Jentezen Franklin - Make Room For Change
Isaiah 53:1, "Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form of comeliness", or handsomeness, "And when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him". I'll give you my title in a moment, but he asked two questions at, this is a prophecy chapter, concerning the crucifixion of Jesus. The next part of the verse, he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, and on and on, the gospel, presented thousands of years, Jesus on the cross, before he would ever go to the cross. And it begins by asking two questions: who has believed his report? Who believes it? Who has, who believes it? And to whom? Because whoever believes it, that's to whom the arm of the Lord will be extended. And he'll grow up before them as a tender plant, as a root out of dry ground.
The two questions that are asked let us know why so many people don't accept Jesus as Messiah, because they don't believe the report. They are full of unbelief. Therefore, the arm of the Lord does not extend to them, because of their unbelief. "He will be" it's a metaphor, "A root out of dry ground". He's trying to draw a mental picture. Isaiah sees something, he sees Messiah is coming, but he says "This is different, the atmosphere, the the environment in which he will be planted into will not be conducive to growth. He will come out of extreme adverse conditions, but those adverse conditions will not determine the outcome".
You may be facing adverse circumstances, but they do not have to determine the outcome of your life. You may have come out of a troubled home, family. You may have come out of abuse and pain, and you may be in a mess right now, even while I'm speaking to you, wherever you're watching this, or hearing this message. But he emphasizes the unfavorable conditions the Messiah would appear from. That's a pattern, that's a Bible principle: he is not moved by the unfavorable conditions that we struggle with, and it may feel like you've got a son or a daughter, a mom or a dad, that it's just not the condition that God could really do anything in their life. You don't understand the principle that he's a root out of dry ground, he does not need anything from that person for him to do what he does. Hallelujah!
He mentions the lack of physical attraction, concerning Jesus, that he would not possess, that he would not fit the stereotype of previous Jewish leaders. For example, David, the Bible said, was handsome. He was comely, he was handsome, unusual features, strong and handsome man. The Bible says of Saul, the first king of Israel, he looked like a leader. He he stood ahead and shoulders, the text says, physically of his stature was a head and shoulders above every other man in Israel. When he walked in the room he stood out, he looked like a winner, he looked like a leader, he fit all of the criteria of someone who would grab the attention of masses of people. Not Jesus. Not Jesus. He will come to power out of dry ground. Barren it's a description of someone who would appear to look like they do not have much of a chance to survive. Not to mention to thrive, and grow and take over the world. What a joke.
The times in which Jesus came and was born was a time of immorality. Immorality was rampant. Sexual immorality was rampant in the world in the time that Christ was born, they were serving multiple Gods, false religions, everywhere. Hate was stronger than love. But it's in that dry barren desert of a land, that suddenly, the tender plant begins to take root and growth. The high priest religious system was corrupt, they had been invaded by Babylon, and been invaded by Persians, been invaded by the Greeks, and by the now conquered by the Romans, and Israel was just a shell of its glorious past. They were not a powerful nation, there was nothing, it was dry ground. Jesus in the lineage of David, the lineage of David had lost the crown, had lost its glory, it was no big deal to anybody but Jewish people. The Romans could care less. They laughed.
You have to understand, that had he descended from Caesar, had he descended from Pharaoh or some powerful person who had armies and wealth and power, that might have given him a little chance to actually become someone that could change the world. But this is just a root out in the desert, it has no hope, there's nothing in the circumstances around it that will cause it to grow up and be anything. His identity as a Jew added nothing. It was an honor to be a part of the seed of Abraham only among the Jews, it meant nothing. Judaism had lost its thrill, it was nothing but legalism, it was nothing but ritualism. Had he been Greek, had he been a Philosopher, had he been a Roman citizen, at least he would have some kind of pathway to becoming powerful and mighty. But he was just a root out of dry ground. His birth, think about it, was not in a royal nursery, it was in a barnyard, through a peasant mother named Mary, and a stepfather who was a blue collar, hard-working carpenter. No room in the end.
