Week 1, Intro and Preparation - Silence
Is to know God deeper and so for the next few weeks. I want to give you that which I have received cuz I didn't go there just to myself I went there to to learn but I was changed and I went there to give it to other people. We have a responsibility that which we receive we give and so that is where I want us to be and so this is about a love affair. It is about a wild deep love between you and God. How much do you love? Are you in love with God? Are you afraid of answering that question? Are you afraid of answering the question? How much you love? Are you in love with God do you desire? Or do you just do you at least desire to desire more? Do you at least have a wish to Love More? Well, then begin start. Take this journey with me with us and take seriously this journey where we're going to be for the next eight or ten weeks, who knows, you know, that'll probably turn it to 12 whatever but we're going to go into this journey of participating in the Divine wife having to do with the spiritual disciplines a lot with basically how to continue in this Pursuit Of God, what are the reasons one of the things like I said 2nd Peter 1 1/3 and 4 and this is important been wanting. I've been wanting to give you this for a while. So you ready to get your touch catcher's mitts on so I want to throw this at you. I've had people tell me time to time. You know, what will I don't know as much as you and I don't have the training you have Etc and it hit me one day when somebody said that eat, you know what you might not you might have had the opportunities. I've had to go to school for these things are read the same things. I've have I've had but you have something better. We are not all meant to be scholars theologians in in the academic sense to be pastors to be evangelist, but we can all be holy. You may not be able to this is my desire. You know that Solomon wish you know, what salt you got to ask you like you did Solomon name one thing and you'll have it mine was to know the Bible is fully as possible in this human life and for other purposes that I told you. But we can have that and still not be wholly in addition. I could have that and be lacking and you guys could surpass me in Holiness because here's the beautiful thing. We may not all have access to to hermeneutics and homiletics, but we all have access to God and to the Divine Life. We have all been called to participate in that we can all be holy anyone of us any one of us. Can I forgot this is not something limited to 2 Opportunity or or ability or capacity? All we have to do is desire it. All we have to do is participate in with God in the work that he wants to do. So you may not think you have a great knowledge of scripture which by the way, I guarantee you. Do, you know was in Hebrews the author says it by now many of you should be teachers, you know, you guys can teach you have a good working knowledge of the Bible. But any one of us the simplest to the greatest can be wholly can pursue god with your life as though there's nothing more important. There's nothing more important and with that there's nothing more important that I could say. Other than that or nothing more important. I could do nothing to help you draw closer to God and we learn scripture. That's great. We draw nearer to God we should be ushered into the presence of God through scripture. But that nearness to God is the ultimate goal not just learning about act and what happened with the early church and all the apostolic fathers good stuff. But these things should be driving us further and closer to God that is our primary goal not to be or to make intellectuals but to be and to make Saints passionate disciples that yearn for the Living God that thirst for him this brings up one of the three songs down there that I want you to read this week and one of them is Psalm 63, I'm just going to give you the first couple lines from it. Oh God, you are my God. I shall seek you earnestly my soul thirsts for you my flesh yearns for you in a dry and weary land where there is no stream. Read the rest of that song that is the passion that I'm talking about the yearning the design for him. And the best thing that I can do as a pastor is to get you there's two Usher you into a place where you can do it. I can't do it for you. But you can participate in a place where you desire it and you begin to participate in that and the other most important thing I can say this friends is something I've been wanting to tell you for a long time. Also, you ready for this one you're different ways, but here it is. Emphatically you are not done yet. You are not done yet.
