Steven Furtick - Keep It 100
How many of you are glad to be in the house of God? How many of you are glad to be connected to the anointing of the Holy Ghost? Every campus, every location, our eFam all over the world… Those of you on the West Coast, get your really comfortable shoes and lace them up, because Elevation Nights West Coast Fall 2022 is only a few days away. Get your tickets, please, at elevationnights.com. If you want to come to Glensdale… Glendale, not Glensdale. Walmarts, the book of Revelations, and Glensdale, Arizona. Y'all know I'm from Moncks Corner when I start saying, "We're coming to Glensdale, Arizona, out there on the West Coast with them liberals out there, eating tofu and gluten free".
Here are the cities: Glendale, Arizona; Las Vegas; Sacramento; Eugene, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Oakland, California (Oakland, y'all have to show some love. Y'all's ticket sales are way below all of these other places, so I want to see you in Oakland); San Diego, California; and Los Angeles. Let's give God a praise. It starts October 25. Touch somebody and say, "Right now it starts in here". How many came asking God to speak to you today? We've worshiped him. We've opened our hearts. We've sang about his goodness, and now it is time for us to receive from him what he has prepared for us. I'm excited to share it with you. I love this Scripture…Romans, chapter 4. Stand up wherever you are for the Word of God. Jump up on your feet. Put the Devil right under your left heel, then your right heel, and stand up for the Word of God and be ready to receive this blessing.
Thank you for your kindness and your expression of love shown for Pastor Appreciation Month. I'm going to have a "Congregation Appreciation Month" in return. I don't know what I'm going to do yet, but I have a heart to do it. It's going to be Congregation Appreciation Month. I have to meet with the committee on committees and figure out when, but make sure you come back. I think of our relationship as a partnership in the gospel. For all of you who give, serve, and pray for us, you will never know what that means. Even just you coming, after I had to preach with nobody in the room for a couple of months… Even those of you I used to fuss at because all you do is come, and you don't serve, and you don't give… Now I'm like, "Well, that's something. Thanks for coming". My whole frame of reference got reset during the pandemic.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing Holly and me to be your imperfect pastors. We appreciate the privilege to do ministry with you. To all of our campus pastors at every location, I appreciate you standing in the gap, praying for people, visiting people, enlisting people, enrolling people. Let's thank God for all of the leaders at all of our locations, linking arms together for the cause of Christ. You can't do it alone, and you don't have to. Everything God gives me that I filter and find helpful I will share with you, as long as he gives me strength. Do we have a deal? Shake on it. Then you have to take it, multiply it, teach it to others, put it into practice, share it, evangelize it, get strong in the Lord, do what he has called you to do, go out and be a witness for him, go out and do your ministry, because that's my ministry: to get you ready for your ministry. "I'm not in the ministry". Oh, yeah, you are.
You remember this. God uses people… Remember the little boy at the feeding of the 5,000? He wasn't in the ministry. Peter was, and Peter wanted to send the crowds away because he didn't have anything to give. It was somebody who wasn't in the ministry who created the ministry and the miracle. So, don't ever underestimate how God can use you. Okay. Romans, chapter 4. Are you ready? Verse 13: "It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world…" That's a big promise. "…but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: 'I have made you a father of many nations.' He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not".
Ooh! You felt a little vibration. That little shiver just went through you when we started talking about what God can do. "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.' Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God…" Last verse: "…being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised". I'm going to read that again before I preach this thing like I feel it. "…being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised".
Now shift back to verse 16, key verse. "…not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham". I always have two titles for a message, the one I start with to study by and the one I give you when I figure out what it's about after I studied everything I thought it was about and found out it was about something different because God had to show me. I usually only give you the second one. I'm going to give you both today. First title: "The Faith of Abraham". Wow! That sounds like a whole book, a Sunday school lesson at least.
Then I want to give it a second title in case that's a little too academic. I want to call this message Keep It 100. Just pick the title you like, but at least look at your neighbor for a moment on the way to your seat and say, "Please keep it 100". I need you to keep it 100. Y'all, when I'm getting ready to preach and my mind starts getting all conceptual, I remind myself why I preach and who I'm preaching to. Every once in a while, I remember one specific conversation I had with a lady in our church who was a part of our Toronto Campus. This was about five years ago. Her husband had died suddenly. I didn't know her, but I called her just to say, "I'm sorry you lost your husband. I'm praying for you, and I'd like to pray for you right now". I did, and she was emotional.
