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TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, August 7, 2022 | Die Finished


John, chapter 19, verse 30. And when Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished. Bowed his head and gave up the ghost. We know that these are some of the most famous words in all of Scripture, especially when attributed to the life in the Ministry of Jesus Christ. It is finished, so maybe you can just help me say that out loud.


Ready? Begin. It is finished. There is so much theological depth there today. I'm not going to attempt to try to relay all of that in some kind of exegetical or hermeneutical way. I just want you to understand there is some power in these words that I think is going to come to us on a personal level today. I want to share this.


This word. Die. Finished. Die. Finished. Father, help me to preach. Help me to teach. Help me to share your word. Let it be done in Jesus name in this church. Said Amen. I was looking at some, I don't know, just some funny things that you see on tombstones and I know that death can be a very morbid subject.


And not many of us make plans to visit cemeteries just for a casual experience. But I noticed one person that had it inscribed on their tombstone Here lies an atheist all dressed up and no place to go. Some of your slow, but your words worth waiting on. Sir John Strange. Here lies an honest man and that is strange from a homemaker in the Midwest. I told you I was sick. I'm certain that's going to be on somebody in my family's tombstone. 


In Silver City, Nevada. Out West, here lies Butch. We planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger, but slow on the draw.


It's actually a true tombstone of the voice of Porky the pig. For those of you from that generation, that's all, folks. 


Martin Luther King Jr. It's very fitting. Maybe one of the most powerful that I read. Nothing funny about at all. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty. Free at last. When you think about death, that's the ultimate goal is true.


Freedom in God and his spirit. But when you think about the life that we live here on Earth, there is this one thing that stares back at us.


Just a little dash. Any tombstone that you go to for the most part. Somewhere on there, it's going to have a birth date and it's going to have a time of passing. And yet the distance between the birth date and the time of passing seems to be measured by little more than the smallest of things, just a dash. And that that dash.  Marks the time that was spent on Earth. And so.


Quite some time ago, I had a mentor look at me. And with this frame of reference in mind, he asked me, What are you going to do with your dash? And maybe you've heard it ask of you in some way, shape or form or fashion. But it's a question that all of us have to deal with, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. What are you going to do with your dash? The time period between your birth date and your time of passing your dash, your days spent on Earth. Now, we've often talked about the fact that you can't take it with you when it comes to the stuff that you attain here on Earth. You're not going to be able to take your 41k with you and no one has ever seen a U-Haul connected to a hearse. You can't take it with you. But I do want to pose that statement in the form of a question this morning.


Can't take it with you?  Because a few years ago I was inspired by someone to hear a message that was delivered. By Dr. Miles Monroe before his time of passing. And Dr. Monroe in delivering that message. One of the things that he did talk about somewhat was what are you going to do with your dash? And one of the things that he kind of opened his message with was that on the way to the gathering that morning he had passed the wealthiest place on earth. And that leads to the question, well, where is the wealthiest place on earth? And what he shared with that audience is that every single one of them had also passed the wealthiest place on earth. His idea was that there is no wealthier place on Earth than the cemetery.


Because if you could learn how to mine the cemetery the way that you mine for gold or for silver, you would discover that there are all kinds of things associated with wealth in the cemetery. There are so many ideas that were never given birth to that. People took to the grave with them. There were visions that were never fulfilled, books that were never written, businesses that were never launched, ministries that were never responded to in regards to the calling of God.


And his whole point was, is that can you not take it with you? Or can you? Because so many people have things inside of them that God has placed there. And yet it seems like that they never really ever release it because they never get the true revelation of Ephesians. Chapter three, verse 20. Now, under God, who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we could ask or think according to the power that works on the inside of us, that God has placed something on the inside of every single person that professes Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that at the moment of the salvation experience, that the Holy Spirit of God begins to put something inside of you that your mind cannot even fully comprehend. It is beyond anything you've ever thought of. It is exceedingly it is abundantly. And God doesn't want you to take it with you. God wants you to give birth to it and to bring it to pass. Then it it leads to a question that I heard one man relate in that he was just sitting at his breakfast table and he was enjoying an apple like he did most mornings. And as he was partaking of that apple, it happened that as he got near the core that that a seed fell out of the apple and onto the table. And as he looked at the seed, he felt like that the Holy Spirit was inspiring a question in his heart. What do you see? And he just simply replied, Well, Lord, I see an apple seed. And it was as though the Holy Spirit replied to him. That's funny, because I see an orchard. That's right. And in that moment, the revelation came that God does not see you for who you are. He sees you for who you will be. That's it. Because God doesn't see you for who you are presently.


