Leon Fontaine - You Are Not Your Own
My dad had a statement he used all the time. He'd always say this, "Don't you know you are not your own? You have been bought with a price. And so you can't just treat your life as whatever will be, will be". And in 1 Corinthians 6:19 it says that. It says, "Do you not know that your body is the temple, the very sanctuary of the Holy Spirit? He lives within you, and you've received Him as a gift from God. You are not your own. You were bought with a price purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your life". 1 Corinthians 7:23, "You were bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men".
You know, you sitting here today are just incredibly precious. The Bible says that you've been bought. Isn't that interesting? Bought. Like a slave on an auction block. Really? You've been bought. But the word bought immediately brings to question value. Well, if you've been bought. How much was paid for you? Because in most people and like remember last couple of weeks I've been talking about where your focus on for your identity determines how much self-worth you have. If you focus on external things, your giftedness, your value. How much money you make? How much your career has done? And what your peers think about you? All those things are just dismal. But when you know I have been bought with a price.
So what was I paid for? Well, all the gold in the world didn't pay for you. All the diamonds in South Africa and all the jewels from whatever part of the planet. You could put them together, couldn't pay for just you. But God sent His Son and it was the blood and the death of His own kid, His own Son. It's what He paid for you. That makes you sitting here a phenomenal worth. You're not an afterthought. I don't care if you're a mistake or the product of a rape or there's something in your life that embarrasses you. I don't care how you got here. He paid the same price for everyone of us.
And the Bible says in 1 Corinthians, don't be servants to the opinions of people. Don't let your peers decide what you go for, what you, what you attempt. Don't let people who embarrass you and talk about you or what people might say about you and your family, your neighborhood, your peer group. Don't let them influence what you go for with your life because you've been paid for with such incredible value. That you can't allow anybody else to determine what you do with this life. It says you are not your own. You are Gods. Why would He pay such an incredible price for you? Because what He has for you is beyond anything Ephesians 3 says. Anything you can imagine, or dream is how God wants to use you. I believe few people ever fulfill anywhere near what we could do, if we begin to believe of what great value we are and what we could do with Jesus on the inside of us.
I want to talk today about heart of a volunteer. The word volunteer is pretty much been just means the lowest person here. We got the CEO. We got the staff. We got the cleaners and then we got the volunteers. And it's so backwards. It's so not true. Now, I want to address this because this is a crucial, crucial issue. You see, the heart of a volunteer is something that has been proven all through the Word. Did you know that Jesus was a volunteer? Jesus was not relegated and forced. He actually says in John 10, I have the authority to lay My life down and I have the authority to take it back again. And He laid it down as a volunteer. The disciples were volunteers. Take a look at every person in the Old Testament, volunteers.
You know an amazing story that we all notice is the story of David going to see his brothers and he happens to hear Goliath and out comes this story of a shepherd boy, David, untrained in warfare getting up and killing Goliath. But when you read the story, there's an interesting little part in there. It says David was bringing food to his brothers. Do you want to know why? Because in the Israeli army, you were not paid, and you were not fed. It was your family's duty to bring you the food. David was on the way to the frontlines of a battle and he was bringing the food for all of his brothers that were in that army. Those men were volunteers and the family were volunteers and the supply lines to bring them that food.
David in one of the stories in the Bible here. A man named Amasai came with thirty men. David had not yet become the leader of Israel as king. He was running for his life and thirty bandits, bad guys. Thirty people who were running from the law probably. They came to David and said they wanted to join him. And David said to them, "Well, if you're coming here to turn me over to the king. God's going to deal with you". And then it says the presence of God came on the lead outlaw. Isn't it something? The presence of God only comes on the king, the priest, and the prophet in the Old Testament. But Amasai is the leader of these thirty men. And the presence of God comes on and He said, "We are yours David because God is with you. The presence of God is with you. Whatever you do prospers and we're coming to join".
And the Bible says in 1 Chronicles 12:18. And the presence of God came on him and he began to prophesy to David, and he says, "We belong to you. We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success, peace and prosperity to you. Success, peace to those who help you because your God helps you. So David welcome received these men and made them leaders, captains of his armies, fighters and raiders". Whenever God brings people together. He put leaders together. Leadership together. And when God is in it, the Bible says. Whenever you hear the term in the Bible, and God was with them or you hear the term, and God was with him. When you hear that term, that means nothing will fail. No one will defeat them. They will achieve everything they have to achieve because God was with them. When you look it up in the Bible, it also means there's a blood covenant between them. There's something about God being with the group of people.
