TRANSCRIPT | Sun, Oct 4, 2020 | It's All Made Up

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Hey Church Online, it is an absolute privilege to get to be with you this morning. I want to thank you so much for the way that you have leaned in over the course of the last few weeks and months, and I know that we even have those of you that are new to our church, and you’re now calling 3trees Church home. 3trees Church exists for one reason above all else, and that is because everyone needs Jesus. So we just want to equip you in taking those next steps with Jesus. Right now our church is focused on a very clear mission that has three parts; we are going to seek the lost, we are going to make disciples, and we are going to meet needs. So I hope you have had the chance to not only join us on Sundays but also to join us on Wednesday nights, 6:30pm central, 7:30pm eastern standard time. You can go to the 3trees Church Facebook page. You can go to the 3trees Church Youtube page. Wednesday nights, 6:30pm Central, 7:30pm Eastern. You can join us as we take a deeper look into Scripture. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Right now, we are walking through the book of 1 Corinthians, and I’ve actually spent the last two Sunday mornings kind of helping to set the stage for how that’s going to look for our church on Wednesday nights. Today, I just want to kind of parenthetically insert a message, something that’s on my heart, and I feel like maybe it will be an encouragement to you. Today we have the privilege to have staff pastors who are speaking across our different campuses, and I get the privilege of just hanging out with you in Church Online today. I feel like it would just be a great moment to just speak to some things that I feel like would be an encouragement to you whether you're in your office this morning, whether you're’ at work, whether you're at home. Maybe you’ve taken a drive, and you have kind of pulled over for a few minutes. Maybe you're sitting in a park somewhere. I don’t know what your storyline is, but I do appreciate you leaning in, and I want to encourage it. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I’m going to read from the book of Nehemiah. I’m going to take a look at chapter 6, and I’m going to read just a handful of verses. The first section of these verses will be from the ESV version; the last section will be from the NLT. Nehemiah 6:3, it says “and I sent messengers to them saying I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave and come down to you. And they sent to me four times in this way and every time I answered them in the same manner.”

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Then, in verse number 8, it says “I replied, there is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” You are making up the whole thing. “They were just trying to intimidate us. They were imagining that they could discourage us and that they could stop the work so I continued the work with an even greater determination.” Now some of you may have familiarity with the storyline, others of you it may be somewhat new to you, or maybe you just need a little bit of a refresher course. Here’s the deal, Nehemiah had an unction from God to go back into Jerusalem that had been devastated by invading armies, and the people of God, the Hebrews, had spent an extended period of time in Babylonian captivity. Nehemiah was a cupbearer for the king of Babylon. He requested permission to go back to Jerusalem and to start rebuilding a wall. He was able to do that in fifty-two days. It was unbelievable the progress that the people made under his leadership, but Nehemiah encountered a number of hindrances, and he encountered a number of people who didn’t like what he was trying to do, and quite frankly, they were doing everything that they possibly could to stop him. So, this is one of those instances where Nehemiah is trying to do the work, and his enemies, enemies of God’s work in the earth, are trying to stop him. Because if they can stop him, they can stop the whole thing. So, Nehemiah starts talking back to the enemy. Here’s what I want you to see. I want you to notice in verse number 9, it says “and they were just trying to intimidate us.” And they were just trying to intimidate us. Watch this, but verse 8 says “there is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” And then he says “they were just trying to intimidate us.” I would like to say to you this morning, it’s all made up. It’s just all made up.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The enemy is trying to make up some things that’s going to get in your head, going to get in your heart, because he wants to intimidate you. Think about that work intimidation. Maybe you remember a time on the school playground where you were intimidated by a bully. Maybe you remember sometimes in life where you were going in for some kind of an interview, and you felt maybe intimidated. Maybe there've been moments where you had an employer or you had a leader, or you had a boss, who had a bullying way about them, and you found yourself intimidating. Maybe you’ve dealt with family members, that they have an intimidating way about them. Here’s what I want you to understand about intimidating, number one, the enemy wants to intimidate you. The reality is, intimidation is a spirit, and it comes from Hell. 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given you”, or us,” a spirit of timidity, but God  has given us power, and love, and a sound mind.” So here’s the thing, when you start to feel intimidated, it means that there is a spirit of timidity that is coming against your life, and God wants you to know that He has not designed you to be a timid person. He has not made you a person who gives in to intimidation. If you're feeling that in any way, shape, form, or fashion, you need to understand it is not coming from God. You do not wrestle against flesh and blood, you wrestle against principalities and powers of the air. So, when you start to feel something that you know that is not of God, even if it’s coming through a personality, you’re not just dealing with that personality, you're dealing with the reality of Heaven and Hell, and that the enemy is going to send spirits to try and hold you back from everything that God’s got for you. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So, as we learn with Nehemiah, he’s coming to do some significant things in the earth, and the enemy starts making up stuff, anything he can do to try and intimidate Nehemiah. Because the enemy understands that many times intimidation has a paralyzing effect. It can just paralyze you when you start to feel that intimidation. Like you know that you're up against maybe somebody that feels bigger than you, that feels more influential than you, that it feels like that this thing is definitely going to be the end of you, and you can just feel paralyzed. The reason that we feel paralyzed is because intimidation breeds insecurity, and you start to feel less than secure. Then, if you continue to just let that intimidation, that spirit of timidity, have it’s way, you move from just being insecure to where that you actually start to wrestle with anxiety. You will start to have panic attacks because of that spirit of timidity that is making you feel so insecure and trying to convince you that you’ve been left out by God. He starts making up stuff, that you’re going to die and not live. He starts making up stuff, that there’s more people that are against you than there are that are for you. He starts making up stuff, that there’s something that has come against your life that even God is not willing to move in or be involved in. That made up stuff that the enemy puts in your heart, and he puts in your head, the intimidation that comes from that, it begins to breed that insecurity. Then you start to wrestle with the anxiety. Here’s the issue with anxiety, if it hangs around long enough, that spirit of timidity will see to it that it turns into discouragement. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want you to look again with me at this verse. It’s Nehemiah 6:9 “and they were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us.” You know, intimidation, it’s not fun to deal with. A spirit of timidity is not a fun thing to wrestle with, but you're going to notice in this passage of text that it gets progressively more difficult. That the enemy not only wants to intimidate you, the thing that he is after is to discourage you. Because if you were to think about like wrestling with timidity as this rung on a ladder that downwardly spirals, then discouragement is like even further down. You know, the Bible actually talks quite a bit about discouragement. What we learn is that the overarching theme in Scripture is that discouragement is demonic. So, intimidation is not a spirit that comes from God, it is a spirit that comes from the enemy. And that spirit of timidity, if it stays in your life, you got to get this, it’s going to lead to the point to where that you begin to feel overwhelmingly discouraged. And Scripture says some things about discouragement as I’ve already mentioned. One commentator, someone who wrote commentary about Scripture, in regards to the word discouragement, this is what he had to say, he said “Discouragement from a biblical perspective is a sense of unhappiness arising from a loss of confidence in one’s own abilities in the reliability of God or in the power of the Gospel. Discouragement can occur in the Christian life, especially when there is resistance to the Gospel or in instances of personal failure.” You know, it’s a very real possibility that right now that with everything that’s going on in the world, everything that we’re wrestling with in culture, in society, all the stuff that’s going on in politics, you name it, there’s a lot of things that are happening that may even be intimidating to you, intimidating to you as a parent, intimidating to you as the leader of your home, intimidating to you as the leader of your business, intimidating to you as you try to live a Christian life. Intimidation lingers around if you don’t recognize this is a spirit that the enemies brought against my life, you’re gonna get discouraged. And when that discouragement starts to come into your life, Scripture tries to give us an overview of the effect it’s going to have. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

It’s interesting to note that the Bible talks about multiple instances in Scripture of people who experience discouragement. In fact in Numbers chapter 21 we realize that the Israelites are in the desert, and the Bible says they experienced discouragement. One of the most famous stories in the Bible, David and Goliath. The reason David got a shot at Goliath is because Scripture tells us in 1 Samuel 17 that the Israelites were discouraged by how big Goliath was. I’m going to tell you something, if that story doesn’t give us an overview of what we're talking about this morning, we may not find one. Because what happened with the Israelites, this big old giant walks out, he starts saying stuff about them. He starts saying stuff to them. He starts like blaspheming their god. Instead of them rising up against it, they got timid. They felt a spirit of timidity. They became intimidated, and they start hiding from the giant. Scripture goes on to say they got to the point they were completely discouraged until a young man named David showed up. And man, I’m just believing that God is going to send some of you back into your relationships, maybe into your small group, maybe into your workplace, into your school system, into your locker room, and you're going to be that David. That when everybody else is feeling timid and feeling discouraged, you're going to be bold as a lion because you know you’ve been endued with the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Scripture goes on, it shows us that there are prayers of key people in Scripture who are wrestling with discouragement. You can find David praying a prayer when he was discouraged in Psalm 31:9-12. A matter of fact, I can share them with you. It says he prays “God be gracious to me. I am in distress. I’m discouraged. My eye is wasted in grief.” In other words, I’ve cried to the point that my eyes have wasted away. “For my life is spent with sorrow. My years have been spent with my strength failing away because all my adversaries have become approach, and I’m an object of dread to my acquaintances.” I mean he’s just pouring it out to God, like Lord I’m wrestling with discouragement. So here’s what we notice, David, who is a guy who was able to be encouraged in a moment when everyone else was discouraged, and he was able to bring encouragement to fight the giant when everyone else was paralyzed by timidity, even in his own life reached a point where he started to feel discouraged. Here’s what we learn about Scripture. When it was a big old giant out there, it didn’t have much of an effect on him, that was not the thing that bothered him. But, when somebody in his own circle of friendships started making up stuff about him and started saying things about him that were negative, that’s when he got discouraged. It teaches us that you can be a giant killer, and the enemy will keep looking for ways to try to get you discouraged. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, the book of Ezra goes hand in hand with the book of Nehemiah. So, this morning we have taken our anchor text from the book of Nehemiah. One of the things that we see under Ezra’s leadership, who was also trying to help rebuild Jerusalem much like Nehemiah comes and tries to help rebuild Jerusalem under his time of captivity. Ezra, he wasn’t overly successful. Like, it wasn’t that he didn't have success, it’s just that he didn’t have the kind of success that Nehemiah had. And one of the things that you find about Ezra is that it seems to me like there’s some places in his book where he kind of like is making it clear, like I’m dealing with some discouragement. One of the places he talks about is that like people are literally, like the people who are for the progress are yelling, and the people who are against the progress are yelling, and he says they are out in the city streets, and he can’t even tell who is for him and who is against him. Sounds to me like a guy who is wrestling with discouragement. But what we learn from Nehemiah is where Ezra wasn’t really maybe always ready to recognize, this is a spirit of timidity, this is the enemy, Satan himself trying to discourage me from doing the work that God wants me to do, Nehemiah just shows us man listen the devil is making up stuff. He’s making up stuff because he wants to intimidate you because he wants to discourage you. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, Scripture goes on, talks about discouragement from the point that in fact it gives general warnings, five times, that you should never be a part of discouraging somebody else. You think about that for a minute, that Scripture gives a general warning on five occasions that you should not be a part of discouraging someone else. Why, because that spirit is not of or from God. Another thing in Scripture is that five times again, Scripture tells us that if someone is wrestling with discouragement, we should stand with them, we should be there with them in regard to a form of encouragement. You know, when our church was first getting started about twenty years ago, we were only maybe a couple years in when we really felt like God was speaking to us that there were a ton of people in South Central Kentucky that were wrestling with discouragement. I remember many times I would go for prayer walks, and I would walk the sidewalks of main streets, or sometimes I would even get out and walk like from one town that we felt called to represent or to serve to the next town. I remember so many times when I was in those prayer walks, I would just sense just overwhelming discouragement. I began to think man if I’m feeling this, I can’t imagine what the people in these houses, the people in these businesses, are feeling. So we actually just took a three-word motto, and we posted it on all of our signs, and it just simply said “Encouraging the discouraged,” encouraging the discouraged. In fact, at one point, we even had a website associated with that, encouraging the discouraged. Because we realized man discouraged people need encouragement, and God calls us to stand by those who are discouraged. So, I would like to be an encouragement to you this morning that maybe you're wrestling with discouragement, or maybe you just know somebody who is wrestling with discouragement. And maybe this message this morning will give you some practical help in your personal relationship and walk with God, but maybe it’s also going to be something that becomes revelatory to you that you're able to take into somebody else's life, and you're able to speak some life and let them know, hey wait a second, look around a minute, like just focus for a second and realize the enemy is making up a lot of this stuff that he is trying to destroy you with in regard to timidity and discouragement. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Like, what kind of lie is the enemy making up that works against you or that person you care so much about. Is he telling you that your daddy was an alcoholic so you’re going to just be an alcoholic and that’s the way it’s always going to be. Is he telling you that you’ve been diagnosed with this sickness and that it doesn’t matter what kind of treatment you seek or how much you pray. You’re never going to have any success in overcoming that sickness. Like, is he telling you that because of what COVID has done to our society and the finances of so many that you spent your life working and building and now it’s just never going to be the same again. Listen, you can listen to the stuff the enemy is trying to make up, and it will only become true when you choose to believe it. You gotta understand I am not going to give in to the spirit of timidity. I am not going to be intimidated. I am not going to let it happen because I don’t want to give place to this discouragement that separates me from the power of God that’s at work in my life. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, I’ve got several other things that actually are here in my notes that I could share with you about Scripture in regard to discouragement, but I just kind of feel an unction to maybe just move forward to one passage of text that I want to share with you, and it’s one that I have quoted a lot, and it’s one that I love to read, and I believe it’s going to even be an encouragement to you if you are wrestling with discouragement. Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can ever be against us.” If God is for us, who could ever be against us. Verse 35 “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love.” Does it mean that He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or if we’re persecuted or we’re hungry, or we’re wrestling with destitution, or if we are in danger or if somebody threatens us with death, no. Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ Jesus who loved us. And I am convinced that there is nothing that can ever separate us from God’s love. He goes on to say not even the powers of Hell can separate us from the love that God has for us. And so I get it, like you feel timid, I get it. You're wrestling with discouragement, but you need to also get this, the enemy makes up a lot of this stuff that creates doubt, and worry, and anxiety, and timidity, and discouragment. You got to know if God’s for you, it doesn’t matter who or what is against you. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want you to go back with me again, and I want you to visit this passage of text that Nehemiah has shared with us. Nehemiah 6:9, he’s just said everything they’re saying is all made up. “They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining they could discourage us and stop the work,” and stop the work, and stop the work. So, the enemy has a plan, and his plan is to take you out because he wants to stop the work that is happening through you. I have absolutely no doubt that God is using you in some way, some shape, or some fashion, that maybe you’re not even aware of. That right there in your job place when you got that unction to start being a greater witness for Jesus Christ, and then you got intimidated because you were afraid they were going to ask you a question you didn’t know the answer to, and then you try it again, or maybe you even went so far as to try to witness and it didn’t go the way you expected, and now you are wrestling with discouragement in regard to even the work of just sharing your faith, and the enemy has succeeded in stopping the work. Maybe, that there's been places and times in your life where you felt called to serve, maybe to serve as a part of your church, or to serve in the community, maybe just some random act of kindness, and you started thinking about well what if this happens, and what if that happens, and your mind just went to all kinds of crazy places and you got intimidated, and you even got discouraged because you felt condemned that you didn’t do what you’re supposed to do, and so now you don’t even think about serving, you’ve let the work be stopped. That’s why the enemy messes with you. He’s not just after you, he’s after the work that you are called to do and the work that God wants to do through you. And he knows that if he can stop you, he can stop the work because God has chosen to use people. He doesn’t want you to be successful or to do anything of significance. So his attack on the work starts with his attack on you. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Maybe there's been times in your life when you felt a call to be generous, and then you see things happen in the culture, financially, and you feel intimidated to be generous and concerned, and fearful, and anxious, and you just get parylaized. And then maybe there’s been times when you were generous, and it didn’t go exactly like you thought you were going to do, You had these grand aspirations of sowing and reaping, and then you just got discouraged, and now you don’t even choose to think about being generous anymore. And think about the works of ministry that maybe have been stopped because the enemy got to you. Listen, one of the things that happened to me in my life earlier on in pastoral ministry, like I felt a strong call for South Central Kentucky. I felt a strong call to try to be an agent of change and to try to give my life to God and lead others in that endeavor, and I can tell you man over the years has been more than one giant that stuck his head over the hillside. There’s been more than one time where I felt overwhelmingly intimidated, felt like that I didn’t have the right education, felt like that maybe I didn’t have the right training, that maybe I didn’t know the right people, that maybe I didn’t. All those things that we all wrestle with and so many times letting that timidity, that spirit of timidity have its way in my head and my heart, I would get discouraged. And then you start thinking about man I’m just going to quit, I’m not really making a difference for anybody. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, we’re just never gonna really do anything of significance. I remember being in a storefront with six people and being so intimidated to even try and do church because we didn’t have music, and we didn’t have sound systems like we needed, and we didn't have lights like we needed, and then get discouraged and think man I don’t even know if we should keep trying to be a church. Twenty years ago, the work was almost stopped on more than one occasion. And I can tell you since we’ve even went on to church online, like man there’s so many incredible ministries, and there’s so many people who do this in such profound ways, that you kind of, you can start to feel intimidated. Like, man what we have to offer would never measure up. it would never be good enough, and then the next thing you know, you start to get discouraged, and you’re just thinking man I don’t even know if we’re really making a difference in anybody’s life. I don’t know if we’re really even bringing change because some of it the enemy tries to hide it from you. He doesn’t allow you to see the change. He doesn’t allow you to see the transformation, even though it’s happening. And you start to realize, wait a second, I can’t afford to be discouraged twenty years ago, or the work called 3trees Church gets stopped. And can’t afford to be discouraged right here, right now, or the work that God has planned for 3trees and beyond gets stopped. And you can’t afford to be timid because you are going to give place to discouragement, and the work that God has through you is going to get stopped.