Robert Morris — Relationship
We're in a series called, "You Are Here", and I want to remind you that we began the series last weekend, that the "You Are Here" sign is mainly to tell us how to get to where we want to go from where we are. So, just to remind you of that, we drew four circles last weekend to represent these four groups of people, and we put the cross here, because there are people that are attending church that haven't come to the cross yet, haven't been saved yet, and that's great. I'm glad, I'm very, very glad they're here. We called this first group "Exploring God". This first group is exploring God, all right? Then when you come to the cross, this group is "Beginning in God". They're beginning their relationship in God. As we continue to grow, these people are "Close to God", and then these people are "God Centered". And remember, "God Centered", GC, also stands for Gateway Church. That's correct! All right.
And we put some words over these. Last week, we called the message "Fellowship". These people are beginning to fellowship with other believers and learning about God. These people have come now into a relationship with God, and that's the title, by the way, of this week's message, if you want to put that. We're going to talk about relationship this week. These people are learning more about discipleship. And then, these people are really walking in the reality of lordship.
And, I also told you last weekend, and I showed you the picture that Michael, Jr. sent me. He was, you know, at another church and when he got back, he listened to the message online, which I want all of you to do if you ever miss a week. Listen to it. Sometime during the week, listen to the message so you stay up to date where we are. But, Michael Jr. sent me a text and said great message, and he said, I was thinking about all of the ships that you had, and I thought that the enemy's plan is to get us to abandon ship. And I thought that was pretty good. By the way, even if you abandon ship, God will never abandon you. You need to know that. God will never leave you or forsake you. He'll never abandon you. But, if you abandon ship, you can get swallowed by a whale, and that stinks.
And you can put the word growing above all of these, because every person is growing, and if you ever stop growing, you'll go backward. Just one other thing I want to remind you of. When we did this survey, we found the way these people moved from group one to group two was they chose to believe a truth that caused them to make that move, and that was the truth of grace. These people moved from group two to group three because they chose to believe that God's Word is true and is the final authority in how they make all of their decisions in their lives. These people moved from group three to group four when they understood the truth of giving, not just giving their finances, but giving their life away to the kingdom of God.
Now also, this week I was thinking about these three truths and I remembered a Scripture, and remember, all of this is overcoming the enemy. Mark 4, He's telling us the enemy is going to try to steal the Word from you, he's going to persecute you for the Word, he's going to try to choke the Word, but you need to accept the Word. So, it's all about battling the enemy here.
I want to show you a verse that shows these three truths. Revelation 12:11 says, "And they overcame him", that's the enemy, watch, "by the blood of the Lamb", that's grace, "by the word of their testimony", that's God's Word, "and they did not love their lives to the death", that's they gave their lives away for the kingdom of God. Is that good? Okay, even if you don't think it's good, say it's good. I thought that was good. Okay. "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb", that's grace, "the word of their testimony", that's God's Word, "and they loved not their lives unto death", that's giving, all right?
All right, so in Mark 4, we want to talk about this second group now, those who are beginning in God. Again, I wish I had time to read the whole thing, but look at Verses 16 and 17. This is Jesus explaining it. "These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground, who when they hear the Word, immediately receive it"... these are people who have received the Word with gladness, "and they have no root in themselves". They have no root. They're new in their faith. "And so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the Word's sake", the enemy comes at them for the Word's sake, "immediately they stumble".
So, I have two points for you this week. The first point is, what's Satan's plan? It'd be good for us to know what Satan's plan is. All of these, remember, talk about the Word, so the battle is always against the Word. Look at Verse 4. Mark 4:4, "It happened as he sowed that some seed fell by the wayside, and the birds of the air came and devoured it". Now, watch this. "The birds of the air came". And then they asked Him to explain it, and in Verse 15 He explains that one verse. He explains the whole parable, but this verse. "These are the ones by the wayside where the Word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the Word that was sown in their heart".
