Samuel Rodriguez - We All Have A Rome
"They built a fire and welcomed us because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened himself on his hand". Another version would read that the snake bit his hand. "But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill-effects". I wanna speak to you briefly on the subject matter, "An anointing born out of adversity changes the world". The subtext is this, a little bit different, "Come hell or high water, I'm on my way to Rome".
I want you to touch the neighbor you like the most and tell 'em, "I'm on my way to Rome". Tell your other neighbor, the one that hates Rome, tell that neighbor. "I'm on my way to Rome". You may be seated. "I'm on my way to Rome". You're gonna get this in a second, it's all about context. You and your house are anointed for Rome. If you're taking any notes, you and your house are anointed for Rome, which means greater things. Your destiny is not based on what's in front of you, your destiny is based on who's inside of you. I will repeat that. Your destiny is not based on what's in front of you, your destiny is based on who's inside of you.
Acts 27, "When it was decided that we would sail for Italy," for Rome, "Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the imperial regiment". Somebody shout "Rome". Paul was on his way to Rome, we read the narrative of Acts 28, we find Paul, just the outcome, the process of a shipwreck. He literally suffers a shipwreck. And he swam to the shoreline. He is drenched, completely soaking wet. And there's a fire-pit already laid out by the inhabitants of Malta, great hospitality. Paul comes along, adds on brushwood, in the brushwood was a snake.
The moment the snake hit the fire, the snake jumped out, grabbed a hold of Paul's hand. Another version will read, bit his hand. Paul takes the snake, shakes it off, puts it back in the fire, and inevitably, he ends up going to Rome. The question is, why was Paul on his way to Rome? Paul was on his way to Rome not for a mani-pedi, not for a recital, not for a gathering of the road to Damascus association. He was on his way to Rome because four chapters prior, God gave Paul his biggest assignment.
Acts 23:11, "That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, 'be encouraged Paul. As you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the good news, the gospel in Rome as well". Paul was on his way to Rome to preach the good news, on the biggest stage of the ancient world. Paul was on his way to Rome to change the world with the preaching of the gospel of Jesus. Metro life, listen, listen, we wouldn't be here right now, right now, arguably, that trip changed world history. He took the gospel to the most important city, on the most important platform. He released the gospel. The gentiles exploded and here we are in southern Florida today in 2023, because Paul made it to Rome with the gospel of Jesus.
What does that mean? I need you to get ready. I don't care what the detractors say, naysayers, what you read in surveys. We are about to see the gospel of the risen Savior reach every nation, every ethnicity, every generation, and every demographic without exception. We are about to see the good news of Jesus reach more people than ever before. You can't stop God. Isaiah 14:27, "I the Lord of host have planned it, who can stop me now"? We're gonna see people come to Jesus like never before. Matthew 24:14, "And the good news about the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, the nations will hear it: then the end will come".
God is up to something. This year has been a different year. I'mma prove it to you, let me substantiate it. This year kicked off. Kicked off with what? Monday night football, Damar Hamlin dies on national television. A football player dies on national television, millions viewing it, he dies, both teams come together, start praying. People all around the world start praying, and all of a sudden, the young man who was dead, dead, came back to life. Not my wording, Damar Hamlin said, he came back to life because God resurrected him.
The very next day on ESPN, we have a broadcaster, Google this please. The broadcaster on ESPN, right there is analyzing what took place on Monday, and he comes back and he looks in the camera and says, here's the broad, the reporter, ESPN guy. And he's looking into the camera going, "Can you believe what happened yesterday? Can you believe it? Damar Hamlin, he died, he died. And people got together and they prayed and he came back to life". He kept on going, "Can you believe what happened? He died, people prayed, he came to life. He was dead".
