TRANSCRIPTION | Wednesday, January 13, 2021 | Watch & Pray

 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Hey, 3trees, great to be with you again on another Wednesday night. I really enjoy coming in just having a conversation in the realm of Bible study. Tonight we're going to be taking a look at the book of Matthew, chapter number 26. I'm going to personally be reading a few verses from the New King James Version. We will also take a look at a scripture from the book of Galatians chapter number five, if you'd like to go ahead and maybe turn there or prepare. Also, tonight, we're going to take communion together again. And you know, if you're able to attend the in person gatherings that we have at each of our locations on Sunday morning, we can make these elements of communion available for you there upon request. But then also, if you are participating in church online, if you'll just contact us go to 3trees.com, and then you can click on one of those links for contacting the church. We'd be more than glad to let you know how we could also get some of these packets in your hands as well. But as well, you can also improvise. You can maybe take some crackers or some juice, whatever you have there at home, and honor the Lord in the breaking of bread in your home, maybe even with your family this evening. And so again, a real honor to be able to just discuss the Word of God with you. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, we are living in unprecedented times. And even as I say that, it almost feels like it's starting to become something that is cliche. It kind of seems like it's something that we're hearing on every side and on every front. But it really is for most of us in our lifetimes, unprecedented. And it's so easy right now to be confused. It's really easy right now, to wrestle with anxiety. I've heard more than one person say to me that they're starting to feel somewhat hopeless. And tonight, I just want to remind you that Jesus is still the author and the finisher. He is still the Alpha and the Omega. He is still the First and the Last. There has never been anything that has ever happened in any nation or throughout the entire course of time that has ever caused God to have to start wringing his hands and try to figure out what his response is going to be. Anytime that the enemy has a plot, God always already has a plan. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

We're moving into a new year. And I get it, man, this new year has not started the way that many of us had hoped that it would start. Some of you probably are even thinking man, it seems like 2021 is going to be worse than 2020. Listen, don't go to that negative place with your mind. Drag off that thought, take that thought captive, guard your heart. Scripture tells us to do all of those things. I know for our family, like we were thinking, hey, man, 2021, there's gonna be some things kind of turning the corner, you just by faith want to believe that. And we got the news that my son had actually broken a bone in his foot. The kid loves basketball. And we love watching him play and cheering him on and being a part of that. And he hasn't played an organized game in over 10 months. And he's played ball, but he's not played like in an organized game. And so now here he is on the verge of his season, starting in games beginning and breaks a foot and we found out maybe he's out for the entire season, we don't know. We're gonna believe for healing and divine acceleration on that front. But, you know, you hear stuff like that on top of other things that are happening, it can just become kind of discouraging. And if you're not careful, you can get depressed. And this whole cloud can come over your house. And I know there's people wrestling with a lot more than a broke foot in their house or in their family right now, but I'm just saying it's so easy to just kind of let stuff that just starts to happen all around you. It just becomes like a cloud, you start to get discouraged, you start to get depressed. And I just really believe in God to encourage the intestinal fortitude within every single one of us that we're going to be people of faith. And we're going to be people who have an outlook that believes that if God be for me, then in the end who or what can be against me. That ultimately no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Like if you've ever quoted those scriptures and those verses over your life, like right about now's the time to really quote them with some faith. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so, tonight in our Bible study, I want to encourage you with something that I discovered very early in my pursuit of God, as I was kind of walking out a personal discipleship experience with the Lord. This passage of text is one that has always meant a lot to me, and specifically one verse that we're going to center in on. And just for the sake of emphasis tonight, I'm going to read all these verses. And I hope you have your Bible pulled up, Matthew 26, going to be reading from the New King James Version. If not just follow along, lean in, and let's lay the foundation here. “And then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to the disciples sit here while I go and pray over there. And he took with him Peter and two of the sons of Zebedee. And he began to be sorrowful, and he began to be deeply distressed. And then Jesus said to them, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful even unto death, stay and watch with me.” And one things I'll point out there is, Jesus himself was sorrowful, and what we know is that he knew the cross was coming. He knew what he was about to have to endure. And he was sorrowful about that. There was a human pain associated even with the Son of God. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And, you know, when we look at the book of Revelation, I don't know what part of the end times we're living in, I don't claim to be able to homiletically bestow upon you some hermeneutical exegesis of end-time, eschatology. I mean, I can give you my perspective and my opinions of the book of Revelation. I've read it probably north of 100 times. And I've got multiple books of prophecy for the book of Revelation and commentaries that I've highlighted and marked and written all over. And we can continue to talk about that and look at that, I don't know. But it does appear to us that there are some things that are accelerating. At the very least, it looks like we're in some kind of a dress rehearsal for what maybe the end will look like. And without a doubt, the enemy is pulling some strings. And for whatever reason, God is allowing the enemy to do some things right now, undoubtedly, probably to get all of our attention. And so when we know Jesus, when he knew something difficult was coming, he even, he himself expressed sorrow, he experienced sorrow. It's okay to know that things are coming and to experience some sorrow. But Jesus knew how to process that sorrow. He knew not to lay down and wallow in pity, and to wallow in that sorrow. He knew he needed to go and get alone time with the Father, and to pursue the father in a time of prayer. That's what we go on to see in verse 39. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So Jesus went a little farther, and he fell on his face, and he prayed. And he said, “Oh, my father, if it's possible, let this cup pass, nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And then he came to the disciples, and he found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “What could you not watch with me for one hour, watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak.” This is the verse that I referenced, when we first started reading, I want to read it again for the sake of emphasis, and we'll read verse 40, also for the sake of context. “And then he came to the disciples, and he found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, what could you not tarry with me at least one hour, watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation, the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, Jesus, he knew what was coming. He could sense this impending challenge, difficulty, that was in front of him. He is expressing sorrow. And he knows that sorrow needs to be taken to the Father, and He took some people with him, who've been traveling with him for an extended period of time, people that he's personally discipled, people who at this point, they should be on the inside, they should be in the know. And Jesus says, hey, guys, I want you guys to pray with me. That while Jesus is wrestling with all this sorrow, he comes back and he finds them asleep. And you can sense the frustration in Jesus of what, could you not tarry at least one hour? And maybe you felt like that with some people you've talked to about maybe where you feel like things are at right now. And it's like, they just don't seem like they're any more in pursuit of God than they were. It doesn’t seem like their intensity for God is increasing. You found that to be a little bit frustrating of like, like what, like, in a time like this a situation like this. You mean you don't feel like praying right now. And Jesus goes as far as to say, could you not pray? Could you not tarry with me at least one hour. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, we're taking these 21 days at the front of 2021, just like our church always does with every year, we take a time we set it aside, and we say we're gonna pick some days here in this 21 day period, where we collectively as an entire church family, we're going to be intentional about fasting, we're going to be intentional about praying. Jesus Himself said,  when the disciples, they were trying to cast out a demon that couldn't. In fact, that demon kind of kicked their tail, and they couldn't understand why it didn't go well. And Jesus said to them, some comes out only through prayer and fasting. And so there is an intensity that comes to your life when you begin to pray and fast. It's an emptying yourself out so that God can give you a greater infilling. When you start to replace that natural food with that spiritual food, or that time when you would have just been indulging yourself to instead really express a hungriness and a thirstiness for more of God, because bless it are they which do hunger and thirst for they shall be filled. And so in these 21 days, like, it's a time probably to go into some extended times of prayer. Like maybe you typically pray five minutes a day, maybe this is a time to pray an extended period of time. Maybe you're praying multiple times a day where previously you were only praying once a day. You might even find you like it so well that it becomes a lifestyle for you. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And I know what some of you're saying, you're like, man, I don't know how to pray for a long time. I feel like I start trying to pray a long time, I start falling asleep. Let me ask you this. Have you actually tried to pray out loud? Like, have you really tried to talk to God just like you would talk to your spouse or your very best friend, you know, to have a conversation with heaven? Maybe that maybe that's just a practical thing that could really help some of us to begin to actually express your prayers out loud. Well, I feel like when I do that, I don't sound right. Or I feel like it doesn't come out right. Listen, God is a God of grace, who was willing to die on the cross to have a relationship with you. It's gonna be okay, if it doesn't all come out right to start with. You don't have to string four, or five, and six syllable words together, and make it sound like some great orator when you pray, like just start talking to God. Another thing is even something as simple as the Lord's Prayer. It's something that was probably not meant to be recited when Jesus taught us how to pray with it. It was probably something it was meant to be an outline, where you can just kind of work through that and take each line of it and let it be a section that motivates extended prayer in each line of that prayer. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Last week, we talked about five offerings in our Bible study. Go back and watch that video, if you didn't get to see it. Or if you saw it, it didn't stick out to you, go back and watch it again. And, and that can show you how to take your prayer through an extended period of time. The point is this. When Jesus was in sorrow, when he felt sorrow, he extended his prayer time, and he even got a little further away from everybody else while he was going into that extended prayer time. It said that he went a little further out into this place to be alone by himself. And so maybe this is your time to just go a little further in regards to maybe you need to turn off some stuff for a while, be kind of alone with God, and maybe that prayer time needs to be extended. And I get it, you may get frustrated, because the people that you thought would pray with you, they're not going to pray with you, it doesn't seem like there as interested in it as you are. But Jesus, yeah, he called them out on it, but he continued, as you'll see later, in this text, he went on and he prayed himself. But here's what he looked at them and said, “Watch and pray.” So Jesus knows that he's about to experience sorrow. He knows that himself experiencing that sorrow is going to have a really challenging effect on his disciples. And he's telling him guys, you need to take your prayer up a notch, need to start praying more like he could even last an hour in this first round here. But then he says to him, like watch and pray. It implies that when they are praying, he wants them to have an awareness. He wants them to look at what's going on around them. He wants them to notice that something is happening, that is not normal. They need to watch and pray. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The first time I ever really had an encounter with God in this particular verse, like it really impacted me. And I've thought about it so many times when I'm going into an extended prayer time with God. I've just watched and prayed. And maybe you look at the news, and you kind of see some stuff that's happening. You watch that and then you pray about what you see happening. You don't just get worried, you don't just get concerned, you actually legitimately pray about what you see happening. Maybe you're with your family and you see some stuff happening. You watch what's happening with your family, and then you actually pray about it. You don't just lecture  your kids, although you may need to have a conversation with them. You don't just get over in the corner and talk about this relative and that relative and how they're never going to be what they should have been etc. You actually pray about what you have observed. Watch, and pray.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

There's a lot of things going on right now in our culture, in our society, in our nation. And it's a time, that as you see this stuff, don't just start tweeting everything you're mad about, and status updating everything that you're upset with, and commenting everything you think should be changed. Like actually pray about it. Watch and pray. And here's why Jesus said you have to do that because if you don't, you're going to fall into temptation. Verse 41, Matthew 26, “watch and pray lest you enter into temptation.” If you don't open your eyes and see what's going on around you with the help of the Holy Spirit, and then pray about it, temptation is going to get you. It's going to overwhelm you, it's going to overcome you, because you didn't open your eyes and pray. And you're going to fall into the temptation of being absolutely overwhelmed with anxiety. You're going to fall into the temptation of being absolutely overwhelmed with some kind of feeling of hopelessness, and then you're going to make some really crazy bad decision, because you thought the world was ending anyway. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I had a guy Tell me one time he had reached a stage in life where he had some age on him, what's probably most would consider elderly. And he had shared with me that he was really financially struggling. And he said to me, like, I just, I don't know how I'm gonna make it. And I said, well, man, you had a great job. And I know that with that job, like, you probably had a fairly significant income. He said, well, I did. I said so what happened? Like how do you not have a retirement? And he said to me, he said, I've never had a retirement, I never put anything away for retirement, because I never figured time would last this long. And there he found himself in this situation with no preparation for life whatsoever, because he had looked at it like what's all gonna come to an end, so I guess I don't prepare for tomorrow. Listen, don't let the enemy take you into some crazy places mentally. I talked to somebody the other day and, and they were implying that they were getting ready to go and just start charging all kinds of stuff on credit cards, and just live while they could. Listen, I have no idea how long time lasts, but you gotta keep being wise, and you gotta keep making smart decisions. You got to watch, and you got to pray or you’re going to fall into some kind of crazy temptation where the enemy whips you in a place he should have never whipped you.  Here’s what Scripture goes on to say, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The Spirit of God on the inside of you is willing to do what's right, the Spirit of God on the inside of you is willing to keep pursuing after God. But man, your flesh is weak. My flesh is weak. It's going to crumble. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so here's something that Paul said, on this subject in the vein of what Jesus taught us. It's Galatians, chapter five, it's verse number 17. He said, “For the flesh, lust against the Spirit, and the Spirit lust against the flesh, and these are contrary one to another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” And so what Paul's saying is that there is a war that's going on, on the inside of you and the inside of me, and on one side is the Spirit, and on the other side is the flesh. And they're warring, and they're fighting back and forth. What are they warring for your soul. Your soul is your mind, your will, and your emotions that live on the inside of you. Your mind, your willpower, and your emotional makeup, that's your soul. Look at the book of Psalms and see how many times the word soul is used. The Psalmist was repetitively over and over referencing that there needed to be a calm, a lack of anxiety, a peace to come to