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John Gray - Mirror Image



Hey, how you doing? How you doing? How your mama doing? How's auntie? Everybody doing well? I'm so glad. Listen, it feels like I say this all the time, but I'm so glad to see you all again. And I'm super excited about what we're going to get into with the Word of God today. God laid it on my heart to deal with one of the most critical areas you'll deal with in life, your self esteem and worth. Oftentimes, how you see and think about yourself will give you a different filter on how you see God. If you don't see yourself as valuable, loved, or worthy of love, you'll find yourself seeing God through a judgmental lens, I know this firsthand. You'll think God is condemning you when he's actually trying to lift you up.

So today, we're going to work on getting you free from condemnation and focus on who God says you are, and how much you mean to him. We're going to check the label and focus on who the manufacturer is, who built you to be a precious commodity in the earth. I pray this message encourages you, I know it will. Matter of fact, before it gets started, push the DVR button right now, press that red record button, call everybody you know, because we're getting ready to check the manufacturers label. I can promise you, you're going to be blessed to find out who made you, and I'll see you right after.

If you do me a favor and go to Matthew chapter 22, Matthew chapter 22. Reading from the new King James version, and I'm excited about this word. And as we get there, let me tell you as you're getting the Matthew 22. I think one of the greatest challenges of believers, and because this is Wednesday night, we're going to to walk through the scripture tonight, is that all right? Want we make sure that you have some substance, some things that you can chew on, things you can ponder talk about in your small groups.

I want you to have something that you can think on, ponder, build from. One of the greatest difficulties is a esteem, value, understanding your worth. Oftentimes, how you see yourself impacts how you see God. What you think about you, whether you know it or not, invariably gives you a different filter on how you see God. If you don't see yourself as valuable, if you don't see yourself as loved or lovable or worthy of love and honor, you will find yourself seeing God through a judgmental lens. That every time you make a mistake, every time you sin, every time you mess up, you're assuming that God is like, I told you are a mess, you are, I knew it.

I don't even know why I even deal with you. And you don't realize that that's not God's heart at all, but it's because of how you see you, and it's hard for you to receive love, it's hard for you to believe the best. There are times when pastor Joel will speak the word of life when he's praying and he said were accepted, approved, you know what I'm saying? And he would go through all of these accolades and all of these great things that we are. And the first few times I'm like, pastor you talking about you, I'm still, I'm not there yet, you know.

But what I realized is he was absolutely right. Because what he was saying was rooted in the Word of God, not in my understanding of myself. We get it twisted, we see ourselves through a lens broken, but God sees us perfected and whole. And until we see ourselves the way God sees us, it's going to be very hard for you to declare God's word over your life, because the enemy will be like, you don't deserve that, and you know good and well, you shouldn't have that, and why should you be blessed, after all the things you've done. And that devil is a liar, and I put him under my feet, and you should put him under your feet. And we're going to get the word of the lower tonight. You're walking out with some new garments.

Tell somebody, "Fresh clothes". Fresh clothes. Here in Matthew 22, verse one, and I'm reading fast to redeem the time. And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding, and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, tell those who are invited, see, I prepared my dinner, my oxen and fatten cattle are killed and all things are ready, come to the wedding. But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest, seized his servants, treated them spitefully and kill them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city".

Don't play with the king. Don't mess with the king. That's just point number one. It's not in my notes, I'm just stopping to read. Please, I don't care how bad people think they are, they are not bigger than your God, they better leave you alone, they better leave your kids alone, they better leave your destiny alone, they better leave your purpose alone, because when they mess with you, they're messing with your dad. And I promise you he has nobody to play with. He has nothing nice. Don't get it twisted, God does not have enemies, we have enemies.

The Bible says you adversary the devil, God doesn't have an adversary. Because if he had an adversary, it's possibility that he could lose, he can't lose. That's why he put the devil on our level. He said, you all handle him, he's not even on my level. I need you all to handle it. I need you to understand, when God gets in the middle of it, it's a problem for the devil. You need to understand the power of your God. I'm tired of us making the devil bigger than what he is. Let's make him small like he actually is, and let's make God, magnify the Lord with me. Let us exalt his name together. Can somebody give God a magnificent, majestic praise?

