TRANSCRIPT | Wed, Sept 16, 2020 | Treating People Differently

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And amen and amen. It is so good to get to be with you on Wednesday nights again. We got to kick things off last Wednesday night and now here we are again gathering. Some of you are with your family, some of you are maybe by yourself this evening, others of you are with your small group, you're having a watch party of sorts.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And one of the things I do want to make you aware of is that tonight as I get ready to go into the message, you can follow the links that are there in the comment sections, or you can go to ericgilbert.org. And we have a discussion guide that's been prepared so that at the conclusion of tonight's a worship service, you'll have a chance to discuss it with your family, to discuss it with your group, or maybe just to have some time with the Lord and let some of those questions be a time of self reflection, examination of the Holy Spirit in your own life.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Our church, we exist for one reason, and that is because everyone needs Jesus. And we are mandated by God to seek the lost but we also have a command from God, a commission from God to make disciples. And that's really what we're leaning into at these Wednesday nights. It's doing our best to just have a time of making disciples.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And then once we are discipled, we're equipped with the word, we're empowered by the Holy Spirit, listen, we're going to go find a need and we're going to meet it. And through that, we're going to open people up to spiritual truth through meeting material needs. And so that's the process that we're called to. It's the steps that we believe that we're called, the growth track that God is walking us through.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And so tonight I'm going to invite the staff and some of the spouses that are... we're here with staff tonight to be seated. And we appreciate our staff so very much. The way that we've done these first two Wednesday nights is kind of inviting you into somewhat of a staff chapel. This is actually the room that we have had staff chapels in in the past.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And we just thought it might be neat to just take some time and just get together and look at some things in scripture. And so tonight I'm specifically going to be leaned in to a subject along the lines of treating people differently, treating people differently. Is that a good thing or is that a bad thing?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I still remember a moment in my life where a mentor shared with me the truth that Jesus did not treat everyone the same way, but he actually treated people differently as he was interacting with different personality types, et cetera. And I just want to take a look at scripture tonight and look at three different types of people, three different types of people.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

The first is wise people, wise people. There're some things I want to talk about in regards to each of these three categories. I mentioned wise people, and I guess I can go ahead and give you the three types upfront, wise people, foolish people, evil people. Three types of people, wise people, foolish people, evil people.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I wonder even right now if you're starting to categorize some of the people you're friends with, some of the people you work with, some of the people you know like, "Okay now, this is the wise one, this is the foolish one, that is the evil one." Wise people, foolish people, evil people. So let's kind of talk about it for a minute and give kind of some characteristics that define each of these types.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So when you think about wise people, there's something I've noticed about wise people, wise people accept correction. There's actually some Bible for that. The book of Proverbs chapter 9 verse 8 says this, correct the wise and they will love you, instruct the wise and they will be even wiser.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So even the book of Proverbs just makes it abundantly clear that wise people, they're willing to accept the correction and they're willing to be instructed because they understand that if somebody corrects them, that it is actually just going to have the effect of making them wiser. I've learned along those same lines that if a wise person is willing to accept correction, then it must mean that a wise person is teachable.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And from that, I've discovered that it seems to me like the wise people that you interact with, they're actually willing to invite other people to teach them. Like when they see somebody that can offer value, when they see somebody that can really have a mentoring voice in their life, they have a way of actually seeking that out and saying like, "Lord, I want this person in my life because there's something I can glean. There's something that I can gain."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I found that you can actually have a growing relationship with a wise person by being honest with them. I think that's one of the ways that you actually can identify you've found a wise person, is because they don't want you to be dishonest with them, they don't want you to filter out the things that they really need to hear.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But if there is something corrective, if there is something that needs to come into their life that's going to cut some stuff off or shave some stuff off, they're totally open to that because they realize they're going to grow through that. And so actually the more honest you are with the wise person, many times, the more that relationship grows.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So another thing about wise people is that wise people change. They don't stay the same, they evolve, they develop over the course of time. Wise people are open to changing and that's why they change. Have you ever met somebody and they're just head set that it's going to be their way or no way, and they're not willing to discuss any type of change, and they just kind of get stuck, they get in a rut?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It's like maybe at one point they have a thriving business and then as things start to change, they're not willing to be open to that. And then suddenly, that business goes on some kind of a downward progression. I'm sure you've seen it even happen in religious communities where that people get married to a method rather than being married to the presence of God and there was an unwillingness to change and the next thing you know, things start decreasing rather than increasing.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