And then, to add to that dry ground, he lived in the city of Nazareth. And the question was asked often, it was a saying, it was a it was part, if you wanted to get a point across of how pitiful somebody was, they would say "Can anything come good out of Nazareth"? That was the question that was asked. When Jesus name came up, Jesus of Nazareth. Every time he introduced himself as Jesus of Nazareth, it said to that culture, "He's from trash. He's from nobodies. There is no lineage. There is nobody powerful. There is nobody influential who has ever come out of Nazareth". And every time his name is mentioned, it's always with the identity to Nazareth. He's saying, "I'm a root out of dry ground". Nazareth. Can anything come? He was born with farm animals around, him he was born with the smell of filth, he is in dry ground.
And you'd think, "Okay, if you don't have anything much going for you, surround yourself with winners", right? The disciples he chose did nothing to build his prestige or his stature. Had he chose some men of renown, had he chose some super highly successful people, if he had found somebody at least that had a degree in theology and Philosophy, if he could find somebody who could speak publicly... I mean, if you're going to take a message to the whole world, you might need a professional Ted Talk type guy that could really bring it, you know, and wow the congregation with his verbal skills. And he gets fishermen, and cussers, and fighters, and they had BO, and they were no names, they were just normal people, teenagers, crazy kids. And he says, "I choose you. Follow me. I choose you. Follow me".
It's really amazing that this tender plant didn't just spring up, but he grew, the text said, that tender plant that came out of the most adverse circumstances overcame where he came from, because he had been planted in the earth, and that tender plant grew into a magnificent tree of life that would bring shelter, and would bring shade to the troubled brows of men and women who had the son in the pressures of life, and the diseases, and the hopeless situations. They run into the shadow of the Almighty, and they find the secret place where there's healing, and there's help, and there's hope through him. Through those conditions, out of that place of obscurity, in the middle of barren dry, dry ground, comes the root. The tinder plant didn't die.
I want to announce this morning: he still lives. The root out of dry ground is still alive. It's easy to get your eyes on this world, and you see all the craziness, the woke culture, you see everything that's going on, the evil is called good, and good is called evil. And nowadays, it's almost like, you feel like this little world is so wicked, and so evil, and we get discouraged, and we forget: he didn't come into a perfect society, and he came into dry ground. So, if the schools and the universities have kicked God out, and it's, you know what? That's just dry ground for Jesus to be planted. And he'll prove it again, "I don't need anything to change this. All you need to do is what you're doing: fast, and pray, and seek me. And then get the seeds of the word of life, and start planting Jesus everywhere it's dry, it's barren, it's lifeless".
We don't give up on people. We don't give up on them, because they're in the middle of a dry thing, even if they are resistant, even if they're defiant, if they don't like it, God don't play fair. I know, that's terrible English, but God doesn't play fair. Wrong place, wrong time, born into the wrong background, wrong connections, but he survived. The root lives. The tender plant lives. And if he ever gets room in any condition, it doesn't matter how bad it is, he will start growing. Why did he grow? Because he was God manifest in the flesh. He needs nothing outside himself to survive. He is self-existent. He did not need the help of men to survive. He did not need political connections to survive and thrive. He did not need royalty acknowledging him. He did not need CNN or anybody else to make him man of the year, a Time Magazine. He didn't need position, power, wealth. He didn't need any of it, and he still does it. He can do it all by himself. He's God, and he was manifest in the flesh. He does not need soil that's fertile to survive. He's the root out of dry ground. The soil contributed nothing for his survival.
Well, we got to approach God that way, we got to get back to that, because if we don't watch it, we get to thinking that, "Boy, you know, I'm really something". No, you're not. He did not need anything. He could have chosen anyone, he could have used anyone. When I look at this ministry, and I see what God is doing, I want you to know, he did not have to... I have not done this, and you have not done this, all we were was people who said, "I'm going to give him some room. I'm going to give him some space. My life is the dry barren wilderness. I am nothing, I have nothing to offer him. But boy, when I dropped him into my barren life, he took my mind, he took my body, he took my heart, he took my dreams, he took my vision, he took my talents, and he said, 'let me see what I can do. You can't do it on your own. I could do it through anybody, but since you gave me room, I'll let something grow out of the dryness, and barrenness, uselessness, fruitless life'". That you are, the soul contributed nothing, the soul, dry ground doesn't give anything, doesn't support the plant, doesn't support the growth, that's the power of Jesus, he's self-sufficient.
