TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, January 24, 2021 | Overcoming Loss

 


 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Amen and amen.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

This morning, I'm gonna ask you to help me to welcome church online and those who are joining us in overflow. Come on, give them a big hand clap of welcome. Thank you guys so much so much for being with us. It's such an honor to have you and be able to worship with you this morning. I'm gonna allow you to be seated. I want you just to look over at somebody and just let them know you are in the right place at the right time. If you're at home, or maybe you're even at work today, and you're engaging with church online, you let somebody know as well, you are in the right place at the right time. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I'm going to go into the Word here in just a moment. I'm going to be preaching from the book of Isaiah chapter six this morning, I'll read from the New King James Version for those of you that want to follow along on a Bible app or something of that nature. But also want to make you aware, you guys know this church exists for one reason, somebody help me, everyone needs Jesus. Everyone needs Jesus. That's why we do what we do. It's why we show up early and leave late. It's why we give our time, our talent, our treasure. And we are focused right now on three attempts to fulfill that vision, seek the last make disciples, and meet needs. And you guys have been meeting needs, as we've talked about at the end of 2020, and even rolling into 2021. And I want to let you know that one of the things that our church does every single month is we provide groceries for a number of families. And we do that across all three locations. And the way that we approach that is, for about $25 is about what it takes, we can provide eight to 10 meals for a family of four. So for about $25, we can provide eight to 10 meals for a family of four. And so today, as you were thinking about giving, I just wanted to give you something to maybe think about if you want to help us sponsor, you can sponsor, I think they have the slide, but you can sponsor 50 families for $1250. You can sponsor 10 families for $250. You can sponsor five families for $125. Or you can sponsor one family for $25. Something you can think about, something you can pray about, as we talk about meeting needs. We're going to gear up to help as many families as possible with groceries in 2021, as possible. We are continuing to see an increased need. It seems like maybe some people in this season are doing okay, maybe some are even doing very well. But people who are struggling, they are really struggling. And they're caught in a gap where some of them are even having issues getting groceries on their table. And if you could be a part of a church staff sometimes and kind of see some of the need and some of the things that come through the door in regards to people who are good people who are just going through a hard time, and they need a little help. So I want to give you guys that opportunity this morning. And I want to pray over it. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Father, I just thank you that we have the opportunity to give, God, whether we're in church online in an auditorium today. God, there's so many different ways that we can worship you through giving. And, Lord, we just pray that you would speak to our heart that we would give cheerfully that, God, whether we're putting an offering in a bucket or we're giving through an online portal, may we view it as something more than just tossing money in the direction of a good deed. May we see it truly as an avenue and an extension of our worship, and, God, we do it cheerfully in Jesus name; and this church said amen and amen. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want you to look with me at the book of Isaiah. I want you to look with me at chapter number six. Since we've went into the new year, we've been focused with a little more intensity on the subject of prayer, on the subject of fasting. I've spoken more about fasting in our Wednesday night online Bible studies if you've never joined us for those you can do so 6:30pm Central, 7:30pm Eastern, YouTube, Facebook, and 3trees.online.church. And this last week I did speak about fasting. I even shared a testimony that affected our church in a profound way on the other side of someone fasting, so think about that. But this morning, it's in the vein of prayer and being worshipful, but this is just kind of been burning in my heart, and I want to share it with you. Isaiah chapter six, verse number one, “In the year that King Messiah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple. And above it stood a seraphim. Each one of them had six wings. And with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said, holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory. And the post of the door was shaken by the voice of him that cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. And so I said, woe is me, for I am undone.” Woe is me, for I am undone. Woe is me, for I am undone. “Because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips for my eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts. And then one of the seraphim flew to me having in his hand a live coal taken from the altar. And he touched my mouth and he said, Behold, this has touched your lips, your iniquity is taken away, your sin is purged. And also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? who will go for us? And therefore I said, ``Here am I send me.” Just practice that for a minute, here am I, send me. We'll try it one more time, here am I, send me. Just just get that in your spiritual vocabulary. Bring it into your prayer life. I think it's going to be useful to you from time to time. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Father, thank you for the opportunity to preach, to teach. I ask you to help me Lord, to deliver your word today in a way that causes your people to move forward in their relationship with you. Lord, let it be done, in Jesus’ name, and this church said, amen. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Look with me again at that first verse, Isaiah chapter six, verse number one, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne.” There are some commentators, some theologians that believe that Isaiah was actually quite close to King Uzziah. There’s no doubt that they were relatives. There are many, as they examine the book of Isaiah, even other books of the Bible in history, that come to the conclusion that Isaiah was grieving the loss of King Uzziah. Notice this phrase, in the year, that King Uzziah died. If Isaiah truly is close to King Uzziah, and they have a personal relationship, and Isaiah really values King Uzziah’s relationship in his own life, then this is a bad year for Isaiah. He's struggling. He's hurting. He's wounded. He's grieving. Yet, even though this is in a year that he has experienced loss, this is in a year that something has went bad wrong, he finds himself in the temple in the house of the Lord, and he sees the Lord high and lifted up. Here's what I learned from that, immediately a takeaway, that it can be a bad year, and you can still have a powerful moment with God. I'm gonna say it again, it can be a bad year, and you can still have a powerful moment with God. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

