Archive for the ‘Ed Young Church’ tag
That is horrible. It will not work. It does not work in God’s economy and it should not work in our economy because we know and love him. Here we make all these judgments and all these decisions because of where someone lives, or what they drive, or what they look like, etc. We can’t do that.
James says something pretty basic here. I am going to talk about three things he tells us to do concerning favoritism.
Number one, James says, do life from the inside out. He says that because most of us do life from the outside in, don’t we? Everything is from the outside. Everything is external. Everything is showcase stuff. James says we have it wrong. It’s from the inside out. My wife and I have met many people over the last several years and we could parade several couples up here.
If you saw these couples, some of you would go, “Oh, look at him. He is drop dead gorgeous.” The guys would go, “Look at her. Wow!” But if you let them talk for a while, if you got to know these people for a while, you would be shocked.
Verse three, “If you show special attention,” maybe he is talking to the ushers or the parking crew back there, I don’t know. This word “special attention” means to take at face value. It means just to look at the external. James says, if you do that, you have messed up. Look at verse 4, “Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” James says that favoritism is wrong. Favoritism is a sin. Discrimination is wrong.
Discrimination is a sin. It should never happen, especially within the body of Christ, especially within the church. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Sometimes when I walk into a restaurant, I love to see those signs that read, “Warning: You have just entered a smoke-free environment.” I love that. I think churches ought to put above their doors: “Warning: You have just entered a snob-free environment.” Don’t you? I am very sensitive to this subject because of two reasons.
Number one, I am sensitive to favoritism because I moved around a lot as a child. I moved from Irwin, NC to Canton, NC. From Canton, NC, to Greenville, SC. From Greenville, SC to Columbia, SC. From Columbia, SC, to Houston, TX. From Houston, TX to Tallahassee, FL. From Tallahassee, FL, back to Houston.
From Houston now to Dallas. I have moved around a lot. I am extremely sensitive to people who are coming in who are brand new, who don’t understand the deal, who have not met this group or that group. One of the things I love about you guys, one of the things I love about Fellowship Church, is the fact that we are very inclusive.
We warmly welcome those who show up here. We must keep this value. It’s a biblical value. I, for one as a Christian, and I know God does, hate discrimination, and I hate it when people show favoritism.
So I am not really into yard work. I will admit it. But a lot of people are. When you are into yard work, you have got to be into grass. Winter rye. Let’s see, I don’t even know any other names of grass! Artificial turf, whatever. Grass should point us to worship. The Bible speaks volumes regarding grass.
The Bible says that grass withers, the flower fades but the word of God stands forever. It also says in Psalm 103:15-17, “As for man, his days are like grass….” We are temporal. “…he flourishes like a flower of the field….” We are temporal. “…the wind blows over it and it is gone…” We are temporal. “…and its place remembers it no more…” Temporal. “…but from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him and His righteousness with their children’s children…” Grass should motivate me to worship.
They have rotten apple cores and banana peels just hanging around. They produce fruit but they don’t share it. They just consume it and they become spiritually obese. They are like Fat Albert! Now if you are not laughing, ask your parents about Fat Albert, an incredible cartoon character by the genius of comedy, Bill Cosby. Well, don’t be a Fat Albert person of faith. The Spirit produces the fruit, share it. People are hungry. People need it. Become a Farmer’s Market believer.
I have a confession to make. I don’t like yard work. I love Chem Lawn. Some of my friend just love yard work, they really get into it. I guess it goes back to living in the country when I grew up. My father had us mow our two acres with a push mower. My brothers and I had to weed the flowerbed which was about 200 yards long.
Have you ever been to a fashion show? I have. Fashion shows are hilarious because people wear all these weird clothes that no one would ever wear! And I love how people walk. It’s hilarious! And all these designers, and all these important people are watching their every move. They’re into the shoes, outfits, dresses, and suits. And they’re picking apart everything.
Hey parents, you’re on the runway 24-7 and your kids are watching you. Lisa and I have four sets of eyes watching our every move. They’re seeing how we love each other, how we talk to one another, how we romance one another, how we forgive one another, how we defer to one another, and how we do special things for one another. The marriage has got to be the most important thing, because kids leave and spouses stay.
Let’s talk about sex. It’s an important part of marriage. It’s not the most important thing. I’ve read some books where it says the number one desire in a man’s life is sexual fulfillment. I don’t believe that. I think it’s emotional connectivity. But guys connect emotionally through sex. I don’t think sex is number one.
Ladies, let’s talk about sex. Husbands, look at your wives for a second. Wives, look at your husbands. You are looking at your only sexual option. And the Bible tells me a lot about sex, and if you’ve got a problem with me talking about sex, you’ve got a problem with God. The problem’s not with me, it’s with God. He’s the one who’s made it up; he’s the one who invented it. And we should talk about it in our homes, but the second most important place we should talk about it is in the local church.
Mark 1:10 says that “…Jesus was coming up out of the water.” Out of the water. “Eck” in the original Greek means “out”.
So Jesus was obviously baptized by immersion. The word baptize in the origianl Greek “baptizo” means to dip, to immerse, to cover.
That is why we baptize by immersion. Read church history. For the first 1,300 years, immersion was the universally accepted mode of baptism.
“Well, Ed, why do we have sprinkling?”
