Good vs. Evil

Playing Your Part in God’s Story

Pastor Samuel Inman

1/6/13

 

Your story is part of the battle between good and evil. 

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live in the Wild West?  It would be awesome to be one of those steed mounting, six-shooter toting, and brim-wearing cowboys?  I would love it.  

I always wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up.  When the bad guy gets put behind bars and the end of the film it’s always so gratifying. There is a desire that we are all born with.  Mine is that I want to see evil locked up forever. I hate evil and I love it when good triumphs.  One of my favorite westerns is The Man from Snowy River. In fact ever since I saw the man from Snowy River I have wanted to be in a western film. It’s on my bucket list. 

Have you noticed that evil in movies like that is always so clearly defined and embodied in one person who happens to be easy to hate.  Whereas in life our life the things that threaten us seem so much more ambiguous like not getting enough sleep, bad traffic, rebellious teenage children, the loss of money, a car or even a home, and of course being under appreciated at work or stuck in a dead end job. If you’re not careful the cares of this life will swallow you whole.  

God please allow everyone who hears this message to be open to what you have to say to him or her today. Silence the enemy and may your words cut like a double-edged sword. Separate truth from lies and let your light shine in every dark place today. Amen. 

Get ready. This is not a message that I can deliver sitting on a stool with a cup of coffee. You are going to be challenged today and if you can hang on to what God wants you to hear your life will get more interesting, exciting and rewarding. 

Truth number one: Trust God with everything. If you just obey his Word as given through the Bible, Jesus, and His Spirit everything will work out for the best and you will see how good He is.

Truth number two: God has a Plan. He has chosen you, planned and ploughed the way for you and, Jesus laid down his life for you. Follow his plan and your life will be a success story made in heaven. 

Truth number three: Stay Humble. God will empower you and promote you but He will also humble you, and judge your behavior when you need it. 

Since I have already preached on number one and number two, today you are getting number three. Humility.  What does humility have to do with Good vs Evil.  Good vs Evil sounds epic.  Humility may sound too small and unnoticeable but it’s the humble that God uses as his heroes. Humility means understanding that you are Gods masterpiece, but also knowing that there are six billion other masterpieces walking the earth. You are the apple of God’s eye but that don’t make you the center of the universe.  

In fact your life is part of a universal battle between Good and evil.  That’s right God, who built this town we call the universe with his own two hands is also the Sheriff.  There’s a lying, thieving, no good dirty rotten scoundrel who would like nothing more that to destroy you, but don’t take it personal.  His target is all of God’s workmanship. I know it’s hard not to complain that Satan did some damage to your 2.5 bedroom home when he ripped through town, but you won’t say a peep when you see the trail of destruction that he’s left all through your neighborhood. Someone is has got it worse than you so step out and reach out to a neighbor, I guarantee you will encounter God there. 

I want this picture to be so clear.  God is our heavenly father and our Lord, our King, and also the commander in chief of armies of angels.  We are his children and rightful Joint heirs with Jesus to his Kingdom.  God has already entrusted us as stewards of the earth. If someone is disturbing the peace at your home you do something about it, especially if they step foot onto your property and they are up to no good.  If someone is messing with your stuff or your friends or family you say, “Hey! Stop that!” and if necessary to do something to stop them. Well I have news for you. 

God is going to expand your territory.  Or rather help you to realize that he has already given you the neighborhood you live in and the place you work or go to school. That is your territory.  It’s time you claim it and start treating it likes it’s a piece of God’s creation that he has entrusted to you. Protect it like it’s your own.  Gangsters beware prayer is stronger than spay paint and you can’t wash it off. You can just continue to keep evil out of your front yard, or you can stand up, step out and push it back to hell. Your front yard just got a whole lot bigger.  Now I've informed you that you’re in a warzone.  So don’t ignore it or you’ll become a casualty.

You’re not the star of the show.

You might be thinking that’s inspiring Pastor, but what about reality. You don’t know how busy I am and what I already have to deal with right now. Let me just say that God is so good.  The problem is you don’t see what he’s doing until you make it through to the other side of what you’re going through. And sometimes even after God shows His goodness you have already found something new to complain about before you get the chance to appreciate what he just did. 

Let me tell you about Jonah. Jonah was important. He was a prophet. A prophet’s job is deliver messages from God and make sure that the people get it. An entire city of lives was depending on Jonah’s message. He was instructed to warn the people of God’s Judgment. He refused and ran away. Jonah hoped that God would go ahead and destroy them while he took a vacation from prophesying. God’s reason for sending Jonah to proclaim judgment to the Ninevites was to give them a chance to repent and be sorry for their outright wickedness. Jonah knew that God’s mercy and not his prophecy would take the spotlight in this story, and he despised that. God’s mercy is extended also to Jonah. God gives him a second chance to obey and saves him from drowning by sending a huge fish to swallow him and spit him up on shore. Jonah is so grateful and this time goes to warn Nineveh that it will be overturned in 40 days.  But he actually gets mad that the people repented and God relented. Jonah was so angry that God had mercy on the Ninevites he wanted to die. That’s crazy. Jonah’s crazy. 

Well what about that guy that just stands for everything that is opposite of you.  He’s annoying. His values are so different. You get so impatient with him. He’s so annoying. Don’t you wish God would, not destroy him but fix him to be a little less like him and more like you? But instead God just forgives him. And he expects you to do the same. What?! Oh yeah. Didn't you pray for patience? Granted. 

