TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, January 10, 2021 | What We Must Do Now

 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Grace in the earth in, Jesus’ name, this church said, amen. I want you to look with me, Psalm Chapter 144, we're going to read four verses of scripture. This was written by King David. It's at a time when he has just overcome a rebellion in his kingdom. His son, Absalom, had formed a revolt against him. And David nearly lost his kingdom as a result of this rebellion and this battle. And David is reflecting upon that. And he's being very prayerful towards God in regards to what he's learned as a result of what he's just went through. Psalm 144 verse one, “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle, my loving kindness and my fortress, my high tower, and my deliverer, my shield, and the one in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me. Oh Lord, what is man, that you would take knowledge of Him, or the Son of Man, that you would be mindful of him? Because man is just like a breath. His days are like a passing shadow.” And so what David is saying is that God has allowed me to have what I have, and to be able to do what I do. And he's saying, as he contemplates on that, how incredible is it, that heaven would be mindful of Earth, that God would actually be mindful

of man, that God would get involved in our lives, and do things that help us and our family and our community and our nation. That seems to be tripping David out a little bit. He can't seem to process the fact that God would care enough to give him the opportunities that he has in life. That God would be mindful of him.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want you to look with me now at Luke chapter 11. There’s a group of disciples, and they want to know how to pray. And they come to Jesus, and they're like, hey, could you teach us how to pray, seems like you're pretty good at it. And in verse number two, it says, “And so he said to them, when you pray, say, our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” You guys know, it goes on to continue and be the Lord's Prayer. I want to draw your attention to the first couple of lines of that prayer, that Jesus is teaching them how to pray, and he says to them, “say, hallowed be your name.” And then acknowledge that we need the Kingdom of Heaven and earth. In fact, invite the Kingdom of Heaven to come to earth, and invite God's will to be done, rather than man's will. And so those will serve as kind of a platform for this morning's message that I'll do my best to preach from. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want you to pray with me. Father, I thank you for your presence. I thank you for your grace. I thank you that we get to have this moment together. We sense your presence. We are gathered in your name. And, Lord, I just pray that you would help me to be able to deliver the word in such a way that we are provoked by the Holy Spirit to take our next step in you, whatever that might be in Jesus name, and this church said, amen. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, last year when this whole COVID thing happened, it caught us all by surprise and caught us off guard. And we found ourselves being quite reactionary, trying to figure out what we were supposed to do, what we were not supposed to do. And the thing about it is that when you love people, you want to do the right thing. And when you love God, you also want to do what's pleasing to God. And sometimes trying to navigate that and manage that tension can be quite a challenge, when man has certain ideology, and God has certain things we understand through theology, and you just feel the tension of that. And I found myself last year, really, at a point where I wanted to do the right thing. And I wanted to be able to lead in a way that was first and foremost, pleasing to God, but also still allowed us to reach people. And I remember, as I was trying to make sense of things, have a mentor in my life that's been very successful. He's planted over 25,000 churches. He speaks into the lives of three of the largest churches in America in regards to the fact that those pastors came through his discipleship programs. And as he was sharing with me and some other pastors, trying to make sense of like, how do we approach what's next? He mentioned a book to us, it was called Extreme Ownership. Some of you may have heard of it. I think it was actually on the bestseller list for an extended period of time. And in that book, it's basically relayed by a couple of Navy SEALs who had become really successful in their battles and in leading teams of Navy SEALs. In fact, in some ways they have been credited with basically revolutionising that training program and the leadership development within the Navy SEALs. And what they noticed, as Navy SEALs is that the teams of seals that were the most effective in battle, were those that were comprised of people who took extreme ownership, that they were willing to own it. They weren't just willing to just step back and let somebody else do it. They're like, I'm gonna own it. And one of my favorite stories in the book is when it talks about a group of seals that were going through training. They're trying to find out if they're actually going to get to be navy seals, and they're going through this intense training program, and the captains start to assign them to work together in specific teams. These soldiers don't know each other necessarily. They're just being assigned to work together through the basic training process. And what happens is when they're in these competitions, team number two is winning everything, and team number six is losing everything. And so team number six, the leader starts to complain. He's like, my guys aren't as athletic, they don't have the right kind of willpower, they just don't have the ability to be successful in these drills. And that's why we're losing, I just don't have a good team. So the captain's decided, we're going to switch the leaders have team two and team six. So team two has been winning everything, team six has been losing everything. Now they take the leader from the best team, put him on the worst team, take the leader from the worst team, put him on the best team. Anybody want to guess what happened next? Now, suddenly, team six is winning everything. And the results were almost instantaneous. And what they discovered is what many of you have known for a long time, everything rises and falls on leadership. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

