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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - In God's Hands

Levi Lusko - In God's Hands

Levi Lusko - In God's Hands
TOPICS: Pioneer Series

This week they announced the inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, names like Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Missy Elliott, Rage Against the Machine, Kate Bush, finally getting her comeuppance. Thank you Stranger Things for bringing her back onto our radar in a significant way running up that hill. These are the names now: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Well, what we're doing in this season in the life of our church is we're looking at God's hall of fame. Yeah. What are the names that God wants to be on our minds as we think about the picture of what faith looks like? And this is now the third week in the series we call pioneers. It's not just a one-time pioneer, not just a two-time pioneer, he is a three-time, a triple pioneer. He pioneered when it came to prophecy, was the first ever prophet we read about in the bible, no big deal.

In fact, we will, by the end of the sermon, I promise you, we will read one of his prophecies that he made. Then he also was a pioneer when it came to walking, the art and the skill of walking. He blazed a trail first of his kind to walk in the way that he walked. And then third and finally he was a pioneer when it came to dying. Dying. Title of my message is in God's hands now. In God's hands now, which is Christianese. Christianese is how Christians talk. Christians say weird things. This happens the moment you get baptized. You come out and you just start, I mean, not immediately, but eventually you get enough get enough Christian culture around, you'll start saying weird things.

And one of the things Christians like to say is with a shrug of the shoulders, it's in God's hands now, which is shorthand for we've done everything we can do now it's God's problem. It's in God's hands now, which I think the only problem is we say that sort of as a last ditch effort. We've tried everything we can do and now there's nothing else to do but pray. It's in God's hands now. My problem with that language isn't that we would say it's in God's hands, but it's that we would save that for the end when we should say that at the beginning, hold on to it at the middle, and believe it no matter what. It's in God's hands now. And this for me is what we will be left with the irreducible minimum of just remembering God's power. I think one of my most important jobs as your pastor is just once a week to come together and go do you realize how big He is?

All right, you can go home now for another week. You come back, do you have any clue how amazing, and majestic, and powerful God is? And then you can just go back because it's going to just cause you to stop stressing so much to be reminded, because God shrinks every day we spend, we get away from a glimpse of His glory. He just keeps shrinking, shrinking, shrinking. He gets too small, now our problems are so big. So part of the reason we corporately worship is just to come together and experience the awe of us all worshiping God in that transcendent glory that's seen in the face of Jesus Christ but experience together as we don't forsake the gathering of ourselves together. But here in this moment, it's His temple, living stones all stacked up, and all of a sudden something happens that you can't explain on paper. It's greater than the sum of its parts.

And there's just something about that, that the world scrambling to try and reproduce if any way, by any way possible. Study ran all across the newspapers this week about how loneliness is so bad for you, how there's a huge crisis of just lonely people, and they've discovered it's as bad for you as smoking a dozen cigarettes a day, being lonely. And the bible is like, duh. it's like, that's why God says the solitary in families. That's why God says, don't forsake the gathering of yourself together. And then you go a couple of weeks and you read the newspaper, turns out awe is good for you. A life without awe, so we're turning away from church, and shockingly lonely, and then we're turning away from lifting our eyes up.

The author David McCullough said that why is it that some people look at the stars and shoot for them and other people barely even look up? Why do we come to church? To lift our eyes above the hills to the one who made the hills, to be reminded of God's power, of His awe. So then science goes, OK, so you got to go to yoga, so you can get some community. You got to every once in a while look at a really pretty painting or a vista to... so we're trying to basically reproduce without God all the things that God wants to just automatically be a part of our lives as we follow Him. And how amazing is He to know our need, to remember our frame, and to have built a life, if we follow Him, giving us every single thing we need. The words of Jesus come to mind: Seek ye first the kingdom of God, y'all all these other things will be added unto you.

God knows what you need. If we would just follow Him, He will take care of everything else. It's in God's hands now. What is? The whole world. Psalm 8, that song you sang as a child, "He's got the whole world in His hands". It's actually not true. Stop. It's a lie. Psalm 8, David said, when I consider your heavens the work of your fingers is the Hebrew word. He didn't need his hands. Hands is like someone carrying something heavy because He's all your hands, God, dude, this is dainty work for God. Holding up the world, dainty work for him. It's a LEGO project, y'all. There's a little, it's just, it's finesse. We're like, oh, look, how big the world is. Look at the Milky Way galaxy. Look at the cosmos. God goes, yeah, it's huge. It's about that big, measures the heavens with the span of his hand. And you think your problem at work is some huge urgent thing to Him. It's tiny, but he's able to move and bear it. He cares about it just the same. He cares about you just the same.