You might we have a few retired people in our congregation. You have a freedom. Wish I had you have a freedom to spend it with the Lord. So I don't I don't care about your like caramel, but I don't care about your station in life your situation, whatever it is. You're not done yet. You have not yet finished the race. You can continue growing in piety. That's a word. We don't use much in our society today piety to be Pious. All it means is to be devout to be passionate for the Lord Holiness godliness. You can do this. So many of you have that opportunity you can do this with your life instead of sitting around watching TV watching soap operas or Sports all day. But to be investing in it to be investing in your future to be investing in your presence because along with this and other thing I want to say another very important thing is that when we are saved friends, we don't just get our get-out-of-jail-free card and wait to die. That is not the Christian Life. This is not a hey you're once saved always saved to know you're good for the rest your life continue and wait for heaven. That's not what we're meant to do. Our Moment of Salvation is the beginning of the Divine Life of eternal life as Paul says we are seated with Christ not we shall be but we are and this is the text that we are going one of the texts were going to open with today SF Visions chapter 2 verses 1 through 6. And here Paul says and you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air of the spirit that is not working in the sons of Disobedience among them to we also all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh indulging the desires of the Flesh in the mind and we're by Nature children of Wrath even as the rest but that biggest word in the Bible, but but God being rich in Mercy because of his great love which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions made us Ally together with Christ by Grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the Heavenly places in Christ Jesus. So that in the ages to come he might show The surpassing Riches of his grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. We have been raised up we have been seated with him in the heavenly. places our eternal life begins now CS Lewis and Mere Christianity wonderful book if you not read it. We talked about this idea and I'm going to give it to you straight from his mouth. This leads on to my second point he says people often think of Christian morality is a kind of bargain in which God says if you keep a lot of rules, I'll reward you and if you don't I'll do the other thing. I do not think this is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you the part of you that chooses it does something a little different from what it was before and taking your life as a whole with all your innumerable choices all your lifelong. You are slowly turning the central thing into a Heavenly creature or into a hellish creature either into a creature that is in harmony with God and with other creatures and with that sell or else one into that or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God and with its fellow-creatures and with itself. And then he says later on in this he returns to this idea and this is the good point. remember we Christians think that man lives forever there for what really matters is the little marks are twists on the central inside part of the Soul which are going to turn it in the long run into a Heavenly or hellish creature. You see we're on this trajectory. What we do now goes on into eternity. We are setting the pattern of our soul everything that we do is turning us into a more Heavenly or more hellish creature. Which way are we going guys? You see this is the beginning of our life where we have the ability the capacity to be formed into the image of God our eternal life begins now, so what are we becoming a CS Lewis would argue? What are we becoming are we pursuing our lusts? Are we pursuing service of others? Are we pursuing our comfort or are we pursuing Holiness? Are we becoming like him or we being changed into something different? Are we becoming like God we are seated with Christ in the Heavenly places. So are we becoming more like him? So how are we going to do this over the next number of weeks? I'm going to talk a little bit today about this idea of being still being quiet though. We'll bring it up again later with the topic of a silence and solitude. But today we're going to set the groundwork for our journey over the next number of weeks together. So, how are we going to do this first? We recognize the call. You shall be holy for I am Holy 1st Peter 1 14 through 16. Peter says this as obedient children do not be conformed to the former plus which were yours in ignorance, but like the holy one who called you be. Holy yourselves also in all your behavior because it is written you shall be holy for I am Holy this is the goal we talking in Bible study is the Greek word that we're going to be here because it captures everything at this word is tell us you might know teleology you thinking about the endpoints the Telos is that for which we were made it is our purpose and it is our goal. It is our in point. Is that for which we are striving our Telos. This is our tell us is to be made into the image of Christ is to be so conformed to his image that way. Become like him and we see this through scripture. We will see it over and again in our study but to do this we noticed this in our study on Wednesday both both here and in Romans 12 or talks about do not be conformed. I'll be transformed by the renewing of your mind. There is a two-fold work here one is being rid of do not be conformed to the former Les K. It's this purgation this cleansing of the old way of life the removal of a did the rejection of sin to wear. It comes to a place where when you look at sin. You don't want it when you see a girl walking down the street you have are your eyes because she's a child of God and you don't need to see that. It is not yours. It does not belong to you. You do not make it an object for your pleasure. You see creation and people in the right way. You have a right order with passions with lusts. So there's that purgation, but then there's the positive aspect of Virtues of moving forward in action toward being holy. And so this is going to be mostly our Focus will talk about predation particularly when we talk about fasting does fasting is a practice of being rid of lusts, but our study is going to be largely a study on the disciplines of being holy of pursuing righteousness of engaging in the Divine Life and it begins by hearing the call. So here you go. There is the call be holy for I am Holy Now I want to give this one to you also because we talked about specially teens or we we struggle with our place in the world. Who am I that question? What am I doing? Where am I