Chris Hodges - The Invitation to Rest
So good to see you. Thanks for coming to church, tonight. Y'all ready to study the Word of God? I said you ready to study the Word of God, everybody? 'Cause I'd like to introduce your guest speaker tonight. It's me, everybody, all right? So, yeah, so that's pretty good. All right. It's so good to see you. I need to say a big hello to all of our campuses. We're so glad you are joining us. We hope you had an amazing time of worship and prayer and communion like we did here at Grants Mill. God bless you. I love you with all of my heart. And to everybody that's watching online somewhere around the world or wherever it's got you, at home tonight, we're so glad that you took some time to worship with us. Thank God for the miracle of technology.
Put your hands together and say a big hello to everybody. Awesome. Hey, before we jump into the message, I do want to remind you this Sunday is Mother's Day, all right? And so plan to honor your mom if you can. And then also I'll be preaching this Sunday on a message that really I came up with so much material on what I want to share this Sunday. I'm giving most of the other stuff that I'm not going to be able to share on Sunday tonight. All right? And to get there, I'm going to take you down a little bit of a rabbit trail so I can teach you God's Word, so we're going to go old school Bible study, verse by verse. And y'all ready for that, everybody?
So, it's a little bit deep into the pool. I'm just gonna try to explain some things to you, and I'm gonna set something up. It's gonna take me about five or ten minutes to set it up, and then we're gonna kind of end in a different direction that you'd think, but it really all fits together. So, I want to begin by reading you a verse that you already know. John chapter, verse 10, that the thief, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus said, "I've come that you may have zoe, that you might have life, and have that life to the full".
Now, that dynamic is taking place right now in our world. I don't know if you see that, but it's ramping up so that the devil's more active than he's ever been, in my opinion, and I believe that means that God's Spirit's gonna be poured out even more so in our lives the same way. So, you've gotta prepare yourself for that. In fact, I truly believe that revival is on the horizon. And every time you see wickedness increase, God's grace increases all the more. And whenever you see the devil fighting, I'm gonna tell you this, it's because he understands something that's going on in our world, and I really believe that God is gonna bring us a great revival. In fact, I believe there's a tailwind coming to the body of the Christ, everybody. All right? But I've gotta teach you the dynamics of what's happening in the spirit realm, so you can recognize it. All right?
And it's very important for you to understand, and I'm just gonna go ahead and say this, tonight. I know there's a lot going on in our world, and they think it's political with the battle over life, but to me the battle over life is not a political issue. It's a moral issue. And in the name of Jesus, come on, everybody, we're gonna see Roe versus Wade overturned. I'm just gonna say it. We need that overturned. And you're gonna see an increase of wickedness taking place in the world around us. We are fundamentally and profoundly pro-life. Can I hear a good amen, everybody? And we're a whole lot of other things, too, but we believe, we believe in the sanctity of life, and the devil is actually making some plays, and I want to make sure you understand his ways.
One verse in 2 Corinthians says, "Do not be unaware of his schemes". Now, I'm going again in a direction that's going to feed into what I want to share on Sunday, but I just had so much fun studying it, I want to give you a Bible study that kind of sets it all up, and it begins really with this, that there are three main gods, little g, gods, demonic gods in, that are working in our world today and have forever. And one of them is related around the world of money. It's the god of possessions, that is the god of mammon, right? It's the god of riches. It's the quest for more. It's the god of greed, and that god will come against you. It will try to attack you in every way.
There's another god that is listed in the Bible. A lot of times, it's the word Asherah. Sometimes you see the word Ashteroth. It is a god of pleasure. And a lot of times, it's the god of sexual pleasure, but it's all bodily pleasure. It's called Venus in the Roman system and Diana in the Grecian system. But basically, Asherah says follow your feelings, follow your bodily desires. If it feels good, do it. All right? The third one that you'll see over and over in the Bible is Baal, and Baal is actually the one I want to talk about a little bit, tonight, but Baal is the god of power. This is the god of pride. This is, and actually the word Baal means master. It means human attainment. It's the god of pride.
Now, I want to show you just as a setup to where we're headed, as we unpack this god and what it means for us today, I want to show it to you three places in Scripture where all three of these are mentioned in one passage, one in the Old Testament, one in the New Testament, and then one with Jesus, okay? And so in Genesis, in the story of the fall, of course, the enemy came to, against Adam and Eve, and the Bible said that when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was three things, it was good for food, so bodily pleasure, pleasing to the eye, I don't have it but I want it, that's greed, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, pride. She took some and ate it, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.