So, the conversation was appropriately awkward, but I said, "You don't need to say anything. I just want to pray for you". Right when I finished the prayer, before we hung up, she said, "I need to tell you one thing". Now, English wasn't her first language. I'm not saying she spoke Canadian. She goes, "I need to tell you one thing while I've got you. My husband didn't consider himself a good person. He was abused as a boy, and he struggled a lot as an adult. It took me two years to get him to come hear you preach, but when I finally brought him, you told a story that Sunday, a story about…"
Then she reminded me of the story. I remembered telling it. It was embarrassing. It was a story about me losing my temper. She said, "When you told that story, he began to cry, because he saw somebody who loved God but still had struggles". She said, "I want to thank you for keeping it real". I'm like, "Oh, I thought you would say thank you for being deep. I thought you would recognize my preaching for its intelligence. You know, 'When you did that thing with Romans, chapter 4, and then you went over to the book of Revelations after you went to Walmarts…'" Callback. She didn't say, "Thank you for being funny". (See? You can tell just right then my humor is not that good. That was polite laughter. That was church laughter. That was an offering of laughter. You've heard about a sacrifice of praise? That was a sacrifice of laugh that you gave me, because it wasn't funny. I appreciate it.)
I think about it often, because when I hung up the phone, I was glad God could use a broken vessel. But do you know what else? Deep down, I hated that that was the thing she thanked me for, because the most costly thing to be is real. If she had said, "Thank you so much for your alliterated outlines. Thank you so much for all of your tweetable moments. Thank you so much for the way you dissect and parse Greek and Hebrew…" I could go back to school, and for the price of a few thousand dollars, I could brush up on the original languages of the Bible. The books don't cost that much. But when she said, "Thank you for sharing the stuff that makes you embarrassed," I felt like she was saying, "We need to see you struggle," and I rebuke you, devil.
It was a very tender moment for her and a very revelatory moment for me. We all need those moments, if we really will admit it, where someone we respect, someone that we think, "Hey, they're really trying too," someone that we may even feel like, "Man! They're a little farther along in this than me, but they still struggle…" It was powerful and, at the same time, terrifying for me to realize the thing that connected with her husband, who was taken from this life without a warning… The thing that connected with him and brought him to a place where he eventually put his faith in Jesus was not my impressive side, but my imperfect side, which, to be honest with you, is the part I want to hide from you the most, but it is the part God uses in the greatest way.
I think about that conversation a lot. You know, I get in there and think, "Oh, what could I say this week that would be really, really profound, and what could I say this week that would be really memorable"? All that's great. You have to bring everything you have to it. If people are going to come out to hear you preach, they deserve that you study. But it was that moment I told that story about the packing peanuts, when they blew all over the yard, and I was out there cussing, and Graham was listening, and I didn't know it. He was little, and I'm cussing at Styrofoam packing peanuts after preaching for 13 Christmas services, telling people about the incarnate babe in the manger who came down from heaven to show us a gentler, kinder way. That dumb story? Yeah, that dumb story. I bring it up because, as much as I hate the feeling of being exposed…
I'm recently learning some terms for this. One thing it can be called is recoil. When I share a lot with you… See, you don't have to tell me anything about you. I meet your church version every week. That's the only version of you I really get close enough to. Maybe it's better we keep it that way. At the same time that I hate the expense of exposure… After I share something with you, I go back home, and I'm like, "Did I say that out loud"? That's typically what I do for 12 hours after I preach. "Did I say that and that and that? Holly, I only thought that, right? I didn't say it". "Oh, you said it". "I said that"? "Yeah, you said that". "Can we still edit it out of the video"? "No, it's already online". "Oh".