And they were trying to analyze. He goes, "The point is he was dead, certifiably dead. The doctors all agreed he was dead. He was completely dead. He was dead and people prayed and he came back to life, but he was dead. He was dead. He was completely dead. Guys, he was dead. And people prayed and he came back to life". And then he looked in the camera and says, "I think we should pray". Look at it. And then everyone around goes, "Alright". He goes, "I don't even know if this is right, but we should do this". And he begins to pray live on ESPN. We've never been down this road before, it's never happened before. He starts praying and in the middle of his prayer, he says, "We serve the God that has the power to heal, the God that has the power to do".
Anybody serve that God? Anybody worship that God? Anybody in here believe that if God did it for him, he can do it for your family, for your marriage, for your health, for your destiny, for your finances, for your calling? The very next thing that happened. So, I'm not just... Again Google this please. The very next thing, some city in Kentucky, Asbury. All of a sudden, the same identical demographic deemed as the most non-Christian in American history, the one everyone's written off as the generation that will not embrace Jesus, will not follow Jesus, it seems like God never got the memo. And all of a sudden in Asbury, Kentucky, in a school, Asbury University, here comes the Holy Spirit and says, "Aha, what demographic will not serve me? What demographic supposedly will not experience my glory and my touch? Let me show you what I can do".
He touches a school, and a bunch of 18 to 21 year olds, all of a sudden, can't stop praying, can't stop reading God's word, can't stop repenting of sin, can't stop calling out the name of Jesus, people start traveling all over the world to Asbury, Kentucky because the presence of God is there. All of a sudden, in Baylor university in Texas, the Holy Spirit shows up, and universities all across America, the Holy Spirit shows up, not just in Christian, but in secular universities. All of a sudden, the power God shows up. What does that mean? Let not your heart be troubled, we are about to see the glory of Jesus, fill the nations.
Right after that my friend, Greg Laurie, a great pastor from SoCal, he comes out with a movie called, "The Jesus Revolution". Man, it was supposed to have made 7 million dollars in box office receipts. It's made close to 60 million. In addition to that, a few weeks ago, here's Greg again in pirate's cove in OC, Orange County, baptizing over 4000 brand new converts in the name of Jesus. Last point, right after that there was a meeting in Amsterdam that I was invited to, by the grace of God. Six thousand key pastors and leaders and influencers, to sign a contract. And we did. We gathered in Amsterdam, and we were there, first week of June.
Here's the contract, by 2033, 2033, the 2000 year anniversary of the birth of the church, of course the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, by 2033 every single person on the planet will hear a viable presentation of the gospel. Let me explain that. Currently, 3.8 billion people have never received a viable presentation of the gospel. I know this is gonna sound counterintuitive in a world of technology and the internet, but there are millions, hundreds of millions, who have never even heard the name of Jesus mentioned. Because their countries restrict, they understand there is power in that name.
So, when they wanna control you, they limit access to that name, because in Jesus, you are completely free, mind, body, soul and spirit. So, we got together and we signed this contract, and we declared all of a sudden that every single person will receive... no, we're not saying anyone's gon' get saved. We're saying everyone will hear the gospel of Jesus. They will hear it. So, let's just do this real quick. Lift up your hand. Repeat after me, "I decree and declare that in the next 12 months more people will come to Jesus through my testimony, my calling, my mantle of anointing than all the previous years combined".
If you believe what you just prayed and declared, give him the best praise you've given him this... Are you ready to see your entire family saved? Are you ready to see all of your followers saved? Are you ready to see all of your clients saved? Are you ready to. More people will be saved than ever before. Listen, are we streaming? Muslim nations will hear the gospel, communist nations will hear the gospel, socialist nations will hear the gospel, woke nations will hear the gospel. Millennials, generation Z, generation... we are streaming? Every letter of the alphabet will hear the gospel of Jesus. Did you hear that? I wanna be clear, every letter will hear the gospel. AARP, are you down with OPP? LGBTQ+, every letter of the alphabet will hear that Jesus saves, that Jesus delivers, that Jesus heals and he's coming back again. Somebody praise like you believe it, and worship like you believe it.