So, again, you see all three of these same gods in operation. Good for food. Again, I want to do whatever tastes good, feels good. I want my body to be happy. Pleasing to the eye. I want, you know, I want it. I don't have it, but I want it. That's the spirit of greed or mammon. And desirable for gaining wisdom. In fact, their desire was to be like God. So, it was a human attainment versus really submitting yourself under the power of God, and really allowing, really being dependent on God. Man has always wanted to be dependent upon themselves. So, then you go into the temptation of Jesus, which is found in Matthew 4 and in Luke 4. I'll show you the Matthew 4 version. "The tempter came..." And guess how many times he tempted Jesus? Three times in three different ways. "The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'"
Of course, Jesus had been fasting, and he was hungry, so he was appealing to his body to be pleased and to have the lust of his flesh satisfied. "And then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple and said, 'If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.'" Show off in front of everybody. And it appealed to his sense of pride. "And again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor and said, 'You don't have it, but I'll give it to you.'" You see the mammon spirit. So, again, it's always in operation, and I'll show you those three again. "Turn the stones into bread," is that spirit, that demonic spirit that is in operation today. It'll try to come against you to try to get your body to do something against God's Word. Satisfy the body.
Don't worry about what's going on inside. "Throw yourself down," the spirit of pride and human attainment. "And all this I'll give you". You don't have it, but you can have it, in stirring up the spirit of greed. Are y'all seeing this so far, everybody? All right. And I'm just trying to lay a foundation so I can teach you about the spirit of Baal that is in operation, and I believe is rising up his ugly head in our generation, today. But let me show you one more place just for fun, all right? 'Cause this is Bible study night, everybody, all right? We're studying our Bibles. In fact, can I encourage you, bring your Bibles to church on Wednesday night. All right? Just bring them and study it.
How many have a Bible? Hold it up. Make Jesus glad, the devil mad, and the bookstores happy. There you go. All right, okay. So, in 1 John chapter 2, this is toward the end of the New Testament, 1 John says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father cannot be in that person". And then he mentions guess how many things? Three things. He says, "For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man..." So letting your flesh have its desires, whatever you feel, if it feels good, do it. "...the lust of the eyes..." So, I don't have it, but I want it, "and the boasting of what he has and does..." There's pride again. "...comes not from the Father but the world".
So, once again you see in every one of these places, these three demonic principalities in operation. So, several years ago, I actually did a message series talking about how do you break the spirit of Asherah? How do you overcome the demonic principality that is going to try to get you to be convinced that if your body wants it, you can have it? And I would just caution you, I don't have time to teach it tonight, but just to recognize there's a demonic spirit that will try to come against you in the spirit of lust, sexual immorality, and you've just gotta stand firm against the devil, in Jesus' name. Amen, everybody? And he's out there all the time, and he'll lie to you. It happens all the time. The lust of the eyes, that's the spirit of greed.
So, money has a spirit on it, and it's either a godly spirit or it's a demonic spirit, but a demonic spirit on money is mammon. And then, of course, the boasting of what he has and does, human attainment is in the spirit of Baal. "PC, why are you talking about all of this"? Let me tell you a story. Right when the pandemic broke out in 2020, I became convinced that we were in a cycle of history that was repeating itself and had already repeated itself about 26 times in human history, recorded human history over the past 5000 years, that we were coming to the end of a cycle that I believe was leading to societal collapse. And even perhaps, even, to the collapse of America. And I thought the pandemic was probably going to accelerate that and not to mention we were in, other things were taking place in our culture, as well, with the election that was taking place in 2020 and beyond.
And I read a book that I don't agree totally with everything that I read. I'll just tell you before I tell you the name of it. But I read a book by a futurist. He's a Jewish guy who actually passed away recently. He wrote it in 2015, and he studies historical cycles. So, he was showing how we are in a pattern that honest, in his opinion, you couldn't stop. We're just in a pattern, a cycle of where you, where nations are born out of the need to be successful. Then they achieve success, and then they have depravity, and they fall. And there's never been a nation that's even lasted as long as the one we currently live in. They all, they kind of rise to power, but their decadence and their depravity causes their failure and their fall.