He sees you based on what He has already placed on the inside of you. That's the reason that when God looks at what we would call an apple seed, God doesn't see an apple seed. God sees an orchard. Because when you read the book of Genesis chapter one, verse 12, you get the gist of creation. And the way that creation unfolded is that when God got to the place of the earth should bring forth grass and the herb would yield seed according to its kind.


And the tree that yields fruit whose seed is in itself according to its kind and God saw that it was good. Now I get it. It's a little bit wordy and you might have missed it. So let's slow down and let's go back through it again, because what God is saying is that in the creation process that the earth brought forth grass and the earth that yields the seed according to its kind.


So now we move to the trees and the tree yields fruit, but the fruit has seed in itself according to its kind. So it seems to be implied here is that God did not have to create a forest. He did not have to create an orchard. All God had to do was just plant one seed and that when God planted a seed, interestingly, that Jesus even said that the Word of God is like a seed, and that everything that we know in creation was created as God spoke it into existence. That God could plant the seed of an apple tree.


And that seed grows into the tree and the tree produces fruit, and within the fruit is seed, and within the seed is tree, within the tree is fruit and within the fruit is seed and within the seed is tree and within the tree is fruit and within the fruit is seed and then the seed is tree. Then within the tree is fruit and then the fruit is.


That's why God was able to make man and woman and tell them to be fruitful and multiply because within the man he placed seed. And from that came forth fruit and from that fruit came forth more seed. And so maybe what some of us have missed when we're looking in the spiritual mirror and trying to come to the understanding of the purpose and the calling of God that is upon our life, is that there is a seed of potency within every person, and it is called potential.


The thing that is happening, though, is that so many of us are not maximizing our potential. We are spiritually stagnant. We are paralyzed for one reason or another. And instead of the seed bringing forth the tree and the tree, bringing forth the fruit and the fruit bringing forth seed and the seed bringing forth the tree and the tree bringing forth fruit and the fruit bringing forth seed. We're just kind of stuck as the seed because the apple seed can only become an orchard if you put it in the ground.


At some point you got to put the seed in an environment where that it can begin to thrive. And I think that a lot of times we're very content to just talk about potential. But I learned many years ago that potential is what you would be, it's what you could be, it's what you should be. But it isn't because you won't or you don't.


And so it's not enough to just talk about potential. At some point, you got to make a decision. Okay. There is a seed of potency on the inside of me and it didn't come just because I'm a good person or because I had the right mommy or the right daddy. I got a seed of potency on the inside of me and it is there.


But for one reason, above all else. And that is because before I was formed in my mother's womb, my God knew me and he ordained me and he set a purpose in my life. And now as I come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit begins to, to, to to bring a greater level of potency to that seed of potential.


And he's got some stuff that he wants to do that I hadn't seen, ear hadn't heard. And now there is an inner into the heart of man, the things that he has for those that love him. If somebody would just allow the seed. So I have to ask you a question of what will you do with your dish?


What will you do with it? And some of you are are starting to get real concern right now because you're thinking.


Okay, I'm this age and I'm not feeling good about my dash. I've been living a lot of could be, should be and would be, but haven't been doing a whole lot of things that I feel like that are leaving a legacy or are making meaningful connections on behalf of God and others and you. And you're starting to kind of feel the weight of this and and maybe you're a little bit uncomfortable. The one thing I do want to help you understand and we'll talk more about this later when we get to the message, is that it is never too late to be who you might have been.


It is never too late to be who you might have been when God is involved. What Abraham learned is that you can reach a ripe old age, and when you find the right soil on the right day, when you're in the right place at the right time, with the right plan and the right purpose, everything can change in a moment and it will.


Be exceedingly, abundantly above all that you could ask or think. So I want to take you back to our anchor text John, chapter 19, verse 30. And when Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, Come on, sit with me. It is finished. It is finished. It is finished. Mm. I want to put that in the comments. It is finished. You might look over at somebody to tell them it is finished. Now we understand that this is in regards to our seeing that Jesus was bringing a redemptive work and He was saving mankind from our sinfulness.