As much as I hate the expense of exposure, there's something I hate much more. I'm going to tell you this: I hate fake. Maybe it's because a guy made me a custom suit one time, and I found out it was fake. A custom suit off the rack. The way I found out was I looked at the belt, and it said "Kenneth Colk" with a K. So, if the belt is fake… I looked into the suit. "What were you doing all that measuring for"? It was off the rack. I hate fake. That watch I bought in New York City… That thing broke in two weeks. I bought 10 of them. I was going to give them out as Christmas gifts. When mine broke I threw them all away. I hate fake. Do you hate fake? I don't even really like small talk. Holly said to me the other day, "You are so bad at small talk. You have got to get better at small talk". I'm like, "Teach me. I want to know how to do it".
There's just something about me. I want to connect with the deepest part of you. I want to know what you struggle with. I want to know what you dream about. I want to know what you're tempted by. I want to know what you think about when there's nobody but you and God and a pantry full of food. Let me in! I hate fake! I hate fake friends. Just tell me you're my enemy, because the Bible says, "Love your enemies". At least I know what to do with you if we could get the relationship established. I hate fake! Don't smile at me. Just flip me off. I'll turn the other cheek. Just slap me. I hate fake. In fact, my life can be divided into the years before and after I found this out.
I remember the day one of my family members told me, "You know professional wrestling is fake, right"? That ruined my childhood. That took my innocence. They ought to put people in jail who tell you stuff like that too young. "You mean Hulk Hogan is fake? The Ultimate Warrior is fake? The Big Boss Man is fake? Dusty Rhodes? That's the American Dream! Are those polka dots fake too"? She said, "You know it's fake". Gene Haynes took us to a wrestling match. I said, "Man, I don't even really want to go anymore. I found out it's fake". He walked me up to the mat, and he goes, "Stomp your foot on that". It was hard. Then he said, "When you see them slamming each other on that hard floor, does that feel fake"?
Now, I don't know how I remember this, but he said something like this. I've probably changed it a little bit. I'm going to keep it 100. I don't know if he said it exactly like this or if I'm just morphing it to be the perfect sermon quote. Got that? Keep it real. He said something like, "Just because the ending is scripted doesn't mean the impact isn't real". So I took this from it: it's fixed, but it's not fake. You still have to pick up 280 pounds over your shoulder. You still have to do the Boston crab. The Boston crab still feels funny. Just because the ending is predetermined… I remember the day I found out it was fake. Do you remember the day you found out that a lot of what happens in churches and faith circles is as fake as big men on steroids covered in oil wearing Spandex underwear? (I'm just trying to make sure you're not hungry so you can listen to me. That's why I went into so much detail. I saw you get a little disgusted when I said that.)
There's something about finding out that a lot of the people who were telling you, "Oh, we've been happily married 35 years…" You don't know they've been married 45 years, happily married for 35. Do the math. They don't tell you about those 10, those hidden 10. "Oh, we just trust God". I never set out to be this real preacher telling embarrassing stories on myself, but I couldn't stand the fakeness I sometimes experienced. I mean, come on. We all have moments where we aspire to one thing and live another. That's not called hypocrisy, by the way. That's called humanity. "Oh, I thought that preacher was a man of God. Then I found out they were a fake". Not necessarily. They might have been really sincere in their faith, just weak in their humanity and flesh, just like you are.
Let's keep it 100. We all need the grace of God. None of us want all of our business on the front page of anything, ever. So, part of me, in reading Romans 4, was realizing that we are hearing about a hero of the Jewish faith and the Christian faith. He's an interesting guy, and his name is Abraham. You've heard of him. He is nicknamed… If he had a WWF, the "worldwide worship federation"… (This stuff just comes to me. The Holy Spirit gives it to me on the spot. I just say it. Put that on the list for "Did I say that out loud"? That was so corny.) It said Abraham is the father of many nations. Some call him the father of faith. Not just for Jews, speaking from a diasporic or a genetic or even a religious position, but everyone who believes in this God (Yahweh), revealed in the person of Yeshua (Jesus), can trace it back to Abraham's faith. That's what the passage is about.
