Leon Fontaine - A Chosen Vessel
Daniel 11:32 is a portion of scripture that is unique. It's special. Let me read it to you. It says, "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall be corrupt by flatteries, but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits". It's time to think like God. It's time to have the mind of Christ. It's time to rise up and recognize that everybody is special. You are called to be strong. Ephesians 6:10 says don't be strong in your strength. You be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Five points that I want you to be strong and I want you to do exploits.
Number one: It is not possible for you to create lasting impact for eternity until you conquer your personal inner challenges. Your personal inner controversies. There's a war that goes on in the minds. The Bible says we don't wrestle with flesh and blood but with demonic principalities. This wrestling is not a physical wrestling because no one has wrestled a demon. This is not a spiritual wrestling because in your spirit is Jesus Christ. And there's nothing that a demon could wrestle with that. It is in the thoughts that attack your mind. The mind is the battlefield.
And so if you do not deal with your challenges, your controversies. Everybody's got different beliefs that harassed them. Different challenges that just seemed to be too great to overcome, to go do something with your life and to be great for God. One of the great lies of the enemy is to let, try to make us think that we are nothing. We are filthy rags. It takes all these verses out of context. Let me show you how special and important you are. When it comes to all of the beings that have been made on this planet. When it comes to all existent being spirit or physical. We are just between God Himself and the angelic host of heaven. We're not some animal roaming the planet. Just one DNA strand off of a chimpanzee or all the crazy things the world tries to cheapen the fact that we are made in the likeness and the image of God.
In Psalm 8:3 it says, "When I consider the heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon, the stars, which You've ordained. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that You visit him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, crowned him with glory and honor, dignity and worth. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Your hands, thou hast put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen, beasts of the field, fowls of the air, fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the sea. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth".
You are made in the likeness and the image of God. You know, there's a really unique thing about this chapter because when the translators of the King James went to this word in verse 5 where it says, "You've made man a little lower". In the Hebrew, it is Elohim. You've made people a little lower than Elohim. Now, every other time in the Bible it's translated God. But they couldn't fathom this. So they put angels in there. And that word is never used anywhere in the Bible except this one time. And so he is saying here we've been made a little lower than God Himself. We're not lower than angels. Hebrews chapter 1 says they're our servants. The Bible doesn't teach that we're lower than angels. We are literally a being. And if you want to find our class, it is between angels and God Himself. We're made just a little lower. It's His words. Just a little lower than God Himself.
Now, you say that. People get upset. Religious people get upset. And I go, "Are you kidding me"? Listen, cows have calves. Horses have colts. Dogs have puppies. Cats have kitties. And God had us. He's our Father. We are His children. Would you stop thinking you're just another one of the baboons swinging through a tree and picking lice off your spouse. We are made in the family of God, in the likeness and the image of God. Just a little lower than God. And you've got a problem for God to use you in some great way? The problem is your presumption. You just presumed you can't do anything great. Presuming things is a huge mistake. There's a mindset amongst believers of self-underestimation.
Sounds like a lousy English. But man, it's true. There is this mindset. We underestimate what God has placed within us. He made the entire universe and His crowning creation is you. It's me. It's our physical body, our soul, our spirit. What one person could do if they ever started to believe the Word. But we've got this false humility. Well, we got to stay humble, Leon. Well, what is that mean? Well, is it a posture? Do we walk around. You don't walk straight with your chest out and your shoulder. Don't walk with good posture. You look arrogant. Just walk a little stoop over.
And so life is just awful and we're just barely... No! Humility is not abasing yourself. It's not saying, "I'm a nothing". No! How can you call yourself nothing when you're made in the likeness and the image of God Himself? What is humility? Humility is giving God all the praise for everything and anything that you do. But it's not making yourself so low that you're scraping the ground with your belly while you crawl through life. Hoping for heaven and the sweet by and by. He said to make His enemy your footstool. He said He's coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle. He says within you is Jesus, His Son. And that you've been given His name as your inheritance. And that everything bows to the name of Jesus. We've got to get in the Word.
Are you spending time listening to the Word, reading the Word? I just shake my head. I don't even say anything anymore when I tell someone get into the Word. Well, you know, pastor. Just hard to find time. Listen you fool. You ain't going to make it on your own and I'm not the one calling you a fool. Proverbs calls you a fool chapter after chapter when you try to live your life on your own, do your marriage on your own, raise your kids on your own, go try to fulfill your destiny on your own. There will come a day when you'll be ready to die and go into eternity and you'll look back and you'll recognize what in the world that I do, not recognizing that upon everyone individual person on this planet is the call of God.