This is personal for me. It's not just what I'm here to teach you on Sunday, this is what is carrying me every single day, God's immense power, that He upholds everything with his fingertips. It's holding me together right now. Some of you saw, if you follow me on social media, I've posted this week for prayer because my dad was diagnosed just after Easter with pancreatic cancer, which, of course, humanly speaking, is a pretty serious form of cancer as you can get. It's dire and yet we're so grateful. And he's no doubt watching online right now. So hello, dad, I love you so much, grateful for you. We're praying for you, your Fresh Life family has your back. But that's the call that sends your life into a tailspin.

You know I've been in a sprint moving towards Easter, all the normal things, and then afterwards had a big conference message to give to a bunch of pastors on how to preach. And then literally I'm in a closet where they store the diapers at this church in Atlanta, and I get this call, and he's like, hey, it's cancer, and there's the odds they're saying of me making it through this, humanly speaking, and start chemo next week, and maybe surgery. They're hopefully is a possible for surgical procedure, and I'm hearing all this, and it's just, what does it do? Same thing does to you when it comes your way. It sends your life into a tailspin. So what has been giving me strength and faith these days? What gave me strength as I sat with him for his first chemo drip and two days ago is he was so weak he could barely sit up to have a FaceTime with us? It's in God's hands. In God's hands.

Come on, that's not just some cliche. That's not some cutesy thing. I'm telling you the hands that framed the universe are holding you now, are holding me now. And the one behind those hands has a plan. He's a way maker. Friends, He is a miracle worker. He is a promise keeper. And today he wants to hold your hands as well. Hebrews 11, we're going to read to verses. This is the story of a man named Enoch. "By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found". Implied is that people looked for him. But they couldn't find it because God had taken him. For before he was taken, he had this... someone say it out loud with me, testimony that he pleased God. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him".

Of interest is the fact that in God's hall of fame, Enoch is the only individual who passively experienced the thing for which he is best known for. Everybody else gets an action verb. By faith, we'll see next week Noah build. By faith that he did. By faith he offered. By faith all these things. By faith Able gave, intense verbs, action verbs. His is passive. By faith Enoch was not, by faith he did not see death, by faith he was taken. It's interesting. He's most known for something he did not do, which tells me faith is needed for what we choose to do. But faith is also needed for what we choose not to do. It takes faith to say yes, it takes faith to say no. It takes faith to go, it takes faith to stay.

And as I told you these three things, the walking, the prophesying, and then third and finally, the dying. The dying is the one that's passive. It was by faith that he had an NDE. You've heard of NDEs, Near-death Experience. We talked last week about Martin Luther. His NDE where lightning struck and he almost died of a lightning storm. But he promised if he God gets me out of this lightning storm, I'll serve him with my whole life. I won't be a lawyer, I'll be a pastor instead. And he got out of it and amazingly he kept his promise. He didn't have the God's cow died policy. He kept his commitment and he gave his life to God. And, of course, the history of the world has never been the same because of Martin Luther's dedication to the Lord. But Enoch's NDE was not like Luther's. It was not a near-death experience, it was a no-death experience, like later on in a resume, like what's your experience with death?

Actually, I've had none. I have no death experi... he ended up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the bible because of his no-death experience and he did so by faith. So this is going to be a lot of fun. But before we jump into that and what that means to you and to me living here in 2023 we need to ask this question, what do we know of Enoch? What do we know of Enoch? Well, we've just read a majority of what scripture has to say about this man of God. And you'll notice we are in the New Testament and that's outstanding because two places in the New Testament fill out the bulk of what we know of him. His story also takes place in Genesis 5. But here's what's crazy, he's an Old Testament figure, but more information is given about him in the New Testament than the Old. Wow.

And in some ways he belongs more in the New Testament than the Old, even as John the Baptist is in the New but belongs more in the Old. He was the last in a line of Old Testament prophets. So he didn't really make sense in the age he lived. He was also extremely righteous and yet he lived in an age and during a time of greater wickedness than has ever been seen on the face of the Earth ever, including up to this present moment, Genesis 6:5 tells us that. "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually". Take the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and exponentially increase that over the entire Earth unchecked and that's what was going on. And during that age this righteous man prospered.

So just take that to heart if you've ever said or let yourself off of whatever God might be calling you to on the basis of how dark it is at your school, how so few people love God in your business, in your neighborhood. It just doesn't feel, I'm living in such a secular place, I can't thrive for God. I'm telling you that darkness is the occasion under which you were meant to shine brightly as a light of the world following in the footsteps of Jesus, whose light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. So he didn't die we, got that. He was, by the way, seventh in the line from Adam. So take Adam and seven generations from Adam we get to Enoch. What else do we know about him? Oh, he was a big Guns N' Roses fan. Favorite song was "Knock, knock, knocking on heaven's door". I worked hard on that. Mwah, mwah, and scene. All week long I labor with the puns just for you and because I enjoy them tremendously. But truly his life did knock on heaven's door and God did answer.