If you're not ashamed of the gospel, Romans 1:16, you believe that it's the power of God unto salvation, repeat after me, "Come hell or high water. I'm on my way to Rome". So, to go to Rome means to fulfill your God ordained assignment, your God ordained purpose. To fulfill what God has ordained you to be and fulfill. That's what Rome represents, your destiny. Here on earth, not just going to heaven when you die, or when the Lord returns, but you fulfilling your God ordained purpose, Psalm 138:8, you fulfilling your purpose here on this planet, that's your Rome. We all have a Rome. We all have an assignment. You're not alive just to occupy space, you're not a Styrofoam cup, you have purpose. You have divine purpose. Believe it or not, you have purpose.
And not just to, like, you know, and develop, and get educated, and get married, and have relationships, and have kids. That's all beautiful, but there's an assignment for you and for your family. And that assignment is Rome, that though your testimony, through everything that you accomplished for him, "Everything we do, we do in the name of Jesus," Colossians 3:17. "Everything must be for the glory of Christ," 1 Corinthians 10:31. But everything God permits you to occupy it's for his glory, and to be transferred to the next generation. We all have a Rome. So, here's Paul on his way to Rome and he is on his way to Rome on, not a Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise, Celebrity X, Royal Caribbean, no. Not even for the Bougie People, the Viking Cruise Line, not even that. He is what? On a prison ship. He gets on a ship to go to Rome.
Now, he's there Acts 27. And the Bible says that in the middle of it, a nor 'Easter hits. A de facto hurricane, big storm, and all of a sudden, the ship is battered around with the winds and the waves and it's slapped around like a cheap pinata, sorry that's slightly racist. Slapped around like, just slapped around. And it's battered, and it's battered. And then the Bible says, that's crazy, verses 15 through 18, please read it, Acts 27. It says that they decided, the powers that be, that it would be better served to be driven by the storm. Read it. "We can't fight the storm, hence, we're gonna let the storm drive us".
We are all driven people. We are all driven. We're either driven by the past, or the future, by the pathetic or the prophetic, by problems or promises, by nightmares or dreams, by the flesh or the spirit, by Google searches or godly searches. We're either driven by drama or by destiny, by trauma, or testimony. Ask you neighbor nicely, "What drives you"? Are you driven by the praise of others, are you driven by the criticism as it pertains to other's opinions of you? Here it is, if their praise did not make you, their criticism cannot break you. We even have too many Christians that spend more time reacting to what comes from hell, rather than what comes from heaven. We have too many believers driven by the winds of cancel culture, ideologies and social constructs that are counterintuitive to the word and the Spirit of God.
Too many believers driven by opinions and feelings instead of being driven by truth and love. That's the reality. Here's what you need to know, if you're taking any notes. You and your house are anointed for the storm. The storm does not define you, the storm reveals who you really are. What drives you? What motivates you? It's the power of not just being driven. Right now, even in the church, we're being driven by so many things from the outside world. Let me explain. I went through something this year, interesting story. At the end of last year, my wife and i, we wrapped up a series in 2 Kings 4 about the Shunammite woman and the prophet Elisha. We built a door on the stage and we walked through the door together.
Right after we walked through that door, we received a call. Like, it couldn't have been a coincidence. The call came from a major ministry in northern California. For ethical purposes, I'm just gonna refrain from giving you the name. But a very prominent ministry in northern California lost 1,500 people plus, during COVID. And they ended up with 700 people in an auditorium that fits 3,120. They have 3 auditoriums, 3120, one that fits 1018, and the third one close to 300. It's a property close to 80 acres on the highway front, it's Sacramento, California. And it's a pretty amazing property. The worth of the property would be close, anywhere between 75 and 80 million dollars of price. And we received a call from the leadership, "Pastor Sam, would you have any interest in merging your ministry with our ministry and taking over"?
And we are in desperate need of building, 'cause our church by the grace of God grew, and we continue to see God just send more people, send more people. So, we were in desperate need, we were looking already. Already put our property up for sale. So, we went like, "This is the answered prayer". So, we debrief with my team and we have our preliminary meetings, and everybody got to have, you know, everybody with their Starbucks cup and all that. We met, and we all met and, you know, "God, what are we doing? Alright, alright". So we had preliminary meetings with their team. Every preliminary meeting, boom, boom, boom.