But but but there's something else that it just it strikes a chord with me. And over the years, fathers in the faith have helped me to really see this. The depth of this reality that that it is finished at the context. It is Jesus. It's Jesus hanging on the cross. It's Jesus life on Earth coming to an end. And He seems satisfied. He seems willing to embrace. It's finished. And there's a part of that that warps my brain because I don't understand how a 33 year old man could ever be finished. That's that's not a long extension on the dash. I mean, many of us know people that have passed away young and we were bothered by that because it seems like they they didn't have enough time or that there wasn't enough time.


And that's one of the reasons that even messages like this hurt our heart so much, because that's like how can a how can a 33 year old man be finished?


When I was 26 years old I started having the beginning of some health problems that stuck around for a number of years, and they would kind of come and they would kind of go and I'd go through a couple of years of challenges and maybe have a year that's pretty good. And then couple more years of challenges and with about a seven or eight year stretch there that just a lot of discomfort in my health. And at 26 I was having so many kind of uncertain things happened that it had led to a bunch of test. And I went to this doctor and that doctor and they couldn't really figure out what was wrong with me. Snd yet the pain wouldn't go away. And the challenges wouldn't go away. And so at 26 years old I had went and invested in life insurance and was trying to make sure my family would be taken care of if I passed away. It was just, maybe you can really in some way just it was this mental challenge. So I got up in the middle of the night one night in a whole lot of pain. And at that time, in that particular home, we had kind of an upstairs area above our garage and we called it our prayer room. And I was sitting in the prayer room and I was just talking to God and the pain was really bothering me that particular night. And I remember I got down on my knees and I was just crying out to God knows I got I don't know what's wrong with me. They can't seem to figure out what's wrong with me and and God, I don't want to die. I'm too young to die now. I don't know if I was going to die or not, but the enemy had made me think I was going to. And I know some of you are too spiritual to ever have been there. You're far too mature in your faith, but at 26 I was not and I was having a moment and I will never forget it. The Lord took me to those words from Jesus. It is finished.


The Lord showed me the content of Jesus age at that time and the extent of His passion was in that moment and through a series of unfolding events and even voices that came into my life that I realized, Don't worry about dying old, die, finished, and something changed in me, something shifted in me. And I started to realize that age was just a number.


And I realized that the reason that Jesus could say it is finished is because Jesus had nothing left to give. Jesus made a decision that even in the crushing of Gethsemane, if it was in Him and God wanted it out of Him, then the Heavenly Father could have it. Nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done. And so when we think about this, this concept of if there's anything in me that God would like to have that I'm going to yield myself to Him so that He can bring it through me, then I want you to understand that when you look at the Bible, almost two thirds of it is about how to live so that we might please God. Very little emphasis is placed on achieving success in the natural. And so when I'm talking about dying finished and I'm talking about if there's something in you that God wants to bring through you, I'm not just talking about becoming successful in regards to the natural world, and I'm not just talking about the people around you, considering you successful.


I'm talking about how do you live out? ROMANS Chapter 12, verse number one. Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice wholly. And please sing to God, this is your true and your proper worship, because you are not called to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you will be able to test and approve what is God's will, His good and pleasing and perfect will because when we step through the other side of the pearly gates of heaven and it's all finished, the thing that every single one of us wants to hear above all else is Well done my good and my faithful servant. Well done. That's what we want to hear. And the context in which that we're told that we will be able to hear that might surprise you because but scripture goes on to say in the context is that it's he says, well done to the good and faithful servant. Watch this. Who has been faithful over a few things and I'm going to make you ruler over meaning it's it's not about going and making yourself busier.


It's not about going and filling your plate with all of this manufactured stuff that you can throw on your schedule, it's just about understanding. There is some potency that God has put on the inside of me, and it might even just be for a few things, but I'm through the work of his spirit, going to figure out what's pleasing to him, and I'm going to finish when it comes to those even few things that he wants my life to be associated with because what we're going to make a decision to do is you're going to invest your temporal today into your eternal tomorrow. You're going to invest your temporal today into your eternal tomorrow. Jesus summed it up a little further when he said it this way for whosoever will save his life, she'll lose it. But whoever will lose his life, for my sake, will find it. The way this works is that you're not trying to find your purpose based on what you just feel cozy and comfortable with.