The list could go on in examples of that. But I found that wise people, they actually realize that change is required in order to meet life's demands. They realize that the only way I'm going to be able to measure up to what life's throwing at me is I'm going to have to be willing to change. Wise people are open to changing their actions and their attitudes to align with what is true and good.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You can go to a wise person and you can communicate to them that maybe they're not approaching something the right way, maybe they're not looking at something the right way. And then what they'll be willing to do is because they're teachable and because they may realize there's something they need to grow from or something they need to learn from, they'll be willing to say, "Okay, is there an action that I need to change? Is there an attitude that I have that I need to change in order to align with actually what's true and with what's good?"

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And here's what you do. When you find a wise person and you realize you found somebody that's willing to accept correction, you realize that you found somebody that's willing to change when the situation calls for it, the way you respond to a wise person is with more. You give them more time, you give them more discussion. You actually even want to give them more information about your life because you realize that it's a good investment of time and energy.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But what about foolish people? Well, in the same way that wise people accept correction, foolish people refuse correction. Proverbs talks about that as well, it's chapter 1 verse 7. It says, fools despise wisdom and discipline, fools despise wisdom and discipline. Foolish people, what'll happen is because they despise discipline, they will actually require the same conversation over and over and over.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And anybody coming to mind right now you have to just keep having to have the same conversation over and over and over again. It's like it never gets through to them. They never seem to want to change as a result to it, which is really the next statement about foolish people, foolish people resist change. Because when you try to have the conversation with them, they feel like that you're nagging them and they feel like that you're picking on them because they're not teachable.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I've found that foolish people, they tend to be defensive, they tend to be unyielding, they tend to be arrogant, they tend to be irresponsible. They tend to be prone to excuses for themselves. And they'll blame others when something goes wrong because there's no way they're going to blame the man or the woman in the mirror. So foolish people refuse correction, foolish people resist change.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So how do I respond to a foolish person? Because I'm sure right now you're thinking about some people that you've not been able to have conversations with. Maybe you're even recognizing maybe yourself that there's been some foolish behavior, some foolish actions at times, some foolish attitudes at times. How do you respond to a foolish person?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

The answer is you respond to a foolish person with less, with less. While you give a wise person more, you give a foolish person less. The way it works is this. You spend less time arguing, you spend less time having the same conversation, less time trying to get them to take responsibility for their own life. And the way that you're able to respond with less is that you actually set consequences and you set boundaries, you set consequences and you set boundaries.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And so a thing about a foolish person is that they will waste what you give them because they don't know how to value it. And so if you just keep giving them more time and you keep giving them more discussion and you keep giving them more and more of the same conversation over and over again, it doesn't really amount to anything so many times because the foolishness of their ways prevents them from being able to see that what you're actually adding into their life is some form of value.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So you need to limit your relationship with a foolish person and you need to establish clear boundaries. So here's the third type of person, and it's an evil person or evil people. I found that evil people will rebuke correction. They will rebuke correction. So a wise person will be willing to receive correction, a foolish person is probably going to refuse correction.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But an evil person, they will rebuke correction. What they'll start to do, they'll undermine any attempt at correction. They'll find a way even especially if a correction happens in a public way, they will find a way to undermine that correction so that it makes it look as though they were in the right and whoever was correcting them was in the wrong.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

That's not always something identified with evil, sometimes that can be identified with foolish, but it's definitely identified with evil. And so sometimes evil people, they actually mistakenly believe that they're doing God's will. And when they're bringing devastation and they're bringing destruction, and sometimes they're even bringing death, the evilness that's got a hold of their heart and has got into their ways, sometimes they're actually convinced that they are doing the right thing and that's why they continue to go forward into it.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