What's been discovered in battlefield is it doesn't matter if you're General Patton or Napoleon. It doesn't matter how great of a leader you are, doesn't matter how successful you might be as a warrior, or even as a leader of soldiers. When battle starts to take place, when the bombs start dropping, when the shots start firing, it is impossible to process everything that's coming at you. And so what you have to do is in the moment, you have to learn to prioritize and execute. And if I'm honest, that was my biggest takeaway from that book. And it actually becomes something that shaped a lot of my prayer life last year as I was trying to navigate, 2020. Prioritize and execute. That when the battle is taking place, the greatest of leaders understand they're going to have to prioritize what is most important, and then they're going to have to execute that list of priorities, prioritize and execute. You're not going to be able to do everything. You're not going to be able to accomplish everything that you want to. You're not going to be able to get everything done according to your desires. So you're gonna have to prioritize and execute. You do understand that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of the air, and that from the beginning of time we have been in spiritual warfare. The truth of it is that 2020 just exposed that to a lot of us. Because up to that point, we weren't really aware of how much spiritual warfare was really taking place. But if you're going to be successful in this battleground of life, you are going to have to understand how to prioritize and execute. And so our church, we exist for one reason, above all else, everyone needs Jesus. That is why we show up early. It is why we leave late. It is why we give of our time, our talents, and our treasure. It is why we are willing to serve and we're willing to go above and beyond, and we're willing to keep trying to plunder Hell and populate Heaven because everyone needs Jesus. I need you to look at somebody and just tell them Everyone needs Jesus. Everyone needs Jesus. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so if everyone needs Jesus, that is our vision. That is the why behind the what. That is why 3trees exist. But how are we going to accomplish that mission? Especially when the spiritual battle is intensifying. Especially when it seems like there's a lot more spiritual bombs going off as of late. How do we make the vision come to pass? And the truth of it is we have to clarify our mission, we have to prioritize. And so last year, we began to very clearly say that we are focused on three things. And that came from a battlefield mentality. It came from a desire prayerfully to prioritize and execute. We're gonna seek the lost, and that is the number one priority, because we fully intend to do everything that we possibly can to see that Heaven is more populated than Hell, to seek the lost. You do understand that when Jesus came to the earth, he said clearly that his mission was to seek and to save the lost. When you choose to seek and save the lost, you literally align yourself with the reason that Jesus came to earth. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Jesus further tells us in Luke chapter 14:23, that we are to go into the highways and the hedges and compel the lost to come in that the house of the Lord may be filled. So when we're seeking the lost, every single one of us as a part of 3trees, and more so as a part of the Big C church, as followers of Jesus, we have a responsibility to live a compelling lifestyle. That there is something about our life that compels somebody to want more of God today than they had yesterday. That there's something about our life that compels them to no longer want to be lost, but to welcome being found, in the grace of Jesus Christ. Seek the lost. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The second thing that we understood we were to prioritize was making disciples. Right before Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, he's finishing his time on earth, he looks out at those that are standing in front of them, and he says to them, I want you to go and make more disciples by teaching them the Word. I want you to go and make disciples, make disciples. You understand, you're going to have to become one before you can make one. So there has to be an intentionality in our life, that we are truly following Jesus and that we are being made into a disciple. But as we are making disciples some things that that our staff hears me talk about a lot many of the leaders have heard me mentioned is that I believe the way that we're supposed to do that is by equipping with the Word and empowering by the Spirit, to equip with the Word and to empower by the Holy Spirit. On Wednesday nights when we're doing those Bible studies online, that is fully focused on helping to just further equip you with the Word. God wants you to be equipped. Sometimes we're going to be a little more practical, other times we're going to be a little more deep, but God wants you to be equipped with the Word. He wants you to have the helmet of salvation. He wants you to be equipped with the breastplate of righteousness. He wants you to be equipped with the truth girding up your loins. He wants you to be equipped with your feet being shod with the preparation of the Gospel. He wants to equip you with the sword of the Spirit. He wants to equip you with the shield of faith. He wants to equip you with the cloak of humility, like God wants you to live an equipped life. You are a soldier who is fighting a good faith and you need the equipment that God can offer you. However, what you're going to discover if you just get equipped, and you try to go in your own might and in your own power, you're going to fail every single time. That's why you must be empowered by the work of the Holy Spirit, where that it's not just God for you, and not just God with you, but it is God in you living from the inside out. And that you are fueled by the fire and the power of God, and that there is a boldness in you when it comes to being a witness for Jesus Christ. And you know what to do with that sword of the Spirit because there's one greater than you on the inside of you, showing you how to yield it and giving you the strength to hold that shield. When all the fiery darts of Hell are coming against you like you need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Here's what happens. We are living in a culture that loves extremes. And the only way you can get anybody to listen to anything you say is to say something polarizing, or to go to one extreme or the other. And so you find somebody that believes that you should be equipped and that's all they want to focus on is we got to get you equipped, we got to get you equipped, we got to get you equipped. You go out and fight, and you still get your tail kicked. Why? Because you've not been empowered. You find somebody that believes in the power of the Holy Spirit and all they want to focus on you got to get the gifts, you got to have a prayer language, you got to have all these things. And then they miss the fact that you're gonna need a little armor when you go out there to fight. And so what we want to be and we feel called of God to be is the church that makes disciples that are equipped with the Word and are empowered by the Holy Spirit, and that you got the armor of God, but you've got the power of God living on the inside of you, equipped and empowered. And we're fully focused on that. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I believe even going into 2021, we're gonna find even more effective ways of how to facilitate moments where the empowerment of the Holy Spirit can be loosed in people's lives. I would say to you, the first thing you need in your life is salvation. The second thing you need to do is go public with your faith through water baptism, but at some point, you better throw your hands in the air and say, Holy Spirit, empower me. Holy Spirit, empower me. Fill me to overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit,

