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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - It's Not About Your Tribe, It's About Your Faith

Bobby Schuller - It's Not About Your Tribe, It's About Your Faith

Bobby Schuller - It's Not About Your Tribe, It's About Your Faith

Welcome to Shepherd's Grove. We're so glad you're here. If you're here for the first time and you're used to going to church. There is a sort of production element that we have here, but we do it because we have a television program that's a big part of our mission. We do real missions. We feed hungry people. We are international but we also know that the spirit needs nourishing. And so we have this program called "Hour of Power" and that's why we do things in church a lot of the ways that we do. So anyway, we're so glad you're here. Would you stand with us? We're gonna say this creed together as we do every week.

Quiet your heart for a moment. Hold your hands out like this and let's say this together. I'm not what I do. I'm not what I have. I'm not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God. It's who I am. No one can take it from me. I don't have to worry. I don't have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share his love with my neighbor. Thanks, you can be seated. A lot of us are dealing with bad news either in our personal lives, something has happened recently, we didn't expect it to happen, but it out of the blue this terrible thing happened. Or many of us, we just watch the news, or we are on Twitter all the time and we see economic worries. We see worries of war and rumors of war. We worry about viruses and we worry about our states and our cities. We worry about politics.

Feels like there's a lot of bad news and we live in a world that capitalizes on bad news. It presents the worst news it possibly can to you and then it presents to you at Del Taco commercial to make money off of that bad news. And in a world like that, we need to have faith. Faith in God is a belief that there is something good happening that we can't see. Faith is the trust that when we're living life in God's kingdom, time is on our side. I wanna encourage you today that God wants us and wants you to trust him, if you're facing bad news. You may not be able to see the good that's gonna happen and you certainly probably can't see the good that's happening now. But if you believe God's Word is true, if you trust in it, if you know it and if you stand on this news instead of what you see on the television.

I want to promise you, things will turn out better. And even in those moments where you can't believe in your heart. Let me believe for you. God's Word is faithful even when we're faithless because he cannot deny himself. That's what the Bible says. God has a miracle for you. God has an open door for you. God's gonna break your chains. God's gonna set you free from a spirit of disease, the spirit of addiction, the spirit of sadness, spirit of heartbreak, spirit of loneliness. He's gonna set you free. He's on his way.

I remember not long ago, I like to walk or ride my bike to church. We're lucky, very lucky to live in California 'cause the weather is so nice. You just have to worry about getting sunburn, which I do so I wear a lot of sunscreen and big hats. And here by the church there's a park, walking to church one day from my house. And I saw a little girl on the monkey bars, very young, maybe four years old, maybe five, and just behind her with hands just a few inches from her waist hovering was a young dad. And this girl looked like she had not done monkey bars often but she's going 1, 2, 3. Made me think of when my daughter was a little girl. She's in teenager now but I remember that feeling of being a dad, just ready to catch her whenever she falls. You assume maybe she's gonna fall, but you'll catch her, it'll be fine.

Life is a bit like that girl, isn't it? If you're a little kid on the monkey bars, you actually can't see your dad when you're moving but you kinda know he's there. And you kinda know if you fall, he'll catch you. And you still get a little scared sometimes. Sometimes your palms get a little sweaty, but at least you know, I can try one more bar because I know he'll catch me if I fall. Journey of life is a bit like that, isn't it? It's doing things you didn't think you could do before. Taking a risk because even if you fall you know the Lord will catch you and he will. His arms are very strong. His will for you is good. His eyes are full of favor and life and love for you right now. It doesn't matter how old you are, God's much older. You're still a kid in his eyes. Life with God is good. And if you want to please God in life, have faith, and walk by faith, and live by faith, and make your decisions by faith, pray with faith. Do everything you do with faith, everything.