Adverse conditions do not have to determine the outcome of your life. Just because you came from less than perfect, or you're in it, does not mean those conditions have to mean your life has a terrible similar outcome. That's the message: the root out of dry ground says, "Plant me in the ground of a drug addict. I don't need them to fix themselves. I don't need them to stop. I don't need them to get more willpower. What I need is you to start planting". This is the word, this is the seed, plant it. Plant it inside of your heart, plant it inside of your mind, plant it inside of your spirit. And if you will do that, it will start growing, it will start spreading, it will start taking over, it will start shoving some things out, so that some new things can come up and spring forth speedily.
You can plant Jesus into any adverse circumstance and situation, and he will grow. Plant him in any environment, and he will grow. Plant him in a ghetto, in a housing project infested with drugs and alcohol, and he will grow. Plant him in a prison, and he will grow. Plant him in a dysfunctional family, and he will grow and bless that same family. And it's not up to them changing in all of this, he begins to take over, but you have to give him room. Plant him into a dead church, and watch his presence come, and watch the seats start filling up, because when Jesus is planting, in any circumstance, life comes. He doesn't need anything from the environment to grow. He just needs some room. You don't have anything to give him, except a little space. Jesus can grow anywhere. Tell somebody that, say "He can grow anywhere". So, he can grow in your son, he can grow in your daughter. "Well, they're not open to it". Well, Lazarus wasn't real open, right?
I've heard people say, "You have to have, God has to have the will, you have to give God the will", no, that's not true. Lazarus was dead. He was a dead man. He didn't even have the will. He didn't have nothing. But when Jesus stepped in that graveyard, and said "Come forth", he came forth. I want you to know, you may have a loved one in some gay lifestyle, or some kind of perverted situation, but the Lord wants you to understand: your job is not to fix them, and your job is not to wait 'till they say, "Yeah, I'm open to it". They may be as resistant as they can be. They may not be so messed up, that they can't even give their will to want God. But when you begin to pray for them, when you begin to fast for them, when you begin to love them, when you begin to reach for them, then you are planting Jesus in dry ground, and he's the root out of dry ground. And nothing can stop his grace, nothing can stop his power, nothing can hold down what he says is coming up. Give the Lord a praise if you know that's your testimony!
Give him room to work a miracle! Come on, give him room to work a miracle in your life! Sow Jesus, plant Jesus into a depression, sow him into the discouragement, into suicidal thoughts. Let him get in it. You won't be the same. You won't be the same. Give him room. When Jesus got planted... I gave him room when I got saved to affect my mind, to affect my ability, to affect my gifts, and my talents. I contributed very little, but I gave him room, and he began to show me who I was. And he began to show me what I could do. And he began to show me what the Spirit of God could do in my life with a nobody, that is nothing but barren and wasted. He began to show me who I was, when I gave him just a little bit of room. And that victory began to grow in me. That self-confidence began to grow in me. The talents and gifts started flourishing in the anointing, and the opportunities, it all was in him.
You have very little to play. And if y'all keep looking at me like that, I'm gonna start walking around with a microphone, I'm gonna tell everything I know on you, because I know some stuff. And people look so, "Amen, they need that pastor". We remember when some of you were messed up, tore up from the floor up, jacked up, smell like weed and liquor every time, you came to church, but you kept coming. You just kept coming. And we just kept planting Jesus. I'm telling you, he'll take just any part of you you'll give him. You quit worrying about, "I can't change", you quit worrying about, "I can't quit", and you just give Jesus. Just fall at his feet and say, "Jesus, please, take this dry and barren ground, and make me, give me life and life more abundantly". Everybody take a praise break! I feel Jesus in this house!
Hey, I get excited cause I see young people! Oh, if you'll just let him have a little room in your heart! My goodness, he starts out small, but he'll take you all over the world. Plant Jesus in a nation, and watch what he'll do. Plant Jesus in our schools. Oh, I want to scream it! Plant him, but he can fix our schools, he can fix education, he can fix our economy, he can fix the church, he can fix the problems in the family, in the home. He can fix all the gender confusion. Plant Jesus, he's not afraid of it, he likes the circumstances that are adverse for him. He actually likes to go to crack houses, he actually likes to go to strip clubs, he likes it. I didn't say you need to like it, I said he likes it. Stay out of there, you ain't got that much Jesus, you just sow it. Come on, y'all looking at me like a crazy. I'm starting to feel this thing kick in.
