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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jentezen Franklin » Jentezen Franklin - Heroes in the Body of Christ

Jentezen Franklin - Heroes in the Body of Christ

Jentezen Franklin - Heroes in the Body of Christ
Jentezen Franklin - Heroes in the Body of Christ
TOPICS: Heroes of Faith

Look with me in Matthew 27 for just a few moments this morning. Matthew 27:57. "And when the evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate, and he begged for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in clean linen cloth, laid it in a new tomb which he had hewn out of rock; and rolled the large stone against the door of the tomb and departed. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite of the tomb. And when the evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea who himself was a disciple and had become a disciple of Jesus Christ".

I want to talk to you for a few moments today about how to be a hero. Because the man that I just read about in the scriptures certainly would fit that description. I love the fact that the Bible points out that this man was a rich man. He was not a preacher, he was not a prophet, he was not some person who was just in a spiritual office of the church or the temple work. He was a business person. He was a businessman. He was a very successful businessman. And he had become rich according to the Scripture. And Jesus didn't turn him away. He was rich, and he was a disciple of Jesus Christ. And I want you to notice something else the timing of his appearance. He came at evening time, he came in the night, he showed up. And he used his prestige, he used his money, he used his influence, he used his fame, he used all that life had afforded him, not for himself. But he went where no one else could go, in to see Pilate.

But the only reason he could get an audience was because of all of the success that he had had in his life. It gave him the power and the authority to go where other people could not go. The followers of Jesus, were just common people, fishermen, and different people who work every day normal jobs, but this man understood "I have been given wealth, I have been given prestige and power, not for my own only. But I have been given this position and opportunity at this strategic moment". And he went at night time, to beg for the body of Christ. That's so important. He came at night he came late to Jesus. He came when Jesus had nothing to offer him. His body was lifeless. His body was not performing miracles like it used to do.

It was not raising the dead and opening the eyes of the blind, it was not attracting tens of thousands of people coming from everywhere, just to hear the words that he would speak, there were no words coming out of the mouth of the body of Jesus. It was scarred, it was marred, it was bloody, it was gory. It was not anything attractive. He was like a lamb that was led before the slaughter. It was it was ugly, it was not anything that you should be begging to get involved with. But this man was a hero. Because he came in the night. He came in the night when, when the when the crowds were not around. Where was blind Bartimaeus? He wasn't there. Where was the demoniac that got set free from 5,000 demons? He was not there. Where was Lazarus? He got raised from the dead. But he was not there. Oh, he was there.

When the crowds were there in the sunshine of miracles. They were all there. But now, when Christ, when the body of Christ needed someone's assistance and someone's help, there steps out of the shadows, a businessman who said "I can be a hero in the in the night, I can step up right now, and I can use my influence and what God has trusted me with. And I can be a hero, and I can provide a place for the body of Christ in my city". All of them should have been there that vulnerable moment after Jesus had been crucified, and died, in his body was just laying there in a pool of its own blood. But only one man came out of the shadows. He said, "I don't have to have a band playing. I don't have to have the spotlight. I don't have to have big crowds noticing me and what I'm doing. I'm coming in the night. I'm not doing it for the applause of man. I'm not doing what I'm doing and and giving what I'm giving. I'm not doing it so people will see, 'Oh, wow, he's really something.'"

I love the fact that he was a hero that came at night under the cover of darkness, doing what he did. But had he not done that, I would argue that, that maybe the role of this businessman was more critical. Because had they not put that body in that tomb, the story would have gotten all messed up about the resurrection of Jesus, the gospel is no good if you don't have the story of the resurrection. And who did God trust? Who did God lean on to take care of that precious body until it could be moved from a death position to a resurrection position? Oh, a businessman and a man who got up and went to work every day. He didn't get up and go to the temple. He didn't get up and go and do things in full time ministry. He was a businessman. He said, "I don't need the crowd".