For some of us, 2020 was not the most enjoyable experience that we've ever walked through. There's many of you that you would even look at 2020, and you would say, well, that was a bad year. But I would say that there are also those of you who could look at 2020 and pull out some powerful moments with God, that despite everything that was going wrong, and despite everything that went bad, maybe even things that you were grieving for, there were also powerful moments with God. And here's why it's important to have this conversation in January of a new year. Because if that was not your experience in 2020, that the only thing you can really point out is well, there was bad here and there was a lot that went wrong, and there's a lot I didn't like, and there's a lot I'm still upset about etc, etc. As you come into 2021, you need to understand, there may not be this snap of the fingers, they may not be this flipping of the switch where everything instantaneously starts to get better with our society, our culture, our nation, our communities, everything that's going on. And if that becomes the case, and you continue to spiral downwardly into well, this is bad, and this is getting worse, and it just doesn't seem like it's ever going to get better, you're gonna miss some opportunities to powerfully experience God. You're gonna have to understand that even if it is a bad year, and I don't want to speak that over 2021, I don't want to believe that over 2021. Can I get a witness from somebody? I'm, I'm gonna believe there's gonna be some really good things that happen. But the best thing that can ever happen to you, regardless of what's going on in your circumstance is that you realize there are opportunities for a powerful moment with God. So it doesn't matter if it's been a bad year, there can still be powerful moments with God. Isaiah is having a bad year, but he also has a powerful moment with God. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Here's one of the things that I see also about this experience with Isaiah, is that even though he experienced personal loss, he was positioned for spiritual gain. Here's something you need to think about this morning, personal loss can position you for spiritual gain. Isaiah has lost someone that he really cares about. He's lost someone that means a lot to him. You may have lost someone, or you may have even lost something, but when you have personal loss, if you will allow the Lord to lead you, it can position you for spiritual gain. Why is that? Because there's something about emptiness that God is attracted to. There's something about God finding people who have a spot in their life that can be made available to him. In fact, the Bible goes as far as to say that God is near to the brokenhearted. There's something about emptiness, there's something about being poured out, there's something about being pulled apart, that attracts God to your life. So if you feel like you are broken, if you feel like that, there's parts of you that are being pulled apart, if you feel like there's been great loss in your life, I dare you to turn your life into a vessel and say, God fill me up not to the brim, but feel me until my life overflows. That's what happens with Isaiah, he has experienced personal loss. But now as he goes into the house of the Lord, on this particular day, it's not like any other church service he's ever experienced. He was a prophet, he was a student of the Word of God. There is no telling how many times this guy's been to church. I mean it is a regular occurrence for him to go to the temple. But when he lost something, when something that he used to have in his life is now gone. When he goes in, there's some kind of an openness that evidently he's never had before, and he gains an insight of Heaven that he never possessed up to that point. He sees something about God he's never seen before. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

