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TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, September 25, 2022 | The Church God Sees

I want to share with you in the thought the church God sees, the church God sees. That may be a familiar term to some of you that have maybe been in three trees for a really long time. I'm going to reference a little bit of my story and so my personal testimony as pastor perhaps today as I move through this.

 

But for an anchor text, I want to take Luke chapter two, verse 52. It says, And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature in favor with God and man. Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, favor with God and man. It was reflecting on this verse as I was watching my son this weekend, just watching him grow. He's now 15 years old and watching him become a man, and he's definitely not perfect and he still makes mistakes.

 

But just seeing God's favor on his life and seeing some things happen for him, I kind of stood back and it made me reflect and interacting with my daughter. I guess she would admit she's not perfect either. Can I get a witness? Natalie? And just watching her grow and wisdom and get a little smarter, hopefully every day and just noticing favor that God puts on your kid's life.

 

To think that Jesus went through that same process, that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. I want to talk to you about how that applies to the church. Big Sea Church, not just three trees church, but the church as a whole. Me and you, as we are followers and believers in Jesus Christ, the church.

 

God sees Father help me to teach me to preach. Help me to share your word. Lord, let it be done. According to your power and your authority, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name in this church said, Amen. I've noticed something in Scripture when you read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. There's something that to me is just absolutely undeniable, and that is that the Bible possesses a theology of growth.

 

What that means is that as you study Scripture and you study events in Scripture, even principles in Scripture over and over again, the way in which that God chooses to manifest things is through the process of growth. In other words, something might start small, but then it gets big. Rarely do you see anything in Scripture where that God chooses to just make it at its full potential.

 

From the moment he snaps his fingers and steered God uses a process of time to grow things. In fact, even the Son of God, the even with the Son of God, the heavenly Father chose to reveal Him through growth. Luke 252 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. Now, when the Heavenly Father decided to put His Son in the Earth, he could have just sent him as a full grown man.

 

He could have just sent him as a conquering king. He could have just had him show up and instantly take dominion over the face of the earth. But the way that the Heavenly Father chose to do it was actually to send him first as a baby who grew into a child and a child that became a teenager and a teenager that become a man.

 

And what Scripture describes here is that the process of growth in Jesus took place in some very specific ways. First, Jesus grew in wisdom. Then Jesus grew in stature, and then Jesus grew in favor with God. Watch this. And then he grew in favor with man. Now, I believe it speaks to four ways in which Jesus was growing.

 

The wisdom aspect speaks the fact that Jesus was growing in his mind. He's growing in the human understanding and he's growing in stature. It means that physically he's growing. His body is growing. He's going in favor with God. So he's spiritually growing his relationship through worship with the Heavenly Father, but he's also growing in favor with man, which speaks to the fact that he's growing in relationships.

 

And I believe that God wants to grow me and you in the exact same way. I believe that He wants to grow us in our mind, that we would grow in our knowledge, that we would grow in our wisdom, that we would grow in our understanding, but also that we would grow in our bodies. And not just in regards to just physically getting bigger.

 

Lord knows I've got a going to get no help on a Sunday but but in it grow growing in our health and that we would be healthy as we grow, as we develop as we age, but then growing in our favor with God that spiritually our connection with God is growing, that it's getting more effective, it's becoming more significant.

 

But also that we're growing in favor with men, that we have relationships that are growing, where that iron is sharpening iron, and that we are finding community and we're finding other like minded believers and people that we can come into agreement with. It's the reason you hear this church talk about small groups a lot is because God does not just want you to have a meaningful connection with him.

 

He also wants you to have a meaningful connection with other people. He wants you to experience his presence in community. Now, what we find, though, is that when God's growing stuff, God tends to always start with a seed. So in other words, it starts small and then it grows into something of potency or effectiveness to think that it goes in the ground as a seed, but then it becomes a sapling and then a tree with branches, and then fruit.