But, here's the point. Satan is trying to take the Word out of our hearts, that's sown in our hearts, but when Jesus tells this, he says "the birds of the air". Now, when I was beginning in God, I was learning the Word. I'm going to tell you some things that helped me to learn the Word of God. What helped me to get excited about the Word, and to read the Word, was I saw this parabolic language, this symbolic language, all through the Bible. All through the Bible. Remember we talked last weekend that Jesus spoke in parables, right? When you understand that the book is all true, but it has a lot of parabolic, a lot of symbolic language in it, it's exciting to uncover these meanings.
John 5, Jesus said,"I don't do anything unless I first see my Father do it". Okay, Jesus spoke in parables, but He doesn't do anything unless He first sees the Father do it, so here's a question for you. When did He first see His Father do it? In the Old Testament. Now listen to me carefully. The Old Testament's true. It's completely true. It's not a parable, it's true, but it has parabolic language in it. Let me show you a couple of Scriptures. Psalm 78:2 says, "I will open my mouth in a parable". This is the Old Testament. "I will open my mouth in a parable". Now, the reason I'm telling you this is because when you begin to see it, it causes this book to come alive to you and just jump off the page. This is a great thing when you're beginning in God.
So remember, here's one that I'm going to show you. Jesus said, "the birds of the air". The birds come. They said, well, who are the birds? He said, well, that's Satan. Now, when the Bible speaks of Satan, it's not always talking about the person of Satan only, it's talking about the work of Satan, because a third of the angels fell with him. He has demonic spirits that do his work - spiritual hosts of wickedness, principalities and powers, all right? So, demons.
Let me show you another verse where it talks about birds, and you'll see very clearly it's talking about demonic spirits. Revelation 18:2 says, "And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird". Babylon is fallen, it's become a place of demons, foul spirits, and birds. Okay, that's not talking about literal birds. It's talking about demons, demonic spirits.
Okay, listen to me. Listen. I'm not saying that if you have a parakeet, it's a demon, okay? I'm not saying that. Okay, here's the point. When you read birds in Revelation 18, what are you going to do with that? Do you really believe that there are going to be literal birds flying around when it says Babylon has become a place of demons, foul spirits, and birds? And if you go back to Mark 4, Jesus said, now listen, birds represent the demonic spirits. Let me show you another verse. In Deuteronomy, it's talking about the blessings and the curses. He says if you follow me and obey me, these blessings are going to come on you, but if you disobey me, these curses are going to come on you, and listen to one of the curses. Deuteronomy 28:26, "Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away". Now again, think about it. Mark 4, Jesus said the birds of the air come. They said, well, who are the birds there? Well, that's Satan. That's who that is. Jesus Himself said that.
So, when I was young in the Lord, and I'm reading in Deuteronomy, and He said, listen, you walk away from me, and the birds of the air are going to come after you, I thought, I know what the birds of the air are. I saw that in Mark 4. And then it says beasts. Birds and beasts are mentioned in the Old Testament together 44 times. And let me show you a verse where it's obvious, again, that beasts are talking about the demons, the demonic spirits. I'll show you. This is a verse, it talks about God's sheep and God's shepherds. Watch what happens when pastors don't feed His sheep, okay?
Ezekiel 34:5 said... it says, "They", that's talking about the sheep, "were scattered because there was no shepherd", watch, "and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered". Now see, this is what bothers me, is people will say, now that says sheep. That's not talking about real sheep, that's talking about people, God's people. And it says shepherds. That's not talking about real shepherds, it's talking about pastors. But now, beasts of the field, that's lions and tigers. No, that's not literal beasts, that's spiritual beasts. There are spiritual beasts that want to come after you, and spiritual birds that want to come after you.
Let me show you a verse that every one of you already believe in, in types and shadows, all right? Every one of you already believe in symbolic language... every one of you, because when we read the first part of it - we're just going to read the first part of it first, then we'll talk about it. Every one of you know who this is talking about. Genesis 3:1 says, "Now the serpent"... okay, let me ask you something. Who's the serpent? How do you know? Well, we just know. Okay, when I say something represents something, I can give you a book, chapter, and verse. I'll never tell you this represents this without giving you a book, chapter, and verse. Revelation 12:9 says, "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan".