When you read the book of Job, spoiler alert, when you read the book of Job, Job loses some stuff. There's a loss in Job's life. But there's an amazing storyline, that at the end of the book of Job, he makes a specific statement. This is what he says, after he's lost everything, and he's experienced God in a way that he's never experienced him before on the other side of that loss. And he's had a spiritual gain in his life that you really have to read the book to fully appreciate, Job says, up to this point, I had heard about you, but now I've seen you. That's what he said to God. Up to this point, I had heard about you. I heard other people say you were a good God. I heard other people say you would do magnificent things in the earth. I heard other people say that you can heal the sick and open the blind and unstop, the deaf ear, I heard other people say that you could give them back whatever the devil stole from them. But now I can stand here and say, after what I've been through, after the loss that I've experienced, I've seen it for myself. And there's something about when you experience personal loss, that it can position you for spiritual gain. You can see God, experience God in a way that you've never experienced it before. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Some of you are thinking about moments right now, in your life where you've experienced great loss. Some of you have been through divorces. And as you were going through that you experienced a pain that you had never experienced before. It was a loss. But also it did something to your relationship with God. You started praying more, you started pursuing God more. Others of you, you've lost somebody you really loved, you really cared about, death took them earlier than you would have preferred. But in the place of that loss you found. You found a gain in your relationship with God. There's something about circumstance, that if you will allow it to fill you, it can set you up to experience God in a way that you’ve never experienced before. If there's anybody under the sound of my voice at home, overflow, in this room, that you've experienced, that would you just shout, amen. Amen. 

 

Here's the thing, loss positioned as a to see God. That was important for Isaiah because I want to show you something. Isaiah chapter six is what we've been reading from. We read eight verses. It's the day Isaiah went to church and experienced something he’d never experienced before. But you have to read Isaiah chapter five to really understand Isaiah chapter six. You do understand that the Bible was not originally put together with chapters and verses. That was just scholars best attempt to help us have something to grab hold of. But when you read it in full context of this book, Isaiah chapter five, verse number 18, “Woe unto them.” Isaiah, chapter five, verse number 20, “Woe unto them,” Isaiah chapter five, verse 21, “Woe unto them.” Verse 25, he talks more about them. Verse 30, he talks more about them. It's woe unto them. They are wrong. They're not doing things right. There's something wrong with our culture. There's something wrong with our nation. There's something wrong with these people that say their followers of God. Woe unto them. Over, and over, and over again, woe unto them.