They're self righteous, they're prideful, they're entitled, they're vindictive. They scheme to bring pain and destruction. And here's the thing, they feel vindicated in doing so because of their past hurts. So typically you've heard this statement that hurt people hurt people. I believe that a lot of times when somebody truly transitions into an evil person, it is a direct result of the fact that they have hurt that's never been dealt with.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And that hurt actually turns them into an extremely bitter person. And then that bitterness over the course of time, it becomes like poison in their soul and it just becomes this breeding ground for this attitude of vindictiveness. And the vindictiveness, because it's not dealt with, they actually start to take pleasure in trying to be vengeful, in trying to get back at somebody that hurt them.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And that's why sometimes they're so motivated by jealousy and that they find satisfaction in other's pain. I actually wrote this down and I'm going to just read it out to you, that some form of deep envy resides in an evil person and it provokes them to feel justified in harming others.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Here's the thing, an evil person cannot change without God's intervention. So a wise person is willing to change, a foolish person, probably is going to resist the change, maybe not be willing to change. But when it comes to the point where that someone has truly become evil in their heart, it's probably going to require God's intervention.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I read these words by one pastor who said it this way, that the evil person many times has to be considered hopeless apart from a dramatic intervention from God, one that does not involve you because there is little to nothing that you can do. An evil person might not be beyond God's ability to help, but they are very likely beyond your ability to help.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It's a statement that I think is worth giving some consideration to. None of us ever just want to write somebody off. None of us ever want to say that somebody's beyond helping. But if you think that dealing with somebody foolish is hard, then try dealing with somebody who has truly become evil in their ways. And so here's the way that you respond to someone who is evil. You respond to them with nothing.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

If somebody is wise, you give them more, if somebody is foolish, you give them less. But if somebody is evil, it might be time to consider some distance. We're going to talk more about that in just a moment, but I want you to think about this. Proverbs chapter 24 verse 1 says this, don't envy evil people or desire their company for their hearts plot violence and their words always stir up trouble.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I'm going to read that again. Don't envy evil people or desire their company for their hearts plot violence and their words always stir up trouble. Look at Proverbs 1:15, my child don't go along with them, stay far away from their paths, they rush to commit evil deeds.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Proverbs chapter 2 verse 12 says, wisdom will save you from evil people from those whose words are twisted, these men turn from the right way to walk down dark paths. They take pleasure in doing wrong, and they even enjoy the twisted ways of evil and their actions are crooked and their ways are wrong.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So what you're getting in Proverbs there is Solomon kind of describing to you the ways of an evil person. And when we're talking about this, you can almost sense kind of the discomfort and the tension that comes into a room because none of us really want to judge anybody else. We don't take pleasure in doing that.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