 

God tends to start with a seed. In fact, the Bible goes as far as to say that the Word of God is like a seed. It goes as far as to say that when the kingdom comes on the earth, it will come like a seed. Well, what's this? What Jesus said in Matthew? Chapter 13, verse 31. Here is another illustration Jesus used The Kingdom of heaven is like a little bitty, tiny mustard seed that gets planted in the field.

 

It is the smallest of all the seeds, but it becomes the largest of the garden plants. It grows into a tree and birds come and make nest in its branches. So Jesus, what Jesus is saying or what He's teaching is that even when you're thinking about the Kingdom of Heaven being made manifest in the Earth, sometimes it's going to feel like that.

 

It's starting really, really small. So the way it might work for you is that, as I mentioned a moment ago, the word of God is like a seed. So while I'm preaching this morning, I get the visualization that seeds of God's word are trying to find soil. According to Mark, Chapter four for there's going to be multiple kinds of soil that will be present when the Word of God is being sown like seed.

 

But if your heart becomes fertile, soil for that seed, then that seed can begin to grow. And as that seed begins to grow, it might look something like this. Maybe there's a scripture that that speaks to you about the need for prayer fullness and you know, okay, God wants me to be a person of prayer. And now you've got that seed of the word about prayer.

 

But you go and you start to pray and you feel like you can't string three sentences together and you're afraid to even bless a meal because you just know you're going to say something wrong and it's not going to come out right. Somebody else sits. There's a word in Scripture about being generous, about honoring God with tithe, honoring God with offering about purpose and in your heart something to give.

 

And and you want to be generous, but it just feels like that you don't have enough and it feels like that, you know, what you give is not going to have this really impactful moment when you give it. And so it's like it just doesn't feel like that. It's everything you want it to be. It feels so small.

 

The others of you, you hear a word that you should witness. You should let people know about Jesus. You should let people know they need to escape here and get in heaven. That's a novel thought. Amen. But then you start trying to witness and you get really intimidated and you feel really insecure. And. And it's like, man, I'm not good at this.

 

It feels so small. What you have to understand is that when God is bringing about this theology of growth, he wants you to understand. Do not despise the day of small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Why? Because he's already determined the end from the beginning. Because he is the author and the finisher of your faith.

 

If you will. Just keep the faith and believe that he's going to do something with that seeds. I want to say it to you again. The Bible possesses a theology of growth, and the problem with us is that we are a microwave generation that is serving a crockpot God and we are accustomed to pulling up to the drive thru and making a declaration of what we want.

 

And if we don't get it in 30 to 45 seconds, we will drive off or put a bad review on Google because we want it now. But even with God's own sign He brought into the Earth and the Holy Spirit put a seed in the womb of a virgin, and that seed grew for nine months until it became a baby on the backside of Bethlehem.

 

That baby would grow the age of 12. There were significant things happening. He would be in the temple. He would be recognized. He's not like everybody else. But yet it's at the age of 30 that he finally begins a preaching ministry. And it seems so slow when you think about everything that was at hand. You think about everything that was weighing on that moment, and it seems like it started so small.

 

But the truth of it is that if that is the way that God was going to bring salvation to the Earth, if that is the way that God was going to manifest Himself through His son, then you had better guarantee that you're not going to get to skip the process. There's going to be a process of growth in your life and my life as well.

 

So I want to show you this passage in Matthew. Chapter six, verse 18, Jesus makes a statement. He says, I say to you that I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I'll build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against if that verse is all you got. And you just look at that as a prophetic statement of something that Jesus is saying, I'm going to build a church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

 

Don't you kind of get the visualization that God is going to drop this this powerful church, this kingdom church on top of a hill? He's going to put a wall all the way around it. And he's going to make sure that whatever comes out of hell, if it be Satan itself, will not be able to get to it because it's going to have the best positioning, it's going to have the best posturing, it's going to have the best protection.

 

And that that's how God's going to build this church. And the gates of hell will not prevail. That's what you kind of visualize if you're honest. But the truth of it is that the way that God chose to do it was the exact opposite. He said, I'm going to take a bunch of ragtag people. That society has cast out a bunch of fishermen that couldn't even make the cut in the educational system.