Faith pleases God. You wanna please God? Please him with faith. So many of us, we think, the Pharisees thought pleasing God meant honoring the Sabbath and not eating shrimp and all of these things, but it's faith that pleases God. My grandma told me back in the day growing up in the Holiness movement. She thought, you know, maybe pleasing God was don't smoke, don't drink, don't chew, don't go with boys that do, you know? That's not how you please God. I'm gonna please God walk by faith. Yes, faith will call us to a life of holiness and goodness and there are things you should and shouldn't do but at the heart of it all is not legalism, but faith. That if you live life according to what God says, it's gonna be a better life.

And that what God promises us is real and it's for now. We make faith, a much bigger deal than it is but it's really living life with confidence, absolute confidence. It's like when you press an elevator button on the hundredth floor to go down to the lobby. You just you don't worry about it. Most of you. There is there are select few who are nervous about elevators. Most of us get on the elevator and you push the L on the button and nice and gently that elevator takes you to the floor and you don't worry. You have faith in the elevator. And when you get home from work and you walk through the door tired and you turn on the television, you sit in your favorite chair, you don't worry about that chair catching you even if you've had a couple of slices of cake that day. You trusted that favorite chair of yours is gonna fit real nice and it's gonna catch you when you sit down.

When I go to kiss my wife, I don't worry if she's gonna slap me in the face, most of the time, I just trust she'll kiss me back. And when you drive through a green light, you don't usually worry that the other person, maybe you should, at the right will go through. You just trust that the way will be open. And you do these things because of experience, because you live in a life full of elevators and kissing wives and comfortable chairs and stop signs. So many of us, we don't have faith in God, because we don't live our life with God. He's a part of everything we do. And when he's on our mind, and when we pray to him, and think about him, and study his Word, and trust in him, and take risks with him, we start to live life the same way we would if we got on an elevator on the hundredth floor. We trust that it will be okay.

So the question as a disciple that I have to ask myself when I look in the mirror is do I trust God? Do I just trust him? And do I trust that his word is his will? Will I refuse to pray the faith destroying words, "If it be thy will". And will I instead know his will by studying his word? I learned that from Hannah. That God has told us his will and we oughtta stand on that. Do I trust the goodness of God? The joy of God? The honor of God? That God's honorable and faithful to what he said. And if I do, my life will be better. You can trust God today. And you can take risks even if it seems embarrassing or weird. You can take risks for God today.

So many of us, we think it's about our tribe, our denomination. Well, they're Methodist and I'm a Presbyterian. When we think about it's our tribe is our country. No, God's not American, he's not Jewish, he's not Canadian, he's not any of those things, but he loves them all. It's not about our tribe. It's not about where we're from. It's not about our language or our race, or our background, or any of those things. It's about faith. I can prove it to you and I will today, hopefully. It's hard to pay attention to a sermon for 30 minutes, but don't worry I'm halfway done. It's not about your tribe, it's about your faith. And one of the places Jesus points this out most to us is when he comes home to Nazareth. Go back with me to Israel. Just returned course, it was so great doing these sermons in Israel.

And I hope to go back and do this again each summer for a time. There's some things I didn't get to do last week and one of the places I didn't get to go, I really wanted to go but I will next time is Capernaum. It was so funny when we were there all of these challenges that we had. You know, we thought we had permits and all this stuff. We would show up and Sister Mary would come out and say you can't stand here and preach. It was like but we talk to his Sister Agatha and she said we could and we paid or $100. There is no Sister Agatha here. It's kinda like you know we had a lot of that sort of experience, but we learned a lot. Anyway, behind me is a picture, hopefully, of a synagogue in Capernaum. This one it was actually built in the 6th Century. It's built on the location of the old synagogue and this is very much what a synagogue in Jesus day.

