are hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes, the motives of the heart. Then each will receive his commendation from the Lord.
So we can relax, take a hands off approach, because yes, anger is not by any means his primary characteristic. He's merciful, he's just, he's slow to anger, but he-- but he does get angry, you see. He has a long fuse, but he has a fuse. He has a cup of wrath Revelation tells us. In fact, many people say, oh, that's the Old Testament God. There is no Old Testament God, same yesterday, today, and forever and if you think this anger's an Old Testament characteristic of God, you haven't read the Book of Revelation. You haven't read the book of Acts, how he dealt with some disobedience in the church early on. So anger is a part, only a part of his character.
We need a God willing also to be the ultimate missionary. I'll never forget the time I first realized that Jesus was the best missionary ever. I mean, the definition of a missionary is leaving one culture, going to another for the purposes of expressing God's love to them. Can you ima-- I mean, talk about a culture shock. I mean, if you've been on a mission trip and you-- we just got-- we just got back from India. You want an assault on your senses, wolf, and it's just attack of smell and sight and sound and honking and cows and this is amazing and it's a culture shock and there's no 7-elevens, but imagine the culture shock coming from heaven to Earth.
It's that Matrix moment. You remember the matrix one with, I think, Mr. Smith and he goes, I hate the smell of humans. I can imagine what Jesus had to-- he didn't hate, he loved and he came to this Earth, which is by any stretch contaminated and fallen and polluted and he came, because he loved. He was the ultimate missionary. We need a missionary God, but we need an obedient church. We need the church willing to be obedient to the call we have before us. We need more attention, I believe, to the great commission.
It's unacceptable that we have so many unreached people groups. Do you know the definition of unreached people group? It's interesting, I think a lot of people don't. Think, well, it's where people haven't been reached. No, it's people in a culture who do not have access to a Bible, a church, or a Christian, but if they did get saved in a dream or by some other means, they wouldn't have a fellowship or scriptures to go to or another Christian to consult with and there is an estimate-- there may be 6,500 unreached people groups in the world. This is unacceptable on our watch.
It's unacceptable that every language does not have the scriptures in their native tongue. It is possible technologically now and we have to devote ourself to this. We can't leave it to the next generation. This is our opportunity to make a mark, a legacy. This has never been possible before technologically with translation and all the various things that are available now. We have that opportunity. This should be a call-- clarion call to the great commission in our day. It should be something that excites us, galvanize us, unites us with purpose and a goal.
Most Christian missionaries are working among reached people groups. It's wonderful there doing that and I'm not criticizing it by any means, but it's estimated only 3% of all the 400,000 missionaries worldwide are working amongst unreached people groups. So that that too needs to change and be expanded. We need more than that. They should be working there, but as well we should have a full special forces going into more dangerous areas with the gospel. It's estimated that there's only one Christian worker for every quarter million people in an unreached people today. There you have it.
Well question, do you have a dream job? Do you have a dream vacation? Do you have a trip of a lifetime you've always wanted to take or maybe you're dreaming about your retirement or how you're going to handle this? Ever thought about what God's dream might be? God has dreams. God has plans. God has thoughts and emotions, just like we're-- we're made in his image we're a reflection of him. I suppose God's dream is that everybody might know about him.
The book of Ezekiel, I think it says 65 times, and they will know that I am the Lord. Hundreds of times in the whole new tests-- old testament he says, and they will know that I am the Lord. I think what drives God's dreams are the knowledge-- the goal of people knowing him and we have the opportunity to be in cooperation and in concert with him. There's talk about having your best life here, best life where, whatever. If this is our best life, we're in a lot of trouble, because my knees are killing me and I am-- I am encouraged to read Colossians 3, where it says, for you died talking to the Christian church. You died and your life is hidden. It's hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then you also will appear with him in glory. Now, that's a dream. Now, that's Nirvana, that's paradise. I've looked for Paradise. I've gone to the islands, I've gone-- I've gone to the mountains and everywhere I went, there I was and that was the problem. It wasn't-- it wasn't the palm trees or the mountains or whatnot. I could be just as miserable in Maui as I could be in Minneapolis. Our life is hidden with Christ. When he appears, then we shall appear in glory. What a day that shall be, what a day.
Well, some fast facts about our motives as we bring this circle for a landing, three quick ones. First of all, gravity never gives up. Gravity-- remember gravity is pulling you down, didn't want you to take off and once you're up in the air, once you're soar-- if you are soaring with God, If you come up to the spiritual kingdom life, you can't turn off the engines, because if you do, that plane's going to fall right out of the sky, boom. Gravity never gives up in your life. Be vigilant, be sober. Your enemy goes about like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour and he uses the gravity of the Earth to draw you back into the sensual, the carnal, things that are counterproductive and not helpful to your soul. Gravity never gives up.
