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Watch 2022 online sermons » Leon Fontaine » Leon Fontaine - Tough Love

Leon Fontaine - Tough Love

Leon Fontaine - Tough Love

I want to talk to you today about tough love. Tough love. Years ago, I remember a, Christian psychologist wrote a book to Christians because he just couldn't believe the mamby-pamby way they were raising their kids. And he did an entire book, I believe it was Dr. Dobson, was called "Tough Love" that somehow we think that love is weak, that love is permissive, that love does nothing, that love doesn't want to offend, and he began to teach to parents how to raise kids. Who not just walking in love, but they're tough and they're strong. Warrior princesses. Men who will stand up for God. And, I was just thinking about that as I was preparing some of the thoughts I want to share today.

You see, I'm a preacher's kid. And, I go against the statistics. If, anybody who's raised in church knows the preacher's kids were usually the worst. Preacher's kids were the ones who gave up all hope, because they saw what was going on behind the scenes of every church. And, I was so turned off, not by my parents who were pastors. They're amazing. But by, what, people thought church was. The biggest thing for me was, I am not interested in trying to lead a bunch of ooey-gooey, namby-pamby, dippity-do Christians who think walking in love is doing nothing but praying and hoping, while the big bad world slop, slaps us silly off our seats. And, and, there was just no way I wanted to lead that. And then God began to take me on a journey through the Word. He began to show me what a child of God, a follower of Christ, should look like. He gave me a new look at Jesus. He showed me that God hasn't changed from the Old Testament to the new, we have. His covenants have, but God hasn't changed.

And so, I want to talk about this today. I want to prepare you for the future because, you will never fulfill the passions and the dreams inside your heart, if you're going to listen to the religious people. Oh, they'll judge you because your shirt's too open, your dress is too short, you car's too expensive. Like, religion just judges everybody. Jesus would often say I don't judge you. Just go, sin no more. He, He walked in such value for people. And so I begin to dive into the Word, I've been preaching now, for 40 years, more. From the pulpits, and I've had a chance to get into the Word and say God, I had a chance to teach the Word to people. And then see the impact on their family, their finances, their marriages, their kids, then their grandkids. I've had an opportunity, to see generations rise up in our church. And I know, that when you get a hold of the Word of God and really fall in love with this Jesus, that life is not what religion has shown us.

You see, so many of us think that love is this, you know, don't disturb people. Just don't confront people. Just, you know, walk in love. And to them, love means do nothing. Don't confront anything. Don't disagree with leadership. Tell that to John the Baptist who got into King Herod's face and told him. Tell that to the apostle Paul who spoke to leader after leader, and governments, and shared with them. Like, the church of Jesus Christ was not designed to be this pathetic little group of, of people with their tents wandering through life. Haggardly, hoping that everything goes good until we die and finally, have a great home in heaven one day. It just, the Bible does not teach that. The Bible doesn't teach things like, we are to be nonconfrontational. We are to be non-violent. Really? Tell that to Jesus who went with a whip through the temple, kicked over the tables because they were ripping people off who would come to Jerusalem and couldn't have a sacrifice.

And so they way up-charged them and were just raking money from them. Just, take a look at what's going on, and you'll recognize that the church of Jesus Christ, Hebrews says that this new covenant is better than the old covenant David had, Samuel had, that Barrack had, that Joshua had, that all these incredible leaders, Solomon had. They had the old covenant, we have a new one which is better. But, I'm hard pressed to find leaders as wise as Solomon. As courageous as David. As listening to the voice of God as Samuel. Women who will rise up and save nations like Esther. Where have all these great men and women gone? Oh we're just walking through the world of woe, down here just a cabin, up there's a mansion. And, we're just trying to stay dumb until He comes and just stay out of the radar. And just get through. Really?

If we don't be careful, our kids' going to look back at us, and just shake their heads at our lack of courage to get up and try to change a city, to train, change a nation. To keep freedom alive, to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world that our grandkids can continue that work. But if we stood around and do nothing, it only takes one generation that does nothing for the enemy, he's not stopping. Oh you didn't think we had an enemy? Even Christians have told me yeah I don't know if I believe in a devil, Leon. I say well really? Well I wonder what Eve was talking about when the enemy came through a serpent, talked to her. I guess Jesus was just daydreaming when he was lead into the wilderness and tempted for 40 days. Or taken to the top of the temple and told to jump by the devil to prove Himself. I guess, like. We have become literally, if we're going to be followers of Christ, we can't be illiterate to the Bible. We need to know the Bible. We need to learn the Bible. And so, our lives need to be led by the spirit of God.