God does not have adversaries Johnny, we do. You think God's, they're trying to get heaven, devil's trying to overtake heaven. You know, the Bible says there was a war in heaven. Do you really think that heaven was under siege? Come on, it's God, he laughs and stuff like that. Did you really think it, get him out of here please, get him out of here. God didn't even do it, he just said, Michael get him out of here, I just, I don't even have time. I'm too busy being amazing, I'm too busy being omniscient. I'm too busy being omnipotent, I'm too busy being holy, I'm too busy preparing a table for my children in the presence of their enemies, I'm too busy allowing the lamb to be slain before the foundation of the world, I'm already creating provision for people that aren't even born yet, I'm too busy to mess with the devil, Michael handle that for me.

I'm trying to encourage some Christians in here that the devil is not bigger than your God. Don't mess with the king. "So he said to his servants". I'm in the eighth verse, sorry, forgive me, I got excited, almost lost my place, but I'm back. "The wedding is ready, but those who were invited we're not worthy. Therefore go into the highways and as many as you find, invite to the wedding". Now you know good and well.

How many people been married in here? Where are married happily married folks? Happily married. Like someone, I'm married I don't know about the happily cause he getting on my nerves for that's why I'm here tonight, cause for real, I was about to smack him, for real for real, he need to pray for me at the church, all right? Where are the married people? How many people know it's not the marriage that's the issue, it's that ceremony? Who do you invite? Cause let's be honest, we don't really care about saying I'll get married, we care about the reception. Can I get a good amen?

I can't stand summer weddings, and it's hot. I got on this too little Tuxedo, is hot. I got on these terrible plastic patent leather shoes. And then after standing up there watching you get married, we get to the you know, VFW hall or the prince hall, or wherever, or the veterans of foreign war, wherever, you have your reception, uncle Jimmy's living room, and you got three chicken wings, some carrot sticks and some ranch dressing.

You know how long I waited, I was all ready for some real food, and you hit me with some dry wings, and some church punch, with some church mints that melt in your mouth, and some carrot sticks and ranch dressing. Are you crazy? Where is the real food? Don't play with me, this better be the appetizer. This better be the appetizer. Somebody give me a plate, chicken breasts a little cream sauce, let me get some broccolini, let me get some linguine, some margatini, some iniwini, I don't care. You better bring some food, it's a wedding, that's what I'm here for. Then I'm ready to dance after that, and then we going to do the electric slide.

You understand what I'm saying, don't act like you that saved, like you don't know the dance. You know what to do. Or maybe you got married in Texas, and you're just kicking your boots around. Or maybe you're Irish and you river dance. I'm tired. He already told you what they feed you at the reception, fatted calf, that means ribs, you don't hear me. We ribs Jesus. Ribs. He got the spread. This is a wedding you want to go to. But even some of the people that were invited, say "Ish", whatever.

The king said, "All right, since the ones that I invited don't want to come, open it up to anybody who will". Trying to help somebody in here. You don't think you're good enough, oh yes you are. The king's called for you. I'm trying to help somebody in a green chair or at your living room table or in your kitchen right now on the internet how you doing? I see you, put that liquor away and play. Ninth verse, "Therefore go into the highways. And as many as you find, invite to the wedding, so those servants went out into the highways gather together". Watch this. "All who they found both bad and good".

Let's get this out of the way. There is no them and us, trying to help somebody in the back. Churches for too long judge, look at what they're doing. Look at that. Why are they here? How come, what are, they shouldn't be serving. They should be doing this. Why are they in front of people? Don't they know what they do? Don't they know what they struggle with? What do you struggle with that we don't know about? What have you done in the past that would disqualify you? God says, "I don't care about behavior, I'm just trying to get you in the wedding".