In fact, Jesus has told us, judge not lest you be judged. He never said that we couldn't judge the fruit of people's lives or inspect the fruit of people's lives. He just said that if you do it, you need to anticipate that you're going to be judged back. And in fact, he said you'll be judged even at a greater measure than you choose to judge.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And so maybe if you recognize somebody's evil, it doesn't mean that you get a billboard and you point out that that person is evil, but it might mean that there's a thing that comes into your own heart to where that you realize, "Wait a second. In personal relationship, I'm having to bring some distance because this person seems to be incredibly vindictive and they seem to be taking a little too much pleasure in doing evil stuff. So I'm not going to be able to have that personal relationship."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It doesn't mean you stop praying for them. It doesn't mean you stop inviting God's intervention into their life. It doesn't mean there won't even be some random moments where you get to bless them. In fact, the Bible tells us to bless those that despitefully use us. It tells us to even pray blessings for those who mean harm to us.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So it doesn't mean you stop praying for the evil person. It doesn't mean there's not random moments where you bless the evil person. It just means you're probably not going to be able to have that personal relationship with them if you're going to keep yourself from getting sucked in to the evil way. So we've talked about wise people, we've talked about foolish, we've talked about evil people.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And here's what I want you to contemplate now. There's going to be moments where wise people are interacting with foolish people. And there's going to be moments where foolish people are interacting with evil people and evil people with the foolish. So what does it look like when you see these different types of people interacting with one another?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And even as I talk about these, I want you to think about some moments in scripture where you see, okay, that was a foolish person in scripture and they met a wise person, how did that unfold? Think about moments in scripture where there's somebody who's clearly identified as evil and they were trying to maybe harm or come against a wise person, how did that actually unfold?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And best of yet, think about moments in Jesus' life who would have been the wisest of all time and he was maybe encountering foolish people, or he was encountering evil people, how did Jesus interact with them? So six types of relationship. First one we'll look at is wise person plus foolish person, wise person plus foolish person.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Probably the only way to identify that is that it has a parental relationship type feel to it. You ever noticed how irresponsible people seek out overly responsible people and they dump their responsibilities on them? Irresponsible people seek out overly responsible people and they dump their responsibilities on them.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Many times that is when a wise person is interacting with a foolish person. And the wise person is overly responsible, the foolish person is irresponsible and they love to get to hang out with that wise person because they know that the wise person many times operates with a sense of urgency. They know that they many times commit to their word and they do what they said they were going to do. And they love to try to find ways to dump stuff on that wise person.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And you know that you've picked up a relationship like this when you find yourself doing for someone the things that they should be doing for themselves. I can't get an amen nowhere. Anybody ever been there? Like you know, "Okay, I've picked up a foolish relationship in my life when I am doing stuff for people that they should be doing for themselves." And it's not a one hit wonder, it's repetitively.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And you feel like you're parenting the person. And it feels like a parental relationship when the wise one acts like a parent and the foolish one acts like a child. It explains why some parents never stopped paying their kids' bills. Holy Ghost. Anybody ever had a ringside seat for that? Maybe you've been the one.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

The thing of his that what can happen is if you're not careful, the foolishness can cause you to even maybe unintentionally try to take advantage of a wise person. But if they're truly wise, it's only going to last for so long. Because a wise person eventually realizes I have to give the foolish person less.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But the second type of relationship is a wise person plus an evil person. And the only way that that relationship can work is kind of what we referenced earlier, is it's a distant relationship. And when an evil person seeks to build a close relationship with a wise person, the wise person maintains distance because they recognize that the evil person is like a predator and they're looking for their next prey.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

See, evil people do not love people. Evil people do not love people, they use people. And they use them for things like sex, money, power, fame. And they'll be domineering, they'll be difficult, they'll be demanding, they'll try to work through manipulation to get what they want. And they'll even give threats of punishment, "If you don't do what I said..." when that evilness begins to come at work.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Over and over again in the Bible, we read about evil people repeatedly seeking to get close to Jesus. It's over and over again. In John chapter 10 verse 39 it actually says this, one of the many attempts, they said again, trying to arrest him but he escaped their hands. Evil people came, they had an agenda, they were being manipulative, they were being domineering.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But the wisdom in Jesus, the discernment in Jesus, he escaped what the evil people were trying to do to him until he was ready to lay down his own life. Let me give you a third type of relationship, and that is foolish plus foolish, foolish plus foolish. You know what that becomes? It becomes a codependent relationship.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And not all necessarily codependent relationships are bad, but in this situation, two foolish people come together in a close relationship and they just start multiplying their folly. And it's just one mess after another mess. It's never good when two foolish people get married because ultimately what happens is when they find one another and they do life together, it can be maddening and frustrating to observe, especially if you care about those people and you see through the eyes of wisdom.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Maybe you've watched somebody you really care about, somebody you really love and they're not operating in wisdom and they've started to hang out with somebody else that's not operating in wisdom and you just see this codependency that's happening there, and it's just taking them further and further into a downward spiral.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Another type of relationship is foolish people and evil people. And that always becomes an abusive relationship. Now understand me? Not all abusive relationships are the result of a foolish person and an evil person, but there are many that that is the case. Because foolish people are gullible, they're vulnerable and they don't deal with reality. They don't make plans for their life and they're easy prey.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And an evil person sees that from a mile away. So the way some theologians break it down when they think about how much scripture talks about wise, foolish and evil, the way some say it is that a wise person operates like a shepherd, that a foolish person operates like a sheep, but an evil person operates like a wolf. And truly evil people will knowingly put on sheep's clothing to try to take advantage of vulnerable sheep, to eat them and to destroy them.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So here's the thing. When an evil person can get into a romantic or a business relationship with a foolish person, they are going to do incredible damage. It will be significant damage, it will be great damage. And evil people they use and they abuse foolish people. And sadly, people who are operating in foolishness, they keep putting up with the abuse, they keep putting up with the manipulation.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