One thing I want to show you in verse 16… He says the promise, speaking of the promise God gave to Abraham… What was the promise? The promise was "I'm going to bless the whole earth through you. I'm going to give you a boy. Your boy is going to have boys. Those boys are going to have boys. There are going to be women who give birth to the boys, and it's all going to result in a nation called Israel that will bless the earth". Now we find ourselves in Romans, chapter 4, where the apostle Paul is basically having to challenge these believers who want to be circumcised. Do you know what that is? I'm not going to keep it that real to break that down all the way. You can Google stuff. Okay? And saying, "All right. Since God told Abraham when he was 100 that he had to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant, if you put your faith in Christ, you have to go back and be circumcised".
Now, keep it 100. If that was the membership protocol for this church and you weren't yet circumcised, all of the men who would join the church at this stage in your life, stand up. No anesthetics. Right. That's what was happening to the Gentile believers. They were being told, "You have to do this to belong. You have to look like this". It's a contrast you'll see over and over again in the Scriptures, maybe the main contrast in the New Testament, of the external signs of salvation and the internal reality of the kingdom of God. One comes from the works of the law, or the works of the flesh (they're used interchangeably). One comes from the grace of God. I love that it says it so clearly. Follow me in verse 16. "Therefore, the promise comes by faith…"
The promise comes by faith. Oh, thank God! If it came by works, if it came by effort, if it came by gold-star behavior, I don't think I'd get it, but the promise comes by faith. Settle down. That's not the good part. The promise comes by faith. Why? "…so that it may be by grace…" Ah, it gets better. It comes by faith (that's the vehicle) so that it may be by grace (that's the basis). Faith is the box it comes in. Grace is the basis it is built on. In order… This is the part that got me. "…[that it] may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law…" The religious system for being right with God. "…but also to those who have the faith of Abraham". So, it comes through faith. What does? The promise.
I should clarify here. God keeps 100 percent of his promises. Let me stand right here and say it. Even though people die too early, even though people get sick in their bodies, even though abuse that should never happen happens… I'm saying it like the Bible said it. God keeps 100 percent of his promises, but God does not keep 100 percent of our preferences, our plans, or our desired positive outcomes. I have to keep it real. I could make you shout over that first part: God keeps 100 percent of his promises. All you have to do to get the whole room to shout is substitute positive outcomes for promises. People will shout, because they'll be shouting over stuff they think God is going to magically do because I said a word that hit a button called promise. We don't know any better than to think that God promised us everything in our lives would be positive as it happens.
So, we start shouting about stuff we want to happen without ever consulting whether God ever said it would happen, and then we blame God and walk out of his house and walk away from our faith and walk away from the family of believers and stop praying and stop praising when we're asking God to keep a promise he never made. Y'all told me to keep it real. I'm keeping it real. God did not promise you no bumps and bruises. God did not promise you no bee stings or breakups or broken hearts. I don't want to spend too long here because I don't want to bring it down too negative. I want to keep it positive. This is a faith message, after all. But I want to point out that the basis of Abraham's faith should be the basis of our faith because he is the father of faith. This is so profound: the basis of true faith is grace. "In order that it may be guaranteed".
I love that. It takes the same grace to save everybody in this room. You think grace is like a custom suit. No, no, no. Grace is one size fits all. You need God to cover all of you. Let me tell you how I know that. The Bible says even our righteousness is as filthy rags to him. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The faith of Abraham is enough to know that this has to be by grace. By faith, by grace, in order that it may be guaranteed, because if the promise depends on me… Now, this is what I believe. You have to come to your own conclusion. If the promise of what God wants to do through my life depends on me, we'll see. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe Monday, maybe not Wednesday, if it depends on me. But if it's by grace, if this whole thing called Steven Furtick started in the mind of God, if this whole thing called your life started in the heart of a Father… If this whole thing was part of the blueprint God created before the foundations of the earth to be a blessing to the world…not just to be blessed yourself, but to be a blessing… If it starts with grace, it's guaranteed, and that's why I praise God for the guarantee that wherever I go, grace will beat me back home.
Wherever I go, grace will beat me to the boardroom. Wherever I go, grace will beat me. Grace will meet me in the mistake, pull me out of the mistake, turn it around and make it a miracle. I have a guarantee. If it's up to me, there's no guarantee. I want to caution you about this. A lot of people are out there trying to get you to put faith in faith. A lot of people go broke and starving in LA and Nashville because they were told, "You can be anything you want to be". (Help me, God, because nobody is going to like this part of the sermon.) You can be what he calls you to be. "I'm confused now, Preacher". Hold on now. It said, "He is our father [Abraham] in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not".