 

And I'm going to invite them to follow me, and then I'm going to put my power on the inside of them. And they're going to make some big mistakes, like denying that they ever even knew me when I need them the most. But I'm I'm going to put a seed in the earth. You see, the church that God sees, the church that God sees, the vision that God has for his church.

 

I went through something a few years ago. I've talked about it many times, and I'm not just trying to reference it for the sake of reference, and I guess I got a little PTSD to do with it or as a result of it. But I went through some sickness. It rattled my cage pretty good. Had a crisis of faith.

 

I was a senior pastor, didn't know how to make sense of all of it. And it was during that time that I just really began to work through some things with God to try to get a better understanding of what kind of church I, as a pastor, was even supposed to be a part of building. And I kind of made a decision in that time period that I didn't want to build the church, that I saw, and I didn't want to build the church that some celestial celebrity pastor thought would be a great church.

 

I wanted to build the kind of church that God envisioned when he came up with the idea of a church. And what I discovered is that what better place to look than the place where God launches the first ever church, which is in the Book of Acts and in the Book of Acts, you kind of see the history of how God starts a church.

 

And what we discover is that it starts really, really small and then it experiences growth, but it most certainly experienced growth. Is it amazing how that sometimes we can go to the extremes of theology and in one place we might say that small was of God and small was all that God is of. And the other side we might say that, you know, growth is of God and growth is all that God is love.

 

But what I want to insert to you is that don't despise the day of small beginnings, because most of what God does start small and your faithfulness and your continued faith in Him is what allows it to become something of significance and have a greater meaningfulness in the earth. What you see in chapter one, verse 15, is that it started with about 120 people first ever church.

 

About 120 people are gathered together. This is after Jesus is resurrected from the dead. They got about 120 people together. They're having a prayer time. God moves. Next thing you know, SIMON Peter preaches a message. 3000 people get saved at the first ever evangelistic crusade that comes out of this church. And then it says that they're added unto daily acts chapter four, verse four.

 

Then there's about 5000 people. Chapter six then says that they're being multiplied unto daily. And I know those numbers probably sound pretty big to us, but when you think about the fact that that was the beginning stages of the global church, it is extremely small. It started small that the global church started with 120 people. The global church then went to 3000 people and it's just growing by a few hundred at a time.

 

And eventually it reaches the point where we're here 2000 years later. And and there's not of a billion people who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, but it started with 120. And that's worth celebrating and that's worth praising God. But you need to understand he intends to keep growing things accepted to verse 40 kind of gives us a picture.

 

So what's this? There's 120 people and then there's 3000 people, and then they're added on to daily. So right here, X to 43 to 47. The Bible actually tells us what happens between these two places. So we can look at it as 240. And with many other words, he testified, he exhorted and he said, be saved from this perverse generation.

 

So let's just talk about it for a minute. The world was bad. The end of the world is bad now. The world was perverse, and then the world is perverse now. And so they were in some circumstances they probably would have liked to have avoided and you are in some circumstances that you probably would like to have avoided.

 

But what it goes on to say is that people respond to this message. They gladly receive the word and that day there's about 3000 people that get saved as they begin to repent of their sins, and they continued steadfastly. So this is what they're doing as they're growing. So so remember three, 3000 people. And then they reached this point where every single day they're adding somebody else.

 

This is what it looks like every day they're steadfast. Every day they're in the doctrine, every day they're in fellowship. They're sharing communion. They're sharing prayers together. The fear of the Lord comes upon every person. There's signs and wonders that are being done. And then it even talks about the fact that they go let's go back. One, they had all they had all things together and they had all things common to the point that they are actually selling their possessions and their goods and they're dividing them among all, as anybody has need.

