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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Ed Young » Dr. Ed Young - The Idol of Non-commitment

Dr. Ed Young - The Idol of Non-commitment

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    Dr. Ed Young - The Idol of Non-commitment
    Dr. Ed Young - The Idol of Non-commitment
TOPICS: idolatry, Commitment

When Jesus came, the theme of what he was about, what he brought into being was the kingdom, the kingdom of God. And in the Bible, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, in the New Testament for sure, is interchangeable. So you read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you find 206 times the word "kingdom" is used, 80 other times "kingdom" is defined. And you read the sayings of Jesus, the words of Jesus, as we have studied them, and over and over again he's saying, "The kingdom has come. The kingdom is at hand. Repent, for the kingdom is here". It's kingdom, kingdom, kingdom, kingdom. And if I just walk out here and ask someone if you're a Christian, you'd say, "Oh, yes, I am". Well, tell me about the kingdom of God. "Well, you know, I don't know much. I've been going to church. I don't know much about the kingdom of God". Jesus said, "I must be about my Father's business".

What was his business? Kingdom business, right? Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. The kingdom. Now, I wanna ask you a question. Has anybody here, anybody, ever heard of Jesus being called a scribe? Be careful. I'll call on you. Anybody ever heard of that? Anybody? I haven't found anybody who said yes, and I think one of the reasons is we have a little four-way parable, I call it. It was a parable. We've got such magnificent parables, and then we encounter at the end of chapter 13, the 8th parable of that chapter. Some people can count only seven, but this is the eighth parable. Remember, a parable can be a simile, a metaphor. It says, "Jesus said, 'The kingdom of God is like this, is like this,'" and he gives us these little pictures, bang, bang, little snapshots so that we can remember and they can remember and understand in the plainest language of what the kingdom is.

And this last parable, we're gonna start with the first. Somebody said, "Well, Sunday, our pastor started at the end". That's a pretty good place to start, isn't it? Listen to this last parable, verse 51, "Have you understood all these things"? Jesus asked his apostles. It's not the crowd, his apostles. And they answered, "Yes". I love that. They didn't understand at all the mystery of the kingdom, but they answered yes because they were saying, "We believe it. We don't understand it all, but we believe it. We know enough that we believe". And then Jesus gives them this little parable. "And Jesus said to them," verse 52, "'Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.'"

In other words, he is saying here the disciple of heaven, the disciple of the kingdom, is like a scribe. Jesus was a scribe. He was a prophet, yes, but he had no official position as a prophet, not in that day. Priest, yes, but he had no official capacity as a priest. King, yes, but his kingdom had come, but not in the way people thought he should be manifested. A scribe, yes. What was a scribe? A scribe was someone who copied the scroll, the Scripture, and someone who taught the Scripture. Jesus is saying here at the end of his explanation of the kingdom of God, he is saying that "I am a scribe, implied, and you are to be a scribe, because you're a disciple of the kingdom, and the kingdom is like a scribe who is the head of a household and in charge of explaining and teaching the family of faith about the old, the old covenant, about the new covenant". He's saying, "You're taking my place as scribe, as a teacher".

Now, we have looked at these little parables that he has given to us, and these parables, two of them, tell us how to get in the kingdom. We can know about the kingdom. We can describe the kingdom. We say Jesus is the kingdom. We can pray for the kingdom of God, but we've not discovered how to become kids of the kingdom, sons and daughters in the kingdom. So these two parables tells exactly how that takes place.

I like the word "serendipity". You know, I like it, it sort of just rolls off your tongue. Serendipity. Isn't that a great little word? The etymology of the word is very interesting to me. It was a Persian fairy tale translated in French, translated in English. It's a story of The Three Princes of Serendip, a fictitious kingdom, and they would travel looking for things, and they inevitably found things that were greater value than that which they were looking for. Did you get that? You're looking for one thing of value, and they found something infinitely more valuable every time they went out on a trip, so there we have the word. Sir Horace Walpole coined it, serendipity. It used to be in the unabridged dictionary.