Every one of you, have gifts. Every one of you have callings. Every one of you are not called to just get by in this lifetime. You have been pre-gifted by God. And He's made a path ahead of you, so that when you die, there'll be something you've left behind, that will help the cause of Christ. There'll be something that you've done with such great purpose, that the purpose won't be found because, you know, you've got your name on a gold plaque sitting on some tree in some, no. It will be because of the people, the things that have been done in your life. Romans 8:14 says, as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God and the daughters of God. They live in this family of hearing His voice, and knowing their giftedness, and using it. Whatever they've got, to advance the cause of Christ. I had a guy knock on my door one time, and, and this religion would go door to door. They would try to engage you immediately in something that you'd agree with them on.

And so, it was years ago, too. And he said, you know, I said, hi there, I'm so-and-so, and I was about to say hey dude, I'm busy. He goes, isn't it awful? The violence that is taking place around the world. And I said, well I guess it depends. What? All violence is evil and wrong. Oh, I said, so you're telling me that, if a thief broke into your house and was going to steal your little girl, you wouldn't get violent? Then he started to stutter. W- w- w- w, d-d-d, bu-bu-bu... I said, are you kidding me? That guy is done if he walks into my house and tries that. So, you're trying to tell me we're going to just say oh Jesus bless you. God bless you. Are you kidding me? Like, we have such stupid doctrines in the religious side of Christianity.

And so, something within me, said I've got to make sure that here at Springs in these last 28 years, that, that we can teach people how special you are, how amazing you are, how gifted you are. And that, God has commanded the blessing on you. Religion wants to say God's commanded the mediocrity on you. No, He's commanded the blessing. And if the New Testament has a better covenant based on better promises, then David's and Solomon's and Samuel's and Esther's and Ruth, then we better start raising some of them up. We better raise up Prime Ministers, and billionaires who finance the kingdom of God, and influencers in health care, making movies that sell hundreds of millions of dollars, so entertaining and exciting and arts and entertainment.

Why do we have such a religious myopic view of what it is to be a Christian? If you've got kids, they've got different gifts. They've got different personalities. What are you going to tell them? Just attend church, carry a big six-foot, six-inch thick Bible, and you know, and one day when we get to heaven. No! Down here is the playing field. Heaven is our retirement home and it's fantastic. But this is where who we are and what's within us counts. Whether, whatever area, whatever you are called to. So this bit about, well walk in love, Leon. I love how this Christian psychologist took that on and began to talk about tough love.

You see, the Bible says in, 1 Corinthians 13, verse 13. Now abideth these three. Faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. So we think that love means you never disagree with somebody. Love means you, you just say hi, God bless you. But the disciples went from city to city, and they walked into the main streets because they didn't have TV, radio, and social media. Where did you go with the message? You went to the concourses and the streets and the gates of the city. And you would share what the news was you had from another city. Or what was going on. And these disciples went from city to city, and they just shared Jesus. He's alive, Jesus rose again. You heard about this dude named Jesus? He's the Son of God! No, no, no! And whole cities were changed. Nations were changed. As these people just took this Gospel. And people would try to shut them down, try to kill them. I mean, and they did eventually kill most of the disciples, but not until they took the Gospel to the then-known world.

And I want you to know, that this kind of namby-pamby, don't, you know, raise a stink. Don't disagree with government, don't disagree with government? Are you kidding me? So we are a democracy as never before, we are the government voting in who represents us. Like, what has happened to us to be influencers? We are to be salt and light as the followers of Christ, which means we're to be the predominant influencers in our world. Is that happening? No. Love values people. Values them. But yet, Jesus said this repeatedly. He said, when you walk into a home, He's teaching His disciples how to spread the Gospel. When you walk into a home as you're on this evangelistic tour, and He says they, say peace be on this house. And if they accept your peace, stay at that house.