They keep putting up with the vindictiveness. They keep over and over and over again because they're operating in foolishness, not wisdom, and they submit themselves to the evilness of abuse. And here's a sixth type of relationship, and that is evil plus evil. And that maybe could only be described as a dangerous relationship.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I heard one guy say it this way, that if two evil people hook up and you get in front of them, it's like standing in front of a gun with two barrels. If you stand there long enough, it's not a matter of if you'll get shot, it's a matter of when you're going to get shot. Because when two evil people come together, they form an unholy alliance.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And what happens with that unholy alliance is they start to destroy any common enemy. Evil alliances could happen in the realm of business, evil alliances could happen in a marriage, evil alliances could happen in politics and in government. And what happens when two evil people start working together in a demonic partnership, they literally take on the characteristics of the devil. They steal, they kill them and they destroy.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

See, there's a passage, a text stated by Jesus. He said, if any two would agree touching any one thing, they shall have it. He didn't necessarily say that that had to be positive. So you got to be careful who you're coming into agreement with and you got to be careful what attitude that you're operating in wise, foolish, evil.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Listen, we don't ever want to find ourselves to be complicit to the wrong thing. Can I get a witness from somebody somewhere? But thinking about some places in scripture, there were two men that actually formed an evil alliance against Moses. God had to intervene in order to bring him deliverance from that.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

In the early church, Ananias and Sapphira evidently are married. They form an evil alliance. They're trying to gain credibility in the church by acting as though they're more generous than they actually are. And it reached the point where that God had to strike them dead in order to protect the foundations of the church that he was trying to raise up.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You read about Paul who on more than one occasion was attacked by two people coming into agreement to do something evil. And in one instance, he actually got up in a church service and he called out the names of these two people and said, "I turned them over to Satan." Because their evilness in their agreement had reached a point where it had to be publicly addressed. It had to be publicly rebuked because it was becoming so effective against what God was trying to do.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And this church, so this is not a new thing, this dates all the way back to Moses. It's something the early church was dealing with, not only the Apostle Peter, but the Apostle Paul. And I'm sure some of you are probably at places in your life where you could say, "Wait a second. I look back now and I see that right there, that was a demonic alliance where the enemy put two people together and he put me in their bullseye. And I see now how the enemy intended to steal and kill and to destroy."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Some of you can think about places in your workplace, you can think about places where you were experiencing promotion, you can think about places where you've been in the community, maybe even in your family, enemy get ahold of two evil people and try to bring destruction in your life. And so here's what you want.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And there's a lot more probably I could go on and say about this. Maybe I'll just give you this one here. You guys remember when Saul got upset with David and Saul was the king and God had told David he was going to be the king, and yet David would go to the temple and he would play the harp and try to calm Saul down?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Well, what we learned from scripture is that Saul was actually dealing with an evil spirit. He was actually dealing with a tormenting spirit. And the thing about people who are dealing with that kind of thing in their life, the reason they torment everybody else is because they're tormented.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I think that's the reason sometimes it traces back to hurt, it traces back to victimization, is because it's unhealed hurts, it's unhealed wounds, and it just... They're tormented and all they know to do is to try to... And you get two people that are tormented together and they can start trying to wreck havoc and torment others and you'll find yourself in their path and you'll find yourself reading the Psalms and stuff David was praying, it'll make sense to you.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I don't know who I'm trying to help, but you'll read it and you'll be like, "Oh, that's what he meant." When he's praying stuff like I feel like I would be better to be dead right now. He's praying stuff like I can't even count how many people are against me. He's praying stuff like it feels like lions are lined up outside my door getting ready to eat me.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