All right, so what else do we know about him. He was saved at the age of 65. In our day, statistics show that the majority of salvation decisions come before someone reaches the age of 18, which makes of great import striving to be as a church always what we are called to be a youth-led movement, led by our mission to reach the youth, to empower them, to call them out to great leadership that God has for them. We're just so excited over that. Our Movement conference being an example of that, our students being example that, our Fresh Life leadership college, which we saw graduates this past week, being a part of that, our residencies, our internships, all of what we're doing, just thinking legacy, thinking next generation, thinking who can we empower, not just what we can do, but who we can set free to do what God has called them to do as well. Why? Because it's when someone's young they have the ears to hear God calling them in a unique way.

Enoch defies that though. Seek now your creator in the days of your youth before the difficult days come. Homie, he was 65 when he got saved. So what does that show you? That shows you are never too old to hear God speaking, and to see a pivot, and to see new life, and to see new birth. Fool had his AARP card. He was getting a discount on dinner and at 4:30 and yet here he is turning his life over to God. We also know that the way he got saved involved his son. For 65 years of his life, didn't know God, presumably just as dark, and debauched as everybody around him. He had a testimony that would make brothers and sisters in the church blush. It's like, well, you did what? Yeah, God saved me from all that. That was how I used to live, but God has grabbed me. He has saved me. He has changed me. And He goes on to end up in the hall of faith.

So don't you ever don't you ever feel like you're damaged goods in God's kingdom. I'm telling you, you are a blood bought, spirit-filled son or daughter of the King of Kings. God's got plans for you and that's all awesome. That's all awesome. How did he get saved? Well, the Bible is clear. It was the birth of his son that led to him finally giving his heart to God. How cool is that? Parents, we'll talk a little bit more about this on Mother's Day. The number one job of any parent should be to see their kids saved, and yet this child saw his parents saved. How did that happen? Well, I can't say for certain. But I can tell you something broke in my heart the first time I held my child. First time I held you, Olivia, in my arms? Wrecked forever. And I just wanted to be a better man. I wanted to be a man that would be worthy of being the dad to this beautiful child. And to think whatever God had been doing in his spirit through Enoch, seeking, and we know Enoch was empty, looking to the gods of this world to satisfy him.

And so now, he holds this baby in his arms. And he finally opened the door of his heart up and let God in. And the world, as we have said and will continue to say, was never the same, his world was never the same. And he went on to walk with God for 300 years. People lived longer in that time. There's lots of theories about further from the fall, and more of the... there's a lot of theories. You can read them in commentaries. I don't understand it all, but it seems like lifespans were super long and got shorter and shorter and shorter until this sort of fixed point that God sort of set, 3 score and 10, 70-some odd years. Whatever it is we get, it's a lot different than it was then. But he lived 365 years. One year for every day in a normal year. Now you're just showing off, God. That's just poetry. And I want to do, what I want to do from this is show you five things that you can expect if you, like, Enoch choose to live a life of faith, five things that will happen if you follow God that I can guarantee. Are you ready?

Number one, you'll never be bored. If you choose to follow God, you will never, life could be a lot of things. Boring is not going to be on the list, because like Mr. Beaver taught us, he is not a tame lion. You cannot domesticate him. There is a wildness to who God is. There's an unorthodox way to how he works, and that is by design. Otherwise, you wouldn't need faith, would you? If it all made sense. If God was, like, here's a big giant. I need to kill him. OK, let's get buff, tall, King Saul to kill him, yes, look what I can do. Everyone's, like, I get it. It makes sense on paper. Saul's super tall and been in the war a long time. But when you have, I am mighty Goliath, and everyone's, like, what are you going to do? And God's like, I know just what to do. Look at that tiny child who hasn't gone through puberty yet.

You're, like, well, doesn't make sense. You see our calling, brethren. Not many mighty are called. Not many wise are called. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the mighty. He's chosen the simple things of the world, the base things of the world. The disciples, they made no sense, they could hardly get along. I wouldn't trust them with safety scissors. And yet these who have turned the world upside down have come here, too. Ah, they've been with Jesus, whose ways are not our ways, whose ways are past finding out, and to us humans, living by sight, that they seldom make sense. We got a hungry group of people. What should we do? Does anybody have a Lunchable? We need a giant bonfire. Get everything wet. You see? You catch my drift.