It sounds like, on the surface of that… If we don't take this and keep it 100, like really read it, it sounds like God's job is to be your genie. It sounds like, in this verse, that we could just get anything in our minds we want to that we want God to do, and God is like, "Oh, dang it! I'm going to be up all night working on this. I wasn't planning to do that, but they asked for it, and I'm going to do it". This is where I have to keep it real with you. A lot of times in my life, I was trying to get God's blessing on my blueprint. Spoiler alert: he doesn't fill what he didn't build. I love this stuff. Right now, we get to enter into the tension of the faith of Abraham. It's not as simple as it sounds. It never is. You read this, and Paul is like, "And Abraham believed God. Abraham had faith, and it didn't waver. He stayed strong, and he was persuaded, and he didn't doubt".
A part of me, respectfully (I'm just saying this respectfully)… Part of me wants to be like, "Come on, Paul. Keep it 100". Abraham didn't always follow God in a straight line. That was confusing to me as I studied. The only reason it was confusing to me is because after Abraham was called by God to be the father of many nations, and God took him outside and showed him the stars in the sky and the sands of the seashore and said, "As many as you can count those, that's how many your descendants are going to be; you're going to be the father of many nations," because he's calling things that be not as though they are, according to his purpose, it dawns on Abraham, "I'm 75 years old, and I don't have a son".
So, God comes back to Abraham, not on his 76th birthday, not on 77, not on 78, not on 79, not on 80. Let's count by tens for the sake of time. Not by 90. When Abraham is 99 years old, the Lord visits Abraham, and he tells him, "I am God Almighty. I have given you this covenant, and this shall be the sign of the covenant," which was circumcision, which we mentioned. Now look at this with Genesis, chapter 17, because in all of Paul's eloquence and all of his brilliance… I believe the book of Romans is the most logically organized document that has been written by human hands under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That's my opinion. Maybe you could argue for something else, but Romans is a masterpiece. When he brings forward the example, the exhibit of Abraham (exhibit A, exhibit Abraham) for faith… He says he didn't waver in his faith, but watch this. When he was 100, still waiting for a son…
Now listen. He didn't just wait patiently. He waited impatiently. He got so impatient his wife was like, "Sleep with my maid, and she'll give us a son. Maybe that'll be close enough". Have you ever tried to follow God "close enough"? Like, "All right, God. I'm not going to tithe exactly, but here's a 20. Just close enough. You know, God, I'm not going to give it all to you. I'm not going to give everything to you, but I'm going to just come over here and… I'm going to go to church this Sunday. I'm not going to make it a priority or anything". Abraham did all of that too, trying to produce in human power what had been promised by God's purpose. I do it too! I try to write sermons with human ingenuity. I try to solve problems with human logic. I try to figure out situations by manipulating them. That's the faith of Abraham. Abraham slept with Hagar and had a baby called Ishmael. God said, "Nuh-uh. That's not what I want to give you. It's going to be your son".
Now watch the conversation, because it's so enlightening. Genesis, chapter 17. We're going to cross-reference the apostle Paul and what he said. Verse 15: "God said to Abraham, 'As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her [not Hagar].'" By her, not Hagar. God said, "I'm going to bless you the way I'm supposed to bless you, at the time I'm supposed to bless you". Stop trying to help God do what he's already doing in his perfect time, and leave it to him. By her, not Hagar. "I'm going to bless her and will give you a son by her". "I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her". Get ready for Father Abraham. He had many sons, and many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you, so let's just praise the Lord. Vacation Bible school, make some noise! Get ready for Father Abraham. Get ready for "right foot" Father Abraham.