In fact, I did a podcast with a guy who is a futurist and a missiologist, Fred Barka, to really explain how that's taking place. The book is called "The Storm Before the Calm". Now, I'm not sure all of his conclusions are right. No one really knows. But he really believes that it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. And honestly, what it did for me is just it helped me, as a leader, and really just as a person, just to contextualize what's taking place in society. Of course, I'm a Christian, and I'm a leader, and I want to lead well in the seasons that we're in. The Bible says that the sons of Issachar understood the times and knew what to do.
And so I just want to have an understanding of it, then let God be God. He'll do whatever he does, but I, honestly, I'll work with it. 'Cause I think God sometimes does his best work in crisis and in those situations. I've always said that when things are going great, people don't go to church. They go to the lake house. And when things are bad, they come to the church house, not the lake house. Y'all follow what I'm saying, everybody? They get desperate. The first time our church was ever packed to the brim was the Sunday after 9/11. Our church was in its first year, and people could hardly get in the door, because a terrible situation had caused them to come to God.
So, I'm not even so sure God is even that interested in stopping some of those things, because he knows how it's going to bring us closer to him. Are y'all listening to me, everybody? All right. But I also believe that it's not only true in historical cycles, and it's worth just listening to and reading and studying yourself, but I also think it's true in human cycles, that we can have a tendency to follow the same thing, to have this survival mode where we're in, we don't have anything. So, we pray hard. When the first year, when I was planting the church, y'all, I prayed hours every day 'cause there was nothing, and I was praying over the city, and I was driving around the loop of the interstate in Birmingham, just crying out 'cause there wasn't nothing. There was nobody coming. And I, "Oh, God, I need you". And if you do that, God will grant you success.
The question is can you handle the success? 'Cause historically, if you go from survival to success, you always go to self-dependence, and you just think, "I've got this now, know how to do this". And we have a tendency to leave God out. Are y'all listening to me, everybody? And so now we're kind of operating on our own a little bit. And by the way, that's why we have 21 days of prayer twice a year to remind ourselves that "It's not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord God Almighty. And we get on our face, and we push the plate away, and we cry out to God like nothing's happening, and we stay dependent on him. Can I hear a good amen, everybody?
So, I was afraid that some of those cycles, I honestly wasn't concerned about it happening in me, but you know the heart can be deceitful above all things. And so as a discipline, I always bring what's happened in my life and then what's happening in history and in the world. I got just so interested in it. I asked the Lord to show me if there's anything going on there in my life, or in other people's lives, or in some of the leaders I was leading. What's going on in our world? 'Cause I just want to lead well, and I actually want to have a heart, I want to be a man after God's own heart. I want to really, want to lead in that kind of a way, and I don't ever want to lean on self-dependence, and I just don't want to be that person.
And so I always take time off between that last Christmas service, and then we have Christmas with our family, and then I tell all of them leave me alone. Right, everybody? Just go away for about a week so I can, so I can, y'all didn't think that was funny? That was really funny to me. So, so I would get Tammy, and I'd kick everybody out of the house. And sometimes we'd go away, and we'd just kind of, we'd just get alone and rest a little bit, 'cause we work pretty hard during Christmas, of course. And so from Christmas to New Year's, we'd take some time off, and I spend all mornings just before the Lord, honestly, and just thinking about evaluating the past year, and thinking about the new year, and I was still in this place.
And, of course, a lot happened since 2020. You know, more things happened through the rest of 2020, and then 2021, and was still evaluating all of that, and I felt like the Lord had me read two books during that season, books that I had read. So, I re-read them, and one of them was a secular book on, again, the cycles of self-sabotage, the cycles where you can achieve something but fall. So, you gain some level of success, but that you fall, and this was all about companies that fall, a book written by Jim Collins called "How the Mighty Fall". And I'd read it before, but I re-read it again. And I was reading it 'cause I want to be a good leader, and a leader of an organization, but I was still, I was in this mode of, "Lord, is there anything there that we just need to be careful of"?