So why are we constantly bumping into this wall of, oh, no, it's not going to work! And God's, like, perfect. I've got you where I want you. Right? God just is up, he's so pleased. He's tickled pink. Why? Why, why, why? Because all of us want a testimony, but none of us want a test. And so we get in it. We bump into it. It doesn't make sense. We run out of money. I don't get it. They're saying this, and this is how it's going. And God's going, are you going to trust me, or are you going to walk by human understanding? He gives us, so you'll never be bored. Bodybuilders talk about muscle confusion. If you, every time you go to the gym, this is how I do my tricep dips, and this is how I do my preacher curls, and this is how this is how I do my mind my trap ball every single time, then I do 11 pull-ups, right? You will plateau. You will hit a wall. You will not continue to get stronger. Your muscles need confusion. And so does your soul. God knows.

One of my favorite lines from a poem. It's called The Cruel Falcon. It's true. And here's how that poem goes. "In pleasant peace and safety and security, how suddenly the soul of a man begins to die". That means that God knows everything you think you want is not at all what you actually need. You were built for a battle. You were prepared for a fight. There's something in you that will start to atrophy. You know, we all think, well, this is what I want. I enough money, where I don't have to worry about it. And then I can do what? I don't know, drive around all the national parks and get stickers for our RV. And then what? Well, I'm going to sit on a beach. That's a terrific beer commercial, but will be a train wreck if that's your life. Comfort zones don't keep your life safe. They keep it small.

So what we would describe as our life, no no ripples, no conflict, no struggles, no battles, no setbacks, who would ever want to watch that movie? What's William Wallace without the death of his wife? I submit to you just a dude in a dress. But with fight, he's a mighty warrior. He rises to the occasion, and so can you, oh, man of God. So can you. So will you. So must you, oh, woman of God. So in the difficulty, in the mess, in the confusion, in the why isn't this working, we then can, by faith, trust Him. So hey, good news is, you'll never be bored. Bad news is, you'll never be bored. God keeps our lives as such to where our prayer life stays healthy. He doesn't shop at Costco. He gives us daily bread. OK? So we will every day have to ask him again, and keep trusting Him again.

Number two. If you follow God, am I selling it well? You'll never be alone. It's a wonderful thing to think about God's omnipresence. Psalm 139. If I go here, you're there. If I go there, you're there. Everywhere you are, God is. And listen to me. God wants to walk with you. What Enoch is celebrated for, by God, is his walk. Enoch walked with God. Both Hebrews 11 and Genesis 5 celebrate Enoch for his walking. He was a pioneer. He was the first in the entire Bible to be described as someone who just walked with God. Walking's so amazing, especially with someone, because when you choose to walk with someone, you're deliberately matching their pace. A choice to walk with someone is a choice to bring your gait, and whatever your normal preferred gait would be, to theirs.

Amos 33 says, how can two people walk together unless they are of one accord? When we hire someone on at the church, our biggest thing is to say, are we of one accord? Can we walk together? Or is it going to be a constantly, I want to walk this way, I want to go over here. That's why we have unifying language like vision, and we have unifying staff behavioral values, unifying church beliefs to sort of allow everybody a part of the church, on the team, to say, is that where we want to go? Where are we going as a church? Well, we want to fight to see people stranded in sin found, having found life and liberty in Christ. And here's what we think will move us towards that future. We're trying to unify it so we can walk together. God wants to walk with you. He originally set it up to where Adam and Eve, every single day, in the cool of the day, golden hour, translation, golden hour, he would show up, and they would just walk together. Hey, show me what you did today. Show me what you named today. It was their quiet time. Some of you know that the Jewish day begins at sunset, not sunrise.

So they were ending their day, or beginning another day, depending on how you look at it, with God. And as they did that, they were resting in him. They were talking to him about their accomplishments for him. And it was out of that enjoyment they were supposed to do everything that they did. And so it is with you and with me. Doesn't Paul say in Ephesians 4, I, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you are called? I want you to see. I want your eyes open, he's saying, to understand God's right there with you, so walk with him.

There have been some amazing, amazing walks done. There was a book written when I was born, I was born in 1982, it was one of the first books I remember reading that was a long book. I read everything I could find in my house. Voracious reader. Read every book I had multiple times. Started reading the dictionary when I couldn't find anything else to read. I found this book my dad had bought called A Walk Across America. Peter Jenkins. I think the cover of it's here. This guy walked across the entire country, because he had bottomed out. Marriage ended, distraught, doesn't know what to do. I'm going to find myself in walking across the country. So he gets his husky, and off they go. He literally walks from coast to coast. So sad. Spoiler alert, dog gets hit by a car and dies.