I need somebody to worship over here, I don't know who's. I'm just trying to get you in the wedding. I just need you to get in, because if I can get you in, the atmosphere will change you, the excitement will change you, the connection to your father will change you, when you see what I prepared when you were at your worst, it'll change you. We want to put the cart before the horse, we want people to change, take your hat off. I just got here, I don't even didn't know that, that take it off, you won't get in heaven if you wear a hat in church. Well, now you've scared him, you've offended him and he's not coming back because he didn't know not to wear a hat and church because he never walked into a church.

So before we try to give them law let's give them grace, let's love them and then let the word do the work. "So both bad and good in the wedding hall was filled. But when the king came in to see the guest, he saw a man who didn't have on a wedding garment". You ever seen somebody dress wrong at the wedding? It's probably your uncle. He just in there with all white, with a peach color Tuxedo shirt. Just in a... I'm proud of you've worn. That's a volant shape, no you just stay single like your uncle, like you ain't single, cause you want to, you're single cause you ain't got no teeth. But what I'm saying is there's always somebody at the wedding that's dress wrong.

Something sister in there tried to put on that glitter dress from six years ago, you know good and well, you're two kids and a few pounds away from putting that dress back on, but you thought putting on a premium girdle was going to help you. Now you can't even breathe, you're just in the wedding, just can't move and don't eat. Your buttons just like, "Lord help me", I don't know, so watch this, he said, "Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment? And he was speechless. And the king said to the servants, bind take him away, cast him into outer darkness, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called but few are chosen".

Seems like a pretty harsh punishment for wearing the wrong outfit to a wedding. Until you understand the culture and customs of Middle Eastern weddings, Jewish weddings in that day, that what you wore was symbolic of what you thought about the people that were getting married. And when you value your thing you put your best. But the problem is many of us don't feel like we're worthy. And so instead of walking in with a righteous garment that you didn't make, you look at your own life and try to label yourself. And I want you to know that you can't label you because you didn't make you. And what I want to talk to you tonight for the few minutes that I have this, check the label. Check the label.

So many times I've read that scripture but I didn't really fully understand why somebody with the wrong garment on would not only get escorted out, but bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness. But I realized that there was a couple things going on. I heard doctor Paul say something earlier about the righteousness of God, the righteousness found in Christ. Then Steve sang "Christ alone, Cornerstone", and he's sing one of my favorite hymns, because I grew up in a little baptist church in Ohio. And "My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but holly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand".

All other ground is sinking Jesus alone makes us right with the father, his righteousness. And so you have to stop trying to make yourself right with God. Too many people here tonight and at home watching are constantly in a place of defeat because you cannot seem to do right. You try, you do well for a couple weeks. I'm going to stop doing X, Y and Z and you stop, and you go back.

Reading from Psalm 139, verse one, it says, "O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up: you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue. But behold, o Lord, you know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me: it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there, your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me".

I want to share tonight from the subject, "Even there". Even there. Tonight, I'm led by the spirit of the Lord to go in a slightly different direction than what I'm used to. I'd like to share a little bit more of my heart as I bring this message out, if that's all right. Because God's just been stirring some things in my spirit, and I feel like there's some people in here who need to hear what I have to say. I can tell by those who just came to me in prayer that there are people that are in some desperate circumstances.

There are people here, they're sitting next to you, they may be sitting behind you, and they look well, they look healthy, they look happy, but on the inside, there's something that is hurting them in their soul. There's something that is causing pain, they are injured. Many of us attempt to medicate our pain through personal means, which become vices, which can become addictions, which can become habits. Some of them destructive. But I want you to know that there is a God who loves you, even there. I don't normally read, because I'm just kind of, I internalize what the Lord gives me to speak. But there are some things that I wrote down that I'd like to share.

The souls of all men belong to God. All of man's hostility and intellectual railings against the truth, this truth, will one day prove fruitless, futile and foolhardy. God was not created, therefore God cannot be deconstructed. God was not elected, therefore he cannot be deposed. His throne is not now, nor has it ever been, under threat of a coup. No one's taking the throne from my king. Here, on the threshold of biblically significant times, it's so good to be reminded that God still reigns. And he is ultimately in charge.