And if there's anything as a pastor that I could lead people to that they can't see, so that they don't become a casualty, and they become in self-sabotage, and then the pastors that I lead, which by the way, y'all, we have about 25 pastors who are visiting us tonight. We've been in a roundtable for a couple of days. Y'all give them a good hand. They're sitting right over here. Okay. All right. And then I read another book called, "The Enemies of Excellence," by a Christian author named Greg Salciccioli, and it's just fun to say his name, Salciccioli, and it makes me very hungry and want some spaghetti. Amen, everybody? All right. But he talks about, again, the cycle of self-sabotage, how you go from this place of really desperation to God, you always achieve some level of success, but there are steps that actually cause everything that you'd ever achieve to lose.
And in both cases, both in the secular book and the Christian book, the first thing that you did wrong was the same thing. They both agreed that the first one was the same one, and it goes back to the spirit of Baal, and that's what I want to show you. But before I show you that, I want to give you a verse that really has been stirred in my heart about all of this, and that is the prudent are doing this. The prudent are looking at that. They see danger, and they take refuge. The prudent say, "Wait a minute. If that's what happened to other countries, that's what could happen to us". The prudent say, "If that's what happened to that marriage, that could happen to my marriage". The prudent say, "If that happened to that successful businessman, that could happen to me".
The prudent study that to make sure it doesn't happen to themselves. The prudent see danger, take refuge, but the simple keep on going. Life's great, don't need to do anything, and they pay the penalty for that. In fact, in both books, there was a word that I really don't use a lot. I knew what the definition was, but I don't really use it a lot. And in both cases, they used the word hubris. And hubris is a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence, often times masked by "I got it going on, doing great," by personality or confidence.
Now, I think this can be true in marriages. How's your marriage? It's going great. How are your kids? Kids great. How's the business? Business going great. And historically, and again, this is all data-driven material, historically, there's always, all the falls begin with this blinding spirit of pride, this spirit of Baal, getting involved, working its way in people's lives to keep them from really depending, dependent upon God and dependent on themselves instead. Are y'all following that so far, everybody? Now, obviously, the antidote to pride is humility, but I think there's another antidote that want to give you, and this is where I'm headed, and this is what I'm going to speak on, on Sunday. And all of that was just the introduction, okay. Because I'm studying for Sunday a message on Mother's Day.
I intentionally put it on Mother's Day because I think they, in some ways, embody someone who can care for everybody else so much and work so hard and do so much, and you kind of not really take care of yourselves sometimes, and then there's some kind of emotional collapse, or just depression, or weariness, or, and then God has a solution for all of that. I'm concerned about people right now. I'm concerned about you, that the pace that we live, the amount of things that we try to fit into a week, that it's just too much. And when we do that, it literally, I believe, is the spirit of Baal in another form, making us go after something at a level that we cannot sustain, and we cannot endure. And Sunday we're going to talk about choosing a different pace. I call it the pace of grace. It's not what you can do; it's what you can sustain. It's what you can do and still keep a family together.
How much can I achieve and still have a great marriage? How much can I achieve and still be dependent upon God? How much can I achieve and I still sleep great at night? Are y'all following me, everybody? And I think there's an antidote to this spirit of pride, this spirit of hubris that when we convince ourselves, I'm just gonna try to fit more in. And I think it's at an epidemic level right now. And certainly in both these books that are data-driven studies on why companies fall and people fall, it all began with this, and here's another antidote that I want to throw out there to you. It's gonna surprise you, but that's to remember the Sabbath. Now, I'm not talking about a day. It is a day, and then it's not a day. It's a principle.
So, it is a day, but then it's a principle, too. And I want to teach you how to replenish. In fact, on Sunday, I'm gonna give everybody a way for them to replenish their body, soul, and their spirit. And I'm convinced that if you'll follow the recipe out of God's Word, that you will have better vacations this summer, you'll have a replenished heart and mind, and the demonic principality of Baal will not have his place in your life, and that's what I'm hoping to give you. Now, all that was too much for Sunday. That's why I gave it to the First Wednesday people, the truly godly people of Church of the Highlands. So, the Bible says, "Remember the Sabbath day and make it holy". Holy means set apart. Let it have a special place in your heart, and I'm going to explain what that looks like in a second. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work".
And by the way, what I teach my team is you give me five days, you give yourself one day to work for yourself, and then everybody take a pure day off, like really be off, really take a Sabbath day to do all your work, but "the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work". In fact, the word Sabbath, Shabbat means to cease from producing. So, anything you do to produce, and that includes even just too much digital activity or for many of us it should be none at all, that there's a pure day where you honor God. It's like the tithe. We believe, I personally believe that if I give God 10%, the 90% that remains, he'll make it more than 100%. I truly believe that, and I've seen that true in my life.