Now the guy is, like, rudderless, right? Ends up in Mobile, Alabama, just, like, empty. Life's meaningless. The Vietnam War. The government. Everything. Drugs didn't do it for me, I don't know. And he goes into a church service and hears James Robinson preach the gospel and finds everything that he thought he was going to find walking in the country in Jesus Christ. Gets radically saved. Book became a New York Times Bestseller. I remember reading this book, like, going, oh, my gosh, power of a walk. And I, this week, thought of it as I was thinking about Enoch walking with God. 300 years. Walking with God. Walking with God. And I Googled, I said, I wonder if Peter Jenkins' record still stands. I wonder if this guy still has, like, that's got to be Guinness Book of World Records. Oh, not even close. Found out his record didn't even stand for three years. OK? '79, Peter finishes his six-year long walk, and this dude, George Meegan does this.

Let's look at this. This is the map. He started at the tip of South America, and this fool went all the way to Alaska, and he made America so much harder than it needed to be. 19,019 miles. Took him seven years. Averaged eight miles a day, wore through 13 pairs of shoes and had two babies while walking. Two babies. He was single when he started to walk. Met this girl from Japan while walking. She walked with him for a while. One thing led to another. They got married. She got pregnant. She flies home to Japan, has the baby, comes back another year later, joins him, this is a booty call, she gets pregnant again. The guy finishes the thing with, like, a full-blown family. And the most astounding part? That doesn't even currently sit as the longest walk. Because there's other people who have done what he did, and then just to get started, gone on to other continents, and done whatever, whatever, or whatever. It's unbelievable. But that's not the craziest to me.

Peter Jenkins, George Meegan? That's just child's play. Because last year, these three men got a Guinness Book of World Records for the longest continual time walking across LEGO bricks. Check this out. This is unbelievable. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. They went back and forth on these bricks for a distance of almost 2 and 1/2 miles. They said they couldn't feel their feet for weeks. That's enough of that. This is actual footage of the Lake of Fire in Hell, by the way. That's what that is. That's you read about it in Revelations? That's the Lake of Fire, all right? These people are idiots. What's the point? There's power in walking. And Enoch walked with God. Hear me, here. Hear me, Fresh Life. There's nothing more important on this Earth than your walk with God. So how's your walk with God going? And I think one of the best gauges of it is actual walking. Do you prioritize actual, just, walking with God? Get up from your desk, get up from your chair, leave your phone behind? Go walk.

Well, how can people get hold of you? How can God get a hold of you if you're never at a place where people can't get a hold of you? Is what I would say to you. And we need to prioritize just that daily rhythm. Something I love about walking, it's just steady. It's one foot after the other. It's not sexy. But man, is it enjoyable when you get into it, and there's such a beauty in seeing your relationship with God as a walk. One of the creeds of the Navy SEALs is that slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and our culture, everything's so reactionary, isn't it? Well, this, I got to do this, and I got to do that. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow it down. Bring it down. God operates at the speed of seasons. He set it up in this world to be a world of winter, and then harvest, and winter and harvest and harvest time. So we need to sync up to God. To walk together, we've got to walk at his speed. And he's slowing things down. He wants you to mellow things down quite a bit. Jesus was often disappointing people, disappointing people who wanted something from him. But he was off seeking the father, prioritizing his walk with God. Walk with God.

Then thirdly, if you follow God, you'll never wonder where you stand. Enoch had this testimony. He pleased God. He persevered through stuff that didn't make sense humanly, and his testimony was, he pleased God. How? By faith. Because it's impossible to please God without faith. And so God spoke over him, I'm pleased in you. And God, if you're in Christ, if you're prioritizing your walk with Christ, speaks out over you, too. I'm pleased with you. Did you know when Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water, and the dove came down upon him and said something? The father said something over him. He said, this is my beloved son, in whom I am, Jesus hadn't done any miracles yet. He hadn't preached a single sermon yet, and he hadn't done what he actually came to this world to do, to die on the cross, yet. But he shows us the power of all of his doing came from his being, and his being was a son. His identity.

Who he was what was not what he did. And to the extent, listen to me, that your value comes from your sex appeal, from your net worth, from your productivity, from your career accomplishments, from your personal best on the track field, from what you can do on the corporate landscape, your value is vulnerable. And you're going to get to, if you're not already there, a place where you wonder where you stand. Because I'm not delivering like I did, so now my company, I'm dead weight to my company. I'm not as young as I once was. I'm not as whatever, as fresh as I was. I'm not as creative as if I attach my value to anything on this planet, I'm building my life on sand really close to the sea, and there's a change of tide coming. But if I stand on by faith, Jesus is the loved son of God, and God declares that over my life.