Are you ready for Father Abraham? Watch his faith, the faith of Abraham. "Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, 'Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?'" "And even if I can, will Sarah at age 90"? Huh. He didn't waver in his faith; he just laughed in God's face. Can I keep it 100? When Paul gets ready to share, he doesn't put this part in. Why? I already told you, like, 15 minutes ago. It's not based on Abraham's works; it's based on God's grace. You keep trying to build on the wrong foundation. "O God, I'm fearful. O God, I'm anxious. O God, I'm depressed. O God, I messed up. O God, I'm not that smart. O God, I'm not prepared. O God, I'm not experienced. O God, I'm crazy. O God, I'm addicted". That is not the basis of the faith of Abraham. God said, "It's all by grace. I brought you into this world by grace. I spoke you into existence by grace. I made you born in the time you were born so that the promise would be by grace".
Listen to me. If it started with God, it's guaranteed. I have a guarantee from the manufacturer that everything he intends to bring forth from my life shall come to pass, and no mistake, no Hagar, no doubt, no laugh can stop it. This is only good news if you need some grace. If you got it all right, see you. Go on home. Keep getting it right. But for everybody who is here by faith, by grace… If you gave me enough time, I could hit everybody in this room and show you why you need grace. "Oh, no, I don't drink. I don't do drugs. I don't do any of that". Yeah, but do you know what you do? You control. And what else do you do? You judge, just like I'm judging you for judging me. So, don't stand there like you don't need grace. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. I'm not the one in the middle. I'm that thief saying, "Remember me, Jesus". Give me that grace. Give me that good news gospel grace!
The promise comes by faith. Faith in what? Not my faith, because I might fall facedown and laugh, but God still said, "You have to have the faith of Abraham". What's that? The faith to fall down and get back up. I feel somebody getting up today, getting up in your spirit. You didn't just get up and get in your car. You got up and walked into the promise of God. You are right smack in the middle of the fulfillment of God's promise on your life. The danger is you have to stay in faith so God can do everything he wants to do through you. Abraham turns 83. It's a bad thing when you're having your 85th birthday still talking about, "You know, I've got potential". That's supposed to be when you're 18, not 80. "I've still got more I'm going to do". I don't think you do. I love this verse.
Did you ever hear me preach this back in the day? I did a whole thing on this. Romans 4:19: "Without weakening in his faith…" All of the pragmatic people are going to love this. "…he faced the fact…" I always love that, because it gives room for the skeptic to get some grace too. I can almost see it when I preach. You say, "Romans," and some people jump up and shout about Romans. "I love Romans. Give me Romans". Some people… It doesn't matter how much faith you feel in a room, you can kind of see it. They sit back there like, "That's good, but bills. That's good, but bursitis in my knee. That's good, but custody battle. That's good, but I have some pills in the bathroom I haven't flushed yet". "He faced the fact". Do you think God gave you the faith of Abraham to escape reality? He gave you grace to empower you for reality.
So, you could look at the scoreboard… Graham had a football game the other night. They were down 20 at halftime. They came back and won the game by two. I said, "That must have been one heck of a halftime speech Coach gave". I'm in the motivation business, so I asked him when he got home, "What did he say at halftime"? He said, "He only told us one thing: 'Stay in it.'" Because you don't know yet! You say, "Oh, I'm just keeping it real. I'm just being me". Which me? The me you see or the me God spoke from eternity past that is uncorrupted by this mortal body? Which me? God speaks to the me that's going to be if I stay in it. Come on. Channel your inner football coach. You know you want to. Pretend like you're Coach Taylor. Tell Tim Riggins, "Stay in it. Stay in it. Stay in it".
I'm going to preach this until it breaks through that artifice of your hardened heart. Stay in it! Abraham was given a promise when he was 75. How old was Abraham when God made the promise? How old was he when he saw God keep it? What is my message called? Oh, you thought all I was talking about when I said, "Keep it 100" was just "Be real". No, I'm telling you what's real to you right now may be a ceiling God is trying to break you through if you can believe by faith for the grace for the caps in your life that cause you to laugh in the face of God when he shows you what's possible. I'm concerned that this phrase in our vernacular, "Keep it 100," has become an excuse for us to never improve and never grow. If all I do in church is say, "Hey, you're a drunk. I'm a drunk. Let's drink. Everybody gets a 20-ounce Communion beer. Let's go," then I have not appropriated the grace of God in your life, as a preacher of the gospel, to show you that the me you see right now is not the core of who you are, and God is not through with you yet.