God wants to transform us, from consumers to contributors. From getting a blessing getting a blessing, to being a blessing. From always receiving when we come to church, to giving of ourselves to heal the body of Christ, which is not our buildings, it's our people. He did not come in the morning, a blessing, or the midday manifestation of miracles. He did not come when Jesus was manifesting supernatural success. But he came when Jesus's body was its most vulnerable and needy. Joseph of Arimathea rendered a simple service to Jesus Christ rooted in faith, rooted in faithfulness. And during this pandemic, if we have not learned anything, he was the only one there. And if we haven't learned anything, we should have learned that it is our personal relationship outside the crowds with Jesus Christ that is the only thing that will matter.

You can't just come to church and always get splash over blessings of somebody else's walk, and somebody else's prayer life, and somebody else's praise. But the truth is, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it should have taught us that I must have my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I want to commend those who have been heroes in the night. They beg to get involved with the body of Christ. We have them in this church. People who, who don't just come when the church can, see the thing that Joseph of Arimathea was so powerful that he came in the night. He came when the body of Christ was was lifeless. The deity had left and there were no miracles and there was no glory there. But he said, I can be a hero, I can get it from the death position to the resurrection position, I can help and assist and bless the body of Christ.

And even though it looks bad right now, and even though there's not glory, and there's not crowds, and there's not a lot of excitement, I can through my faithfulness of what God has blessed me with, I can give, and I can support, and I can take care of the body of Christ. The body of Christ is what we should attach ourselves to in the night. Whoa, I just said something. Joseph of Arimathea came at night and attached himself to the body of Christ when it looked its worst. When it had the least to offer him personally. That's when he came running like a hero. And he said, "I'll defend this place. I'm not gonna let the animals and the predators have this body, I'm prepared, I'll fight for, I love this body, I'm begging for this body. Please give me that body. I'll make a donation to your campaign Pilate, but you need to give me that body". And he gave it to him. Love the body of Christ.

The heroes are the ones who refuse to defect, who refuse to quit. During the downtime, notice the body of Christ had a downtime. Every church has a downtime. Every ministry has a downtime. Every person goes through a downtime, every believer has downtimes. And it's the body of Christ. It's the heroes who come running to us not when we're on top of the world. But when all hell has... we've been crucified, been through, I'm so tired of the church just loving people when they're heroes and when they're successful. And when they're doing all kinds of stuff. We need to love the people who have hit rock bottom. We need to love the people and attach ourselves to the people in their downtime. When they have a relapse, when they mess up, that's no time to turn our backs on the... we need to be heroes in their night and say, "Come on now, you got to get up. I can't let you... I know it's bad. I know you're going through something. But you're not alone. I love you". It's who we are.

Every church, every believer, every ministry experiences downtimes just like Jesus had a downtime. Who will be the hero in the night? Lord, I want to be a hero in people's night. I want to be the person who runs not just to people, when they're on top of the world. Everybody likes a winner. But I tell you, I believe God likes people who hit rock bottom and they don't have anybody. That's when you find out who really loves you. That's where the real heroes step forward and say... whoa, whoa, whoa, now, you said enough about the... I'm just gonna stand here, and I'm gonna defend the body of Christ. It might be marred, it might be bloody. It might look bad right now. But they're still in the body. They're struggling with an addiction, they're going through a rough time, but come on, let's circle 'em and let's wrap 'em.

Let's be heroes in the night and say, "You can't have what's left, hell. Cause God's gonna bring the resurrection and a come back in that person's life. And I won't give up on 'em". Everybody take a praise break. If you know that God is the God in the downtimes like he is in the up times. Those same thousands and thousands of people that were there in the uptimes. "Oh, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, he's here and he's walking through our streets". Oh, they're there. But when he's in a downtime, none of them except the businessman. He said, "I don't need the spotlight. I don't need the attention, but, boy I love the body of Christ so much. I don't care how bad it looks. I will not let hell have it".

That's when you become a hero. When others walk away. You'll learn how to be a friend. Don't just love people when they're winning. Don't just call people when they're on top of the world. You need to love people when they when they're in their downtime. That's what you never forget that phone call in your downtime. You never forget that day that that person had you on their heart and they nailed you with a word from God and put it in... you never forget that and it's not about you. It's about showing the love of Jesus because that's the body of Christ is. We're called to lift up the hands of the weary.