Friends, that can't be taken away from me. That can't be stripped away from me. You didn't give me my medal, so you can't cancel me. I'm telling you, you can't take it away from me. So if I make it my goal to please God, and I'm not trying to alienate anybody. I'm not going out of my way to make life more difficult for me. But I do recognize to please God, I'm sometimes going to disappoint people. So what am I going to do? What are we going to do? We're going to make it our aim to please God. And then here's the cool thing. There's security that comes from it, because we'll smell good. How insecure does it make you when you realize all of a sudden, oh, no, do I smell bad? Bro, is that me? And how good is it to have people in your life you trust enough to, do I smell? Do I smell? Come here. Do I stink? Like, yeah, a little bit. Right? Oh, crap. Thank you, thank you. OK?

So then, like, if you ever, you, like, forgot to wear deodorant, or something, right, you're at the situation. You're trying to not hug anybody. You're, like, hey. Right? Like, I never preach in gray. You will never see me, early on in my ministry, I wore gray. Foolish mistake, right? Lift my arms. It was, like, oh, wow, Sweaty McGee? Right? Little wow. A little nervous much? Oh, wow. Wow. Yeah. Well, come on. Give me a break here. These lights are hot. But that feeling of insecurity, like, I don't smell? Good. I don't smell? Good. Good news. If you're in Christ, Ephesians 5:2, "walk in love as Christ has loved us and given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma". If we're making it our aim to please God, like Paul said, "whether I live or die", 2 Corinthians 5:9, "my goal is to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it".

If we disappoint people but God is happy with us, friends, at the end of the day, that's all that matters. Because newsflash. At your death, no one's reading your resume. No one's reading out your dress size. But if God speaks over you when you arrive in heaven, well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord, if your kids, if your wife, if your husband, if people who have been touched by you want to speak up, that matters. And you know what? That gives you a firm standing. Anybody with me? Anybody feel like saying, that's worth celebrating? Oh, but he made so much money. How many dinners did he missed to make all that money with his family? That's what I'm thinking about. All right? That's what I'm impressed by. So you get to know where you stand.

Number four. If you follow God, you'll never guess what happens next. You'll never guess what happens next. Ernest Hemingway, Ginny and I were on an interview this week with a well-known Christian author who's been a long hero of mine, Max Lucado, right? Who's ever read a Max Lucado book? Right? Yeah. Shocking. One out of six living Americans have read a book that he wrote. Has sold 145 million copies. And you know what was impressive to me, talking to him? How humble he was. I'm, just, he's, like, aw, shucks. Like, he was, like, aw, shucks, Levi. You know I'm just a simple servant of the Lord. You know, it's just so mellow. But we got to talking about Hemingway, because we both have long been fans of Hemingway's process in writing. And he was sharing some of his favorite anecdotes from how Hemingway would write.

And one of my favorites is the fact that he would say, "I know when I'm done writing for the day when I know what happens next". He liked to write in a state of surprise. And if you write, and everyone who's reading it knows exactly where you're going, that's boring, right? So Hemingway said, when I know what's happening next, I stop writing for that day, because I want every day for it to feel like I don't know what's about to, teetering on the edge. If I'm interested in the storyline, so will the reader. Good news. If you follow Jesus, you're not going to know what happens next, because it is going to be so weird sometimes. It is not going to make sense sometimes. It doesn't always add up sometimes. And that's why, by faith, we will get to see God do things that are impossible. But guess what? Life's impossible, either way.

I don't know if that's encouraging to you or discouraging to you, but stay with me. If we don't choose faith, well, guess what? It's impossible to please him, then. If you insist on controlling everything. If you are always the... I got to put my hands in here and feel it before I'm willing to believe it. Jesus said the blessing comes to those who believe when they haven't seen. OK? So bad news. If you don't live a life of faith, it's impossible to please him. But if you choose a life of faith, God's going to call you to do things that are impossible. So it's impossible either way. And so if that's the case, I'd rather have an impossible that leads to the miraculous. And if I follow Jesus, I can believe for the miraculous, and so can you. Enoch walked with God. He opened himself up to the miraculous, and it happened. It happened.

The miraculous of him getting saved at the age of 65, at the birth of his son. Miraculous when, at the age of 365, one day, while walking with God, God sort of just said to him, do you want to continue the conversation at my place? And Enoch said, I don't see why not. And so off they went. And he became a pioneer, blazing a trail as the first ever in human history to go to heaven without dying. It's like that scene in The Princess Bride. When, stay with me... Wesley and Buttercup are having that conversation, and she's, like, I'm so sorry. I did the worst thing. He's, like, what? I got married. He goes, didn't happen. She goes, what do you mean? The old man said, man and wife. And he goes, did you say, I do? She goes, well, no. He sort of skipped that part. Right. And then Humperdinck is, like, oh, I'll fix that next time. We get it. We get it. You killed my father. Prepare to die. Right? Yes. We get it. OK.