What a terrible and awful thought that an impossibly hot, unconscious mass exploded for no reason 13.8 billion years ago and continues to expand until this very day. The big bang is a big thud without an extreme level of faith and the statistically implausible thought that the universe as is currently observed through scientific means could have taken place on its own and from chaos has come symmetry. Ballots, order, laws, subatomic particles, art, philosophy, birds, beasts and every other living thing, and ultimately, man. And according to scientists, for no reason at all. And even if science observes the "what" and the "how", it cannot tell me "why". And my soul longs for "why". And as I search for "why", my "why" ultimately becomes a "who". Who would do this? More so, who could do this?

And as my soul searches, and my soul begins to awaken to a supernatural reality that I am not here by myself, and I am not some accidental cosmic expansion, I am not the product of an accidental collision of heat and mass and particles. I am not the product of happenstance. I am not evolution. I am revelation. For this world, in fact, the whole of creation, known and unknown, was willed into existence by the living God. And I and you are his unique creative expression. I exist to bring glory to the invisible God.

Our lives are an unfolding revelation of the greatness of God. We are the highest of earth's creation, and we have eternal values. And if our days on this earth ended right now, our true lives would begin immediately anew in a place called heaven. A place where I am already known. A place where I have a house not made with hands, where the master carpenter, Jesus has already etched my name on the door. And one day, I will see him face to face and I will hug him and thank him for saving me when I wasn't worthy to be saved. And I'll praise his name, and I will declare with angels, worthy is the lamb that was slain. And the highest of praise, and the hallelujah of hallelujahs belongs to our God.


And if you feel like joining with me in one great glorious worship, then you are welcome right now to give him appraise. One day, I'm going to heaven. Trouble won't last always. The tears will be wiped from my eyes and the pain will leave my body and one day I will see my king face to face. I'm going somewhere. Talk about me if you want to, whisper about me if you have to, but I'm not from here, and I'm not staying here. I was created by an eternal God and there is more to who I am than what you see. Heaven, the gathering place for all the saints of God. The place of unspeakable joy. And I will dwell in a house not made with hands. I hope you're my neighbor. I said I hope you're my neighbor.

So we can talk about the goodness of God. I'ma lean out my window, I'ma say, "Hey Patricia, girl, you remember when on 59 heading South, and that 18 wheeler cut us off, but God kept us on the road because we had a purpose"? Then I'ma look out that window and say, "Hey Johnny McAllen, remember when we were serving alongside pastor Joel Osteen in some of the greatest days in the history of the church? And we were there with doctor Paul, and pastor Lisa, and mama Dodie, and pastor Nick, and all of the other saints of God? Can you believe God chose us? And now we all live in the same city together"? Is anybody excited about going?

I'm royalty. I rocked my purple tonight. I guess, my wife says, "Baby that's not purple, that's more eggplant". But I'm a man, I don't, it's purple to me. Cause purple is symbolic of royalty. Even though I don't feel much like royalty most days, I am, nevertheless, born royal. Cause I was spoken from the mouth of the highest King that has ever existed. And out of his mouth and heart, and from the substance of his hands, he created me. Yes, me! With all of my frailties and imperfections. Yes, me! He chose me out of the ashes and the depths of broken places and failed dreams, and bad decisions, and he still said, "You, and I will raise you up for such a time as this".

And the same way God did it for me, he's doing it in this church right now. And for those who are online, and those who are listening, God talks to you tonight and says, "Rise into the highest place of authority. Wake up and never apologize for who I created you to be. You are royal"! Oh! I haven't done it in awhile, but I feel it, praise, praise. I am royal. And I'm royalty because of what Jesus did. Jesus, Scotty.

