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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - All Things Made New

Bobby Schuller - All Things Made New

Bobby Schuller - All Things Made New

Well, this famous passage, Advent passage from Isaiah that was read this morning, I sort of want to begin there, and it's a prophecy about the stump of Jesse. Jesse, when you hear the family of Jesse, think a royal family. That from this stump, this thing that once was a great house, a great tree, a great living thing that's been chopped down, that out of that a shoot will be born. There will be a new King, and a new line, and this King will set things right. And it won't be like the kingdoms that came before, the many that came before that were ones of ego and selfishness and violence.

But that this kingdom that is coming will be one of the heart, will be one that will be even led by a child, will be one that will set the lion and the lamb to lay together, and this is, of course, the King Jesus who came on Christmas, and it's who we remember. But, of course, there's a deeper metaphor as well for us who believe. Of course, the broken stump, the chopped stump is Israel, and if you're a believer, you are grafted into that family. You're Israel. Maybe you're here today and you feel like, I've been chopped down. Maybe something has happened in your life where you feel like a stump of your former self, you are a stump of who you used to be.

You remember when you were young and you had a heart for God or when you were young and you had lots of vision in life or maybe you used to have a great life, a great family, or a great organization, a great job, and you lost it all or lost most of it or is it something about it that feels hollow, and you feel like a stump today? Well, that, I first want to say welcome, you know, welcome to the club. Many of us feel that way in life. But today, if you feel like you've been chopped, I think that the greatest reasons sometimes you feel like a chopped tree is because we're alone, and very often we've made ourselves alone through pride, ego, and sin.

And I want you to stop picturing yourself as a chopped trunk and rather think of yourself as grafted onto the tree of life, a living tree who is Christ himself, and then on that tree when you're cut, you're never really chopped, you're just a pruned tree, you're a pruned branch, and you're being prepared for something better. I want you to swap those visions of your life, because that is a biblical image that we find in John 15 and other places. Sometimes in life we feel chopped because of tragedy. It's amazing how life can be like a glass house. If it were just left alone, it would remain perfect forever and beautiful.

But all it takes is one little stone, and the whole thing can come crashing down. Maybe that's how your life was. Maybe you lost a kid or a loved one or something in your life, had some kind of health tragedy or betrayal or a lawsuit or something happened where you just, from no fault of your own, just feels like took years and year and years to build this life and with just a few carless swings of an axe, your life came crashing down. And you think, I can never go back to where it was. Maybe I'll have something, but it'll never be like that. That might be true; it might not ever be like that. But I want to promise you, that what God has in store for you will be better. Actually, it'll be better. It'll be different, maybe, for some of you, but it'll be better.

Maybe you feel like a chopped tree because of your own, like, you just did something really dumb. Join the club, you know. Out of pride and ego or trying to people please, you did something dumb, you went back to that old relationship you knew you shouldn't have gone to, or you sinned, or you crossed a line you shouldn't have crossed, or you did something, and now you just feel like you were the one who swung the ax, you know. You were the one who did it, and you know that, and you still, you just feel that makes it almost worse. You just wish there was someone to blame, but the only one to blame is the person you see in the mirror.

Can I tell you that even if that's you, God is still on your side and your best best days are still ahead. God will restore the chopped tree. Well, I want you to know, God's gonna renew the good things in your life. Years ago I read this book by Erwin McManus called "The Barbarian Way". He said, and this is for sure true in countries, but he was talking about organizations, that over many organizations and groups and things take this long arc of rise and decline, and this is true of many things, but there are barbarians and managers. There's some barbarians, some wild eyed crazy guy, a guy like Walt Disney that he's got these dreams, got these visions, these ideas, he wants to do all this stuff and just, you know, but is probably bad with money, bad at making a plan.

That's just, but he has this big dreams and ideas, and then a manager comes along like Roy Disney or somebody like that, and the two together make this stellar combination of barbarian and manager, and that causes the business, the, you know, organization or whatever, or nation to launch and take off. Big risk taker with a great manager, bean counter, you know. And these two kind of, like, really do well together. And so, what happens over time is many businesses follow this long, you know, 20 year arc or so of growth and innovation and whatever, great organization. And then as they begin to do well and they get an IPO and their stock does well and all their lush with cash, they are in a position where they can more than manage, but create a bureaucracy, and that's when the death spiral begins, when the paperwork comes in, you know.

