Frankie Mazzapica - God's Most Unbelievable Promise
Thank you for tuning in today. My name is Frankie Mazzapica. The title of my message is "God's Most Unbelievable Promise". God made a lot of promises in the Bible, but one of them is so hard to believe. There are several of them that are hard to believe, but for me this one takes the cake. Let me just jump right into it. I'm gonna read or share with you John chapter 15, verses 5, 6, and 7. If you'd like to follow along with me, you can open up your Celebration Church App, just go to your app store, type in Celebration Church TW, and my notes are inside that app.
This is what the Bible reads in John chapter 15, verse 5, 6, and 7. Jesus is teaching, and he says, "I am the vine. Whoever remains in me and I in them will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing," nada, zilch, it's the Frankie International version. You can do nothing, for those of you who do not remain in me, you will be discarded. You will be thrown away. If you do not remain in me, you will be discarded and thrown away as a useless branch. These useless branches, the people who do not remain in him, they will be gathered together in a pile and burned.
Now, this is where the promise is set. He says this. "But if you remain in me," I love how the ball is always in our court. God is the reactor, he's the responder. The moment our eyes look to him, we begin to put our mind on him, we begin to lean into him, we begin to say, you know I'm not perfect, you know I'm all messed up, but I want to remain in you. I want to commune with you. I want to have a relationship with you. "Those who remain in me and," here we go, "and my words," the scriptures, "remain in you, then whatever you ask for, you will receive".
Now this is an awkward clap. It's like, yeah. Whatever you ask for, whatever you ask for, you will receive. Now, like you, I have... or most of you, I have prayed that prayer before. I know a lot of friends who have prayed that prayer before and have stepped back and said, now, I believe everything, I even believe that Jonah was swallowed by a big fish, but that one, no, I cannot believe. They cannot believe it because they are building their own theology on past experiences, not faith in the Bible. And so they said I have believed this verse over and over again, I have believed that whatever I ask for, God will give me, and that has not been the case. Touché.
That has been so hard for me. We're gonna unpack that, because whatever the Lord says is true. At the very least, what we expect him to do happens, but when he makes a promise, he always exceeds our expectation. So, therefore, where is the gap between his promise and the reality of the promise? There's a gap there. Let's just say the obvious before we unpack the three things that are in that scripture that bridge the gap. That scripture, that promise is not for everyone, period. It is not even for every child of God, period.
You see, there are steps of his promises. There are levels of promises that people are allowed to embrace that they should expect to be in their life. There's other Christians, there's other children of God, you shouldn't expect this to take place. There are many who have come before the Lord and taken Romans chapter 10, verse 9, and the verse says this, "If you confess with your mouth that I am Lord and you believe that God has raised the Son from the grave, you shall be saved".
So, there are many who have come before the Lord and have prayed that exact prayer, and if they meant it with their heart and they're devoting their life to the Lord, they're doing the very best they can to stay focused, they have an address in heaven, they're gonna live an eternity with Jesus Christ. However, if they are like a wave in the sea, being tossed to and fro, there's no desire for holiness, they blend in with the rest of the world, the Lord cannot trust that person to say, "Whatever you ask for, I'm going to do".
See children of God who the Lord trusts are a reflection of God. You represent him. Not that you're perfect, but the people around you know that he's the first priority and that you're leaning into him. You have devoted your life to him. Versus an undercover Christian. An undercover Christian believes this. "I don't want to be too aggressive with my faith or too passionate with my faith because I don't want anyone to feel awkward around me". Well, the truth of the matter is, is that those who say, "I don't want to be too expressive of my faith," it's not that you're concerned about them being awkward around you, you're concerned about being awkward around them, because you have distinguished yourself from everyone else.
Now, these are the people the Lord trusts. So, let's just get that out of the way. Now, let's dive into the three things that bridge the gap. The first thing he says is if you remain in me. Now, how does that actually take place? My three major points today are if you remain in me, if my words remain in you, and how to interpret a pruning season, because the entire passage is about being attached to the vine. To be attached to the vine implies that there is fruit. It's not a big stretch to imply that because the scripture says you will produce fruit. But there's a pruning season, so we've got to be able to interpret that, but I'm ahead of myself.