You're trying to discover that purpose that God has for you and even if it means you've got to lose some stuff in the now, you're gaining it in the eternal. And the way you live this out is what Paul came to say and to identify it in this way is he said, I've just made a decision I'll die daily. That's what Paul was saying. You say, Man, if I'm going to die finished, I'm going to die daily every single day. I'm going to die out to my will and I'm going to consecrate myself to his will every single day. I'm going to lay aside what might be pleasing to me, and I'm going to surrender myself to what would be pleasing to God.


Paul was so confident in this that you could actually write to the church at Corinth and say, I will very gladly spend and be spent every day of my life for you.


God, I just I'm going to spend my life. He looked at his life like something that could be invested, like something that could be spent. And he and we understand that time is spent. And once you spend, you don't necessarily get it back unless grace itself becomes involved. But when when Paul would talk about this kind of stuff, he wrote to the church at Ephesus and he prayed for them in the context of Ephesians chapter three, verse 20, Eugene Peterson offers this translation. He said, My response is to get down on my knees before the father, this magnificent father, who parcels out all of heaven and earth. And I ask him to strengthen you by his spirit, not a brute strength, but a glorious inner strength that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite Him in.


And I ask him that with both feet planted on love, you'll be able to take in all the with all the followers of Jesus, the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. And you will reach out and you will experience the breath. You will test its length, you will plumb the depths, you will rise to the heights, live full lives, full in the fullness of God.


Why? Because God can do anything, you know, far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams. He does not do it by pushing us around, but by working on the inside of us. His spirit deeply and gently within us, glory down through all the generations, cannot just get an a man from somebody.


If he received that kind of prayer over your life, that's what God's got for you. Like he's waiting for you. He's not just trying to push you into it and shove you into it. He wants to gently maneuver you into the place where you're saying, Okay, God, you put it in me, and I know it's beyond my wildest dreams, even if it's just a few things, God I'm going to be faithful and I'm going to live this thing out pleasing to you. And I felt like this morning in preparation, this message, that one of the things that I'm supposed to ask you, Is it possible that God is waiting on you? Is it possible? Is it possible? There's this passage of text in the Book of Zachariah, and ever since the first time I came across Cross, it has just wrecked my world. There's there's this. There's this man. And God gives him a vision and he gets this vision as God places something within him.


He just knows without a shadow of a doubt, he's supposed to do this. And he takes off and he starts having amazing success. And then persecution came and people started lying about him and people started even filing a lawsuit against him and people started arguing in the courtyards, you might say, the social media platforms of today about whether he was a good person or a bad person.


And he just got so fed up with this that he just turns around and he walks off. And this thing he was building was actually a temple that was supposed to house God's glory on Earth. And He's so fed up, he's like, I'm done. Y'all can have it. He walks away. And so chronologically, when you studied out, it's believed that for 16 years he's not done anything according to the vision that God put in Him.


And then God sends a prophet and the prophets name is Zachariah, whom this book is labeled after. And this man I've been talking about, his name is a revival. And watch what Zachariah walks up to the Bible and says to him after 16 years of this guy doing nothing.


Moreover, the Word of the Lord comes to me saying that the hands of the revival have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands shall finish it. That's right. And you will know that the Lord God of a host has sent me to you. So imagine that the River Bell is thinking I'm never going to do any of that again. It's over. And for 16 years, the blueprints to the stuff that God put in him have been rolled up, laid in the corner, collecting dust, cobwebs all over them. And then here comes this prophet.


It says, Hey, you need to understand something. God is waiting on you. Wow. See, our expectation is that if we don't do it, God will just find somebody else. But have you ever thought about the fact that sometimes God actually waits on a particular person and so God shows up and he says, This man, your hand started this and your hands are going to be the one that finishes this.


And then God informs Him of why it didn't work the first time. He says, You see the first time you need to understand you went in your might and you went in your power. But this time you're not going in your mind nor in your power. This time you're going by the power of the Spirit of the Lord and that's going to make all the difference for use a river bell, because when that happens, it isn't going to matter what they tweet, it isn't going to matter what they comment in, is it going to matter what they text it? Is it going to matter what they say to this person or that person or leads it? Leave it the judge's office. You just come to understand, I know that if my God is for me, it doesn't matter who or what is against me. And He has placed something on the inside of me and assigned my hands to it, and if I die, then I'm going to die trying. Cause there's something in me that must come out of me because I didn't put it there, God did. And so the way that this thing gets restarted is Zachariah four seven says that that the Prophet comes deserve a bell. Then he tells him, he says, What you're going to do is you're going to go get the head stone. The head stone was important because in that day when they got a temple built, they had this big ceremonial deal and they would put the head stone in place.