So this is Capernaum, the main city that Jesus did a majority of his ministry in and this would have been the temple that he was... forgive me, the synagogue that he was normally in. There are many synagogues around Israel, because you know a lot of Jews, especially those who didn't live in Jerusalem couldn't go to the temple. So they gathered around the rabbis and very much like how we have church worship this morning. They would have it in their own way in their synagogues as many Jews still do today. Before they would go into the synagogue they would wash in the mikvah. I've spoken about this before. Mikvah is a cleansing pool. The men and women would separate and you would wash, you prepare yourself to become, to be clean and separated before the Lord. So you'd wash your head, which is Lord give me clean thoughts. Wash your chest, which is saying Lord give me a clean heart.

Remember the heart in the Bible does not mean your emotions. It means your will. It means what do you really want and what you want is shown by what you choose to do. You know, many of us want lots of things but it's the one that governs our actions, you may want to be a family man, and you may want to succeed in your job, but whichever gets more of your attention is what you really are. It's what your heart really is. And there's lots of scenarios like that in life. Oh, Lord give me a heart after you, after what you would want. That would be washing the chest. Washing the legs, Lord, I'll go wherever you want me to go and washing the hands. Lord, let my actions be good. Let all that I do be good. Let me love what is good and hate what is evil.

And the people after washing now would come cleanse and come in the right state of mind and heart and come into the synagogue and would gather in sometimes a sort of circle. And every day, there would be someone from the community, sometimes it would be a young teenage girl, sometimes it would be an old man, sometimes it would be a rabbi, and some and this changes over time, but in Jesus's day it was something like this. We're not 100% sure, but there would be a platform called a bema. Sometimes with a thing called a Moses seat. And there the person who was set apart for that day would read seven Scriptures and at the end of the last and final Scripture, that Scripture reading would be about 20 minutes. After that they would give what's called a derashah. Which is a two minute sermon.

Can you imagine only two minutes? Not fair. I don't like that at all. But anyway, would be about two minutes and it'd be a two minute reflection on what I learned from these passages before I read them, what a cool thing to do. And the way you would know who was reading that Saturday morning, that Sabbath, was there was a custodian of the synagogue, not a rabbi, called a hazzan. Today I think in synagogues hazzans are like cantors. And they set up a lot of the worship, but back then and they did some of that, the hazzan would oversee the worship and they would put up three years in advance, everyone, say three years, the Scripture readings for the day. They had, in the Presbyterian Church we'd call electionary, right? Has a list of pre selected list of Scriptures for those days that were picked 250 years before that. That was when the electionary was written.

So all synagogues would follow the electionary three years in advance would choose, you know, that Saturday Haven Schuller is gonna read. And then next Sunday, Curtis Driever is gonna read. And then and different members of the community would be selected. So three years before, you know, be home. It's your day. That's the day you got to read and you gotta give a little reflection to the community. You got it? So Jesus returns to Nazareth. Why does he return? It might be that he's on the list to read that day. Probably yes. A lot of scholars think it was. Nazareth, a place where Jesus is from, was a very small community probably 250 to 400 people. It didn't exist in the Old Testament, and that's because this village, there's speculation about this but in Jesus's day, there was still more people living in Babylon than there were living in Israel. Did you know that?

And over the years, they were still returning to Israel and many of them who were returning were recently were returning to the northern region of Galilee. Nazareth comes from a word Netser which means a shoot. It's called shootsvillle and everybody that lived in Nazareth was a descendent from Jesse, King David's father. And the belief was someone from this town is going to be the Messiah, because the Scriptures say the Messiah will be a descendant of Jesse, a descendant of King David. So they called it shoot fill and of course the Bible also says he'd be born in Bethlehem. So I don't know, how they squared that away, but Jesus did it for them.

Anyway, so Jesus returns to his town Nazareth and everybody there I assume thinks they're a big deal. It'd be like if there was a little village made of royal people from a fallen house of England or something. And everybody there was from whatever that family was. And everybody talked about, eveyrone's excited about anyway. And so, Jesus returns to Nazareth and whenever we think about Jesus coming in Nazareth, those of us who have grown up in church. We always think about how they tried to stone him, but we forget at first they spoke well of him. They liked him. It says that Jesus came out of the desert full of power and might. And he went around healing the sick, including raising a little girl from the dead, and he took dominion over evil spirits, and preached. And everything he did was amazing until he came home to Nazareth. And it says when he returned to Nazareth and everybody had heard about Jesus, that everybody said wait we know this guy, isn't this Joseph's son? Isn't this Mary's son?