We have sprinkling because of convenience; because there were shortages of water during certain parts of history. And that’s how sprinkling happened.
We baptize, though, by immersion. That’s the best picture of a burial. If I wanted to bury this Bible, I wouldn’t pour dirt on it. I wouldn’t sprinkle dirt on it. I would dig a big honkin’ hole, put the Bible in the big honkin’ hole and cover it with dirt. That’s what baptism represents. We’re buried. The old life, we’re dead to that junk. The death burial and resurrection of Jesus and now, the new life. That’s the H20 question. That’s why we baptize by immersion. Because of the B.I.B.L.E; that’s the book for me; I stand a lone on the word of God; the B.I.B.L.E.
The Mechanics Question
Here’s the fifth question. The mechanics question. “Okay, what happens? I know, Ed, you don’t spritz, you don’t sprinkle, you don’t pour, you dunk.”
Have you ever seen that show that’s real popular called “Punk’d?” If you’re over 35, you don’t know what I’m talking about. “Punk’d” is basically Candid Camera on steroids. And a lot of us have been “punked” when it comes to baptism. Instead of being punked, we need to get dunked.
The Bible says in Galatians 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Nehemiah 2:19-20. Nehemiah has hit “J-town” everybody knows why he’s there—to rebuild the city walls. People had tried to do it for a long, long time, but they couldn’t do it. Nehemiah is the man of the hour. Here’s what he says. After he finds the right “they”, after they begin working on this incredible project, the wrong “they” show up.
Nehemiah 2:19, “But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard it, they mocked us and despised us…” That’s the wrong they mocking the right they. “…and said, ‘What is this thing you’re doing? Are you rebelling against the king?’”
“I mean, Nehemiah, what are you smoking? You’re going to try and rebuild the city walls? You can’t do that! Nehemiah, I thought you were in the Persian government? What’s up with all this stuff?”
And look at verse 20, because verse 20 talks about the right they. Nehemiah had the ability to surround himself with the right “they” and that’s what I need to do and that’s what you need to do.
[Nehemiah 2:20] “So I answered them and said to them (the wrong they), ‘The God of heaven will give us…” What? “…success…” You can read here, blessing or favor. “Therefore we His servants (the right they) will arise and build…”
Arise and build. That means he’d step up. Then he says, “You have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.”
Again I’ll tell you, if you could see what God wants to construct in your life over this next year, you wouldn’t believe it; nor would I.
What does God want to do in your life? Maybe God wants to construct character in your life. Maybe he wants you to ratchet up commitment or discipline or integrity. Maybe it’s in the relational world by building your marriage or building your kids. Maybe you are harboring a hurt. Maybe you’re involved in an addiction. And you know what God wants to construct. He’s telling you right now. You feel it. You sense it. You know it. Maybe it’s unforgiveness. Maybe someone messed you around and maybe you’re holding on to it. What does God want to construct in your life?
In Genesis 15:8 Abram asks a question that we’d all ask. Here God is telling him to move, he’s on the move and he says in Genesis 15:8, “O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”
He’s asking, “God, how can I know for sure?”
What does God do? God responds to Abram with a covenant. Look at Genesis Chapter 15:18. “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram.”
What’s a covenant? A blood bond of life and death. The root word “covenant” comes from this phrase meaning “to cut.”
[The verse continues.] “On that day God made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendents I give this land.’”
So Abram brought a heifer, a goat, and a ram (and this is going to be kind of gross) and he took the animals and split them into. He arranged the bloody halves opposite each other. Then God walked through the bloody pieces of the animals taking the initiative in the covenant. God said, “Abraham, I’m going to pour out my supernatural favor on your life. I’m going to bless you. I love you unconditionally. I’m going to make your name great and you’re going to be just a huge difference maker. I’m going to keep,” God said, “my end of the deal. I’m in covenant with you.”
And then Abraham went into covenant with God. God cut a covenant with Abraham. He was the initiator.
Now, did you notice what I did? First, I called him Abram. And if you were paying attention you said, “Hey, wait a minute. You first called him Abram and now, Ed, you are calling him Abraham?”
Say Abraham with me. Abraham. Before the covenant his name was Abram. After the covenant, Abraham. What happened?
How about envy? That’s another big stump that’s got a lot of us. Envy. The Bible calls it the evil eye of envy. Envy says, “I want her car, her figure, his portfolio, that house.” It’s the evil eye of envy. Envy. People say, “Well, he’s green with envy. She’s green with envy.” Envy will mess you up.
Envy begins where your income ends. Envy begins where my income ends. You got that? Envy. Could that be that stump that’s impaling you? God wants to push you along the wake of life; he wants you to cruise. But envy is keeping you where you are.
Proverbs 14:30 comments about envy: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
How about lust? Lust is a stump that has a lot of people impaled. Lust is a God-given desire—sex—that’s gone haywire. It is using a God-given gift in a God-forbidden way. It’s taking sex out of context.
Sex is for the marriage bed—one man, one woman in the covenant of marriage. But we take it out, and then we have lust. And a lot of people are eaten alive with lust. And it’s ruining your marriage, it’s ruining your occupation, it’s ruining how you see the opposite sex or maybe for some, the same sex. Lust. Look at the Holy Spirit of God whose saying, “Okay, that’s a stump that has you impaled.”