Do you understand that the body was defenseless? Do you understand that predators would have ripped that body apart. Jackals, and hyenas, and wild animals, and buzzards. They would have ripped that body to pieces. "I know that it's not powerful". Joseph of Arimathea said, "I know it's not performing miracles like it used to. I know it's not on top of the world like it used to be. I know that people aren't talking good about him anymore. But I'm going to defend the body of Christ right now because I believe there will come a comeback and there will come a resurrection". And now I shall preach. This is the time, ladies and gentlemen, for us to defend the church, defend the body of Christ. Don't let anybody talk bad about the Kingdom. There's so much we're made fun of as Christians, we're made fun of because of the gospel that we preach.

Now we're facing cancel culture, if you get up and preach from Genesis 19, Romans 1, if you get up and you declare out of Genesis that God made them male and female, and the only marriage recognized in heaven is one between a man and woman, then suddenly, you're a bigot. Suddenly you are this and that. I'm not mad. I'm not angry. I'm just preaching the truth of God's Word. I'm preaching the truth that little babies are gifts from God, they have eternal destiny. And it's not a blob of flesh. It is a life that for whom Christ died. And he has a purpose for them. And we must stand and declare life is beautiful, and life is precious. But we're the awful, awful people, the body of... No, we're not. We're not awful people. We are the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. We are the called and chosen for such a time as this. And it's time to defend the body of Christ. It's time to protect the church.

Don't let people run your church down. Don't let people run your Bible down. Don't let people run your faith down. Don't let them tell you that any old road is better than what you are taking. No, it's not. Jesus has changed our lives. He has washed our sins, and we need to stand and defend the body of Christ. My heart breaks for anybody hurting. So I'm not up here throwing stones at transgender, or anyone in a lifestyle whether it's adultery, which is just the same, it's just the different, or fornication. There's nothing in me, I would defend I would fight you physically if I had to. If I saw someone bullying, anybody speaking ill, humiliating, attacking anyone.

We believe in the freedom to live any way you want to live. That's the beauty of our nation. But we do believe too in our freedom. To boldly proclaim what this book teaches to our children and our children's children, and hold up the Word of God as the standard, and we're not evil because of that, don't you let anybody put you down. The Church, the body of Christ. I love it, don't you? Who can say with a heart of conviction, I love my church. Stand to your feet all over the room.

Lord, in the name of Jesus, we stand together as the body of Christ, unite us like never before. Give us a love for the church like never before. God touch the young, touch the old, touch the middle aged. Lord, give us a passion for the things of God, make us heroes in the night. Help us to run to people when they're down in their downtime, help us to be that friend that loves at all times. Help us God to surround and to care. Thank you that we can be faithful not just when miracles are happening, and when it's exciting, but we can be faithful in the night, we can be involved and engaged and begging for the body of Christ. In the night time, Lord, that's when you go through and you notice who standing it's when it's dark. And we thank you for that determination. Let it get in our spirits in Jesus' name.

Praise the Lord. So with every head bowed, and I want true Christians pray, I feel the burden of this moment, because I sense a mighty harvest. I'm lost without God. I need a savior. I need to engage with the Lord Jesus Christ. I need a change in my life. Life is life is dark, but it's not too late. I want to get in. I want forgiveness. I want to be a part of the resurrection. I want to be a part. Pray for me. If that's you boldly raise your hand right where you're standing. I want to see it all over this room. Yes, yes. Amazing. Keep it high and unashamed. Oh, thank you, Lord. I love to see this. Praise God. Anybody else? Lift your hand high. This is fantastic. In the overflow in any of our campuses, wherever you are there. Everybody, just right now pray this prayer out loud with me. Would you say it?

"Lord Jesus, I surrender to you. I invite you into my heart, into my life. I receive you. Your blood cleanses me from all sin. Satan, get out of my home, get out of my family. Get out of my marriage. Get out of my future. Get out of my past, you are defeated. You are canceled. Your assignment is canceled. The blood of Jesus sets me free from every bondage, from every fear, from every defeat. I am free in Jesus Christ. I am forgiven in Jesus Christ", and you are an overcomer by the blood of your lamb and what you're just saying right now, the words of your testimony. Everybody clap your hands and thank God for souls that have been saved.

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