But when you tithe your week, and we tithe our year, and we tithe our days, I think it's important to give God the first of the year, the first of the week, and a little bit of time every day. Like, tithe a part of the day, that God will give you, you say, "Well, I'm too busy to do that". No, no, no, just like the tithe, he'll make the 90% that you have remain more than 100%. I truly believe that. "And on it, you shall not do any work, neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, your animals, your aliens". Like, they've got just in case it wasn't clear, you know, they made it real clear. "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and earth, and the sea, and all that's in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath and made it holy".
And I'm asking you to consider, I'm gonna teach it a little bit more practically on Sunday, a little bit more theologically tonight, but I'm asking you to look at your life and ask, are you pushing through some of those moments? Have you made something that is holy, unholy? And I'm talking about a full day. You say, "Well, I go to church every Sunday". But that's not what Sabbath means. Sabbath is that day where you allow your whole life to be replenished in every way, and we declare to God that I don't have what I have because I'm a good hard worker. I have what I have because you have given me the ability to have it. And the Bible says, "It will be a sign between me and the Israelites," not just in the Old Testament, but, say it out loud. But this is a forever principle.
Now, of course, like in the Old Testament, the Pharisees and Sadducees and the rulers, they made it a law, and they got so strict with it, they kind of, in my opinion, they ruined it, and that's why Jesus came along and said, "You missed the point. Man wasn't made for the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made for man". But it declares that we cannot do life without God. Now, why is it so important? Because we can tend to have this over-inflated, self-centered idea of our own power, which is that spirit of Baal that is in operation. And I just want us to break it, in Jesus' name. I don't want the spirit of Baal operating over my life. And I'm convinced the businesses that fall, the pastors that fall, the families that fall, I think there's this, I think there's this over-inflated sense of pride.
Pride leads to destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. And that's why we stay humble, and that's why we stay dependent, and that's why we tithe our time to God and get God's Spirit. 'Cause I don't want Baal's spirit on my time. I want God's spirit on my time. And I'm bringing this to you again, because I was studying it for Mother's Day, and for this "Choosing" series because I'm convinced it's one of the best things you can choose is a pace that you can actually sustain. But it's also because we're heading in traditionally for most of us, a lot of us, not everybody, but into a season of vacation and rest. And for some of you, you're going to go on vacation, and you're going to come back more tired than you left, because you didn't learn how to do it right. I want to help you with that.
In fact, I read a book on what Sabbath looks like from a Jewish standpoint, and I'm just going to give you, okay, now some of these are a little edgy, might be the right word, I don't know. So, just, I just thought it'd be fun to let you see it. So, this, all right, get ready. So, he said a true Sabbath is a day where you're not working for wages, not competing for rewards, making time to relax, and do nothing. Can I get a better amen, everybody? Reading and studying religious materials. And, of course, just playing with the family. Taking leisurely strolls, kind of like that. Enjoying meals with friends and family. In fact, the Jewish culture, they eat their best meal of the week on that Sabbath, like Thanksgiving spread, then a lot of naps after that. Talking with each other, like genuine, just casual conversation. It does include attending religious services, but I'm afraid the Christian church just made it I went to church, I'm done, then they get back to work. Praying and meditating, all right.
And this is the one, I don't know if you feel like it's edgy, but I'm a little bashful with it, but it's also lovemaking with your spouse. All right, so let's go on, all right. So, there you go, okay. That's what he said. And all the men said a good, no, don't do that, all right. So, I want to close the message by giving you what I call an invitation. I'm giving you an invitation from Jesus to rest. So that's what I've called it. I'm giving you an invitation to rest. I want to speak as though the Lord was speaking through me, which I believe he is right now, and I want to say on behalf of the one who saves you and loves you, he wants you to figure out how to rest. He's giving you an invitation to rest.