And it's like, too much, too much management becomes bureaucracy, and eventually the stage before full crash is aristocracy. That is, we started this thing, the resting on your laurels, the aren't we great, the, you know, just big inflated ego that the barbarian went from all the way over there to all the way over here. You see it in nations, you see it in cultures, I think it was Voltaire that said, "History is an ever changing tide of one guy walking down the stairs in silken slippers and another guy walking up the stairs in wooden shoes". That the day you stopped being a barbarian and a manager is the day somebody else is ready to take your place. All that to simply say that I have also seen, not only in business and countries, I have seen this arc in my life.

I've seen it in your life. I've seen it in the church. I've thought about this a lot, and I've never really written it down. I'd like to put an essay together on it someday. It would be a historic essay. But I feel like the church, the Christian church in general has always sort of had a kind of spiritual center that is always moving. It's like, and it's hard to pin where it is, but it's always somewhere. And, of course, it starts in the Middle East, it starts in Jerusalem, and that's the first center, and its barbarians and managers, you know, moving with the gospel. But then this sort of religious bureaucracy and aristocracy sort of takes over. And it's not that Christianity leaves Jerusalem, but you do see it sort of move to Antioch, to Syria.

And so, in Syria it grows, and then it's the same arc happens there, so it moves to Egypt and Alexandria. And it happens there, so it kind of moves up to Asia Minor, modern day Turkey and Constantinople. Then it happens there, and then you see it move to... and on it goes to Ireland, to Northumbria, then back down to Germany and Holland, and then eventually makes its way to the United States, where that was, and I say was, the heart of Christianity. It's not here anymore, right? We know that. We know the heart of Christianity is not in America anymore. Doesn't mean it can't be, could be if we repented, if we sought after God with all our heart.

But there's so much religious bureaucracy and aristocracy here, it's very hard. It's not that Christianity has left us, but are we the center anymore? Well, it sure feels like the center is in places like Africa or Latin America or maybe China, that there's a... when you go to those places, there is a, like, wow, God is on the move here. That's not a criticism. It's just that it's like this old story I heard that once Thomas Aquinas was with the pope, and the pope took him to the treasure room, and he said, and he showed him all of this gold and jewelry and fine things, and he said, "Look, look Thomas. No longer can I say, 'Silver and gold have I not.'" And Thomas Aquinas grabs him by the arm and he says, "Neither can you say, 'Rise up and walk.'"

You see, there's a trade there, there's a trade. It's anecdotal. You know, it's not an essay, it's just a thought I've had for a long time, that the center of our faith is going to where people want it the most. It's going to where people desire it like a thirsty man desires water. It's going to a place, like, where a hungry person, a hungry woman desires food, right? That's where it is. And in the life of disciple, we always have, we live somewhere on this plane, on that left side as barbarians or managers, or on that right side as aristocrats and bureaucrats.

And I think that God me, I would say that in the life of the disciple Bobby Schuller, if anything crushes his discipleship, it will not be tragedy, it will not be hardship, will not be any of those things, it will be the temptation to rest in the plane of aristocracy, to rest on my laurels, to become lazy and complacent in my walk with God, and to not want it anymore. That is the place on which the faith of most believers die, is on a pillow. And I just tell you that that is preceded almost always by ego. Ego, wow, look what I did. Isn't that great? Woo. Pretty awesome. The great program, "Leading Like Jesus," created, it's a little bit cheesy, but it's really easy to remember. This they say ego is an acronym for...and this always precedes failure. It's an acronym for Edging God Out.