Don't we know his four brothers and his two sisters? Hasn't he grown up here? This is the carpenter Jesus, he's not the Messiah, we know him. And so they had no faith. And in fact, the Bible says of the people of Nazareth, it's interesting there's two places where it says Jesus was amazed at their faith, both of 'em are Gentiles, but in this case, Jews among Jews, that the best of the best, you know, you think in terms of royal Jewish bloodline. You'd think they would be full of faith, but it says in Mark 6:6 he was amazed at their lack of faith. Lord, I just pray that that would never happen to me. Let me amaze you, but not with my lack of faith. Let me really believe in a way that nobody else believes. Let me understand that it's not about my tribe, it's about my faith. And it says, in fact that Jesus couldn't do many miracles there at all.

And finally, it comes to the day, where he's supposed to read the Scripture in Luke chapter 4. Do you think the synagogue was busy that day? I think a lot were in attendance, I do. I think that was like Easter Sunday at the synagogue. Now you know what I mean. The way we have 'em. There are a lot of people there. In Luke 4 it says he went to Nazareth ready to be brought up on the Sabbath day. And he went to the synagogue as was his custom and he stood up to read. And I assume at this point he's already been there for a while. And very few miracles have happened. And it says, we can see that in the book of Mark. And it says and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him, right?

So it's his day and he's reading the Scriptures. So he didn't pick it. It was handed to him, right? 'Cause that's what set up. Unrolling it, he found the place where it's written, and then everybody in the synagogue stands because he's reading the Scripture. The Spirit of the Lord is on me, and remember this, Jews are passionate people. They are and they were. I heard a rabbi say once the Jews are like everyone else just more so. When they read the Scripture they're reading the words of God and whenever someone, especially a rabbi would read, read with passion. The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind. To set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

Then he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the hazzan, the attendant, and sat down, and the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. What's the derashah? What's the little sermon gonna be? And he said today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. What does that mean? He's saying I'm the Messiah. You're all wondering. Are you the Messiah? Because you were born in Nazareth, and we believe you're gonna come from Nazareth. And then what it says it says all spoke well of him. They weren't upset that he was calling himself the Messiah. They were excited because they were right the Messiah will be a Nazarene. That sounds like the denomination. My grandmas a Nazarene but do you know what I mean from the city of Nazareth. And it says all were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. Isn't this Joseph's son, they asked.

And by the way that's a good thing 'cause Joseph is a descendent from Jesse and is a local boy. Everybody's excited. And Jesus says, in the Greek it says, not so fast. Jesus says not so fast. He gives them two examples. He says, surely you will quote this proverb to me, physician heal yourself. Why would they say that? They're wondering why hasn't he done any miracles, though. And he's been here for a week now. And it hasn't performed any miracles. What's that about? And you would tell me do here in your hometown what we heard that you did in Capernaum and they're like amen, that's exactly what we're saying to you. Do a miracle. And he says truly I tell you, he continued, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you get there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. And yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to the widow of Zarephath in the region of Sidon.

You know that story? King Ahab is cursed and Elijah, the one who curses him because of his child sacrifice and worship of foreign gods, et cetera. God tells Elijah, Go to Zarephath and I have instructed a widow to make sure that you have all the food you need and to take care of you. And when Elijah gets there the widow hadn't heard about that. She didn't know it. Ain't that a funny part of the story? You know, God had instructed her but she didn't know she was being instructed. And so when Elijah arrives there, he sees a woman and she's gathering some sticks by the gates. And he says please bring me a glass of water. She nods, she goes to get the water, and as she's walking away and he says, Oh and can you please bring me a piece of bread. And she turns to him and she says, Sir, I have just a little handful of flour left and just a tiny bit of oil.