And then he says, but if they reject you, your peace will return to you. And if they won't listen to you, here's what He says. Shake the dust off your feet. And tell them it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than you. Okay. I just want to ask you, how does that fit into your lovey-dovey theology? Jesus said it. Now, we've got a theology that goes, well you know, we just walk in love. And we just continue, of course we do. One person, well what about my unsaved son? Love him, reach him, stop preaching at him. Hand him over to Christ. And go reach somebody else's son. You know, my dad had five boys. And we all weren't great and good. A couple of them didn't want to serve God.

And my dad didn't sit in his bedroom praying for 50 years trying to get them to become saved. When he could, he loved them. When he could, he shared with them. He was there for them, and he got up and reached everybody else's sons and daughters. He got up and shared from prisons to reserves to cities to wherever he could. He wasn't going to sit around, fearfully marinating and oh, I've got, no. He was out doing the things of God, and the people that he reached for Christ reached his sons for God who weren't serving Him. We've got to make a decision. The church is not this weak, mamby-pamby group. So love is to value people. But love, who do we love first? God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind. And love your neighbour as yourself.

And so, this love isn't a weak love. I was speaking, I think it was Virginia Beach. But I was speaking in this city, had a big naval base there. And the navy seals were trained at the city that I was in. And so, I think it was like something like twelve to 17 of them came to the leadership, conference that I was speaking at. And, took me out for lunch. And it was just an honour to meet these young men. So I had a lot of questions for them. And as they're sitting there, I remember the guy sitting beside me, everyone's eating and chowing down, and so I looked at him, and I just asked him this question. I said like, so I said, so you told me that you're a Christ-follower? Yep. I'm a Christian. I said so, how do you handle going on missions that takes lives?

And, you should have seen him. You could tell he's been asked that question a lot. And he snapped straight up in his chair and he turns to me and he says, I'm here to defend the United States of American and my family and my home, and the freedoms that we, and I mean, prrrrh. I went, thank you. Agree. Like, when we understand that, love isn't just allowing evil to destroy your children, your way of life, just well Jesus said turn the other cheek. Okay. He's talking to arrogant, proud people. And he's saying, don't get so arrogant and proud that you're fighting over every dumb little thing people say and do. You know, words are going to come. He said you're going to suffer like me. How did Jesus suffer? Well, He didn't suffer from sickness, disease, or beating, or poverty, until He went to the cross. The suffering in context is, that people didn't like Him. Can you figure that out? People didn't like Jesus. Healed the sick, fed them, turned water into wine, you'd think that would help a few people. I mean really? You don't like Jesus. You hate Jesus. And He said, they'll hate you, too.

So if you're going to be a Christian and you're going to rise up in business, or in wherever area. And it's important to you that everybody like you, you're going to fail. You're going to fail. It's not important enough to me that you like me. People have found out I can't be manipulated as a senior pastor. If you don't do this we're going to leave. Okay, I'll help you find another church. Because I'm going to answer to God one day. As to what I've taught, and how I've stood. And what I've said, and where we're going. And I love Him first. So when it comes to the church, who are we? Well, first of all you need to know you've got an enemy. Yes, a fallen angel. And arrogant, crazy, vindictive, hateful, fallen angel called the devil. And he's here to steal, kill, and destroy. Who says? Jesus said so. John 10:10.

So that's, our enemy. Our enemy is not people. However, I've got no problem stopping someone influenced by the enemy trying to steal my kid. You get what I'm saying? So, and then the Bible says faith, hope, and love. Well let's talk about hope. Because here's where a lot of the church goes, well I'm just hoping and praying, pastor. Oh, what's that supposed to do? Just hoping and praying. I mean, God's going to fight for me. Where do you get that from? Well, I mean, I heard it. Sounds good. I do nothing, God fights for me. I do nothing, God prospers me. I do nothing. No. If you're looking at Old Testament type, one time He gave somebody instructions like Gideon. Go to battle with a torch under a vase, and a trumpet in one hand. Break the vase, let the torch be seen in the darkness of the night. Usually one division carried a torch and the rest had their hands on weapons.