going? Who am I made to be? What is the will of God for my life and it doesn't really go away either. I'm 40 years old and still figuring it out anyone else. And do I hear you? I hear 50. Do I hear 60 going once going twice? We still wrestle with the will of God moment-to-moment and I would venture to say there's no will of God for your life. I meant to be that that thing for us my life. You're meant to be where you're at your meant to be serving where you're at your meant to be growing and Holiness where you are at and this is the growing in Holiness finally than brother and we request and exhort you listen to this is given to you guys. We request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that as you received from us instruction on how you ought to walk and please God. That you Excel still more for you know, what Commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus for this is the will of God you ready for it. This is the question is the answer the question. This is the will of God your sanctification. That is God's will for your life where you should be a doctor lawyer mechanic. This is the will of God for you your sanctification know if you know if you might hear a little Latin in the Sanctus Sanctus means holy sanctification means being made. Holy holy fication sanctification. This is God's desire for you for your growth in virtue and Holiness. Yes, but ultimately your growth in love and and all the monastic writings that speak of this pursuit in and how to operate in in the Divine Life it all comes down to love. You did the this book here. I'm not going to pull from today, but the steps of humility and pride by Bernard of clairvaux. This ladder of of humility at the top of the ladder humility is its purpose its tell us which is love so our growth in love the Transformations off the transformations of our love's we used to walk in the world. We used to love other things and love them wrongly and out of order. What is a transformation of those loves do CS Lewis book to be prepared for study CS Lewis the great divorce a group of people go from purgatory type play. Beanie says it all. All this is just used to bring out examples but a Purgatory place to come see Heaven not just have him to the very beginnings of heaven cuz it's further up and further in if you know his Chronicles of Narnia the beginnings of Heaven there's a story in there about a guy who has a dragon on his shoulder and the angel his guide asked him. Can I kill it be like, well, I don't I don't kill it said it's lust on his show. We don't really need to kill it. I just want it to be quiet. Can I kill it? That's really drastic. I don't we don't need to kill it. Can I kill it? He finally a sense and kills the dragon on his shoulder that is lust and through and himself goes through great pain because of it, but it's set free, but the dragon transforms into a steed a stallion by which he mounts and rides into the deeper parts of Heaven. Lost. Yes, what because lost all it is Prince lust is disordered love. Love is good lost is a corrupted love and so sanctification is growth above it's a transformation of our love's of our lusts into loves becoming brightly ordered and So This is Love sanctification grow in love and here is that verse 2nd Peter 1 2 through 4, but they're at the bottom verse for by these. He has granted to us his precious and magnificent promises. So that buy them you bait may become partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lost the corruption the corruption you understand what corruption is corruption is screwing up something which is good. Alright a CEO of a company is good. But when he becomes corrupt, it is a Corruption of the good politicians become corrupt because it is turning the good into the bad having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lusts disordered laws. So that is the call and it's going to be a verse that we keep in the front of our minds becoming partakers of the divine nature. So that is the call. How do we do it will the beginning of the participating in the Divine? Why is this be still?
Be still and know that I am God Psalms 46 verse 10 and SO waiting the first part of communion with God. The first part of the Divine Life is learning to be silenced learning to be still and we have a problem with this in our culture. Maybe you don't maybe you are not so bad, but it's a whole our culture and I Have a problem with this being still we're always going somewhere. We're always doing something. We're always on our phones where it where we have looked in my stinking pocket right now. It is so close to my heart. There are times where my studies I have to take a nap to throw it across the room because I'm so distracted by that stinking phone. You remember the times where we used to keep it Shackled to the wall. We used to leave it at home and we would chain it there so it couldn't get away so it couldn't follow us but then you got that big long cord, right? So you take it to your room and chat with your friend. We always have a way of avoiding it we used to leave things at home. We had inability to be silent and to be still at least a better opportunity to do so, but it begins with this. We cannot hear the voice of God, but we have a thousand voices shouting in our ears. You have to carve out some time and a place where you can be silent where you can rest begins here the solution begins here cuz everything else comes from this scripture reading. You need silence. You need to be quiet prayer you need. Yes, we can pray in the midst of noise we know but if you want to commune with God in the deepest prayer, you need to become silent yourself any be able to settle meditation meditating on God's word. You need silence need to learn to become still fasting all of these things were so distracted. Because we can't sit still so that's the call and that's the beginning the example. And Jesus went out to a secluded place the whole verse. Mark 1:35 in the early morning while it was still dark Jesus got up left the house left the house and went away to a secluded place and was praying there. And it's right at the beginning of his ministry Mark. You see that one there that that one that's the chapter like the first chapter see how that works 35 vs in 35 vs into Jesus's Ministry and it's showing you the importance Jesus needed time to be still as necessary for Jesus. So I guarantee you it's necessary for us cuz he asked so often does throughout scripture. He models for us what we need. He model that he shows us he shows up he shows us so he models it here. He shows us how it's done. He shows us that it's important and so it's important to spend time alone with God. So again, do you do this? Do you do this? How do you do this? Well, that's part of what is in your bulletin that insert that I gave you when you read a couple places this book right here.