Notice, it's not pushing or shoving God, it's just, like, slowly over time, he's gonna just slide, just edging him out ever so slightly over time. Just, you know, and then, wow, look at me. Isn't that great? Hey, I'm Bobby. I did it. Look at me, right? And so, what happens when we're stuck in ego, edging God out, we're filled with all the won'ts, the won'ts that we won't do for God. I won't love my enemy. I won't forgive my parents. I won't love the person that hates me. I won't take a risk. I won't try and make my marriage work. I won't call my kids. All the things we won't do, huh? There's a, for most of us, there is probably a big spiritual won't. It is between us and our destiny, and the thing that keeps it there is the ego, edging God out, edging God out.

This is a common theme in the Bible. Over and over you see this arc happening. You ever read the Old Testament and just go, how do these people always, they see God do this great thing, and they always go back to idols and neglect the poor and embrace injustice and just don't, you know, they're all bowing down to all sorts, like, Baal all the time. Like, what is the deal with Baal? And just always, you know, this type of thing. And what we forget is these stories take place over hundreds of years. It's so easy to forget in ten years what God did. Imagine 100 years. Do you remember what God did in the lives of your grandparents? You know what 100 years ago was? Actually, it's interesting to think, in 1922, if I'm right, that was right before the crash, right? That was "Great Gatsby" days. Like, things were better than ever. Wow, they had no idea what was coming, did they?

Do you remember that on a day like today when things are going better than ever? So, we see this thing through the scriptures, we see this theme through the scriptures. You know, the book of 1 and 2 Samuel, first of all, is one book, not two books. The reason its 1 and 2 is because the scrolls were too big to haul around, so you have old rabbis trying to haul around these 40 pound, 50 pound scrolls, they cut them in half. I don't know how they picked, but anyway, they did. And so, it's really written as the original writer wrote it all in one thing. And it goes, you follow this arc over and over and over, the rise and fall, from barbarian to aristocrat, over and over. It becomes, like, just predictable. It begins with a woman who has an amazing name, the best name in the world, bet you can guess what it is. Hannah. It's a good name. Yeah, Hannah, it's a good name.

Hannah begins with this, you know, she's infertile, and in those days so much of your worth as a woman was having a family, and she's crying out to God for a child, and she says, "If you give me a child, I'll dedicate him to you". She's given this child, Samuel, who becomes the prophet Samuel, and she begins with this song. And the song makes three promises that become the theme of all of Samuel and Kings. And it's three things. Number one, God lifts up the humble and lays down the proud. Number two, God wins always, despite human evil. Human evil will come, but God will win in the end. And number three, God will raise up a king that will set things right.

The King, like we read in Isaiah 11, a Messianic King to set things right. The first king we see is a guy named Saul. He follows the same arc. Meteoric rise, good looking, he's about my height, 6'3". That's came off really weird, especially in a story about ego. Just takes off, does great, and right around the top when things are at their best, it's the beginning of the end. He starts cracking a little bit mentally, becomes paranoid, totally wrapped up in self deception and ego, and right at the top of this arc in Saul's life, a new arc is beginning in the life of a young man named David.

So, we see that Saul's life just sort of crashes down and unravels and falls apart as he tries to control and manipulate everything, gets worse and worse, and then David comes in the middle of that. He's the youngest of eight sons, pretty ignored, unwanted, but when he's picked, God doesn't see the way that man sees, he sees the heart. Picks David, David's anointed to be the future king of Israel, and then as a teenager he goes and kills Goliath, this epic thing. He becomes the first service I said the organist accidentally. Minstrel, I guess, for King Saul's court, and becomes a commander, and and has all these wins, and then Saul becomes insanely jealous and tries to kill David, so young David flees into the desert, and he's always, you know, trying to get away from, has two opportunities to kill Saul, one where Saul is using the restroom, you know, in a cave, almost could have killed him right there.

In both cases he has mercy on him, and then when he becomes king, he has this incredible crescendo where he conquers Jerusalem and makes it the capital and unites the 12 tribes, he brings the Ark to the temple, he renames Jerusalem Zion, becomes the king of Israel, amazing story. Just an incredible rise of a king, and then I think it's in 2nd Samuel 12 you begin to see it. The chapter begins by saying, "And in the season where the king would normally go off to war, he sent out his commanders instead, and he stayed home". Did he stay home to rest? It gives you the impression, I grew up on Hanna-Barbera Bible films, you know, those, like, cheesy cartoons that, they were great when I was a kid.