See, this church isn't here because someone had an idea. We flipped the coin, figured out what to do. This is because of prayer and understanding and praying and seeking and volunteers is why this is here. A volunteer. You know, in World War I and in World War II. I think when we get to heaven, we'll understand. I've talked to the few historian typed people who began to tell me about how closed certain times we're in the world going the opposite direction, an evil man rising up. And when the allies or, you know, would begin to go and they would have all the battles they're fighting. But they would have certain missions that needed to be done.
It's interesting when you watch History channel and you hear about secret missions of men and women who risked everything, and sometimes half of them lost their lives or there were missions I've watched where they all died even though they achieved what they were called to do. But here's the interesting thing. They would never conscript. They would never force any team to do this unique missions. They always ask for volunteers. Isn't that interesting? They went to the trained group of men and women and they said, "We have a mission. This mission is going to put you in harm's way. This mission is going to have some of you coming back. The odds are most of you will die. We're not forcing anyone to go. We're asking for volunteers".
Now, I'm pretty well-read, but I'm not aware of anytime that a mission was put together that was super dangerous that they went, "Oh, we had to cancel the mission". How come? No volunteers. There was never a time. I've never heard of a crucial mission being presented to a group of men and women trained in battle, trained to do this who didn't rise up and say, "Someone said we will go". You see, the difference of putting someone on a mission that could cost you your life. That could cost you limb that, was that if you volunteer, there's something in you that is such steel. That you wouldn't just want to send somebody. Because if you just trained a bunch of guys and sent them out, and that was their job. They'll go out there and say, "We tried everything we know how. We shot all of our bullets, blew up all of our bombs, tried all 14 ways to do it. We're so sorry. We couldn't get it done. So we're able to get on the plane and get back".
But you see, the heart of a volunteer won't do that, because a heart of a volunteer is always there because of love. A volunteer volunteers because of something deeper. They go, "This is my family we're talking about. We're talking about my grandkids. We're talking about the towns and the cities where I come from, and I will step up and I will volunteer". Volunteers would go harder. Volunteers would go further. Volunteers would just go, and they get lost life or limb. It was always volunteers that went for the most critical missions. And so today when we use the word volunteers, we need to just wash out this pathetic definition that has crept to our minds, that volunteers aren't important people. You ask any of my staff. They'll tell you, "When I was hired, I was told you are here to look after volunteers because they are the lifeblood of the church".
How would I hire enough people to look after kids? How would I hire? So I hire someone to train and look after the volunteers looking after the kids. How would you hire enough people to do ushering for service after service? You couldn't afford that. You hire someone if you have to, to help look after all the volunteers who volunteer to do the ushering. The heart of a volunteer is amazing. It's stunning. I hear someone, "Leon, you're not a volunteer". Are you kidding me? I have the heart of a volunteer. Sally and I came and made the decision when it came to Springs Church. You know, years ago, 25 years ago. It was, "Okay, God. Yes, we will".
And I want you to know that history tells us that the heart of a volunteer isn't about money. It's not about hiring. It's not about who's who. It's not about where you are in the totem pole. But in the history when we stand before God, and there are men and women who are there because they gave their lives and they're believers for the cause in battle. You need to know, it was a volunteer. So don't you ever again look at the volunteers around here whether it's security, whether its men helping park cars, whether it's someone cleaning a bathroom, whether someone looking after a child or volunteering to be behind serving coffee. Don't you ever look at a volunteer again and think, "Well, they're just a volunteer". Just a volunteer. It is volunteers that made our country free. It is volunteers that did the missions. They help us to be where we are today. And today, it is volunteers that have taken Springs Church to where it is today.
It hasn't been because of some astounding leader. I feel like a turtle on a fence post. Why do I say that? Because the first thing you think about when you see a turtle on a fence post is, he didn't get there by himself. He had a lot of help. Carrie Chapman Catt says, "Service to a just cause rewards the worker with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life". The greatest depression, I'm talking to you after 40 years of pastoring. The greatest depression I've ever found is always been amongst those who have fulfilled their goals. I've spoken with people from Hollywood, people from companies, people who've achieved everything they dreamed of. Because the issue was, they thought that their self-worth and the joy and the sense of fulfilment and the sense of accomplishment would come when they got that award, when they got the star on the sidewalk. When they hit the top of the pedestal and they were the CEO, the CFO.