Now it's in our dictionary, serendipity. When you go in this direction looking for something, you found something you didn't expect to find, and it's more valuable than that which you were looking for. It is a serendipity. And when you start looking for serendipities, they're everywhere to be found. Columbus was looking for a short trade route to China, and he set sail and stumped his toe on America. America is a serendipity. To find a shorter trade route to China would be economically viable and wonderful, but to find America, nobody, Columbus wasn't looking for America. He just stumbled onto America. America is a serendipity.

A doctor by the name of Dr. Crawford Long was a dentist in Jefferson, Georgia, of all places, and he knew something about ether, and he read about a laughing gas that people would get and they'd start to laugh. And he put that together and didn't know what he was really finding, but he discovered anesthesia, anesthesia. That's serendipity. Edward Jenner, you know, the smallpox epidemic was coming. He was trying to find something, a vaccine, to stop the death of countless thousands. And he remembered he was dating a girl when he was 19 years old, who said she wasn't worried about getting smallpox because she'd had cowpox and said nobody had ever gotten smallpox who'd ever had cowpox. And Jenner fired that away, and suddenly we had a vaccine for smallpox, and people said that Jenner saved more lives than Napoleon slaughtered in all of his wars.

When I read that little serendipity, I thought of a story that comes down the through the Young family history. My dad was one of 11 people brought up on a farm outside of Cragford, Alabama. And when you've got 11 kids, that's something. They had cattle, and my dad worked with the cattle all the time. When he was a young teenage boy, the cattle began to get sick, and they didn't know whether the cattle had rabies. They would foam at the mouth. Or, whether they had mad cow disease. But my dad would bury two or three, and it was spreading through the herd. And the family was worried that Homer may contract this disease and may get mad cow disease, or become a victim of rabies himself, so they started to watch him. And dad said everybody is kinda looking at him suspiciously, and he said they got to harass him a little bit. He said one morning he got up.

All the family and some other kids had come in, and they were all in that big house, that big family, and said he went in and got his dad's shaving lotion, put it all around his mouth. Then he said, "I just scuffed up my hair". And he said, "I just leaned around the corner and said moo". He said you should have seen 'em scatter around. I think about that when I see that the vaccine to prevent smallpox was a serendipity. When I was, I guess, a junior in high school, I was working in a department store in our little town, and I would go and eat lunch at this place. Get a cheeseburger every day. And my mother said, "You know, down at our church they've started a new royal ambassador organization for older teenagers, and they're gonna serve lunch down there. Why don't you just walk to church," which was a very short distance, "and eat lunch there and see what they're going to do in this new organization".

And I said, "Goodness, church is for Sundays. It's not for during the week, Mom. My goodness, what are you doing to me"? But she said, "You know, they're going to cook hot rolls". And we had a cook in our kitchen that could make hot rolls like you wouldn't believe, and so I said, "Mmm, hot rolls. Cheeseburgers," so I got through lunch and went down to church. I was sitting there at the table and they came around, and the person serving hot rolls was a brunette, big brown eyes, freckles, and she... somebody I'd known all my life, but she was a year younger than I was, you know? A child. But she served these rolls, and she looked at me in a way she'd never looked at me before, and I looked at her in a way I'd never looked at her before. And 2 days later I asked her for a date, and Jo Beth, she's a serendipity. I mean, I was looking for hot rolls. And you look for one thing of value, and you find something of greater value.

That's these parables, folks. Exactly. Look what he says. They're serendipities. Look at verse 44, "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field". Here he is plowing, doing an ordinary day's work. Plowing. Plowing. And he goes a little deeper than usual, and bam, he hits something. He stops. He thinks it's a rock or a stone, and it's a little treasure chest. He opens it. Gold. Oh, man.

You say, "Well, that's a crazy story". No, it happened in Israel. That was the way they had banks. They buried it in the ground and they had a law of finders keepers, because the person who owns the field didn't know the treasure is there. It may have been several hundred years old. And so, the law was finders keepers. If you found something, you could take it. But this man went out in order to make sure, inside the law of that day, he bought the field. To buy the field, he had to sell everything he had. He was a poor man. Told his wife, "Man, sell all that. Sell everything. Sell your clothes. Sell whatever you can. Sell whatever you can handle. Sell all the animals we have. Sell everything". And he did in order to buy the field. He had the treasure.