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Nehemiah said it, he said “They made it all up.” Like, I look back now, there’s stuff God was telling me twenty years ago that the enemy just made up and got me to believe it. I look now and I see some of the incredible testimonies that come in Monday’s and Tuesdays and even this last week man we heard testimonies of two different people, two different people that came to church, asked someone on the Ministry Team to pray for them, and volunteer members of the Serve Team prayed for them. Those people went back to get their reports for stage IV terminal cancer in two different answers, two different parts of the region, and got a report that said the cancer is totally and completely gone. It doesn’t exist anymore. We can’t find a record of it at all. Like, that’s why the enemy wants to stop you. It’s why he wants to stop you. Because there is something happening through you. Watch this, look at this, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work, verse 9 Nehemiah says “So I continued the work with even greater determination.” So I continued the work with even greater determination. I mean I literally have cold chills on my body right now, and I feel like that maybe that’s just a little bit of the Holy Spirit given confirmation. If not, I’m going to claim it in Jesus’ name. The enemy wouldn’t be trying to stop it if it wasn’t doing good. Like the greater the level, the greater the devil. And the reason you’re up against such a great fight, and the reason you feel such great levels of discouragement, and the reason that you feel such an overwhelming sense of timidity, it’s all because there’s a great work that God wants to do through you. And the fact that the enemy is trying to intimidate you, and the fact that the enemy is trying to discourage you, and the fact that the enemy is trying to stop the work, that ought of become like fuel to you. That becomes even greater determination to say man, I know there’s something God wants to do through me, and it’s going to take more than that to stop it devil because if God is for me, it doesn't matter who or what could be against me.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, I guess the last thing I would say to you is that I believe that Nehemiah just had a very clear understanding. The thing of which I am a part, is greater than the part I get to play. The thing of which I am a part, is greater than the part I play. Nehemiah realized God is doing something in the earth, and I just get to be a part of it. And Nehemiah understood that this part that he got to play, it was essential to the whole thing coming to pass. His part was a major aspect of everything God wanted to do in the earth, but yet, the thing of which he is a part is greater than his individual part. Sometimes that’s helpful to know that God has got this big plan. God’s got this big agenda that he’s trying to accomplish in the earth, and it’s important for me to play my part so that the whole thing gets to unfold in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. You know what, Nehemiah had such determination that it didn’t matter how much stuff the enemy said about him, it didn’t matter how much stuff the enemy subtweeted him, or put stuff in his comments, or send him ugly email messages or even released nasty PR messages about him. Nehemiah realized I am a part of a great work, and I will not be intimidated, I will not be intimidated, I will not be discouraged, and this work is not going to stop. And I want you to see one more time, he continued with even greater determination, as he made the statement “I’m not coming down, the thing of which I am a part is too important.” Too great a work. Look at it, Nehemiah 6:3 “I am doing too great of a work, I can't come down.” I’m not coming down to the devil’s level. Too great of a work must be accomplished.
 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Father, I ask you right now, somebody listening to me somewhere, that Lord they’ve been intimidated, they’ve been discouraged, and maybe the work has even been stopped. I ask you God right now to visit them in a profound and powerful way, and that Lord your grace would be made manifest in their life, and that Lord there would just be a rejuvenation and a regeneration in their heart and ife to realize I can’t afford to stop. Because the thing of which God’s called me to be a part is so important that my part must also be played. And so Lord, I pray for anybody that has come down to the devil's level and settled for the discouragement that God they would get back up on the wall and they would go to work, and they would celebrate the great work that they’ve called them to be a part of. Lord let it be done in Jesus’ name. This church said Amen. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Listen, the thing that I want you to do, if God has done something in your life today, or maybe even right now you’re thinking about man I need to give my life to Jesus Christ, He is one prayer away. He died for your sins. He took the cross of Calvary so that you could be set free from your sins. Jesus did the greatest work that mankind will ever know. He gave His life so that whoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life. If you need to pray that prayer, then just stop everything right now and just invite Jesus into your life. Maybe it’s a moment of rededication, maybe it’s a moment of going all in, whatever it is, we would love to pray with you and we would love to celebrate with you. You can put that in the comment section or 270-560-0005. You can just text the word Connect, 270-560-0005. Text the word Connect. We want to pray with you, get some resources in your hand, help you to take those next steps with God. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Listen, such an honor to be able to share the Word with you today, and I promise you this, there are great things that are yet to come in your life. It’s my privilege to turn you over to a campus pastor who’s going to share a few more important things with you. God bless you guys.

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