Then he lost something. Then he went through some personal hurt. Then he entered a year that was bad, and he kept pursuing God. And on the other side of this loss, in a moment of pursuit of God, he walked into the church building. And for the first time in his life, he saw God truly high and truly lifted up. And it's in that moment that he makes a statement we've never heard Isaiah make before, it's verse number five, “Woe is me.” Like, up to this point, it was what was wrong with everybody else. Up to this point, it's what everybody else needed to fix. But then he lost something. Then he went through pain. Then he went through personal struggle. And now when he goes in, in the midst of this emptiness, in the midst of this brokenness, he sees God, in a way he's never seen him before. And now it's not about what's wrong with everybody else. It's about hey God, I think there's some about me you probably need to fix. Woe is me.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You ever had a statement like that? You know, if you haven't, it's possible that you've never compared your righteousness to God. Here's a question for you. Are you comparing your righteousness to God or to man? If you compare yourself to Beulah and Freddie, I promise you, you're going to be able to justify why it's woe is to them. And if you keep comparing yourself, to the people that are around you, you're always going to be focused on what is wrong with them. But if you start comparing yourself to God, you're going to realize that even your best attempt at righteousness is nothing more than filthy rags. Do you know who gave us that statement? It's a joker by the name of Isaiah. And later on in his book, after he has had experience after experience with God, and he's seen the coming Messiah, Jesus, in a way, unlike any other Prophet in the Old Testament, it only came on the other side of woe is me. And now he realizes wait a second, I'm not as righteous as I thought I was. I don't have it figured out as much as I thought I did. There's things about me that God really needs to fix. And this is the way that he describes it, woe is me, I am undone. I am undone. I am undone. That word undone in the Hebrew, it means some specific things; cease, cut off, destroy, ruin. So he's literally saying, woe is me, I am ruined. And then he goes on and says it's because I am a man of unclean lips. See, as long as he was comparing himself to other people, he thought he was clean. He thought he was holy. He thought he was righteous. But when he walked in and truly saw God, and angels are standing at the throne of God, and they're yelling, holy, holy, holy, to the point that the doorposts are shaking, smoke is filling the room, like he's seeing God. Holy, hope. He sees, wait a second, I'm not as clean as I thought I was. In fact, my flesh is completely ruined. Like, my flesh is a mess. Like, my flesh, after seeing this, like I realized, like, my flesh, it just completely needs to be destroyed. And while he's in this moment, he begins to cry out, I'm a sinner, and I need God to save me from this sin. Like, I need God to do something with all this mess that's in my life. I didn't notice it, as long as I was focused on everybody else, but now that I've really went after God, now that I've lost something and really went after God, like I realized, I need God to do something in me. And as he's having this moment, the angels start bringing the fire of God representative through coals into his life, and he starts to be cleansed, and he starts to be purified. And in the midst of that he hears the voice of God, and God says to him, whom shall I send? Like who's gonna go for me? Who's gonna go straighten all this self-righteous ranting you've been doing out? Isaiah throws his hands in the air and he's like, here am I. Send me. It was instantaneous. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Have you ever read scripture? Like if you ever really read the Bible and notice how many people argue with God? Like God shows up and talks to Moses. Moses starts arguing with God. They go through hours, if not days of arguing back and forth, you can go or not go, bro, What's up with you? Elijah, he calls fire down from Heaven. God's got some more missions for him. He's got some assignments for him. And Elijah’s like you know, I'm really not so keen on that girl named Jezabel, like she's kind of a bad girl. I don't really want to mess with her. So maybe I'll just hang out over here in the cave, and be depressed, and feel sorry for myself, and live in my pity. Like, Elijah, are you gonna go or not? Because if you're not, I'm just gonna bring a chariot of fire down, get you out of here because we need to let Elisha take over. Like there's something going on here. Jonah, hey Jonah, I need you to go preach for me. Like there's something I need you to do for me. I need you to go down there. I need you to go preach the Gospel for me, to preach the Word of God for me, and bring revival to a wicked city named Nineveh. And Jonah's like you know, I'm really thinking about checking out this little seaport down there. Now here they got a great beachside hotel. And I'm thinking maybe I can get a suntan work through this and you know, then maybe God, I'll give it some consideration. A whale of a problem later. Like, has anybody ever noticed in Scripture, how many times people argue with God? 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You go into the New Testament, like we celebrate that there's 12 disciples that drop their nets and follow Jesus. Have you noticed how many times people said no to Jesus? Like over and over and over again. They said, No. But when God found a man who had lost something, and went to church anyway, and showed up to worship anyway, and put himself in a place to worship anyway, he said, I can work with that fella. He's got some things that aren't exactly right yet, but I got a feeling there's some potential in this joker. And on the other side of an encounter with the fire of God in his life, he starts screaming, I'm undone. I'm undone. But God, if you can use me, I'll go right here. I'll go right now I'll not pause another second, I'll not argue with you. I'm in God. I'm in right here, right now. Maybe that can be your 2021. Maybe you lost all kinds of crazy stuff in 2020. Like, you can't even keep the list up. Like somebody the other day asked me to just describe all the difficulties that happened in 2020 and stuff that I was working through, and different losses, etc. And by the time I got to the end of the first page, I decided it's probably time to just stop. But as you work through the stuff that you lost, as you work through the stuff that didn't go right, as you work through the places where maybe you're even grieving, if you can come to the Lord and say, I want to see you and lifted up. I want to see your holiness. And I want you to reveal what needs to be changed in me. Maybe 2021 can be your year where you say I am done pushing pause. I am done arguing about why I can't use my time, why I can't give my talent, why I can't give my treasure. Like God, if you can use me, I am all in right here, right now. Can somebody give God an amen? If you're like, I'm in God, I'm in. I'm in. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I ran from God for like six years of my life. And it was actually kind of during some of my teenage years and stuff like that. And maybe this speaks to some of you that are younger in your walk with God. And I just really argued a lot with God. And I went back and forth with why it shouldn't happen. And it couldn't happen. And it couldn't be me and it shouldn't be me and all those things, but it was only after some loss, that I finally found my marker 82. But on the other side of that moment, there was a much more ready here I am, If you want me you can have me. God send me. But focus on that statement, I am undone. Have you ever been undone? You ladies are thinking about when you've not fixed your hair and put your makeup on. My wife is thinking about every time I leave the house. She looked at me this morning, she said are you gonna wear that? Yeah. I am undone. Have you ever been undone? Have you ever been at the end of yourself? When you realize, wait a second, my flesh don't measure up. Maybe you don't have the right education. Maybe you don't have the right pedigree. Maybe you're not from the right side of the tracks. Maybe it just seems like your calculator and your pencil can't figure it out. Like I'm kind of undone here Lord. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