Plant Jesus in Africa, plant him in the jungles of South America, plant him in communist China, and watch that church come out of dry ground. Plant him in socialist Europe, and watch that church come alive. I've not given up on the world. I'm not giving up on the nations of the world. Plant him in Russia, and they can say God's not real, but watch him, watch him, he doesn't need the government, he doesn't need the president, he doesn't have to have anybody, he just needs a space. Plant him in Downtown Atlanta. Plant him in Southern California. That's what we did, and I get so aggravated when I go out there sometimes. It's just a crazy, Godless, money-money-money is their God, things, homes, this that, the other, just like Atlanta, just like here, just like everywhere. People told me that, "You're gonna have to change when you go to California", because I walked in, and I screamed like I scream, I preached and I just plant Jesus, and thousands of people showed up to the glory of God. It works wherever we go!
I guess what I'm trying to say is don't you give up on anybody that you have on this fast on your mind, because the Lord says, "I am the root out of dry ground". You see, no circumstances that show any positivity, that Jesus is going to grow there. He says, "You just keep planting me". Plant Jesus, and watch him grow. Plant him into the alcoholic. Somebody took the time to bring you Jesus, somebody took the time to tell you about Jesus, somebody took the time to witness to you. You know what they were doing? They were planning. It wasn't when you had it together, and so many of you that are lost, that are here this week, and you don't even know why you came to church this morning, but there's always in your mind: when I stopped doing this, and when I stopped doing that, and when I get out of this, I love it, I love it that this church has people, who sometimes, you know, all kinds of stories of people who are so far less than perfect, which includes all of us.
But the reason God brought you here is: it's not up to you to make it happen. It's not, "I've got to do. I've got to do. I've got to do better. I've got to do better". It's up to you to really give your heart to God, and when you let him get planted, he will, it's like when you drop a, let's say you got a bucket of water, and you take a big cinder block, and you drop that bucket of water in this full to the brim with water, but when you drop it into that, the water just boom, it just splashes over, it just bellows over. And half of the water will come out when you drop that cinder block into that big bucket of water. And you didn't have to do anything, but just let it drop. That's the expo, that's the power of God to push stuff over, and out of us when he drops in. It's not even like you got to strain and struggle.
When he, when the Holy... I feel this, when the Holy Spirit drops in on you, boom! All that hate, all that bitterness, all that prejudice, all that addiction, all that past, all that unforgiveness, it just splashes out because he's so much better, and so much bigger, that those things just start leaving, and exiting your life. Hallelujah! I said hallelujah! So this song that we just sung a few minutes ago, I want to close with it. I only tell you an incredible story, true story. It is no secret what God can do. What he's done for others, he will do for you. With arms wide open he'll pardon you, it is no secret what God can do. You need to listen to me, there is an unusual anointing in this room for miracles, for deliverance, and for help.
In 1949, Billy Graham went to Los Angeles, California, as basically he was known in the Baptist denomination, as a young evangelist. But they had not heard of him nationwide, or any worldwide, certainly not. He felt like God wanted him to put up his tent in Los Angeles, and have a crusade in the middle of Hollywood and city of LA. And he had a press conference, and a few came, and they searched the papers the next day, looking for pr that would help build the crowd. And not one article was written. But there was a woman, once the revival started, it started, and it was just kind of bumping along, few hundred people. But there was a woman who was a Presbyterian lady, and she was a Bible teacher. Her name was Henrietta Mears. And she invited Billy Graham one afternoon while he was preaching that crusade to her Hollywood hills home, there in California, to speak to a group of Hollywood personalities, very influential, the biggest movie stars, some of them of that time.