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

 I have no idea what tomorrow holds, I have no idea what the next day holds. In fact, Scripture says, take no thought up tomorrow, because you know there's going to be stuff that's happening today that’s going to take all you can handle. Here's the deal, you do still have to have a vision. And the vision is that everyone needs Jesus. And if you lived your personal lives along those lines, I don't think that you would be found wanting when you stand before the throne of God. Because you could say I've made myself available to seek the last, and I have also been made into a disciple and I've helped to make other disciples. Some of you think you know, everything, maybe you do; it'd be a great time to host a small group. It would be a great time to just lead some other people into a conversation about the things of God, like equip some people. Equip some people. It's time for some of you that's got some gray hair, to find some young people and be a part in a pure and holy way of helping develop them in their prayer life, helping encourage them to keep their hands clean, and their hearts pure, and their minds renewed. To really lead some young men in how to raise up a home that's God honoring, and how to live a life that is pure before the Lord, and raise children that know how to serve God. It's time, now is the time. Discipleship is not complicated. The mentor I mentioned at the beginning of the semester, he is one of the most profound men I've ever met, and he's a man just like you and I, but it's been intriguing like to just watch how he flows with the Holy Spirit and how he loves the Lord and how God uses him. And I was sitting with him one day, and I'm like, man, just tell me like you raised up this guy, he pastors 40,000 people; you raised up this guy, he pastored 25,000 people; you raise up this guy, he pastors 36,000 people. You're on the board for the world's largest church, it's got a million people in Korea. Like how, how? He said, I just make it a point, every time that I sit down with somebody, and I want to disciple them, I will just deal with one or 10 subjects. And he's just got a list of 10 subjects. And before he goes in to meet with somebody to disciple him, he just works through those 10 subjects. And it's turned into people who are literally reshaping not only the church world, but also the business world, to the point that the governor of his state used to come to do a Bible study for seven consecutive years while he was governor, because he just wanted to be discipled. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

People are craving, truth, and sincerity and authenticity. Make disciples, but also meet needs. And for us, that's twofold. When we are prioritizing and we're executing, we're going to meet physical needs. We're going to clothe the naked, we're going to feed the hungry, we're going to help the jails and the prisons, we're going to help the orphans, and we're going to help the widows. Those are five things you can find in the New Testament that the church is commanded to do. We're going to do that. And you guys are making that happen to the tune of over $300,000 in the last 12 to 13 months. Meeting needs physically. Why do we need a physical need because it opens people to a spiritual truth. And the best thing you can ever do for someone is to meet a spiritual need. And sometimes that may be through having the faith to lay hands on somebody and believe for the sick to be healed. But it's also through the preaching of the gospel. We meet the physical need through serving others, but we meet the spiritual need through preaching the gospel.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Right now you guys are preaching the gospel through 26 churches that you've planted in China. Seeking loss making disciples, meeting needs. Spiritual needs, preaching the gospel. It's happening through radio, it's happening through podcasts, it's happening through TV, it's happened through Sundays, it's happening through Wednesdays. It’s happening through so many different avenues and so many different ways. Why? Because how shall a man here unless somebody preaches to him even if the preaching is determined to be foolishness? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word, and how shall they hear without a preacher? Somebody's got to preach the Gospel. But here's the thing we're talking about, at the very beginning of this, we talked about how that there's this guy, and his name is David, and he has become this incredibly successful king. And in the process of being an incredibly successful king, he is blown away by the fact that God is mindful of him. Just hold that right there in your pocket for a second. Jesus teaches us that when we pray, we are to pray very specifically. But when you look at Luke chapter 11, I do not believe that that is a prayer that is meant to be recited. It's okay, if you do by faith, there's no harm in that. But what it's really meant most commentators, scholars, theologians believe it's meant to be an outline. And so when you go through Luke chapter 11, and you read it, and it says, our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be your name. That's the first part of the outline. And so in your prayer time, one of the things you can do is you can start out by just praising the name of God and thanking God for everything his name means in your life. And you can give glory that at the name of Jesus, every knee bows, every tongue confesses, every demon flees. It's just glorifying the name of Jesus, that it's through Jesus, that every man has the chance to see the father for the sake of salvation and confessing as you get it, the name. But then that next part, let your kingdom come, your will be done in earth as it is in Heaven. That's the second part of the outline. And people say, I can't pray for more than two or three minutes, use the outline. And when you go through it, turn around, run another lap. And you'll discover that as you begin to navigate that outline, it just starts to take your prayer life to the next level. But here's what I want you to see. The second part of the outline, you are taught to pray, let your kingdom come in earth, as it is in Heaven. Let your kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