And stay in your lane and may I say kindly, and stay out of mine. I've been running track races back in the day, where guys would just be elbowing you and try to push you-- push you out of the way and stay in your own lane. Run the race set before you, because there is one and you want to finish it with joy. As John said, you want an abundant entry. You want to finish strong.
You want to be like Secretariat. He went out. Secretariat was the most amazing horse. He was lazy. They said he would he would lay around the barn and just eat oats all day long until it was t-- he didn't like to train, but then he'd get to the race. He'd get to the race and he'd take that bit in his mouth and boom and his la-- the last-- he won the Triple Crown. The last leg of the Triple Crown was the Belmont it was a mile and a half. He won it by 35 lengths going away. That's almost a quarter of the track. He was just-- he finished strong in his career. That's how we want to finish. We just want to do it by a nose, a photo finish, just kind of wandering into the last day of the rapture. We want to go in strong.
Stay in your lane to do that and give glory to God. Carry the glory, carry the glory. The opposite of insulting God is what glorifying him. Be the opposite, be the antithesis, be the absolute zag to their zig, and you want to give glory to God and all that you do. That's why we're here. When you do that, you find your purpose. You find the puzzle fits. You find this is what you've been looking for all along.
No matter where you're at tonight or what's threatening to rock your boat, it won't move you, because you can give glory to God in the pit, in the palace, or in the prison as Joseph did and once you take on that mentality, once you decide I'm going to serve God with all thy heart no matter where, no matter what, no matter who, you're unstoppable. You're a spiritual superhero. You don't get the tights or anything with that, but-- no Spandex. We don't want that, now do we?
Once you have that attitude, you're unbeatable at work. Once you say, I don't-- I don't care how rude they are, I'm going in with God's glory, you are absolutely undefeatable at that point. Adopt that attitude in everything you do and see your life change.
Well, here's some questions for takeout. What does move you? What moves you? You know Karen Carpenter-- Karen Carpenter died of bulimia or anorexia. And it was because somebody when she was in junior high body shamed her and it stuck with her for decades and she eventually starved herself to death. A rude social comment can motivate us in a very negative way and put you in a downward spiral.
Don't let those things move you. Learn to let go. There's one thing I do, Paul said, I forget the past. I put it behind me. I escort those thought out of my mind, taking them captive, pulling down the strong hold that seek dominion in my thought life and you have to do it consciously actively and consistently. Oh, I wish you were a one time thing. Just do it once. They come back with friends and you've got to continually do it and put up the guard and put up the gates, put a moat down and pull the drawbridge up. Is it going to be your dreams or God's dreams? Your life is hid with Christ.
Here's some closing calls to action. If you've heard the phrase let go and let God, that's awful advice. That just is a poor bumper sticker strategy, lousy theology. The Bible-- the Bible never says that. The Bible says we're in partnership in the family business. Who wants a partner like that, oh, you do the work God. I'm just letting go. It's all you. I heard a podcast this week. A lot of Christians are sitting around praying for tables and God gives trees. We want the-- we wanted the trees to fall-- the tables to fall out of heaven. God gave you a tree. Go make a table.
And here's something. You a lot-- I hear a lot of this as well, your miracle's just a moment away. You've come today, your miracle is just a moment away. Just grasp your miracle. It's today. Let me tell you something, you can be your own miracle. A vast majority of our problems are a function of self-inflicted wounds, lack of discipline, lack of devotion, lack of determination. You can be your own miracle, turning those things around, deciding to be a more devoted Christian, choosing to be a more disciplined follower of Jesus Christ, a more disciplined person in general.
You'll find miraculous things happening in your life and you're expecting God to do this spontaneous instantaneous, that's not generally how he works. He's in cooperation with us. Well, you don't do that for your children. You want them to grow and mature into their responsibilities. You shouldn't as a parent just give them everything they want. It shouldn't just show up in their room. They should take part in it. Be your own miracle.
The Bible tells us these things to do. They're calls to action, not let go. It talks about-- we saw very well in Corinthians the love of Christ constrains me, because we thus judge. That's a logical mathematical term. We see the same thing in Romans. We reckon, we must conclude. That means Paul took part in a process and came to a conclusion, and then took action. That's us being a part of the process spiritually. The Bible says to examine, to ask, to seek, to knock, to buffet. So you need devotion in your life. David encouraged himself in the Lord. You can do the same.
Discipline, Paul buffeted his body. Determination, Jesus set his face, as we said, like a flint to complete his mission and go to Jerusalem. One of the most powerful discipleship books I've ever read my life is called self confrontation. Years ago I went through it. Wow, it took every single imaginable issue you could have in your life and took it and just dissected it scripturally and it was-- it was unbelievable how every-- the Bible says, all things pertaining to life and Godliness are found in God's word.