And I did a little verse by verse Bible study of two chapters of the book of Hebrews, that I would love for you to go read the whole thing 'cause I don't have time to give you the whole thing, but I'll give you a lot of it, and I can't, I have three principles I want to pull out of it, and we'll be done, okay? So, it starts like this in chapter 3. Sorry. "So, as the Holy Spirit says: 'Today, if you hear his voice,'" through Pastor Chris or through whatever, maybe he just spoke directly to you. Like right now, in your heart, you're going, "Oh, my goodness, how did they know"? So, if the Holy Spirit is speaking right now, the Bible says, "Do not harden your heart".
Let me stop right there. Some of you have had warning signs for a long time, through your stress, your panic attacks, you're not sleeping like you used to, and you know it's not healthy, and that's the, so, those are warning signs. That's the Spirit of God allowing some things to happen, and it's trying to say something to you. I've actually had one panic attack in my life, like it happened back in 2011 while I was on a trip to Australia, and I felt like a 600-pound man sat on my chest. My heart rate went up to 200 beats a minute, and I thought I was within seconds of saying goodbye to this world. And I went to a hospital, and they couldn't, Mark Pettus was with me. He was traveling with me over there. And for about eight hours, they tried to treat me, and they couldn't get my heart rate to come down.
And this host pastor from Australia held my hand for eight straight hours while I was in this little clinic out in the middle of the outback of Australia, and I was headed to a pastors conference to speak to a bunch of pastors, and I told them, I actually told the paramedic to tell Tammy goodbye. I was telling them what to say. I feel like I have seconds to live. And so anyway, long story short, they couldn't figure out what was going on. It all kind of came down. I went and did the pastors conference, and then we got home. When we got home, my cardiologist is a member of Church of the Highlands, and I called him, I said, "I need to see you. I need you to do whatever you need to do to figure this out". And he said, "Well, we can do a stress test, but somebody that's in any relative amount of good shape, you can pass it and still have heart issues". I said, "Well, how can it be conclusive"? He goes, "Only one way is that I need to go inside with a camera and look at your heart. That's the only way I can give you a for sure to tell you if that's what happened inside, so a heart cath".
So, where they go in, go through a vein in your thigh, with a camera and go up and just take, look at your heart. So, when it was all done, now you're in the consultation room after it's all over, and he looked at me. And remember, he's a member of our church, so he could talk to me like this. He said, "Well, I've got good news and bad news". He said, "The good news is your heart's perfect". He said, "The bad news is you crazy. You know what I'm saying? You're just crazy". And I said, "What do you mean"? He says, "You're pushing too hard. And you got over there and how many," he said, "how many times did you speak"? I said, "Well, about 18 times in 6 days".
He goes, that's too much. He says, "When did you start speaking"? I said, "Well, as soon as I got off the plane". He goes, "You can't do that. You go overseas, you have to wait 24 hours before you give your first sermon. You need to go to a hotel and sleep and just pace yourself a little bit better". He started actually pastoring me, not just being my doctor. He says, "Do you drink a lot of caffeine and stuff"? "Well, I had to". He said, "No, you can't do that. You're over," he said, "you are addicted to your own adrenaline and caffeine there". And I said, "So, I went in to have my heart..." And he says, "No, that was your body saying to you, you've got, you need to listen". And there's some of you, he and your body is trying to tell you something, and "you should not harden your hearts, as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness". God's saying, "Listen to this".
And I really believe for some of you that are listening to me, tonight, you need to hear this message, and you need to do your vacation a little different this year, or you need to figure out if your job will allow for you to have better time off during the week. Are y'all following me, everybody? He says, "Don't harden your hearts where your ancestors and tried me for 40 years, and they saw what I did. This is why," watch this, "I was angry with that generation. I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' So I declared if they'd keep going that way, the result of a life that is away from God always produces no rest". There's just no, and actually, by the way, when you're in sin, it'll make you so anxious and so worried, you'll feel like, you would describe it as I have no rest.
Every time you step outside of the will of God, there is no rest. But every time you step back in the will of God, it always produces rest. You need to know that. And by the way, that's how you will know if you're in right standing with God. Honestly, it's one of the ways you can know. And so it continues in chapter 4 with, "Therefore, since the promise of entering that rest still stands..." In other words, even if you've messed it all up, God says, "I'll still let you figure it out. I'll show you a pathway to it. Let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did, but the message they heard was of no value of them, because those who heard it did not combine it with their faith".