It would basically cap the time in which that this thing was established. And so imagine that this prophet is besides the river bill. He says, you go get the head stone. Sorry, but you go get the head stone. Go get it. This a river bell goes and he picks up the headstone. He's like, What am I going to do with this?


All we've done is laid the foundation. I haven't done anything in 16 years, and now you want me to get the last piece? People are going to think I'm crazy. Get the head stone and here he comes, packing the last piece of the temple after having not touched a hammer, a stone or a chisel in 16 years. And Zacharias says, now, wow, what you're walking with every step that you take, I want you to shout, Grace, Grace, Grace, Grace and as he's walking with every step that he's taken, he's decreeing it.


Grace, Grace, Grace. Because what? He's making an announcement of is I'm about to begin again, and this time I'm bringing the last piece first to let everybody know I'm out of stop the first time. But I'm not going to stop this time because God started this with my ideas and God intends for my hands to finish this thing.


Grace, grace. And when I invite Him to play some music and as they do, I want you to think about that. One of the things that happened with Three Trees Church is when we were in our initial stages, it would seem like that every time we would need a building and and we would kind of start to toss around the idea of that.


And, and it was so overwhelming to think about the fact how are we going to afford this? How are we ever going to be able to pay for this? How are we ever going to be able to finance this? And and we had such a small budget at that time, but yet people were coming from different counties. And and I'll never forget that when we made the decision to build our first multimillion dollar investment, the first piece that we ever bought were the chairs. That's right. Because that's what's supposed to be last. And we bought them as a sign of faith. God's calling us to start something. And this time we're going to finish it.


And we would go in periodically in a place where those chairs were stored.


And sometimes it was just the invoice and we would lay our hands on them. We're praying. We would shout, Grace. Grace, I don't know who I'm trying to help this morning. Grace, Grace. And I've kind of made that a pattern in my life that just about any time I think I'm going to bite off more, not to always try to get my hands on the last piece first, just as a sign of saying, I know by my might and by our power, I cannot do this, and I know what it is to quit in the middle of stuff. But I also know what it is to see Grace allow you to begin again.


Begin again so that you wind up getting to die. Finished. Would you just look over at somebody and testify that to them this morning? Begin again. Begin again. Church online. It's a word for you. Begin again. When I ask every head to be bowed, every ought to be closed. And I want you just to take a moment, Father, in the name of Jesus, I believe that there are people under the sound of my voice that have got to make a big decision today.


Lord, the enemy has convinced them that because they stopped, they'll never get to finish what it was that you wanted to start. The enemy has convinced them that the seed of potency has laid stagnant and dormant for so long that it will never be able to give birth to anything of great significance. But Lord, I believe with all of my heart that today there are people under the sound of my voice, both in this room and in church online, that you want to speak to that you want to stir up some things and you want to remind them that, Lord, even if they have strayed from relationship with you, that God, they can begin again that even if they have left behind the call of ministry on their life, that they can begin again. That even if they feel like they failed as parents.


And maybe they haven't even been giving it an effort that God, they can begin again. The Lord, somebody that had a vision and a dream and they can begin again in God. I pray that day would be a shout of grace that would be echoed throughout the hills and the hollers of Kentucky and beyond. This morning, Grace, Grace. Because, Father, it won't be by our might, nor by our power. But we know, without a shadow of a doubt that we are going to die finished. We will be faithful over the things that you assign us to, even if they are just a few things.


God, Grace. Grace, come on. Right there, where you're at. Could you just utter those words? Grace, Grace, come on. Just enunciate that over your life. I know it's a stretch for some of you. Some of you never talk in a church service in your life. But this is important right now. Come on, Grace. Grace, come on. Church online, right there.


There where you're seated. Kitchen table pulled over on the side of the road or in your living room. Come on, say it. Grace. Grace, I'm going to ask you to do it one more time. Everybody ready? One, two, three. Grace. Grace.

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