So when they blew the trumpet, 300 of them, they'd never have that many trumpets because you'd have an unclear sound. It looked like 300 divisions of armies were there. And then 300 torches all around them. I mean this was wisdom from God, and they all killed each other off. That was great. But then at the same time, Barak was told by God, go into battle and protect my people and their children, and their wives. At the same time, Solomon built an entire kingdom with wisdom. How is God going to lead you with your gifts and abilities individually by God, and they never would do anything unless God guided them. Moses said, I'm not going anywhere without Your presence. So Your presence better guide me or I'm going to do nothing.

We don't just say well, here's what I thought up, and I'm going to do it this way. Because we've got two ditches. We've got one Christian group on one side of the ditch, and for every mile of road, there's two miles of ditch. And the group on one side are just pacifists, and hoo, just everyone love us and like us. And we're not going to do anything. And then on the other side we've got people who want to go grab guns and start shooting people. Are you kidding me? But somewhere in that middle sweet spot, is the influential power of God flowing through a gifted church. That rises up in politics, in healthcare. In the church. In education. In arts and entertainment. And there's enough gifted, gifting there to rise up. And do stunning things to advance the Gospel. It's interesting that, we think the love of God is weak mamby-pamby. But God is not that way.

Let me read you a few verses, and then let me explain them to you. John 30:6. Those who believe in the Son, have eternal life. But those who do not obey the Son, will never have God's life. But the wrath of God remains on them. Oh. How does that fit into your doctrine? Let's go to Romans 1. Verse 16 says, I'm not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, it is the power of God unto salvation to go to the world. Then in verse 18 it says, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. And it goes on talking about how even people who don't believe in Him, they know He's real deep inside. They can see Him through nature. Well Leon, in the new covenant, this is new covenant, this is the book of Romans. How about 1 Thessalonians 1:10. To wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Ephesians 5:6, let no man deceive you with vain words, for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. He's not talking about disobedient Christians. He's talking about the kingdom of darkness, those who have rejected Christ. This world that we live in, there's an assignment upon the followers of Christ. To bring the Gospel to the world, in a powerful, confident, courageous way. In Revelation it has a verse that is really become one of my favorites. It says, he who overcomes, shall inherit all things. And I will be his God. And he shall be my son. But then he begins to explain the attributes of people without Christ. But the cowardly unbelieving, abominable, murderer, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and liars. They have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

So everything that is labeled here as from the kingdom of darkness, cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, it's talking about the opposite is true in the kingdom of God. That there's a courage. There's a strength. There's an anointing upon us. To get up and live our lives, the Bible literally says when we begin to walk in the place God's prepared for us, the world will look at us, and they will want what we have. It says blessed, it means happy. Fortunate. And to be envied. And that is why, as the church, we should love the people, yes. We reach out to people, yes. But if, and even as Jesus was telling His disciples. Okay, you're not getting anywhere, they're not listening to you. Shake the dust off your feet. Because there's thousands more in the valley of decision who would listen to somebody. Stop wasting your time there. If this is where I'm called you to do. So if being led by the spirit of God, is the key to your future.

And I want to challenge you, I just pray and, as I'm wandering through some of these thoughts, that you have a new look at Jesus. He's not a long brown-haired guy with Precious Moments eyes and a dress with flip-flops going peace, peace. Revelation says, he's the king of all kings. And begins to explain what he looks like right now. So, let's love God. Let's love our neighbours. Let's get up and bring this Gospel to the world. Let's make sure that we use the gits and the abilities, and let's not just sit around, praying and hoping. Let's mode of being love, hope being the goal post, and let's believe God and start to act on that training and equipping ourselves in business, and arts, entertainment, whatever area God's called you to. Let's rise up and influence until the world sees how good God is. And desires the real truth about following Jesus.

If you don't know Jesus but you're listening to this, and you say I don't know if I even know or am a Christian. Just right now say:

Jesus, come into my heart. I give You my life. I choose You, and I choose to follow You. I'm going to get to know You better, I'm going to learn Your Word better, but right now I just choose You and I'm asking You to come into my heart. I believe on You as my Lord and Saviour, in Jesus' name. Amen.

Pray that prayer, and keep following us. Let us know you made this decision, and together we're going to help you rise up to an overcoming, amazing life of walking by faith.
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