And I'm gonna use this to make a donut 'cause oil and flour makes a donut. I'm gonna use this to make some bread. And my son and I are gonna eat it and then we're gonna die because it's all we have left. And Elijah says to her, don't be afraid. Fear not. Can I just say that to you today? Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid. Fear not. He says do what you're gonna do but bring me the bread. Now she has a choice there, doesn't she? She is not Jewish. She is pagan. She's from Lebanon. She doesn't know Yahweh God. Even though God has instructed her, right? And she has a choice. Do I have my last meal and give it to my starving child? Or do I give it to this random psychopath from the south? And she picks the latter. She picks crazy Elijah. She makes the bread and in an act of faith, she gives him the last thing she has left, and that is the last day she is ever in need. God provide for her every single day, because she gave the last little bit. She believed the Word of God when it was spoken to her.

I don't know if I have that kind of faith to take my child's last piece of bread and give it to the Lord but she did and this was a credited to her as righteousness. That was what pleased the Lord. And that's what Jesus tells these Nazarenes who have no faith. They just got the good blood, you know? They got the good blood. And he says I tell you that there were lots of people who had leprosy in the time of Elijah. Yet only one of them was cleansed and his name was Naaman the Syrian, Naaman the Syrian, another pagan from Syria, who came all the way and he came before the prophet Elisha. And had leprosy and the prophet sent a messenger to him even though he brought this whole entourage of camels and wealth and money.

The prophet wanted to almost embarrass him, bring him down from his altar and said go and rinse in the Jordan. And he was all upset and one of the servants said, if he'd given you something hard to do, you would have done it. But you're upset that he didn't come out and talk to you. Just go do it. Just go try. And Naaman did it and he was cleansed. And it says all the people of Nazareth were furious when they heard this. They tried to stone Jesus, but they couldn't of course. It's not so many of the things we think it is that pleases God. It is faith. It's faith. Do I trust God? If I trust God I will act like it's possible. If I believe God, I will first believe it's possible. Do you believe God can bring you a miracle? The one you need right now.

Do you believe it really? Believe it today and act like it. Do you believe you're forgiven of your sins? Believe it and act like it. Do you believe you're delivered from the spirit that's nagging you? A spirit of addiction or whatever spirit is dragging you down, a spirit of sickness. Be free from it now. Do you believe it? Act like it. Do you believe God can bring your miracle? Do you believe God can, for those of you who are single and you wanna meet someone that God has someone for you? Do you believe you're not destined to be alone your whole life? A new friend, a new relationship, a new job, and most of all a new life, full of joy and full of passion in his kingdom.

If you believe it, start acting like it. Live life with absolute confidence. Act like it. Act like the child, who even though her hands are getting tired she reaches for the next monkey bar because you know God will catch you. Begin to do scary things full of faith, because you know that God's will is good for you. Believe it and act on it today. And this is not only the best way, it's the only way to really live a Christian life. I don't know about you I'm done with dry dead religion, right. We don't want that we want a bold amazing faith. True religion right is serving widows and orphans. It's doing things, right, that God has called us to live an active faith like this guy who saw someone in need. He got out of his car. Let us be the people that take action according to our faith, amen.

So Lord we just bring our hearts before you and some of us say we don't have any faith. Maybe you say to us, open your Bible. Or maybe you say pray or maybe you say listen. So, Lord we come before you and we ask that you would swell our hearts full of faith and help us to be the kinds of people that love to take action, to believe and act as though all things are possible as it says in the Scripture. That you're the great chain breaker. That you bring the dead to life. That you set us free from our sin. Set us free from our poverty and our sickness and our brokenness. Deliver us, Lord. We love you and we thank you. And it's in the strong name of Jesus we pray. All God's people said amen.

And now the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.

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