That's the third point. The first point is to remain in him. And how does one do that? That one is probably the one that all of you are ahead of me on. It is a constant communication with the Lord. You're not in his presence and then out, you're not abiding in him and then you're out, there's not a separate life, a godly life and an ungodly life, there's not the back and forth. Every one of us has a private world and a public world. My private world, when I wake up in the morning, when I talk, my breath could kill a dinosaur. But for whatever reason, I don't know if you're in this boat or not, I don't like to brush my teeth and then drink coffee. Are you with me?
It's okay to be honest. Okay, so I'm walking around for a good hour with breath that could kill a flower, but I like to drink, this is my private self. I like to walk around in my shorts and t shirt and just drink coffee before I've even washed my face or brushed my teeth. However, my public self, now, that's completely different. When I'm with you, I make sure I brush my teeth. I make sure I'm present, there's a private self and public self. But when there is a godly self and an ungodly self, now, that's a problem. You're abiding, and then you're not abiding. The Bible gives a massive, a massive blessing for those who abide.
Smith Wigglesworth shared how he abides. He says, "I don't always pray for a half an hour, but a half an hour never goes by without praying". It's a constant communication with the Lord. It's an awareness that he's there. When you can't pray out loud, you're whispering. When you can't whisper, you're thinking. Your heart's affection and your mind's attention is on him. That's how you abide. One of the blessings that are attached to that is how the Lord handles your enemies.
In 1 Samuel chapter 21, verse 7 it speaks of how David, King David, was running from Saul. Saul wanted to kill him, Saul had an army. David was alone, he had no army. And so, he fled to a place called Nob, N-O-B. Nob is where the temple was and priests remained. They lived there. He ran to church. When you are in a very difficult season where you feel like the ground underneath you is actually shaking, where do you run? Everything depends on who you depend on. So, he ran to the church.
Now, here's what verse 7 says. There was someone else there at the church, and David did not know it. He was a servant of Saul, and he also was looking to kill David. And the Bible says this, that the Lord detained him in his presence. In other words, a presence of the Lord showed up and said, "You are trying to attack my son, and so I am going to keep you here in this spot". He detained him. Let me illustrate that. My daughter is a senior in high school, so she had to do a presentation for her drama teacher. She's been in drama class for four years. The presentation was a song. Every student in the class had to sing a song.
Now, this was last year when she was a junior, and there was a senior in the drama class who was bullying her and tormenting her all year long, saying the most evil things, the most harsh things. It was terrible. It was a long year for me as a father, because I wanted to find this guy. And so, at the end of the year, about a month before the presentation, he says to her, "I can't wait to watch you sing. I'm gonna film it on my phone, and I'm gonna blast it out because I don't think that you're good. You're going to make a fool of yourself". The drama teacher believed that she was a great singer. Her friends believe she was a great singer. Obviously I'm biased, but we believe she's a great singer. But this knucklehead didn't, and he's gonna blast her on social media. All month long he's tormenting her.
"Is it the day yet? I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait". My poor daughter is so emotional. She's in bed, and she's asking God, "Will you help me? Will you help me? Please help me". There's no imagination attached. There's no way she can ever imagine getting out of this, she's just asking for help. The senior left the school in the morning, and she thought, "Oh my God, he's not here, thank Jesus". And then around the time it was time to be in drama class, he circled back around and came back to the class just to be in the room when she sang.
There was kind of like a classroom that they all had before they walked into the amphitheater, and so... where she was gonna sing. They're all in the classroom, all the students, and the teacher says, all right, "Let's go sing. Preslee, you're first". He was in the classroom. They all left. She got into the theater, and he wasn't there. She was like, where is he? And so, then she realized that she forgot her own phone in the classroom. She went back into the classroom to get her phone, and he was sitting there in a chair all by himself. And she was thinking, why is he sitting here? And she walked out, and as she was walking into the amphitheater, she had this thought.