A lot of us are making the mistake that when we see people in chaos, and we see people in confusion, that we want to try to pull them up. And then when we try to pull them up, we get really let down because we were not able to do it. And we start feeling like man, I just didn't have the right words to say, and I must have done something wrong because it didn't work out. You're looking at everything the wrong way. That's not how Jesus told you to pray. Jesus told you to pray, let Your kingdom come in earth as it is in Heaven. He didn't tell you to pull anything up, he told you to pull something down. And so you have to come from the perspective of that I can't pull Beulah and Freddie up by myself, but I can pull Heaven down. And so you go in with one hand in the gutter and the other hand into glory, and you invite God too big to work through you like you're a facilitator, like you're a conduit, and you realize I'm not reaching in there with my own mind my own power, I'm bringing heaven with me. And I just believe that the king who's on his throne can sit down right here and turn the lights on in the middle of all this darkness. The thing we have to understand is we are not called to meet spiritual needs by pulling people up. We are called to meet spiritual needs by bringing Heaven down. And here's the amazing thing, that Heaven would even want to come down. That Heaven would be mindful of us. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

David had slain giants. He had taken the head off of lions, and he had taken the head off of bears. He's been so successful in warfare, that people are singing songs about his ability to be victorious. This guy has unified the entire nation of Israel, and even when a revolt came against him, God smashed it. And you wonder, like, how is this guy able to be so successful? You do understand that in that time, the nature of Kings was to not take the mentality that you see David unfold in Psalm 144. The Romans, the Greeks, the Babylonians, they all had a tendency that when a king became successful, they turned themselves into gods. They said worship me. I'm so successful. I'm so powerful. I have so much authority in the earth. Worship me. Greeks, Romans, Babylonians. Sven when you see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do you know why that story came about? Because a king set up an idle 9-10 feet tall, made it out of solid gold, and he brings the whole world to bow at the symbol of his success, to bow that the symbol of what he represents in the earth, and says, If you don't, I'll take your head off or I'll throw you into a fiery furnace. And David, on the other hand, is so powerful that other nations, other places that joined round about his territory, we're sending him checks to say just don’t mess with us. Please don't come whip us. Please don't come to battle with us. Like, we just want to know you're on our side. And this guy takes the exact opposite approach of other kings and says, who am I, that I even get to do this? Who am I, that God would be mindful of me? You know, what David understood is that there was a kingdom greater than his own. David understood that there was a king that was greater than his own throne. And I think what we have to be willing to do is to never lose sight of that in our own lives. That when we are going forth, and we're going to meet needs, that we have to understand that it is only because God blessed us that we are allowed to be a blessing. David even went as far as to say, yeah, my hands have done some warfare, but it was only God that allowed it. I don't care how much money you got in the bank. I don't care how many people you think you know, I don't care how big the network is, and how well and effective you are at taking people's legs out from under and on social media. Like at some point, you got to throw your hands in the air, and you just gotta thank God that he would be willing to be mindful of you. Because when Jesus Christ came, and he preached the Gospel, the Bible says, Jesus went everywhere and preached the Gospel, but it adds something to it. It doesn't just leave it there. It says, Jesus went everywhere, and he preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. That's the Gospel that Jesus was preaching. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The Bible goes as far as to say that the Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the earth, and then the end shall come. There's a lot of people preaching good news, there's very few people preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Because the Gospel of the Kingdom is more than good news. The Gospel of the Kingdom is the fact that he would even be mindful of us and that Heaven would be willing to take an interest in earth. The way of the kingdom is blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the children of God. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. When you look at the kingdom, you begin to realize who am I that he would be mindful of? Who is my family that he would be mindful of us? Who is my community that he would even be willing to let Heaven settle down in it? What is my nation that he would be willing to be mindful? You do understand that God is interested in your family, and God is interested in your community, and God is interested in your nation, if your family will just get interested in him. And if your community will just get interested in him. And if your nation will just get interested in him, and begin to realize we don't deserve any of this. This is beyond anything that we would ever be worthy of, but thank God, if I can just raise a hallelujah, he will inhabit the praises of his people. And the number one thing some of us need to do is stop sound in our tracks, throw our hands up in the air, and just give him praise, that we got clothes on our back, we got breath in our lungs. We woke up healthy this morning. We might have lost some stuff, but we still got some stuff. And the number one thing we've got is a promise of heaven being our eternal home to raise a hallelujah. You oughta just slap somebody a high five and tell them raise a hallelujah. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The thing that you see about David, you start reading through the book of Psalms. It is a significant section of the Old Testament. And the thing you see about David is he realized God got me in, it's gonna take God to get me through, or else I'll never get out. And the thing that he repetitively does, it was David that said, God inhabits the praises of his people. It was David that said, I ain't going nowhere if the glory of God is coming with me. It was David that said, hey, go get me a tabernacle, and raise up the sides of it, and put people in our praise and 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year because of the presence of God ain’t  here, we can’t make this happen. It was David. It was David, the giant killer. It was David the lion killer. It was David the bear killer. It was David the guy who they couldn't even rebel against and be successful. It was David, who just kept saying, the best thing I got to offer God is praise. He said one thing I desire above all else, and that's just that I could be in the house of God and give God praise. Raise a hallelujah. You need God to touch your marriage, raise a hallelujah. You want God to touch your family, raise a hallelujah. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