But there's a great thing about being undone. You're undone. All that flesh that was binding you, all that flesh that was wrapping you up in habits that were not of God, hurts that you should have gotten over a long time ago, habitual sin, hangups, all that stuff that you were wrapped up in your flesh. When you finally have that undone moment, and you realize your flesh can't bring the answer to start with. There's this moment with God, where you finally see the potency of salvation and the need for the fire of God in your life. And when you stand up, you're undone from the rags of your flesh that were binding you, so that you can finally say, God, here I am, send me. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

There were some joker's in Scripture that got undone. David is told he's gonna be and he's gonna be the king. But David understood, if I'm going to be the king, there's only one way I can do that successfully, I'm gonna need God. So when he came into the city to be introduced as king, he made sure he put the glory of God in front of him. And Scripture says he was dancing in such an undone way that his wife rebuked him for excessive worship. Lazarus, he's in a grave. And the Bible says he's all bound up in grave clothes. But when he had a moment with the glory of God, and he come up out of that tomb, Scripture says that all those grave clothes that were on him, had to lose him and let him go. That when Lazarus went in the tomb, he was one way. But when he came out of the tomb, he was an entirely different way. Jesus, Jesus gets up from the grave, and the Bible specifically points out that before he left the tomb, all the stuff that had him wrapped up, all the grave clothes that had him bound, he started taking them off one by one to the point he did it with such meticulous fashion, that Scripture says he takes the napkin off of his face that they had placed on him, he folds it all up, and just lays it down to the side as if to say, I am undone, the grave cannot hold me death cannot hold me, I am undone. And here's the good news for me and you, because Jesus got undone. If you can see him at the right hand of the Father, then whatever grave clothes are holding you, whatever flesh is holding you, whatever addiction is holding you, whatever hang up is holding you, you too can be undone. And it's not such a bad thing to be undone. When you're able to say I got saved, and I'm undone. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You do realize that you could walk in here today unsaved and leave saved. You could walk in here bound and leave loosed. You could walk into a moment with God, even those of you that are in your home today, or you're just joining us in this moment, like you realize that this moment, this moment, could be a bad year, but it could be a powerful moment with God. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I'm gonna ask him to come. And as they begin to just kind of play some music, I want every head to be about every hour to be closed. And here's what I want you to think about for a second, I don't want you to think about what's wrong with culture. I don't want you to think about what's wrong with society. I don't want you to think about what's wrong with your family. I don't want you to think about how jacked up the last thing was that you read on social media, to where it's woe is them, woe is them, woe is them, woe was them. Right now, especially if you are a person that has experienced personal loss in some way, shape, form or fashion. I want you just to get real with God. And I want you to have a moment of surrender before the throne of God. And I want you to invite God to show himself, reveal himself to you in a way that maybe you've never seen him before. And that right now, it's not about comparing yourself to everybody else. It's about Lord, reveal to me what part of me needs to be undone? Where is it that I'm bound? And it's keeping me from saying, here am I sin me? What part of me God needs the touch of your fire. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, that's one of the things that scripture points out about Isaiah, is that he says, my flesh is a mess because my lips are unclean. And when God brought the fire, that's where he brought it to, he brought it to his lips. God can bring the fire of his presence to the very place in your life, where you've been unclean, where there's been the greatest struggle with holiness, the greatest struggle with righteousness that can bring that fire. If you just say, Lord, I'm ready for the spiritual gain in spite of the loss. I think for some of us today, that could mean a salvation experience. We really once and for all could just say, Lord I need you to save me from my sin. And to see the work of Jesus Christ, what he did, that he set an example of how whatever it is that's binding you even if it's the grave itself, you can be loosed, and you can be undone, and once you realize that your flesh is ruined, your spirit can reign. And you begin to take authority over every aspect of your life in the name of Jesus that previously gave place to the stronghold of the enemy.