Something is keeping him in that room. Something is keeping him in that room. He was just sitting there by himself. I said, "Was he on his phone? Was he looking at his phone"? And she was like, "Yeah, he was looking, but something was keeping him in that chair". She went in, she sang, she got a fantastic grade, and I never forgot that the presence of God came into that room and detained him, and detained him. Come on. What is that a result of? At a certain point in my daughter's life she stopped living off of her daddy's prayers, off of her mother's prayers, and she clinged to the Lord. That is abiding in him. Come on, that's abiding in him.
The second thing the Lord says is, "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, then you will receive whatever you ask for". Most people are really good at praying and not so good at reading the Word, or they're really good at reading the Word and not so good at praying. It's usually the case. You read the Word with passion, but you pray with no passion. One or the other. To dive into God's Word is so important because when you pray and you're asking him to honor your words, you have to remember that if you do not honor the words of God, he will not honor your words. And so, some people just open up their Bible, and they read.
I've got a friend of mine who's about to have read the entire book of the Bible from January 1 to December 31. He hasn't missed a day. And there's a plan out there, it's called Daily Bread, that he follows. This is how he honors the Lord. To abide in him and the words abide in you. So, now we're taking two big steps towards that promise of him saying whatever you ask. Abiding in him and the words abiding in you, abiding in him, it's the two wings on an eagle. But then there's this third point, and it's my belief that this is the hardest of them both. This is something that we have to figure out mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It's the season of pruning.
I have met more Christians falling off the rails of Christianity because they have misinterpreted the season of pruning. The Bible says in John chapter 15, verse 2, it says that "Those who do not produce any fruit is cut off". You're not praying, you're not reading, you're not doing anything for the kingdom. He's not a priority to you, cut off. But those who produce much fruit... many people, if you knew how much fruit you were producing when you pray, you would never stop praying. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, verse... actually, 2 Corinthians 1, verse 11, "You helped us when you prayed for us". You have no idea. But for those who aren't doing anything, the Brazilians go like this, you're doing nothing. "I'm gonna cut you off. But those of you who are producing fruit, I am going to prune you so that you're able to produce more fruit".
Now, the pruning process is excruciating. When you are being pruned, you are losing something. When you prune a rose bush, it has lost its strength and stability. When you are being pruned, there are areas of your life where you are losing strength and stability. When you're being pruned, oftentimes you're feeling the sacred relationships, the relationships that you have learned to depend on losing its strength, losing its stability. When you're being pruned, you'll notice one of these things, not all of them, but maybe some of them. Your finances is losing its strength and stability. I'm not gonna go down all the list, but I will say this. When you're being pruned, your faith in God himself is losing its strength and its stability.
The last example is close to home for me. When I am being pruned, the strength and the stability of the confidence I have in myself is losing its strength and stability. I had a dream the other day of something I've been hoping for and praying for and believing for for a long time. It's in the realm of ministry. And I saw it before me, and in the dream I said something that many of you are gonna smirk at, but don't smirk out loud, because it's real to me. I saw it before me, and in the dream I said... everyone else who has ever experienced this type of ministry began to experience it in their mid 20s, 22, 23, 24. I'm 20 years after that.
I don't know a lot of people that has experienced that opportunity my age or even older, the beginning of that opportunity. Typically, that opportunity has already begun to build momentum, and the trajectory is there by the time you're in your mid 20s. So I said in the dream, "It's too late". I was looking at the opportunity. I could see it before me. I said, "It's too late". I got emotional in my dream. This is a pruning season. When I begin to lose strength and faith in myself, strength and stability in the promises of God. This is a pruning season.
But we have to remember, and we have to tell ourselves over and over again, and even ask the Holy Spirit to help us with this, that when you are being pruned, when you are losing strength and stability, it is not because you are unfruitful. It is not because you are being punished. It is, in fact, the exact opposite. You and I, when we experience a pruning season, it is because that after this season we will be stronger than we were before. It's after that pruning season. Some people get pruned and they never bear fruit again because they're still mourning the season in the past. However, if we're able to say, okay, that hurt, but, Lord, don't let me come out of this season without fruit. Don't let it happen. Don't let me go in this for nothing. And in time, in the moment of time, we begin to bear fruit greater than we ever have before.