I love saying his name, Jesus. That's the only reason we're here in these green chairs. Jesus, that's the only reason we have hope. Jesus, that's the only reason we're able to wake up in the morning and keep going, Jesus. It's the only thing that's keeping my marriage together. Jesus, it's the only thing keeping us from utter chaos. Jesus, it's the only thing that's keeping that disease from taking us out, Jesus. It's the only thing keeping my mind, Jesus. It's the only thing that grandma used to call on, Jesus. He's the only one! His name.

But he didn't just live 33 years, he went to a cross. For the cross turns mere men into immortal conquerors. The cross lifts the weight of sin and pays the price of shame and guilt, and I am forever free. No longer bound, no more chains holding me. My soul is resting. It's just a blessing, praise the Lord, hallelujah, I'm free. The cross of Christ is my liberty. And it is in the cross and at the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, and the burdens of my heart rolled away it was there by faith I received my sight and now I am happy all the days it's at the cross that I see myself as I actually am.

And it is at the foot of the cross that men will find their greatest purpose. For it is at the cross that we will see and reveal the true character of who Jesus is. For the cross reveals the utter depravity of the human condition. But not only that, it also reveals the confounding unending love of our Heavenly Father. What kind of God would sacrifice so much for those of us who have given so little? Why would God give his son for me? What was God thinking, knowing what I would do, the times that I would fail, the times that I would pray, the times that I would cry, the times he would deliver me only for me to go back to the very thing that he delivered me from, and any other thinking person would have left me to my own devices.

Anybody else would have said, "I'm tired of getting you out of that". But here, every morning, new mercy. Every morning, new Savior. Every morning, new covering. Is there anybody glad that God has not given up on you? I don't know about you but I know who I am and what I can do at my worst moment, and God says, "Even there! I'll catch you, I'll grab you, I'll clean you up". I got a three year old and a two year old. My little daughter is brilliant, and she's basically now, she's potty trained, she goes to the pot, she knows what to do and she handles her business.

My son, he's still working through that thing. It's taking him a second. You know, it'll be, I'll smell it and then he'll be like, "Hey, I got a poopity". I'll be like, "Oh, you missed it, buddy". I'm always looking for my wife, I'm like, "Ave, where you at? Aventer"? I know she hears me, she doesn't say anything. She just want me to be down there, just struggling. I just get all kinds of, "Oh, it's on my hand"! Preach, Jesus, why did you let me do this? I serve your people! Look at this! He nasty! And while I'm cleaning him up, he's sitting there smiling and I want to put him in the garbage next to the diaper.

Just, both of you all get in there and stay there. I'm so sick of you. But I realized that he can't help it. And because he's my baby, if it happens again tonight, I'ma be there. And I'm going to clean him up. And I'll say, "We'll get it, we'll get it right tomorrow buddy". And if he messes up tomorrow, I'm going to be like, "It's all right, we going to get it right tomorrow, buddy". And then on Saturday, "It's all right, we'll get it right tomorrow". Until tomorrow turns into today and he gets it on his own, and he's able to stand on his own, but until then, his daddy's going to be right there.

And if that's what I do with my son's mess, how many of us know that's what God does in our mess? Every time we fail, he says, "It's all right, we'll clean it up, we'll start again tomorrow". But I messed up again. "It's all right, I'll clean you, new mercy, fresh wind, fresh oil, I'll cleanse you with the blood of my son, I'll put a robe of righteousness on you. Go out there! A just man falls seven times, but he gets back up. Don't quit, keep going"! And even if I fall tomorrow, "Even there, I'll be right here, because you look like me, and you came from me, and I love you too much to leave you in your mess".

Why does God love me so much? Have you ever thought about that? Come on, tell the truth, you know you. Some are like, "No, I can understand why he loves me, because, I mean, I'm amazing! I never sin, I'm perfect, I worship him. I dance, I serve him every morning, I have a prayer room, I have a war room. I've got post-it notes and stickies. It's just me and God, we just worship. It's amazing". Good for you. The rest of us still have a little spirit of turn up on us, every now and then, you put the right song on, you going to see me before Jesus. Hey! Oh, I'm sorry, Jesus.
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