Okay, so we know. Obviously, we know that it was Satan, but do you realize Genesis 3 never says Satan? It just says serpent, but we know who the serpent is, right? Everyone knows. Okay, so here's what I'm asking you. We assign a spiritual meaning to serpent. We say that's talking about Satan. Is it possible there's another spiritual meaning in the verse? Remember there are also other fallen angels, demonic spirits. Watch the rest of the verse, Genesis 3:1. "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made". Is it possible that that is saying, in the spiritual language, Satan is the most cunning of all of the fallen angels?
I'm telling you, there's a lot in this book we haven't seen. It's amazing. Isaiah 4:1 says, "And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, "We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by your name to take away our reproach". Now, didn't that bless you? That's one of those verses you read before you go to bed, you close the Bible, and you think, I don't have any idea what I just read. But when you understand there are types and shadows in the Bible, women represent churches. The church is the bride, not the groom, the bride of Christ. And all through Scripture, women will represent churches, and I could show you lots of verses on that.
And in Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3, it talks about seven women - seven churches. And those seven churches represent the end time church. The Bible also talks about the one man, the new man, the new Adam - Jesus. Now, watch this. Is it possible that this is what this verse is saying, symbolically? "And in that day"... all right, this is Isaiah.
Now, Isaiah, when he says that, "in that day", he's talking about the last days. And in the end times, the churches, lots of churches, they're going to take hold of one man, Jesus, but they're going to say to Him, let us eat our own food. Let us teach our own doctrines. And let us wear our own apparel. Apparel, clothes, always have to do with righteousness. He's clothed us with His righteousness. Let us have our own form of righteousness. Let us teach our own doctrines, and let us have our own form of righteousness, but let us still be called by your name to take away our reproach.
We still want to be Christians, but the culture's changing, God. You've got to understand that what was wrong 40 years ago, it's right today. It's not right. It's still wrong. It's still wrong. That makes a whole lot more sense to me than seven women marrying one man. Because women are smarter than that and they won't put up with that, so. All right, let me show you one more. Leviticus 26:26, "When I have cut off your supply of bread"... now, you ought to already be thinking, what's bread represent? Bread represents the Word of God. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God".
Bread, all through Scripture, represents the Word of God. "Give us this day our daily bread". Give me a Word from you today, God. "When I cut off", this is when they've walked away from God. I'm going to cut off your revelation. "When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back your bread by weight, and you shall eat it and not be satisfied". Okay, is it possible here's what He's saying? When you walk away from me, when the church starts walking away from me and having their own form of righteousness, their own form of holiness, I'm cutting off your revelation. I'm going to make it dry for you. When I do this, lots of different churches are going to prepare your Sunday school lessons in one place. They're going to bake your bread in one oven, and they're going to bring it back to you and measure it out by weight. They're going to give you about two to three verses a week, and you'll eat it, and you'll not be satisfied. You won't be satisfied.
Have you ever been in a church like that? You open up your Sunday school book and you think, we only get three Scriptures this week. That's all we get for the whole week. Are you all following me? Okay, this is good preaching. If you don't know what good preaching looks like, this is what it looks like right here. So, it's real simple. Point one, what's Satan's plan? His plan is to keep you out of this book, and let me tell you something, by the way. There might be some things in this book you haven't seen, and I haven't seen, and this is a good book, by the way. It was written by a genius. Did you all know that? Smarter than me, smarter than you.
All right, here's number two. Well, what's God's plan? If Satan's plan is to keep us away from this book, what's God's plan? Well, Mark 4:20, if you're still in Mark 4. It says, "These are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the Word, accept it, and bear fruit". I'm going to tell you real simple. God would like for you to bear fruit. He'd like for you to be successful in your marriage, in your family, in your health, in your finances, in your business. But the only way you're going to bear fruit, have a good life, a prosperous successful life, is if you accept the Word. That's it. You've got to know the Word of God. That's what He's saying here.
Now, as you keep going, it's on us. That the responsibility is on us. Listen to me. One hour a week in church is not enough for you to grow in God. You're going to have to read the Bible yourself. If you want to start growing in God, you're going to have to start doing more hours outside of class than inside of class. That's the point, and God wants us to be successful.