Everybody was singing their song and they go back and snort a line of coke after 80.000 people just waved back and forth their arms at their concert and they can't find joy and happiness. The greatest place of suicide isn't among the low group of people who are struggling to get ahead. It is the greatest amongst those who are achieved and at the very top as they recognize I've achieved. I can buy what I want. I know who I want to know and there's nothing on the inside of me that is fulfilled. It is about living for something greater and bigger than yourself.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die". Mother Teresa says, "Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough. Money can be got but they need your hearts to love them. So spread your love everywhere you go". A Greek proverbs says, "A civilization will flourish when its people plant trees under which they will never sit". Peter Abelard said, "God considers not the actions but the spirit behind the action". Edith Draper says, "Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways. But where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses". Sherry Anderson, I love this one. She makes this comment. "Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless". Florence Luscomb said, "There is no end to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit".
There's a prophet in the Bible name Isaiah. God's call came to him. And I want to read the six verses of this call. It's like he literally wrote down a lot of the New Testament prophetically of what take place with Jesus. So God is calling to Isaiah. He didn't just say, "Isaiah, you're doing this. Come with me". See, God never does that. God uses volunteers. Now, listen to, he glimpses heaven and then God talks to him. Listen to these verses.
"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high, exalted! And the train of His robes filled the temple. Angel-seraphs hovered above Him each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, because the Bible says no one should ever see the face of God. With two wings it says they covered their feet, the lower parts as a sign of respect and honor. And with two wings they flew. And as they flew, they called back and forth to each other. Holy, Holy, Holy is God of the Angel-Armies. His bright glory fills the whole earth. While the foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and the whole house filled with smoke. I said, 'Doom! It's Doomsday! I'm as good as dead!' This is Isaiah talking. 'Every word I've ever spoken is tainted blasphemous even! And the people I live with, they talk the same way, using words that are corrupt and desecrate. And here I've looked God in the face! The King! The God of the Angel-Armies!' Then one of the angel-seraphs flew to me. He held a live coal that had been taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal and said, 'Look. This coal has touched your lips. Gone your guilt and your sins are wiped out.' Then Isaiah says, 'And then I heard the voice of the Lord.' Here's what He says, 'Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?'"
God is asking for volunteers. Yeah, none of you can force. None of you have been made. So God now says, "Who's going to go for us"? Isaiah says, "I spoke up". He says four words. "I'll go. Send me". When you look at what God has done with Springs so far. I mean, it boggles the mind but there's just now way that any of us can ever masterminded this. Sally and I didn't know how. Sally and I just basically heard a call that said, "Who will do this"? And we just step up and said, "We will". Didn't know how. Didn't have the money. Didn't have the people. Didn't have any of those things. But we said, "We will. We will go".
And you have to understand something. God is not waiting for you to clean up good enough whenever that is. God is not waiting for you to say, "I don't have any talents to use. Let me go get some talents". What God is saying first of is His called to you is, "Who will go"? And you have to respond to the call. He's not going to reach and force you. He's not going to reach and make you. He's not going to reach and give you all that you need to do it. He just ask this to Isaiah He says, "Who will go"? And he just said, "I will". That's something everyone of us has to decide in our heart because if you don't, then you just pursue your own stuff. God's for your best. All of us can sit down and write all these things about why our life is a mess and who you're going to blame it on. Blame it on your spouse. Blame it on your dad. Blame it on your mom. Everyone blames their poor moms on a psychiatrist couch.
You know, blame something or you can say, "The Lord is within me and so I, I'm going to respond". And I've got news for you. That's all I've done when I've sensed the call of God about something. I said went, "Gulp, gulp, gulp. Okay, we will go". Not knowing how. But when you decide, that Jesus is first in my life. I'm telling you something. The presence of God will change you. He will begin to do things in your life, you could never do on your own. We are volunteers. We are all volunteers in the army of God. And you can go ahead and just think it's about you and your career and your gifting and your end. All those things will be found when we serve God. But don't think for a moment that the joy and the pleasure of your life will be to find out what your gifting is and then figure out what your calling is. Then get out there and do it because history is littered with bodies of those who found their gift, used their gift, went out and did it and they're still not happy because it is about God.
Listen to me. God doesn't conscript people. He doesn't force people. He doesn't make people. I've heard people tell their testimony, "I didn't want to go but God made me". That's all baloney. You have freewill. You get to choose what you do and what you do not do in life, and God understanding freewill still saying to all of us here today. He says it all through the New Testament Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He is saying to us. He says, "Who will go? Who can I send"? That will bring this gospel to the people in your neighborhood, to the places that you work. Who will go? And if you do not answer and if you do not say, "I will go". He will not use you because He's not going to force you. He's not going to make you. He's not going to move your mouth, pick up your hand. There has to be this heart thing that says, "I will go".