He's talking about dealing with evil people. And listen, there's a lot of evil in the world and you can't just walk naively through the earth. You need the gift of the discerning of spirits in your life. It's not that evil people won't show up, they will. Evil people are going to show up. And sometimes they're not even going to understand how much they're being used by the enemy.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Foolish people are going to show up and you're compassionate, you love people. You care about people and you're going to want to help them beyond even probably what God has called you to do. And you're going to need discernment to understand this is how I treat and deal with the evil person, this is how I treat and deal with the foolish person.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And then what you pray for is that God gives you that other kind of relationship, that wise plus wise person relationship where two wise people hook up and they walk humbly together. And when two wise people get together, the good times will be twice as good and the bad times will be half as bad because it's wise people together. The kind of healthy relationship causes both people to be blessed and to benefit.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And so when you're wise, you want to seek out other wise people to hang out with and to be in relationship with and allow God to use that and to bless that. And I'm telling you, everybody that comes in contact with you will be benefited from it. That's why when you see marriages that are not unequally yoked and the foolishness pulling the wise and the evil pulling the foolishness or however unequally yoked, but you see two wise people who desire to become even more wise and grow in their discipleship pathway with the Lord, they can pull some strong stuff.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

They can pull some heavy loads and everybody gets benefited and blessed because of it. Proverbs chapter 13 verse 20, look at this, whoever walks with the wise becomes wise. I was just a kid, I was in ministry. And bottom line, I didn't exactly know how to do this thing called ministry. There were so many aspects of it that I felt like that I was failing at. And honestly, probably was.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I remember even in the days of the storefront, going in to that little building that used to be a truck stop and it had been converted into a worship and we weren't really growing and we weren't really having success. And honestly, it wasn't trying to get a message that was giving me the most trouble, it wasn't trying to figure out how to put some songs together for worship that was giving us... it was dealing with people that was giving me the most trouble.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I felt like I was failing at it. I wanted to love people. I wanted to see people used in ministry, but it... And I'll never forget one day I was praying and I felt like I kept failing in my relationships with people and that it was hindering the growth of God's church. And I felt like God said to me, surround yourself with gray hair.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I was somewhere around 21, 22 years old, surround yourself with gray hair. And I started seeking out, praying for relationships with elders in the work of ministry who had gray hair. It was along those same lines that God spoke to me, I really feel like he spoke to me and said to me, "If you get in the room with the right person, four hours is like four years."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I started to seek out and tried to find wise people. And many times I would even gather an offering out of Mandy and I's little meager existence. And when I would go meet with that person, I would even just put a seed offering in their hand because I realized I was about to get an education. And I wanted them to understand I wasn't going to take a withdrawal without putting something into their life.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And I also felt like maybe it would make it easier next time I called, they might let me back in. And I would find out stuff that they liked and things that they enjoy, maybe they like this restaurant, maybe they like this place to shop. And I would send them stuff for their birthdays and get... because I wanted to hang out with wise people.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I had tried it and I was failing in my foolishness. I needed somebody to impart wisdom. And today, this month, we are in our 20th year as a church. And I can tell you that the last 10 years have been a whole lot easier than the first 10 years. It's not that there hasn't been struggles, it's not that there hasn't been battles. But now I have so many friends and so many mentors in my life. I can pick up the phone, I can call, contact a wise person and get a download sometimes.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