You know what, abortion is horrible morally. It is wrong. It is murder. But listen to me. You know what something people forget and don't understand, is that every person God has placed within them unique gifts and abilities. And I wonder how many babies have gone, and inside of that gifted baby was a cure for cancer, a cure for global shortages, cures for how to do government, systems, and leadership and things that we never dream of because then every being that is conceived in the womb the Bible says in Psalm 139, God forms their inward parts. He puts the gifts, the abilities there within them. And you know what, anything you do that is great for God, you're going to have the peanut gallery call you proud. You're going to have the peanut gallery call you arrogant.
I had about 25 pastors, you know, a little while ago come and just asked me if they could watch our weekend services. They want if they could talk to me afterwards and I said sure. And so after the service I was so excited to meet some fellow pastors and high five. What's God doing here? What God doing there? So they had some questions for me and one of the questions was, "Pastor, where do you go from here"? I shared with them church and television and languages around the world. Oh, I was so excited. I thought that they're going to be rejoicing with me. And they kind of just looked at the ground and then finally, eldest pastor the white hair looked at me and crossed his arms.
And here's what he did. He went, "Tsk, tsk, tsk. Ah, pastor Leon, when is enough, enough"? When is enough, enough? He thinks it's about my ego. He think it's about me needing the accolades. I said, "Well, it's never going to be enough and I'm never going to stop because my father who trained and equipped me in the Word said that until all here". Don't stop. Until every language gets God's Word. Don't stop. Every child that rises up equip them. Every person who's dying in the slum is worth sharing Jesus with. Every church we can build. Every camera we can buy. Every studio we can put in any language in the world is there.
Number two: God's choice in choosing us for assignments is out of His mercy. So we don't' need to get arrogant and proud. Romans 9:23-24 write that down. It literally says that when God created us as vessels, and He placed the gifts within us. He did it out of His mercy. Stop looking at gifted people. Stop looking at someone that you admire and go, "Oh, man, do they have it from God. I sure don't have it". No! God has given us gifts. I stand up here literally useless without the mercy of God. But I recognize the gifts that He's placed within me and I'm going to use them for Him. I recognize the talents. The one, the two, the five. I'm not going to bury mine. I'm going to use whatever gift I've got even if it's just one and I'm going to use it for the glory of God, and it's His mercy.
Everybody has been given gifts and abilities. Everybody is a vessel that God has made. You and I need to recognize. In Acts 9:15, it says in there that Paul, whose name was Saul. He was a murdering evil, grumpy, angry man. And a light knocked him off his horse one day on his way to kill more Christians. The Lord spoke to him and then sent Ananias to talk to him. Ananias didn't want to go. "But the Lord said to him, 'Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel'". I want you to know. You are a two things. Chosen and a vessel.
Now, the word "chosen" means that you are chosen by God. It is a spiritual choosing. God has chosen you for a special assignment and He made you a vessel. Now, the word "vessel" means a certain kind of implement, armament. You've been made a certain way for the assignment. The gifts that are within you. The temperament that you have. The abilities that you might not even know are there until you begin to go for God and get into His Word and things begins to rise up on the inside of you. You, you are a chosen vessel. You're not just a meandering humanoid. You are a chosen vessel. And when you give your life to Jesus Christ and you begin to get into His Word, you're going to find out there are things in you. So it's His mercy that He's gifted everyone of us. Humility is just thanking Him. It's all about Jesus. But don't abase yourself and shut your calling down.
Number three: God wants to deliver you from irrelevance. You know so much of the church is irrelevant. I got a question. If our church disappeared tonight, everything. Would the city miss us? If your church disappeared today. Would your city even care? So many times we have literally become irrelevant because we're just mealy-mouthed another religion, or we're shouting at the sin of the world. What in the... The Bible doesn't say shout at the sin of the world. It doesn't say to judge them. It says present Jesus, the good news.
But some people get on their soapboxes pointing their squiggly fingers into the camera screaming at sin and the world just judges the church right back and doesn't want to be a part of it. No! God wants to deliver you as well personally from irrelevance. He wants to make you relevant. He wants to make you a cutting edge. The Bible says that you and I are salt and light in Matthew 5:13-16. We're the salt of the earth. And if the salt isn't being used properly and it loses its flavor. It's useless the Bible says. Throw it out. Woo!
If you're not going to use the giftedness and the calling of God on the inside of you to reach out and touch people and love people and present Jesus and confront evil and be there for the hurting and all the wonderful teachings in the Word of God. If you're not going to be salty, then you might as well get chucked out. You're useless. Is there anybody you're relevant to for the kingdom of God? Is there anyone that you've embraced and spoken with? Is there anyone that you've been kind to and you're looking for an opportunity to share the greatest find you've ever found? No, it's not your spouse. No, it's not your kids. No, it's not your career. It's Jesus.