Now he had great wealth, great riches, you know? This treasure is the kingdom of God. When we are plowing through life and we find the kingdom of God and Christ comes inside of you, we begin to live as a kingdom citizen. Amazing byproducts happen. Serendipity is all around us. Look at the Apostle Paul. Man, Paul takes the gospel to Europe. He crosses that little place of water and goes into Europe. He didn't have a clue of what was gonna happen as a result of that. Write it down. He went there to introduce people to Christ, "The son of God has come". He didn't go there to revamp the Roman culture, to bring down the emperors, to change lives wholesale and to move all the way through Europe and all the way into America. He didn't see all of that. It was a serendipity.

Listen, when we're living as kingdom citizens through our life, there's all kinds of little residual byproduct things. In fact, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then all these serendipities will be added to you. Kingdom serendipities. That's how kingdom people operate. So we see the kingdom of God is like a treasure. But the word "treasure," we light up. We don't have a lot of treasure hunters anymore. They did all that in the days of Jesus, and they do now in the Caribbean, the Gulf. They dive down looking for all these ships, sunken treasure, little maps, big thing. So the kingdom is like a treasure, to give up everything to get. Then he says another picture of the kingdom. He says, verse 46, "And the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl, that is a pearl of great value," great price, "he went and sold all that he had and bought it".

The guy plowing, man, he found the treasure, you know, surprise. He wasn't looking for treasure. The guy with a pearl, he traded in pearls. He never thought he'd find a pearl that was beautiful and perfect, that was worth all the other pearls. Man, he was searching. Surprise. A search. They found the kingdom of God. It comes like that. If we had time, we'd go around. How many people here were just doing this, involved in this, and all of a sudden, bang, there comes Jesus, and your life was changed, and you had a new life? Just suddenly. How many others, "Oh, I'm searching for God. I wanna find God. I've gotta work it out". Then all of a sudden, in that search, reality comes and Christ comes, and you say, "Boy, I never expected it'd be like this".

Serendipity. Serendipity. The kingdom of serendipity. Looking at one the thing of value. What did they have in common? One was probably rich, the pearl merchant. One was poor, the one plowing. Both of them got the kingdom of God. They received Christ. That's the picture here. What was the requirement to get into the kingdom? They just had to sell everything. If you want new life, you have to give up all your old life. All of it? Yep, every bit of it. What does that mean? Well, it may mean you have to change jobs. Whoa, wait a minute. If your job is not enhancing the world and it is a job, or a vocation, that's destroying and bringing down the world, you're not rightly employed when you're a kingdom son or a kingdom daughter. It may mean you give up, I don't know what it might be. You'll know. God'll let you know what that is. It just costs everything. It costs everything to be a kingdom citizen.

You say, "Boy, that sure is expensive". Check with me a couple hundred years now and see about it. Let's just see here. "Oh, I'm gonna do all this. I'm gonna live my life now". Let me tell you something. That's awful temporary. "Well, I wanna leave something for my kids". Well, just run them, spoil 'em. Man, we should say, "Lord, I gave you everything I have and everything I'll ever be". You'll be amazed what will happen. He becomes your treasure, and then treasure is in ways we can't even dream of. They come in serendipities. They come in packages. They come in little deals, and all of a sudden, they're just overflowing our lives. That's the way it is with kingdom kids. They gave up everything. These two guys in our Scripture, the farmer and the pearl merchant, they sold everything they had on the basis of reality.

You have the idea, "Well, I'm gonna take my chance, you know? I've got a special deal with God". I love the people who say that. Hello? God Almighty does not cut any special deals. His deal is spelled out real clear right here in plain. Don't take off into Mars. Or, "I'm gonna take my chance on this religion. That sounds so intellectual, and it's filled with erudition and insight. It is so mystical. I'm gonna go with that one and just..." Not founded in history and truth, verifiable? What, what? Hello? Or, "I'm gonna be good enough, or..." Let me tell you something, folks. It's worth giving everything in order to get everything in his kingdom and to be a kingdom kid. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. Earth and heaven meet. How magnificent that is.