And God said part of your unrest is coming from your faith life. Like, you immediately stopped trusting God for things. And every time you stop trusting God, you're going to have to trust something. And let me tell you who it is: you. And that, once again, is the spirit of Baal that says, "I can do it through human attainment". Are y'all following me, everybody. That's why I took all that time in the beginning to show you that spirit. And then it goes on to say, "But now we who have believed," like the believe, true believers, "enter that rest". So, there therefore now "remains then a Sabbath rest for the people of God". And this is in the New Testament. So, it's not necessarily the day. I do believe in the day. But God says you can have this principle, and you can have this play out in your life.
"There remains then a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his". And here's the last verse. "So, therefore, make every effort, like work to rest. Make every effort to enter that rest". Is anybody getting anything out of this so far? All right, I'm just, I'm here. I feel like, I felt like in my spirit when I was preparing for Sunday, and I actually had somebody else planned to speak this. And I said, "I'll put you some other time". 'Cause I had so much material that I knew I couldn't teach on a Sunday. I said: I need to get this into the heart of our people and get it on video so people can hear this wake-up call that you can't push as hard as you are, and that it offends God. It's a spirit of Baal behind it. It's human attainment, and we've got to slow ourselves down and back enter into that rest, and we need to make every effort to do it, in Jesus' name. And everybody said a good...
So, how do you do it? Let me give you three things I saw in that text. And that is, first, don't ignore his call to rest. Don't ignore it. The problem with this is people would, the people that ignore it, half know they're ignoring it, and the other half don't even know it's an issue. And that's why Jesus said. "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with..." Three words. Dissipation. Dissipation means there's a slow evaporation, and you didn't even know that it was happening. Drunkenness, and drunkenness is the literal, but drunkenness is always a sign of whatever, just carefree living. And the anxieties, and so that's the pressures and stresses you know you have. Those three things combined will close on you, not you seeing it, but unexpectedly like a trap, and you didn't even know it happened.
Some of you heard me tell this illustration. I did a lot of snow skiing, because I lived seven years, Tammy and I lived seven years in Colorado Springs, so we're pretty good snow skiers. And we go back one time a year now, but we skied almost every weekend when we lived there as youth pastors. And I talked to a paramedic one time, and I, 'cause I was always going to the infirmary 'cause I was a youth pastor. Come on, somebody. Where y'all at? All right. So, I was talking to this paramedic one time, checking on one of the kids who had twisted his knee or something. And he said, "Do you know that 90% of all ski accidents happen in the last hour of the day"? Said, "Really"? I said, "Why"? He said, "Two things: they're more tired than they think they are, so they got weary and didn't notice it 'cause they were still having fun, and over confidence".
'Cause when you first, if you ever snow ski, when you get off that chairlift the first time, you've gotta feel like, and you're just, you're just, you're just, you've got the old pizza they call it. You know, you're really scared. But by the end of the day, you're like oh, you know, you're just, you think you're John Claude something. You know what I'm saying? Just, and people live their lives that way, too. Look in my eyes. This is your pastor talking to you. Some of you are more tired than you know you are, and many of you are more over-confident than you should be.
So, don't ignore it. Second thing is I saw, remember he says, and you can get it by being a person of faith. So, you have to step into the realm of faith. Real rest doesn't come from resting. Real rest comes when you're connected to God's power, and you know he's in control. It comes from trusting God. That's real rest. Let me say it this way. Write this in your notes, you note takers. Faith people are rested people, because you don't worry. You're not, you know he's got it. And it actually says something about our faith, please don't take this the wrong way, but it says something about our faith when we're stressed about things all the time. 'Cause we'll sing about trusting God, but we're not. He either has it, or he doesn't.
So, faith people are calm people. Faith people are rested people. Even when you see all the chaos in the world, I promise you, as sure as I'm standing here, I don't like it, it bothers me personally not a lick. I am so convinced that heaven is so great and I'm so convinced that God's not nervous, and I'm just not gonna be worried. Why should I be nervous if the one who I put my life in his hands is not nervous? Now, that doesn't make me disinterested or not involved. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying in my soul, I'm not, I want to be like those Hebrew boys, that even if he doesn't rescue me, I just know, I know God's got this. I know he's got this, and that's why the Bible says, "Do not be stressed, anxious, worried about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, present your request to God and rest, peace really comes".