It's so true and it took you to-- it didn't matter what it was, whether it was guilt or shame or temptation, every single possible imaginable problem it walks you through, gives you scriptures, and it just-- it makes you into just dog food. It's just like, you just want to just-- I'm not even a Christian, but boy did they ever-- did it ever change you. If you went through it, if you really memorized the things and did the homework and did the hard work. That's the discipline of it, yeah it beats you up, that's for sure, but it made you a better person, a more dis-- a disciple. What the root word? Discipline, a more disciplined follower of Jesus Christ, self confrontation.
Be ready to override the systems. Be ready to override when the natural tendencies of gravity are kicking in. You can get off the ground. You can soar. You can certainly flight-- have flight. I said at the very beginning that in solving a mystery the two key components to the puzzle, motive and opportunity. We've talked in depth about motive tonight, the proper motive of finishing the course, of testifying about Jesus. That's our prime directive, if I can quote Star Trek.
The other side is opportunity, opportunity, the reason to do something and the opportunity to do it. This is our time. This is our shining moment in the church to give God glory, to carry his grace to the world. it's short, it's brief, our shelf life is limited, we're standing on the shoulders of 2000 years of church history. If it doesn't get done now in this generation, we're not going to do it. Grasp it with all your might. Be zealous, be passionate, be purposeful, make the grace of God the cornerstone, the keystone of your life.
Two great questions in life really, do you want to know God and how well do you want to know him? It's really all there is to life. If you say yes to the first one, praise, take a deep sigh, a deep breath of relief, because you're there. If you accept the penalty Christ paid for you on the cross, that's the biggest, most powerful question you could ever answer. Once you've done that, praise the Lord, but then it doesn't end there. It'd be kind of cool if you just kind of zoomed up right then and there, just get raptured to heaven, the moment we have a lot of empty shoes here in the front of the church, but then how well do you want to know God? That's the question you're facing tonight. How well do you want to know him?
You see he is willing to be known and he's got all the depth you can ever go for, believe me, but you see, we pull back, we restrain, we hold back certain areas of our life, certain rooms in our life. Well, that's off limits. Oh, you can't-- you can't go in there Jesus. I don't want to go there with you. See, you have to answer that question on a regular basis. How deep do you want to go with him as a friend, to know hi-- to know his names, to know his tendencies.
In closing, the Bible says that at that day of Mt. Zion, that great day, just imagine it with me. Moses, the thunderings are going on, the lightnings are happening there at the mountain and the children of Israel are assembled below and they say, Moses, we don't want to go up there. You go for us and tell us what God says and the Bible says-- this is really heart wrenching-- it says that the children of Israel knew the Acts of God, but Moses knew the ways of God.
See, they knew the 10 plagues in Egypt, they knew the power of God, they knew the Red Sea, they saw the thunderings, they knew the Acts of God, they stood far off and saw the Acts of God, but Moses got up tight with God's heart and began to know his ways and so the question remains, how well do we want to know God? And I fear some people in the church can just stand back and ooh and aah over events and conferences and Crusades and this and that and go wow, look what God is doing there and you're observing what? The Acts of God. The Lord wants you to know his ways. He wa-- he wants you to be so close to him you feel his heartbeat.
I talked about being royal, and then being loyal. God wants to trust us. He wants us to be loyal. I think loyal is the most-- one of the most important human characteristics of a friendship. If you don't have loyalty in a friendship, what do you have? That's the basis of trust for everything in the most fundamental human relationship. God wants to trust us with his word, trust us with his will, trust us to know his ways and the beauty of it is that it can always start right now. It's never too late for you and I to change, no matter where we've been, what kind of baggage we're carrying around, we can jettison that backpack and go deeper and further and higher up with God.
As the book says, hinds feet in high places. That's where God wants to walk with you and talk with you and the beauty of it, that it can be offered to you tonight. You can make that next step devotionally in your life with Christ tonight. Things can begin to change. You can change your devotional life, change your disciplines in your life, change the determination you have to fulfill your race. That's what you're called to do.
Read a book this week by Brother Andrew, and it's called The Exodus Mandate. And all he said is that so often when God calls a person, he says one word, go. He said, Abraham, go. He said Moses, get out of Egypt. He said Jonah, go to Nineveh, and Jesus said to all of us, go into all the world and preach the gospel. This my friends, is the great commission.
Let's pray together. Lord, we're so grateful for your word. It's so clear, so clarifying, so cleansing. It is so powerful, it is so graceful, it is so practical, it is so truthful. I just pray for this body here tonight, the potential we have as a unit to serve you, to love you, to expand your kingdom, help it to be so. I pray that we would not be rocked, we would not be moved by the gravity of this world, the things that come in, the tribulations that come Lord, we would stay the course, we'd be in our lane, we'd run the race with patience and with zeal and finish strong. To your glory. In Jesus' name, amen.
What binds us together is devotion to worshipping our Heavenly Father, dedication to studying his word, and determination to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit calvaryabq.org.