Now, there's another parable in here. It will be our eighth parable. That's the last one, and it's a devastating parable. It's almost a revamping, a restating of the weeds and the wheat. Look at it. Verse 47, "Again, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, is like a dragnet into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up to the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, and the bad fish they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age," judgment, "the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth".

See, the Jews had no problem when they took that dragnet. They fished like that for years in the Sea of Galilee. They changed their method, by the way. I've seen fishing like that in the Sa of Galilee. Now they do it a different way. They take those dragnets and they drag them through, and they go and they go, and they would keep the good fish. Do you know how the Jews decided what was good and bad? If you had gills and you had fins, good fish. All the rest, throw-away trash fish, they threw away. Died. Threw it on the ground. There will be a time in which all the division will be made. The word "judgment" means to divide. The sheep and the goat. The good fish, the bad fish. The wheat and the tares. There will come a day when a decision will be made and that which is real will be decided upon. That which was phony will be thrown out. In the meantime, the kingdom is here.

In the meantime, we need to make sure we're kingdom citizens. There's no neutral ground here. It's not like, "Well, I'm in the kingdom. I'm out of the kingdom. I've got a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I want both bases covered". Listen, we're in the world, make no mistake about it, but kingdom kids are not of the world, and the world's agenda cannot be your agenda and cannot be my agenda. So, what's the result of this? How do I know if I'm in the kingdom? I'll tell ya. If we're in the kingdom, there's a transition that takes place in a life, a transition. You say, "I do a lot of things because of my duty". Or, "I don't do a lot of things because of the duty I feel".

When you move from living the Christian life out of duty to living the Christian life out of desire and your passion at that moment, you understand the transition. Oh, I don't do this, and I do this because I'm a Christian. If you move out of that, and suddenly, "I don't do this, and I do this, and I live this because I am a Christian, and it's a passion of my life". You see, the whole inside has changed. The whole motivation has changed. The whole life has changed. We're kingdom folks, and it's a gradual process. It's a growing up. It's maturing in the process. It's a beautiful thing, and the result is, I think the greatest descriptive word in the Bible for Christianity, of course, is love. Rightly interpreted and understood. But the next one is joy. It's my favorite word.

The fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace. Joy is number two, right? Joy, independent of all circumstances. Joy. And, by the way, in the 44th verse here of our study, it said they sold out everything for the joy. Joy. Joy. Joy is a tremendous little acrostic, by the way. Joy. Jesus. Throw out everything but Jesus. Joy. Jesus. Sold everything for, oh, others, no just I, me, my, and mine. We're kingdom folk. It's beyond time, beyond things. It's others. And the Y is yourself. You see, when we're kingdom folks, guess what? What's the result of this? "Well, what's in it for me"? You don't go with it without motivation, but a byproduct, the serendipity, what's in it for you and me. All of sudden, in Jesus, we've got a right relationship with God. Is that beautiful? I mean, to have a right relationship with the Almighty, boy, through Jesus Christ, joy, J, that's what we have. And right relationship with others, that's the O.

Isn't it great to look anybody in the face on the face of the planet and you don't have anything you have to worry about or be concerned about because you've done everything you can to make that relationship as fine, as whole, as pure? You've settled everything you possibly, have a right relationship with others. Is that freeing up? Have a right relationship with yourself. A lot of people have to have racket going around them. They have to be doing something because they don't wanna be with themselves, because when you're with yourself, it's somebody you don't like. When you're by yourself, it's somebody you really don't wanna be with. When you're by yourself, you have to think and look and analyze, "Oh, I better get something going here".

You see, when you have a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ and a right relationship with others, guess what? You have a right relationship with yourself. That's beautiful. When you're by yourself, are you with somebody you like to be with? It's sad if you're not. You see, a kingdom kid, a kingdom citizen, has this joy. Joy. Well, our purpose is simply that anybody who's not sure they're a kingdom son or daughter, you'll make sure. Anybody who's trying to work both sides of the street in the kingdom, out of the kingdom, you say, "Hey, there is not enough pleasure over there in all this world to even compare with the pleasure and the freedom of being right with God and right with others and right with myself". The byproduct, the serendipity of that: joy. Joy. Joy.
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