Some of the promises he made you it's going to take you your whole life to see, but keep it 100. If it takes me all night, if it takes me my 30s, if it takes me my 40s, if it takes me going to meetings, if it takes me going to therapy, if it takes me changing my friends, if it takes me staying up late, reading my Bible, praying on the edge of the bed… If it takes it, I'm coming. I'm going to keep it 100! I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord! Come on, find 99 people, high-five them, and tell them, "Keep it 100". God is looking for you. God will leave the 99 to find the one. Keep it! You got a promise from God. Keep it! Snatch this word and keep it! You have grace. You have Jesus on the inside, working on the outside. Keep it! Abraham believed and so became. It didn't happen overnight. It didn't happen the first year. It didn't happen the second year. It's not going to happen as quickly as you want it to, but this is not a five-minute faith. That's a Hagar hookup, that five-minute faith where you try something. This is the faith of Abraham, and you already have the grace of God.
Stay in it. For the 300 of you who are receiving this message at a deep level… Do you feel that faith you feel right now in your heart? Stay in it. When you don't feel it, stay in faith. When you can't prove it, stay in faith. When you look at your body like Abraham did… He faced the fact that his body wasn't doing too well. Not as good as he once was. "I can't do it like I used to do it". But he was fully persuaded because he had faith in God. What God? You're so good at listing problems. When I ask you what problems you're fighting, why are you so much better at that than when I ask, "What God are you believing"? The Lord told me, "When you preach this, make sure the message they get is not what faith they have but what God they have".
Make sure your faith isn't in what promise you think he made you, because you might have heard him wrong. I love what he said. Verse 17: "'I have made you a father of many nations.' He is our father…" I'm preaching about the faith of Abraham today, not Hulk Hogan, not Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. Abraham is the father of many nations. Isn't it crazy that it took him 100 years to actually become what God called him all along? He said, "I made you the father. I gave you the seed. Nobody can do it but you". What God called you to bring into the earth nobody can bring but you. Stop thinking if you screw it up badly enough God will let you off the hook. You're just going to have to go to summer school.
"He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed…" What God? You say, "Oh, what problem? What bill? What [this]? What [that]"? What God? The God who gives life to the dead. What God? The God who calls into being things that were not. Here's what happens, my beloved friend, my beloved brother, my beloved sister. Sometimes we are hooked up in a season where God is giving us a download. Do you remember when you used to hook your phone up to the computer, and you'd be downloading something, but you didn't have time to wait for the whole thing, so you unplugged it early? Guess what? You lost everything that got downloaded before it because you disconnected before the download was done. God said, "I want you to stay in it and believe it until you become it".
If God says you're righteous and free, then believe that you're free until you feel free. Believe until you become. That's what Abraham did. The God who calls things that are not as though they are; the God who says to a valley of dry bones, "Get up, come together, and start fighting like an army"; the God who says to a sea, "Turn into a 485…" The God who does that has given you his promise. He didn't call you a father of many nations. Come on. I don't even want to have a fourth kid. I'm not trying to be the father of many nations, but I do want to be everything he called me to be. How about you?
I want to be that. I want to be what you want me to be, God. Not what my best friend is. Not what this person I admire on Instagram is. I want to be what God calls me. I want to grow in his grace. I want to grow in the gifts he has given me. I want to bring him glory through my life. That's what I want. That's what I really want. But you have to keep it 100. You have to be honest about where you are and refuse to stay there. I will go. I shall go. I want to see what the end is going to be. It may take me my whole life to find out. I may not even live to see it, but I want to keep it 100. God made a covenant with Abraham, and he said, "I'll keep this covenant. If you laugh, if you lie and say that Sarah is your sister, and she's really your wife…"
Do y'all know about that? Paul didn't keep it 100, did he? He didn't put that in Romans 4, but it happened, yet he became. Nothing can stop you from becoming. Nothing can stop it…no power of hell, no scheme of man, no devil, no death, no divorce, no debt…nothing. If it comes by grace, it's guaranteed. Lift your hands. Receive the download from heaven.
Father, right now we're going to take just a minute, and as we worship you, we are going to refresh our minds with the promises of God.