Encyclopedic knowledge of the movie is criteria for being friends with me. Just FYI. OK. So why do you bring this up, Levi? Well, I imagine Enoch in heaven walking around. Just wide-eyed with amazement, as we all would feel. And someone said, hey, man. What's your name? Enoch. How'd did you get here? Oh, God. OK. Don't Jesus juke me in heaven. We all are here by God. No, I mean, how did you get here? You know that knowing look? Like, heart attack? Cancer? Hit by a bus? That was me. Didn't look both ways. You know, I was in England, looked the wrong way, and you know. It is what it is. And he goes, no, no, none of those things. How did you get here? Like, how'd you die? Well, I never did. Come on, man. Hebrews says it's appointed for man once to die, and then the judgment. How'd you die? I'm telling you, I was just walking with God. No, bro. We all die to get to heaven. He skipped that part. What do you want me to tell you?

But if that was hard to accept in heaven, imagine on Earth. Because Enoch had kids. He had kids' kids. He had grandkids and great-grandkids. Imagine them. Where's Grandpa? Where's Grandpa Enoch? ? Uh, in God's hands now. I just, they released the hounds, though. They looked for him. And he was not last seen having a quiet time. It was, like, what a way to go. What a way to go. What a way to go. Why did God choose to do this? Well, we can theorize that God wanted to give us a picture in the Old Testament of a promise in the New Testament, as he often did. Genesis 3:15 is the first example of the gospel. Long before John 3:16, we got a Genesis 3:15. So it would seem that the reason God did this with Enoch and then Elijah, who was just following Enoch's footsteps, right?

Enoch was the pioneer. Elijah as well, we're told in the 2 Kings, Chapter 2, went to heaven one day without dying. It would seem God wanted us to have a context for something that would remain a mystery until Paul the Apostle explained the mystery in 1 Corinthians 15, when he said, "behold. I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep..." That's New Testament language for the death of a Christian. It's never used of a death of a non-Christian, because it's a permanent state for a non-Christian. For a believer, the Bible says "we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality". Your attention, please.

What Paul is giving us language to is what Enoch and Elijah give us a picture of, and that is a generation of people lucky enough to be living by faith on planet Earth the day Jesus keeps his promise he made in John Chapter 14. I am going to heaven to prepare a place for you. And if I go, I shall return and bring you onto myself that where I am, you may be also. This is also something that Paul gives more clarity on in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4. And this fool, Enoch, unwittingly got to be a prophet prophesying about a day that is yet future to us, but is coming soon to an earth near you, the return of the king, when every wrong will be set right, and every believer currently living by faith at that moment shall bypass death and translate instantly into God's kingdom to physically live with him, to rule and reign with him, and to be with him as he returns to this world to run it forever under completely new management.

Jude prophesied in the language of Enoch, this is crazy. This is an Old Testament giving us a New Testament prophecy. Jude, chapter, well, just Jude. There's only one chapter. So Jude just gets to be like verse 14. Heh. Which chapter? Just Jude. Just Jude 14. He said, "I will come..." oh, no, this is Enoch's voice, "the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also". Here's this prophecy. "Behold, the Lord comes with 10,000 of his saints. And oh, how I want to be in that number when the saints go marching on". Anybody with me on that? Anybody with me? I want to be found in him. I want to, whether I die to go be with him, or I'm here trusting Him with a beacon of faith shining up from my life the day that he returns, I want to be a part of that company. And what's so amazing about that is it's a reminder to us that that which used to be our greatest source of terror is now a symbol of peace.

You realize that death used to be a club that the devil could walk around, slamming down on his palm and keeping us in line, keeping us in slavish fear to him. Death used to be the devil's greatest weapon against us, because to die disconnected by God because of sin is to remain dead forever. So we were rightfully afraid of death until the cross, until Jesus destroyed the power of death by dying. And then Paul said, "we can say in faith about death, oh, death, where is your sting? Where is your victory? For the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But our sin was nailed to Jesus on that cross, so thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who has given us the victory".

The day Jesus died, death was defanged, and God snatched it from the hands of the devil. So he can still walk around talking crap to us. But remember. Remind yourself, he has no weapon in his hands. He doesn't have death anymore. It's now God's tool. It's in God's hands now. You don't have to be afraid of dying. It's in God's hands now. He's the one holding it. He's the one using it to accomplish his purposes. That's why Psalm 116 says about death, hear this, "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints". Precious. Because God is taking what the devil used against us to accomplish his purposes. And when you understand that, you can sleep.