the mind, the will, and the emotions. Why? Because the enemy is always over here on the other side of your flesh, trying to draw you away, trying to pull you away, trying to get the best of your mind, your will, and your emotions. But your spirit desires God. It's that God consciousness on the inside of you that is telling you like don't give into that, don't make that decision, don't fight that temptation. And Jesus, wants to pull you into that place where that your prayer life goes to the next level because of what you see. That your prayer life doesn't decrease your prayer life increases. And then your spirit is pulling you towards the things of God, and your flesh is getting pushed down. Scripture goes on to say through the pen of Paul, that if you sow to the spirit, you will reap to the spirit, but if you sow to the flesh, you will reap to the flesh. Think about that for a minute. If you sow to the spirit, you reap to the spirit. If you sow to the flesh, you reap to the flesh. And if you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully. But if you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly. So basically, the deal is this, whichever one you feed the most is the one that's going to prevail. And so if you're constantly feeding your flesh, and you're feeding things that upset your soul, your mind, your will, your emotions, that weakness of the flesh is going to pull you into those things that cripple your soul. But if you will feed your spirit and you'll you'll you'll focus on worship, you'll focus on the word you'll watch and you'll pray. Then what happens is that your soul finds peace, and your soul finds calmness, and your soul finds that it has the ability to remain calm in spite of all the crazy stuff

that's going on around us. And so I hope that helps you some, that Jesus himself when he was experiencing sorrow, when he knew something really bad was about to happen. When Jesus himself knew that there was a really challenging experience in front of him, he just went a little further out into a place to be by himself and to pray. And then he looked at the people around him and he said, like you, all of us, we need to watch and pray so that we don't fall into temptation, because the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I hope you have the elements of communion there for you. If you don't, it's totally okay. You can still participate in this closing prayer with me. But what I hold in my hand, this is the Lord's Supper. And it was actually instituted right before this passage of text that we read in Matthew 26. Jesus sat with his disciples, and he told him, he said, the bread represents my body, and the cup, it represents my blood. And we know that when we celebrate this, we do it in remembrance of Jesus. And the body was broken, so that he could be given. And the cup, it represents him shedding his blood so that we could be forgiven of our sins. And so I just want you to just thank God that you get to have a relationship with him. Thank God that Jesus made that possible. Thank God that you do have the ability to feed your spirit and find yourself to be willing to serve God in places where you would have been weak. And so I'm going to ask you just to maybe focus for a moment, any place in your life where you've been weak, and you need to be willing, if that makes sense to you. Any place you've been weak, and you need to be willing. Places where that you've just had the flesh prevailing, and you need the Spirit of God to start to prevail. I want you to just to believe God, to bring healing to your life and those places. I’m going to ask you to take and eat of the bread.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Jesus lifted up the cup, told them when they drink of it, to know that it was for the remission of sins. Maybe there's places in your life where you've been weak in your flesh, just bottom line, weak in your flesh. Maybe it's a habitual sin, maybe it's some kind of hang up, it's like you just can't get loose from, some kind of hurt in your life, that you just need the blood of Jesus to be applied to that situation. And that you're going to be willing in your spirit, where you've previously been weak in your flesh, and God's even going to deal with some stuff in your past right now. I’m going to ask you to take and drink of the cup. I want you to pray with me? Father, I thank you that we get to partake in the Lord's Supper. I think that it's one of the privileges of being a follower of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Father, that when we're sick, we can be healed. And sometimes that sickness is in our soul. It's not just in our body it's in our mind, it's in our will, it's in our emotions. There’s just places in us where we're weak, and we just need you to make us whole and make us right. But I also thank you, Father God, that you empower us with your Holy Spirit to pull our spirit forward into those places where that we will watch, and we will pray, and we will not bow our knees and compromise, and we will continue to follow you with our whole heart, whole mind, and our whole soul. And so Lord today, visit us with your presence, and continue to lead, guide, and indirect us in Jesus’ name, in Jesus’ name. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I love you, appreciate you guys so much for giving me a chance to be a part of these Bible studies with you. And the thing that I would also say to you is we would love to get to worship with you on Sunday morning. Wether that's in person, or that's in church online, I hope that you will go to 3trees.com, and you'll check out the locations, and you'll see the service times that are available. And for those of you that already called 3trees church home, man, thank you so much for allowing me to be your pastor. I love you guys so much. I asked you to pray for me. Pray that I'll have wisdom. Pray that my body will remain healthy. Pray that I'll be able to lead the church and my family well, and that 2021 is going to set the stage for the greater things that are yet to come in all of our lives. Listen, God bless you. I promise you this, If you'll go with God, he'll go with you, greater things are yet

to come.

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