There's a lot that I want to say, but I just feel like maybe what some of us need to be reminded some of the most significant battles and all of the Old Testament happened. One specifically, they were getting ready to go into battle, and the king said, wait a second, we ain’t putting the soldiers out front. We are putting the praisers out front. So bring the praisers and put them at the front of this group of soldiers. And when they went running in the battle, there was people singing glory under the name of God. And that by the time they got to the battle, the enemy wasn't even there, because God had run him off all because they were praising. And so here's the thing, if we're going to meet the spiritual needs of our family, if we're going to meet the spiritual needs of our community, if we're going to meet the spiritual needs of our nation, we're going to have to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Gospel of the Kingdom, and the Gospel of the Kingdom is that there is a king of kings by the name of Jesus. And that if you will glorify him, and if you will lift him up, and if you will raise a hallelujah unto him, darkness has to flee, enemies have to back up, stuff has to move just cause he's heading in its direction. Raise a hallelujah. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Father I ask you, they're gonna come to some music, and I just asked you, Father God, that whether people are in overflow, whether people are in this room that they're going to prioritize, and they're going to execute, that there's going to be a priority that comes to their life of understanding. Yeah, there's some things that I need to get straight, and I need to execute on the realignment of priorities that God is bringing into my life. But I pray, Father, in the process of seeing all of that unfold, that there is going to be this mentality that reshapes, transforms, our life that we must seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. And that God, as much as we want to pull up all the stuff that's happening around us, may we first and foremost be a conduit, may we become a facilitator for the Kingdom of Heaven to come into earth. And that God when we walk into a workplace that feels more like Hell that Heaven would come down. That God when we walk into a home that is surrounded by the darkness of demonic battles, that Father God, we would bring Heaven down. That we would bring Heaven down in the way we think, that we would bring heaven down in the way we talk, that we would bring Heaven down in the way God that we act. But also God, that we would bring Heaven down in the way that we praise. And that maybe some of us when we’re driving to work, maybe the soundtrack of our life needs to change and we just start raising a hallelujah even as we pull into the parking lot. That God some of us that are working with students and a generation that seems to be so far from God, that maybe God it's just a moment where we walk down a hallway, maybe before hours, maybe after hours, and we just raise a hallelujah. And we invite the presence of God to settle down. Maybe it's some of us walking down our main street, driving around our town square, or even taking a few laps around our zip code and just raising a hallelujah that the presence of God would sit down and that revival would break out. Father, we know that you're not done with America. The question is whether America is done with you. And I pray, God, that people would begin to humble themselves before you, and pray, and seek your face and turn from wickedness and raise a hallelujah!