The most important decision on the planet before you die, is where are you going to spend eternity? Because spirits don't end. They live forever. And there is a heaven, and there is a hell. Regardless of what some new pastors have all started writing on. There's a purpose for us to share the gospel because when you die, who owns you takes you. And unless you've given your life to Jesus Christ by default. The kingdom of darkness owns you whether you believe it or not. We have something, a purpose to get up and go forth.
Number four: The Bible says when you do anything outside of faith that it doesn't please God. Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he that cometh to God must believe that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him". So many preachers are preaching that you're going to seek God, but God's going to make you suffer. God's going to bring sickness to teach you something. God's going to keep you poor and humble. That's not what it says. It doesn't say that, you know, for he that comes to God must believe that He is what? A rewarder. Not a God that makes you sick. Not a person that makes you poor. Not a person that makes you humble. You keep yourself humble.
It says He's a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. So when you do things, do your business add your faith to it. Without faith it's impossible to please God. If you're going to be a dad, do it in faith. If you're going to be a mom, do it in faith. You're going to be a husband, a wife, do it in faith. You're going to need it. Where does this faith come from? Romans 10:17 says, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". So when I say, "Hey! Go get some resources. Listen to some messages every day. Get into a great teaching book. Read your Bible. Stay in the Word every day".
I don't know how people do it. I can't stay out of the Word. I've got to get into the Word. It empowers me. It makes me strong. It makes my mind joyful. It brings a peace of God. When things around me are failing and falling, you don't know which way to turn. Man, His Word is a lamp under my feet, a light under my pathway. I don't know how people even try. You need God's Word. Jesus is the Word. Something uniquely powerful happens when you get out to church, when you do devotions each day.
When you do anything out of faith, it doesn't please God. You're in your own energy and you're going to wear out. If we had any idea of the presence and the power of God ready and available to flow but He's got to work through you and I. It says here bless the work of our hands, the words of our mouth. We need to not allow the enemy to make us feel defeated and as though there's not much we can do for God. Stop this self-underestimation. Stop this sin of presumption. That you just presume this is good as you get. That this is all who you are. What a lie from the pit.
You, my friend are incredible thing made by God. He made Jupiter. He made gravity. He made Adam and He calls you His crowning creation. He made the universe. He made every animal. He made the deepest depths of the sea. He made the sun, the moon, and the stars and how they all interwork together. But it is you He made it all for. So why do you underestimate what God can do with one man, with one woman, with your child, with your teenager, who needs to be taught the Word of God as to what their identity truly is and raise up generations. They're going to go out and do stunning things for the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:17, says, "But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit". Think about that. When you give your life to Jesus Christ, you and God are one spirit. I don't even know how to explain that. I don't even know how to teach that. Other than just believe it and declare everywhere you go. God and I one spirit. Everywhere I go the Spirit of God goes. Everywhere I go the spirit of healing, the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of knowledge. I mean, everywhere you go, you and God are one because of Jesus.
My fifth point and I got to close here down. We've got to understand that God protects you and keeps you. That as you begin to learn His Word and grow in His Word. It's not so you can get sick and injured and just die alone somewhere. But that His promises are here to protect His crowning achievement. You! That as you begin to mature in the Word, as you get older. What in the word is it that in about 50 we expect to get sick. At 60 we expect people to start dying. At 70, well, we just expect that, you know, you're going to be crippled and have a hard time walking up and down stairs. At 80, good Lord! You're old. And by 90, sweet Jesus. That's amazing. Yet God promises a 120.
Stop believing that sickness, disease, crippling arthritis is all normal for you. Moses was a 120 and his eye hadn't dimmed, nor his natural force abated. The Bible says no plague, no curses can come near your life. And it didn't say, "Except when you're in your 70". Never! We are believing a lie. Why do we think so small of ourselves? It's time to rise up as a church and begin to declare the Word of the Lord over our nation. Begin to glow wherever you go. Begin to bloom where you're planted. Begin to declare I'm doing exploits. Begin to speak up in a way that is Spirit Contemporary, full in the Spirit of God yet contemporary and relevant. We should be an attractive force.
Everywhere Jesus went people were attracted to Him except for demon-possessed people and religious people. Other than that, the then known world they love Jesus. So if we will learn and grow in the Word of God and be who this Jesus has called us to be. My friend, I'm telling you. You're life is going to become one adventure of doing great exploits. Take this five thoughts. Research them out this week. Write them down. Listen to this message every day for the next week at least and just make a decision starting this week. Wherever I go, I'm going to be salt. Wherever I go, I'm going to be a light.
People are asking questions nobody seems to know or want to answer. People don't recognize that wherever we go, if you're working for a company, you working for that company brings blessing upon that company. If you're in a neighborhood, you brought blessing of God on that neighborhood because you're living in that neighborhood. If you've got family that doesn't know Jesus, but you do, that family is blessed because you do. And you're going to get opportunities to rise up and to shine, to be salt, to be light.