The moment you take your issues and he either has it, or he doesn't. You either truly believe that he's in control, or you don't. But when you step into that realm of faith, they did not enter into rest because they did not combine it with their faith. And as soon as they entered into their faith, and believed God, the Bible said, we read it, they found rest, because they knew, "I don't know how he's gonna do it, but he's going to do it". And I'm just, I'll never forget this one missionary back when I was a young youth pastor at my home church in Baton Rouge, and he told this story about how the devil showed up in his bedroom while he was in bed, and the devil showed up. And when he saw him, he said, "Who are you"? He said, "I'm the devil". He goes, "Oh, just you"? And he went back to sleep.
Come on, somebody. Where you at? I have a pastor friend who recent, a few years ago went to Israel, and he tells this story, this pastor friend. They were on the tour, and he saw a person driving a bunch of sheep. And he asked the tour guide, he goes, "I've been taught in seminary in all the Bible stories that sheep follow the shepherd. The shepherd doesn't drive them". And the tour guide says, "That's not the shepherd. That's the butcher". Selah. Think about that for a minute. And if your life feels like it's driving, you're being pushed by the thief and the enemy of your soul. But if you're being led, come on, everybody, it's a different, you have a different calm in your spirit.
So, don't ignore it. Step in the realm of faith, and then I'm going to teach you more on this on Sunday, but then make every effort to enter into that rest. I'm actually going to teach three ways, three adjustments we can all make on Sunday, of how we can adjust our lives and our time to have a more rested and peaceful life, and then we're going to trust God that with the leftover time, that he's going to multiply just like he does the tithe. And I'll end with this invitation. Go ahead and play it for me, Tyler. I love old Tyler back there on the keyboard. He's my man.
Jesus himself, you know the verse. He says, "Come to me if you're weary and burdened". And look what he gives. And I'll give you, I will, he desires this for you life. Listen to me, church. Please don't get caught up in the habits and the lifestyle of this world. It is just as hectic and crazy and even with watching the news, you can watch it, and you can be concerned, but we're people of faith. And I'm just not going to be like, I'm not gonna lose my mind like the world has lost, if y'all notice, they've lost their minds.
And some of you need to step away from it for a little bit. Some of you need to fast some things. Some of you need to get off of Facebook for the rest of your life, I mean, for just, there's places that after you're there, you feel drained. I'm telling you, it's a demonic principality of Baal. And here's how I would say it, this is my, the Chris Hodges' paraphrase of this verse. "Come apart, lest you come apart". You need to come apart with God. You need to step away from some things. Come apart from Facebook. Come apart, lest you come apart.
And that's the warning that in everything that I've read. It's what I'm going to do. I'm getting ready. I'm gonna talk about it on Sunday. I'm actually going to tell the whole church that I'm getting ready to step away from some extended time. I'm just gonna, I just, I know me, and I need a little rest. And I'm not gonna be a statistic, and I'm never gonna embarrass you. That's not gonna happen, by the grace of God, that's not gonna happen, but I'm gonna do it 'cause I'm gonna take care of myself and stay in love with Jesus, and stay dependent upon God, love my wife, replenish myself, and you need to do the same thing. Stand upon your feet at every location. I gave you my heart. I know it wasn't the most polished sermon you ever heard, but I gave you my heart tonight, and I said what I wanted to say.
Now, Holy Spirit, you say the rest. And I'm asking you, speak to people, and let the warning signs be clear, and give people the ability to step into the realm of faith and, God, that we step away, we make effort to enter into rest, God. We hear the beckoning call of our Savior to come, those who are weary and burdened, and you'll give us rest for our souls.
If you need the peace of God over a situation, or there's something in your body or your mind, or you feel stressed or anxious, open your hands before the Lord. With your hands open, I want you to let go of every concern, every worry. Open the hands, just let it go. I want you to see it just literally leaving your mind, your heart, your...
...and today, God, we're walking away from these auditoriums, these houses of worship all over Alabama, Lord, and right now we're leaving our cares at the feet of Jesus. Every burden, every weight, God. Lord, I'm speaking great sleep tonight, rest for our souls, peace in our marriages, great vacations, times of refreshing and replenishing by the will of God. I command a spirit of Baal, get your hands off of our lives, and our country, and our church, in the mighty name of Jesus. Lord, I speak the confidence of God, the grace of God, the peace of God, the rest of the Holy Spirit be with you, in Jesus' mighty name, and the church said a good amen.