So, I always picture David laying on, like, a cot, with, like, three hot Egyptian girls with, like, palm branches, like, keeping him cool, and, like, some servant with, like, grapes, dropping the grapes in his mouth while he says, "How are my men doing at war"? You know, like, this kind of, like, you know. I've got a picture in my head that he's gone from being this giant slaying, amazing man to kinda just resting. He's an aristocrat, huh? And it's during that time, he goes out on his roof, he's kind of bored probably, sees a beautiful woman bathing, Bathsheba, takes her to his room, sleeps with her, she gets pregnant. It's another man's wife. And so, because he's so embarrassed about this, he kills her husband, Uriah, who's one of his own men and one of his friends. Kills a guy to cover up the adultery.

How did that happen? How does that happen? It's this thing, it's the ego, it's edging God out, right? That's what happens to us. This weird thing that happens when we start to do well in life or succeed that we just edge God out. And then we become the worst versions of ourselves. And what you see is the story goes on is the same crash with David, civil war with Absalom, his favorite son, who dies. And then he hands it off to Solomon, who has the same rise and crash. And then the book of Kings has 40 different kings that are mentioned, only 8 of the 40 are even decently good kings. The other 32 are horrible, and they all follow this thing, the book finishes with the worst king of them all, Manasseh, who's doing, like, child sacrifice and bringing in idols, and then there is this promise at the end that some day out of this mess there will be a king, and that king will set it right.

That king will set it right. And that's what this passage is about, Isaiah chapter 11, the stump of Jesse. See, all those kings, almost all of them were in the family of Jesse. They were all related to the king, they're all, and they all had promise, they all had meteoric rise, they all got obsessed with ego, they all fell into bureaucracy and aristocracy. They all collapsed. So, what's the message to us? God lifts up the humble and lays low the proud. God will have the victory despite human evil. And God will send a King to set things right. We need new creatures, a new creation, and a new heart. The kingdom is here. And so, I'll just finish with this word.

If you say today I'm, like, I feel like I'm a chopped down tree, I'm not what I was before. You're like David that says, "Create in me a clean heart, oh God. Renew a right spirit in me". Or you just say, I just, you're like this stump. You can tell what it used to be. Used to be strong, used to be beautiful, but now it's just a symbol of something that used to be. Might be able to count the rings, how many winters it went through. Well, that's about it. And let me say, this is you without the Lord. If you're all by yourself and you're doing it in your own power, this will be you.

That's also what the Word says. But if we are grafted to the tree of life, which has always been and will always be, even in the coming of the end of the age, that if we're grafted onto the tree of life who is Jesus Christ, we're not a stump, we're just a pruned tree. Get this image in your head. Just like that. Still ugly, right? Still looks unhealthy, still looks in trouble, but if you know anything about trees, you know this tree's best days are not behind it, but ahead of it, huh? You know that when spring comes, that tree is gonna have, you know, it's gonna be thick and full of whatever fruit it bears. It's gonna be green and beautiful and lush. Begin to see your own life not, as solo life that you're doing by yourself, but see yourself as a pruned branch on the tree of life.

If you stay there, you will bear fruit. You will thrive. Don't edge God out of your life. Don't be consumed by ego, but trust in him. God loves you right now. God loves you just as you are. Whether you feel like a winner or a loser, he is so for you. You have done nothing to earn God's love, and you have done nothing to lose it. He loves you. Isn't that great? And the last thing we ought to do is be wrapped up in pity and shame and all of these things. Today I want to encourage you to get some faith and hope in your heart, begin to take a step towards that thing that God has set before you.

So, Lord, we thank you, we love you, and we trust you. We thank you that you're here with us now, and I ask in Jesus's name, Father, that you would give us a fresh vision for a new life that you're creating in us. We may not be able to see what it is, but we can smile today, we can let our shoulders drop, we can take a deep breath and know that we are living under the loving care of Jesus Christ, and every moment we can walk in joyful confidence of this. Lord, we love you. We're your disciples, we want to learn from you, and it's in Jesus's name we pray, amen.

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