Your reality is that you want to be the most important thing in your world. Sorry, the starring role has already been cast. Jesus got the part. Not you. So how can you manage to do your part in God’s plan when you don’t get to be in control, do things your way or be in the spotlight. You can choose to complain your way through it and be bitter like Jonah.  Everyone has tried that at some point. It doesn't work.  It drains the life out of you. Or stop trying to be the superstar of your life and join God’s crew. 

Become a committed and connected member of the Body of Christ.  There are people in this room who have made it through what you’re going through.  You need to hear their testimony, so you can have hope.  And more importantly once you have hope for your situation you can worry about yourself a little less and start giving some hope away to other people. 

So not only do you have to obey Jesus commands but you also have to be part of his body, the church. Actually they go together.  It takes the Body of Christ to accomplish the work of Christ. If your colon your large intestine only showed up from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm on Sunday morning, how would that work for your body? 

If you have been coming here for more than a month and you’re not sure if this is for you. Make a decision to plant yourself and see if God will grow your roots.  If you've decided this is your church but you’re not giving or not serving with your time what does that look like? Hi I’m the body of Christ. Oh my arm? Well it’s a part of my body but it’s just kind of hanging out right now. You know it’s just going through a season where it wants to be fed. It is thinking about getting involved but you know, it’s pretty busy with other stuff and there’s some family stuff going on and it’s kind of hard to get to know the other’s so. No. When tissue in your body is dead surgeons amputate the part.  If you’re waiting for life to get easier or you’re just hanging out you’re dead weight. You need to commit to the body. I’m going to give you some really easy practical ways to do that in a minute. 

There are also people who just got stuck somewhere. You’re committed to Jesus and you want to serve him.  You’re committed to the body but at some point you just got stuck. It’s like one day you signed up to stamp envelopes and 15 years later, your still doing the same thing the same way and nobody knows how to place that stamp better than you.  I’m sorry but the body of Christ needs you to be more than that stamp licker person. It’s time to stop hiding in your corner from whatever your hiding from and start kicking down some doors in the enemy’s territory.  My guess is if that’s you you've got something you’re protecting. A deep wound that you don’t want to expose to anyone. You've hidden it for years. And you've found a ministry in the church where you can keep it hidden.  Not anymore. We’re at war. If you've got an injury you need to be temporarily relieved from active duty in the field so you can get that taken care of. Otherwise you are compromising us all. 

The best excuse is waiting for God to answer prayers. If God would just heal my foot then I could… You fill in the blank. God has already answered many of your prayers. God help me. (ding) Granted. God bless me. (ding) Granted. God expand my influence. (ding) Granted. God give me wisdom. (ding) Granted. God help my neighbor, my dad, and my friend, to see the truth. (ding, ding, ding) Granted.  God has granted permission for you to step out in faith and see all of his promises fulfilled as a result of His mercy being embraced by your obedience. But that is actually a very selfish one sided, American way to look at it. That we obey so we can get the reward he promised. 

Let’s keep in view that there is a battle for the universe going on and you have an assignment, a God given destiny. So you need to start by trusting God with everything.  Get that out of the way. Set that as the foundation in your life so you will be able to set some of your problems and projects aside to do His work. And in order to do his work you have to be part of His body. 

God is the director. He has chosen a role specifically for you. Find out what it is and play it to the best of your ability. 

I believe that you’re here and you’re still listening because you have a yearning in your gut, a visceral desire to please God, serve him and follow his plan for your life.  What really troubles me is that historically only about 20 percent of you are really committed to serving, giving, and letting God take the lead in your life. The other 80 percent of you have good reasons why you are not but you’re not. I’m just going to call you on it. You can’t claim to follow Jesus if you don’t obey his commands. You can’t do that if you spend most of your time and trying to construct a perfect life for you and your family. Or trying to protect yourself, or Dwelling on one disappointment after another. 

Jesus never said, make sure that you and your own have it good, then think about God and then others. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your strength.” And he added to it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He also commanded us embrace the alien, visit the imprisoned feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give water to the thirsty. 

At the end of his life Jesus, who by the way was sleeping on a hillside every night, was teaching in the temple. The Pharisees and Sadducees were trying to trap him because by now he had offended them in every way possible.  After they are silenced by his answers he looks up and sees some rich people giving their gifts.  He also saw a poor widow woman put two copper pieces in.  This was his response “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” 

Pastor Don always says that god will use whatever is in your hand. I will just add that he is it the one who put it in your hand. It doesn't matter if it’s your bubbling personality, your knack for hospitality, your skill as a mechanic, carpenter, decorator, stylist, accountant, programmer, or doctor; it’s in your hand. You may feel like you all you have to give is two cents. If it’s truly all you have it is like a million bucks to God. Honestly the number of you who will leave here and actually trust God more this year and Give more of yourself to Him and be more committed to the church is probably about 20 percent. That’s depressing. But it doesn't have to be. What if we could up that another 20 percent? I truly believe that if enough you commit yourselves to God this year, together we can transform this community. 

Here are some really simple instructions.  If you will follow through with this I guarantee it will make more room in your life for God. It is tried and tested. 

  1. Find a small group of believers to meet with consistently and get to know them. Living out your faith alongside other believers is how you will mature and grow your faith. You can find a small group today in the Lobby before you go.
  2. Find a place to serve. There are some great ways for you to help out at the church or get involved in serving in the community. This is how got will get a hold of your heart and it’s your entry point to start doing some damage for His Kingdom. 
  3. Give. Everything you have is a gift from father in Heaven. If you honor him by giving to the church the first tenth of whatever you bring in he will provide everything you need and more. It will surprise you how good God in this. 

These are not optional for followers of Christ. You probably can only add one of these at a time. Commit to one now. You can do at least one of these today.