It's almost like when you pull up to that mechanic and you pull in their parking lot, you ask them to come out and listen to your vehicle because something's going on with it and you have no clue. And they can sometimes just by listening to it, tell you exactly what's going on in your vehicle because they have the years of experience.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I had a moment in our car... I'm going to give you guys this one final thing and then we're going to partake in communion together. We had a car that was acting up recently and it was the strangest thing. When you would get ready to sit down in the car, like say, you're going to sit down in the driver's seat, it would make this horrible sound like something was coming apart underneath it.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And when you were driving down the road, if you were going through a little bit of a bumpy parking lot or something and you rolled down the window, it would just... And I thought there was a shock broke spring going out of it, something. I'd take it to the seasoned mechanic. And I had told Mandy, I was like, "I don't know, this is going to be a big deal. I don't know what they're going to have to do, but they're going to have to do something significant. We're going to have to get ready to pay for this."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I pull in the guy's shop, I ask him to come out. He says, "What's it doing?" And I show him this thing sounds like it is falling apart. He crawls up underneath it, he takes a look. He gets up, he goes back in his shop, he comes out, he's got WD40, WD40. He crawls up underneath the vehicle, he says, "Now jump on it, make it make the sound."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You ought have saw us out in the... I'm making the sound, he's fooling around with stuff. And then all of a sudden, the sound just stopped. He crawls out front of the vehicle and I said, "Man, no way. WD-40 did not fix that. What was the deal?" I said, "Was it a spring?" He says, "No, no, no." He said, "You had a cable that goes to your parking brake. And there was a harness that was holding it. And when that car would move, it was just creating some kind of a sound."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

They said there's no way that all that sound was coming from a cable just rubbing against a harness. But he had the wisdom of experience. And what I thought was going to cost hundreds of dollars to fix, a bottle of WD-40. You need wise people in your life. It will be a healthy relationship, a healthy relationship, wise people in your life.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

If you're the smartest person in the room, sir, ma'am, you better find a new room because when iron sharpens iron, it happens because the heaviest blade drops on the lighter blade. You don't get sharper until you find somebody wiser. Father, I ask you that if there are those of us that need to be sharpened, if there are those of us that need to be growing in our relationship with you, we need more discernment.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

We need more, God, of only what the Holy Spirit can bring. God, begin to even reveal to us maybe places where we've been foolish. God, heaven forbid, reveal to us places that maybe we have borderline been evil in some of our thinking, some of our ways of approaching life. God, we ask you that you would help us to become wise, not just as we study your word, not just as we grow and learn in those practical things, but also God, by giving us relationships with wise people, God put us in a small group with some wise people.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

God, in our workplace, give us the courage to seek out wise people and ask for an audience with them, to ask God. Sometimes we just got to throw ourselves out there, risk being rejected and just find a way to get with wise people. Thank you, father. In Jesus' holy and mighty name. I want you to take out those elements for communion.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And there's a lot that I could have said tonight, even by going through personal examples of Jesus and relationships that he had with foolish people, evil people. What I've really tried to do was actually to provoke an appetite in you to go and seek some of those things out for yourself. Jesus is our example. Jesus took the bread, Jesus blessed the bread, Jesus broke the bread, he gave it to his disciples. He told them when they ate, to do it in remembrance of him.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And the thing we want to remember above all else is the cross of Jesus Christ. That's it. Above all else, that's what we want to remember. But I also want you to remember some ways in which that Jesus has been in relationship, even in his earthly ministry. And what is it you need to remember about that? What is it you need to go and seek and dig out and recognize about that?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I believe the bread which represents the stripes he took, it says to us that we can be healed, it's for our sickness. Maybe there's some places you need to be healed through the wounds of relationship when I ask you to take and eat of the bread. Jesus took the cup, he told the disciples that it represented his blood which was shed for the remission of sins.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Maybe in some foolish places in your life, there's been some sin against people. It's hard to admit that, isn't it? Maybe there's been some places, man, where there's some evil things. It's been in our mind, been in our heart and we've been a little vindictive and we just got a little too close to the border of things that are just absolutely not at all of God.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Just a time of repentance, of God, make me wise, forgive me for all the places I settled for foolishness. Forgive me of all the places I settled for being evil. Maybe it's even a place of repenting for how some of that stuff has hindered your calling, hindered what God has wanted to bring you into. I want to ask you to take and drink of the cup.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Thank you, Lord. I'm going to ask Ryan and Dawson to help move and maybe even Brooklyn to help move these things out of the way. And right there in your home or wherever you're at this evening and you're gathering, I want you to join with Jaron and the team, and we're going to have another moment of just worship and just let maybe God speak to you, even seal his word in your heart this evening.

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