Now, Psalm 119 is a psalm that talks about your precepts, your statutes, your commandments, your laws. All of those are synonyms for the Word of God. They're all saying, when I get in the Word, then you help me to do this. You help me grow in wisdom when I get in the Word. But, I want you to notice something. Remember we said last weekend, and it was shocking to all of us, it's still shocking to me, that Satan can steal the Word out of your heart? Well, there is a way. There is Scripture that He can't get to. Psalm 119:11, "Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin", that I might not stumble. Remember? "When persecution arises, they stumble". They fall. They sin. "Your Word I have hidden in my heart", so the enemy can't take it out of my heart.
Okay, very simple, how do you hide God's Word? Two words. The scriptural word, meditate. A word to help us understand meditate - memorize. I don't have time to read them, but Joshua 1 and Psalm 1. In Psalm 1, "The man who meditates on the Word of God is like a green tree planted by the water, bears fruit in season". Joshua 1, "You meditate on this Word day and night that you may prosper and have good success in everything you do". You meditate, memorize it. Memorize it. When I was beginning in God, I started memorizing Scripture.
Last April, most of you were here then and you know, I went to Australia. They gave me some migraine headache medicine that caused internal bleeding. It caused internal bleeding in a major artery. I lost a third of my blood, over a third of my blood, in less than 24 hours. I was bleeding to death. The doctor told us two more hours, you'd have been dead. Two more hours. They took me to the hospital. I was in the waiting room, and I passed out. And I told you this last April, but if you're ever in the emergency waiting room and they're taking too long, just pass out.
They take you right back. It's just great. You go to the front of the line when you're unconscious. So anyway, take me back, they got the bleeding stopped. But when the doctor's telling you how much blood you've lost, and you know it, and you feel it... I mean, I felt like I was dying when I passed out. I had no control. I was gone. And to wake up and know I'm still alive, and then the doctor tells you, you know, you were about to die, and we've got the bleeding stopped.
But then, you know, the doctor is gone, Debbie had to go. They wouldn't let her stay at the hospital. I'm there alone in the room that night. I couldn't sleep, I think because of the medicine they gave me. I could not sleep. I did not sleep one minute the first night, not a minute. You know how you will sometimes? Not a minute. And in the middle of the night, the enemy's attacking. Death? I mean, I don't know. I don't know if they've got this bleeding stopped or it's going to start again. And I started having fear, and I remembered the Word. I thought, I need the Word. So, I started... I didn't have my Bible with me, or my laptop, because you know, we went to the emergency room. You know, you don't say let me pack a bag. You know, when you're dying, you just go.
So, I didn't have my Bible with me, but I had hidden some in my heart. And so, I started quoting Scripture, and I remember starting at Genesis and thinking of every Scripture in Genesis I could remember, and then Exodus, and then Leviticus, and then Numbers. When I got to Ezekiel, I remembered a Scripture, and I remember when I got to Ezekiel, I remembered the Scripture, and then I thought... I have my phone with me, and I have my Bible in my phone. I don't know why I didn't think of that before, but... and I think it was because God actually wanted me to go back to my heart, you know?
But, I got my Bible and I looked it up, and I want to show you this verse that the Lord brought back to my mind that I had hidden in my heart. And you think about what this verse should mean to you if you were told that you might die, and you were struggling with a blood issue.Ezekiel 16:6 says, "And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live'. Yes, I said to you in your blood, 'Live'". This is the only thing that will help you. I can preach my heart out to you, but if you don't get in this book, I can't help you.
God wants to speak to you today. I want you to hear that. And one of the primary ways that God speaks to us is He causes the Scripture to come alive to us. I want you to make a commitment today to read God's Word every day. And if you miss a day, don't feel bad about it, don't condemn yourself, just pick it up again the next day or the next chance you have. But get in a habit of reading God's Word every day, because I promise you, the Holy Spirit will speak to you, and those Scriptures will go deeply into your heart, and will take root and will bear fruit in your life. Satan's plan is to keep you out of God's Word. God's plan is for you to have a life and to have it more abundantly, but He does that through us knowing His Word. "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". Hey, we're going to continue this series next week. I'll see you then.