And there was a country western star by the name of Stuart Hamlin, who also hosted a local radio show live every day that covered all of Los Angeles. That's a picture of it. It's one of the biggest movie stars of that day in that era. He was infamous for his drinking, and carousing with women, and brawling and gambling. That was what he was known off of the movie screens. And he had a huge, huge, huge following. And that day at that lunch in that woman's home, with several people, Billy Graham and this man Stuart Hamlin, they connected, and they took a liking to each other. And Billy Graham began to long to see this man who's far from God come to Jesus. The campaign went on for three weeks, as he preached under the tent, and not one time did Stuart come and hear him preach. But he would call him, and they would eat meals, and they would talk and laugh.
Just had to make a decision Billy Graham did at the end of the three weeks, his sponsors came, his organization people, and they said, "We feel momentum is building this third week. We think we should go a few more weeks with the crusade". And Billy Graham had never done that before, and he said that he was hesitant, because he had never done it before, but he said "I'll pray about it". And he said, he prayed about it, this is Billy Graham's words, and he said, he asked God for a sign, "Should I go on with that meeting in Los Angeles"? The next morning at 4:30 A.M he received a call that awakened him in his hotel room. It was Stewart on the other line. He said, "My wife and I Susie need to come see you this afternoon. Can we see you at your hotel"? He met with them at the hotel, and they talked about his life, how broken his marriage was, how messed up his life was, how addictive, bound he was to alcohol. And that night, for the first time, Stewart went to Billy Graham's crusade, and broke ,and walked down the aisle, and gave his heart to Jesus Christ. And was gloriously, gloriously saved.
He got on his radio program the next day, and he told the whole city of Los Angeles, "I am not the same man. I have been set free, I have been born again". It shook the whole city. The L.A. Times picked up the story, they called it, listen to the wording, and I love the wording, and I saw this actual article, "Sin smashing revival hits L.A." Oh, God send another sin smashing revival to hit. See, that's the problem. We act like nothing's to sin anymore, we act like you can have Jesus, and have you lovers, and have you immorality, and have you junk, and have you, but when Jesus drops in, a lot of stuff's gonna pour out!
Listen to this: the tent revival went wild, and article after article, celebrity after celebrity. Hollywood's biggest stars were getting born again, were getting saved, and by the thousands they came, and it it began, it was the launch of the Billy Graham evangelistic association that would go around the world and reach millions of souls.
Shortly after that meeting moved to another place, Stuart Hamlin, this movie star had a dear friend, his best friend was a man who was the largest movie star of that day. His name was John Wayne. They were neighbors, and lived in the same neighborhood, and John had been all filming, and had missed the whole revival of Billy Graham. For months he had been filming on location. He came back into town, and Stewart said, "I felt the need to go share with my friend how Jesus had changed my life". They had parted together, they had done everything that Hollywood had to offer together: fame, fortune.
And Stuart said he went to his home that night, and he had gathered some of the other friends in the neighborhood, because he hadn't seen them for months. And they were having a dinner. He said the subject came up, and they all began to talk about, and this is the subject, "How people can solve problems within themselves". And everybody had their own Philosophies, not one time was God or Jesus mentioned, and they got to Stuart Hamlin, and they said, "What do you think"? He said these words, he hadn't written the song yet, but he said, "It is no secret what God can do in a man's life". Two hours later, he went to leave, and John Wayne got up and followed him to the door of his mansion. And he said to Stewart, he said, "You know, what you said, 'it is no secret what God can do'", he said, "That's a powerful statement, it got me right here. You should go", John Wayne told him, this is his own words where the inspiration came from, he said, "You should go home and write a new song, and call 'It Is No Secret What God Van Do'".
This is a heathen telling him. He said he left John Wayne's home, went a few houses down, sat down at his piano in his own mansion, and within 17 minutes he wrote the words and the music. Because it is no secret. I don't know what you fasting for. Every time I walk over here, because there's pictures people started putting down in here, and I don't recommend you do it 'till we figure it out we don't want this thing to catch on fire, but there's pictures in here, loved ones, that somebody said, "It is no secret what God can do". I know the circumstances are not good, but he's the root out of dry ground. There are no hopeless situations. You may have somebody that is mentally just messed up, or addicted of the cocaine or drugs, and God only knows what they're into. But, oh, your job is not to change them, and then maybe we can get them help, and then come to Jesus. You your job is to plant Jesus. Plant it.