Alright, it's time to formalize this. Go into the first formal meeting. They bring their board members, four of them. I bring four of my board members, five including yours truly. We go in there, again we debrief beforehand. First formal meeting. This is it. So, we walked in there and I'm thinking we walk, and again, we walk in, I'm thinking, "We'll hear questions, fiduciary governance, integration of systems, you know, questions about polity, and ethos, and cultural climate of churches, merging programs, who will be dismissed and all that".
And I'm thinking, maybe they're even gonna ask like, "Will you have a Spanish speaking, a Slovak speaking service"? Maybe they'll even ask, "Why do you preach so fast"? All these questions are legitimate questions to ask, they should be asked. So, I'm thinking, "Alright, go in there Sam, you're prepared. My board chair is here". Like, you know, we're... Boom. And the guy looks at me, we're talking about what drives you here, watch this. And here it is, first question, I'm here. "Pastor Sam, we wanna begin with this question". I'm thinking, "Alright, theological, eschatology, missiology, others words that I just find in Google and was whatever, hooked on phonics". And go.
First question, yeah, yeah. "Ready for question"? "Yeah, I'm ready go ahead". "Pastor Sam, our church here, we lean left. We wanna know where do you lean"? This is witnessed by people on both sides, by the way. So, first of all, as you may not know, I'm a part time comedian. I am, I was born a comedian. Immediately, my comedic mind said, "You have enough material for the next three years". You're good. I'm covered. And then the second thing that happened is both a sign and a wonder. Nothing came out of my mouth. So, help me, this is me. Watch, which is a rare thing. "Pastor Sam, we lean left, where do you lean"?
And I went. Like if you ate bad Mofongo or something, right? And I'm going like... And Holy Spirit's telling me, "Answer him". I didn't want to. I didn't. I was fighting with the Lord. "Answer him". I didn't want to. 'cause if I would answer what the Lord was telling me to answer we were gonna lose this property. The Lord said, "Answer him". So, reluctantly, I had no choice 'cause the Holy Spirit always wins. And I put my head up, I went, "Sir, with great due deference, at our church, we don't lean. We stand. We stand. We stand, sir. We stand on the Word of God. We stand on the finished work of Christ. We don't lean left and we don't lean right, we just stand. Everything the Bible calls holy, we call holy. Everything the Bible calls sin, we call sin".
We don't need more Christians and churches to lean. I'm tired of seeing churches that lean left or lean right. We don't need churches to lean. We need believers to stand in the name of Jesus. Somebody shout with me, "I don't lean. I stand". Tell your neighbor, "I don't lean. I stand. I stand. I stand". I wanna prophesy, we're about to see a church that stops leaning and we're about to see a church in America that will get up and start standing. All the standing people lift up your hands.
1 Corinthian 16:13, "Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith". Stop leaning start standing. Stand up for biblical truth, stand up for righteousness and justice. I get full of righteous indignation, but I'm in California so I live this, no joke. Stand up for our children. I said, "Stand up for our children".
Stand up for our children. Stand for holy sexuality, stand up for the family, stand up for Godliness. Stand up for life, for religious liberty, for biblical justice, for racial unity. Stand up for the gospel. Oh, and don't get upset me, don't just stand inside the church, stand up in the school board meetings, stand up in the middle of. Somebody shout, "I don't lean. I stand". Are there any standing believers on there way to Rome here in metro life? All the standing people lift up your hands. We're gonna land right now. We're gonna land.
Ephesians 6:13, stand... You are standing. Put on the full armor of God, that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to. With your hands raised, we're about to see a church rise up, not one driven by political correctness, comfortability, and lukewarmness or apathy, but one driven by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Not gonna be driven by the storms. We're not gonna be driven by the nuance of ideology, and world views that emerge in every respective generation. We will be driven by the truth of God's word. We stand.