Tetris has been found to be a cure for insomnia. If you play a little Tetris 90 minutes before you try and go sleep, supposedly, you can't worry while watching the bricks fall. Your brain is incapable of it. And for Some reason, if you play, a little pro tip, if you have a hard time sleeping. Just a little Tetris 90 minutes before, then take all screens away. Little chamomile tea. It's supposedly supposed to help. Cold plunges, too. I love that, though. Like, this all coming together, God's defeating of death, all these things, it sort of like causes it all sort of come together, and do do do, and you know what we can do? We can rest. We can rest in our savior. We can rest by faith in the one who destroyed death for us. And we can rest in his goodness.

One more thing, and then I'm done. Methuselah was Enoch's son, who was involved in Enoch getting saved. And God's so good, he embedded a prophecy into Methuselah's name. You know the prophecy is? His death shall bring it. His death shall bring it. The prophecy is, just as Enoch points forward to a future day of coming judgment, that there was a temporal, and a lot of times, prophecies worked that way. In the Old Testament, there will be immediate fulfillments, like Isaiah's child, but then ultimate fulfillment of them as well, and those are almost always found in Christ. So the immediate fulfillment of Methuselah's name is that there's a ticking time bomb attached to his life. Just like Simon, in the day of Jesus, was not going to die until he met the Messiah? This man, as long as he lived, judgment was going to be held back. But the moment Methuselah died, there was going to be some act of judgment on the Earth. And if you line up the days and the years from Methuselah's birth and his death, something crazy happened the year he died. And it's called the flood. God's response to the unchecked evil.

That has a lot in common. The Bible says that before Christ finally comes, unchecked wickedness will take place on a scale that hasn't happened since before the days of Noah, the days Enoch lived in. But what gives me comfort and just gives me such love for our savior is the length of Methuselah's life. Some of you might know if you're good at Bible trivia. This cat lived 969 years of life. Longest any human has ever lived. Is that not our God's goodness? Does that not just show that he is long suffering? I'm judging the world as soon as this guy dies, and God's, like, we're keeping him alive for so long. Because God doesn't delight in the death of the wicked. God kept him, Methuselah's, like, please, for the love of you, let me go. Great grandpa, 300 years, only. I'm just, this world is wicked, man. God's, like, I've got a few more people I'm going to give one more chance to, Methuselah. You're just going to have to push that walker around a little longer.

Friends, God gives not delight in the death of the wicked. He says to them every day, turn around. Why has Christ not come yet? He loves the world so much. And we, his people, are the agents of that love to keep preaching until he does come, until he sees fit to come, and to remind the world of not God's judgment coming, that's not our message. God so loved the world that he gave his son, and whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. This is our message. This is our message to live for. This is our message to stand for. And this is our message to die believing. Amen? Amen.

God, we thank you. What can we say, but thank you? Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Come on. Where's our faith rising up? Can I see some hands rising up who would say I want to live more a life of faith and trust in God? I want to shift things back over from status and accomplishment back to Jesus? Where are some people today who are saying, God, my faith has been drooping. I've been caring more about the opinion of people, the girls in my class, the people on my team, the guys at my company. But God, I just, I want to please you. I want to be pleasing to you. That smells so good. It's the smell of victory. Thank you, Jesus. Come on, Church L9. Just right there. I'm all in.

I want to live by faith. It's in God's hands now. You can put your hands down. I want to pray now for those who, hearing the gospel, are sensing some kind of way, the Holy Spirit touching your heart. You don't really know how to put language to it, but man, you just know God has opened your eyes today. You've seen something you didn't see before, and you're ready to trust Jesus. Come on. God is holding back judgment. He wants you to be saved. But your last breath is your last opportunity. And so with urgency, I say to you, today, let it be today that you trust Jesus. Quit playing games.

Come on, man. You're saying, I want to do this, this, this, then eventually, I'll get right with God when I'm older. When I'm older, when I've had my fun. That's playing Russian roulette with eternity. Heaven, hell, they're real. And many people, all too late, realized they lived foolishly. Trust Jesus today. Trust Him. Trust Him right now. Right in your heart. Just grab out. Grab out, grab out, and take hold of his hand. It's nail-scarred, friend. He wants to save you from yourself, from your sin. I want to invite you to pray with me if you've trusted Jesus today, confessing with your mouth, believing in your heart. Church, pray with us. If you're ready to give your heart to Jesus, say this. Say:

Dear God, I know I'm a sinner. I can't fix myself, but I believe you can. I put my faith in you. Save me, in Jesus' name.

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