 

And so continuing daily with one accord in the temple, they were breaking bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness. They're keeping it simple. They're praising God, they're having favor with people, and the Lord's adding to the church daily. Do you see what happened between 3000 people getting saved and God saying, Now I'm going to begin to daily do something in you and do something through you.

 

There was a growth process that was unfolding that required them to nurture the seed. It required them to come together in community. It required them to come together in relationship, that God wasn't just growing them numerically, but he was growing them in their mind. He was drawing them in their health. He was growing them in their relationship with him and he was growing them in their relationship with others.

 

And the byproduct of that is the church kept getting built, built, and there was nothing that Hale could do about it. I wish I could get an amen from somebody on a Sunday morning, because here's what I see. I mean, look how selfless these people become to see the growth go forward. They're they're believing together. They've got all things common.

 

They're selling stuff to meet needs. Like, when's the last time any of us ever sold something to meet somebody else's need and divided them among all, as anybody has need? And what happened is the Roman Empire discovered that when it came to the Church of Jesus Christ, LIONES couldn't eat it. Fire couldn't burn it, and water couldn't drown it.

 

It just kept growing and it kept growing and it kept grow. And they were willing to sacrifice. They were willing to give up things for the sake of that growth. And if you've experienced much of life, then I have no doubt you would agree with this statement. The level of your growth will never surpass the level of your sacrifice.

 

And the reason that the early church was able to grow in the way that it did is because people were willing to make sacrifice. They didn't just serve God out of convenience or out of consumerism. They said, How can I contribute to the vision of what God wants to see in the Earth coming to pass for such a time as this?

 

What I what I see in Scripture and in life is that you will never increase beyond where you are willing to decrease. There's this guy in Scripture. His name is John the Baptist. He's a pretty bad cat. In fact, he started preaching and people started coming from all over the place to hear him. I mean, he was the it factor in the religious society of that day.

 

And people are following him in mass numbers. And one day Jesus is passing by Jesus. His ministry is also taking off. And so the people who are following John the Baptist, like they they they leave they just leave him right there and they go over and attach themselves to Jesus ministry. And some folks kind of saw this happen and they get in John's ear and they're like, Hey, these people that were following you, they left you, and they're going over there and they're going to start following Jesus and John look back at them.

 

And He said, Jesus must increase, but I must decrease. In other words, the whole reason I'm doing this to start with is because it's about Jesus all about Jesus and always about Jesus. And if my personality takes a hit so that Jesus can become a little more famous and have a larger following, then so be it. Because it ain't about me.

 

It's about Jesus. Listen, if anybody is ever working for you and they express a call to ministry, be careful judging that harshly. Because John said, Jesus got an increase. I got a decrease. Luke Chapter seven, verse 28 This is how Jesus described John. He said, I say to you that there has never been born among women. There's not anybody greater, not a single greater prophet than John the Baptist, because he's got it figured out.

 

It's about our decrease so Jesus can increase. But then Jesus drops a bomb in the next part of that verse, he says, But he who is least in the Kingdom of God, is still greater than John the Baptist, who is least in the Kingdom of God. In other words, He who has really figured out how to embrace our decrease Jesus increases when it comes to growth in God.

 

The smaller you make yourself, the bigger He'll make you. If you will humble yourself, he will exalt you. But if you exalt yourself, he is bound by Scripture to humble you. And when you make those decisions over and over again to say, I'm going to keep putting God first, I'm going to make the sacrifices, whether he's calling me to obediently make the sacrifice, maybe he's dealing with you about something that you need to release in order to bless another person or to be generous.

 

You understand when you let go of something, it just makes more room for God to give you more. And some of us never get more because we won't let go of what we have. Can I can I share with you just just shift gears just a little bit to share with you? One more thing I see in Scripture in this vein, it's about a guy named David.

 

David's the giant killer, David. David's the incredible king of Israel. David's one of the most famous people in all the Scriptures. And the Bible says that David went on and David grew great. In other words, David wasn't great to start with. David had to grow into it. David grew great. God didn't just snap his fingers in David's life and said, Hey, big boy, you going to be all that know God put him on the backside of a shepherd's field tendency with nobody looking and his daddy not even take an interest in him.