Andrew Murray waiting on God great book specially for this subject. I recommended I not read it for awhile by came back to it. So last week I so many notes and I just want to read this whole thing to you, but you can read it. You guys are smart people you even read it so. Hear this in waiting on God. The first thought is of the god upon whom we wait. We enter his presence and feel we need just to be quiet so that he asked God can overshadow us with himself. God longs to reveal himself to fill us with himself waiting on God gives him time and his way and divine power to come to us. So, how do you do it? Here you go. Use this as a model. That's why I gave you the sheet use it this week before you pray Val quietly before God just to remember and realize who he is how near he is house. Certainly he can and will help just be still before him and allow his holy spirit to waken and stir in your soul the childlike disposition of absolute dependence and confident expectation. I will let you read the rest of that. You have a cop as it is what I'd like I can't just read this. Are you guys have this free to go do how do you do it? That's the thing. Like I give you ideas. It's like yeah, you know what just go be. Holy the end table Sushi next week exploring. But then this waiting on God to begin this launch point of entry into the Divine Life. Sometimes we need instruction. How do you wait on God you put down the cell phone you separate yourself from that which distracts you you wait and hear this is very good practical application. 3736 s all cannot see close fellowship with God or attain the abiding consciousness of waiting on him all the day without a very honest and entire surrender to all his will. Let us therefore study the word well until we know other meanings. It must be clear to us what we are waiting for. It is the presence of God as he can in Christ by his holy spirit make himself known and keep the soul under its covering and Shadow that will awaken and Stray Cats strengthen the true waiting spirit. Let us be still and wait and worship until we know how near he is and then say on the do I wait and from that he is taking taken from Psalm 25 another thing at the bottom of your hand out read Psalm 25, let integrity and uprightness preserve me for I wait on the And he says and yet if it is true that God Alone is goodness and joy and love if it is true that are highest blessedness is in having as much God as we can. If it is true that Christ has redeemed us holy for God and made a life of continual abiding in his presence possible. Nothing less ought to satisfy us than to ever be breathing this blessed atmosphere of I wait on the Waiting on God Andrew Murray, so it starts here developing cultivating the ability the desire. And it's countercultural. This is all countercultural waiting. We should be doing fasting when we should be eating being still when you can be doing something. It starts here and starts. Now. I want you guys to use these next few weeks. I want us all to use these next number of weeks as an opportunity. We're going to enter into this life together. We are going to run this race together. I want every one of you to practice these things along with me along with your brothers and sisters here who will be practicing it together. This is an opportunity for us to draw closer to God corporately. Just give me a great time for Archer individually drawing closer to God. And as you do that each of you individuals, we draw closer together. So what are we going to do this week make time who say find some time to do this? Nope. Nope. Nope. Don't know you will not find the time. It is not lost. Like your Kia car keys. Are you're not going to look under the couch and look extra time. Thank you. I have extra time. You must make time must be purposeful intentional to set aside some time. So do this throughout our study for the entirety of our study carve you out a little time that is yours for this time. That is your time with God time. And it belongs to God you are God time to rest in him and to think about to do whatever we're doing talking about today waiting next week. Lexio Divina studying. Praying God's word meditation. That'll come later. These things carve out some time where you can wait on the Lord Pastor. I love listening to because he says call it wasting time with God. We've course. No, it's not a waste but is that idea? I don't need this time. I'm just this time is God's I'm just going to sit here. I'm going to sit here in his presence and kick back and waste time with God carve you out sometime where you can do this to help cultivate your relationship. Beginning in the morning. I Jesus did sometime during the day at the closing of the day or going to be talking about that time. Does this last thing in prayer and closing the day with the Lord but just take 15 20 30 minutes and spend time with God do as you would like contemplate read were we ready scripture read out a devotional work pray, but do it uninterrupted. I'm distracted throw your phone across the room if you have to or just leave it inside and go outside. Disconnect and spend time with the Lord you can do this. This is the beginning. Do it. I want you guys to enter into this with me and because like I said at the beginning of the immediate the importance of this is immediate it cannot way I could not wait to give you this message after another 6 months year 2 years it is now this because this is our purpose this cannot wait because we have a work we need to be doing now. and this is Our end our purpose are tell us that for which we've been created two-way could not wait anymore. So I want you guys please to consider entering into this with me. I will be preaching every Sunday telling you these things but this is a lifestyle. This is what we're going to be doing. So let us Begin by carving out that time by waiting on God. And let us pray. Lord we thank you so much for the gifts you offer us.