 

Finally, he gets one level of anointing on his life and the people who were in power at the time turned totally against him. Start throwing spears at him. He lives hiding out in the caves with the goats on and on. The story goes for 30 to 40 years of David figuring out how to grow into the greatness that God had put on the inside of Him.

 

But when David finally got in a place where he did have some authority and he he did have this ability to start making some decisions for the corporate body of people that he was leading. He just keeps growing greater and greater. And this is verse ten, but verse nine blows my mind because it describes what set David up to keep growing greater.

 

You ready? No one is ready. Second, Samuel, Chapter five. Our son and David built all around the M.O., which is known as the landfill, the city dump and inward.

 

The first thing that David put an emphasis on building was the landfill, because David knew that if they were going to really experience growth, there was some stuff they were going to need to get rid of it. They were going to need a place for all the trash.

 

Trying to summarize all this and weave it together for you like the early church. If you're going to experience the growth of God in your life, sometimes there's going to be something in your life, time, time, talent, treasure that God's going to require you to sacrifice on behalf of somebody else and somebody else will receive of your time, of your talent, of your treasure.

 

And that will lead to a growth in your life as well as theirs. That's the way of the early church. But we also learned that if you're going to grow to the level of true greatness, it's not just about allowing God to give of your time, your talent, your treasure to other people. But if we could use the metaphor of David's experience, you're also going to have to be open to letting God clean you out, clean your hands, to purify your heart, to renew your mind, and that on a repetitive basis, you're going to have to be willing to go before the Lord and confess offense, confess lust, confess greed, confess the trash of life

 

and say, God, I got some stuff in me that is hindering what you want to do in me and you want to do through me. And so, God, I want to further increase my capacity to receive. And so it's one thing to say, blessed are they which are hungry, hungry and thirsty after God, for they shall be sealed.

 

It's another thing to understand that hunger implies emptiness, and what you sometimes have to do is to empty yourself of the world in order to create the appetite for the things of God, to create a space to say God. I don't want to just grow great in my own name or my own brand or my own influence. Father God, I want to know what part of me you want to use to bless somebody else.

 

And I also want to know what part of me you want me to just put over in the landfill and spiritually be clean? Does that make sense to anybody under the sound of my voice this morning? Does that make sense to you? Church online. And so I think what we all want to do is we want to become that wine skin that Jesus talked about may may be familiar, unfamiliar territory for you in Scripture.

 

But in Matthew Chapter nine, Jesus gives an analogy, says, Last thing I want to share with you. They're going to begin to play some music. Matthew Chapter nine Jesus is talking about wine skins and he says that you can't put new wine in old wine skins because it'll destroy them. So the wine skin was this leather style pouch that was made to contain the wine of that day.

 

He said, What you have to do is you have to get a new wine skin and that's how you're able to put new wine in it. Well, the point is this the old wine skin would get really rigid, really hard, and when they would put new wine in it, as it would begin to ferment and it would begin to swell, it would burst the wine skin.

 

In other words, the old one skin that wasn't flexible, that wasn't moldable, that was set in its ways, couldn't handle anything bigger, couldn't handle anything that swelled, couldn't handle anything that expanded the religion of it would wind up just getting destroyed. But anybody that would say, God, I want you to do a new thing and I'm not going to limit you and I'm not going to try to figure you out.

 

And I'm not going to try to say that I understand it all. I'm going to let you grow me in my mind. I won't let you grow me in my relationship with you. I'm going to you grow me and my relationship with other people just like you grow, grew, grew. Jesus got out. I want you to swell me with your presence.

 

A wine skin only burst when it can no longer make room. So just keep making room, keep being obedient Keep go into the spiritual landfill Keep asking what part of you God wants you to give to somebody else. Time, talent, treasure. And watch Him grow you in a way that truly makes a difference, truly has lasting significance, and truly impacts your community, your family, and your church father.

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