Steven Furtick — Barriers to Blessings
I want to share a Verse with you from Isaiah 43. It's Verse 19. God says, "See I'm doing a new thing now that springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness," that's what you were just singing, "and streams in the wasteland."
Permit me to go over to the Book of Hebrews. I want to put one New Testament Verse together with that Old Testament prophecy, and this is Hebrews 6:1. The writer says, "Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death and of faith in God."
So, what I want to talk to you about for a few moments today, and I'm so very thrilled to get to stand before you again and share the word of God with you, and... My subject is "Barriers to Blessings", and I want you to pray for me that I would be able to deliver this word to you just like God wants you to hear it.
Father, thank you for the time we have together now. These are your people. This is your word. Make the connection so that your word gets in the hearts of your people and changes their lives because if that happens, the world will change. So we believe we're standing on the brink of something great, and we declare it by faith in Jesus's name. Amen.
You may be seated. How many want God to do a new thing in your life? I'm setting you up. Be careful if you raise your hand. I'm just warning you. 'Cause I think that's a real challenge. I really do. I think sometimes when God is trying to bless us...
I can use scriptural examples how, you know, the early church was so used to the law that when the writer of Hebrews began to break it down, and he said that in times past, God has spoken through the prophets, and He gave us the law through Moses, and now He's speaking through His Son, one of the reasons that the Hebrew people had such a difficult time and they needed to be brought forth or be led into something new is because our brains have a way.
They've studied this now in science not only with Sheryl Crow songs, but also with any habit that happens in your life, we know now that your brain actually creates highways. That's not a technical term, and over the next seven seconds I'm going to tell you everything that I know about brain science, but it won't take me long, but I do know that your brain forms connections.
Yeah. Your brain, once you've done something, a certain number of ways, a certain number of times, your brain just locks it in, and anything that doesn't feel familiar like that starts to feel frustrating and that's why some of the things that you do in your life that you don't even like the results of are so difficult to undo because you've established a way of doing things.
We even say that. We way, well, that's just the way he is. What are we saying? We're talking about his neuropathways. We don't call it neuropathways 'cause our friends would look at us funny, so we say, oh, that's just the way he is. Well, that's not just the way he is. It's the way his brain has been trained or it's the way that her brain has been trained.
I don't want to be sexist about it. Women have issues and habitual addictions too. Touch somebody and say change your ways. No shouting over that, but yet... excuse me for a moment. I'm just trying to reconcile the fact that when I read my scripture, see, I am doing a new thing.
It felt exciting. But then when we actually begin to discuss what it means because God says, "Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." In other words, God is saying to a people who have been exiled into Babylonian captivity, He's saying I'm trying to bless you. I've been trying to bless you.
All your life I've been trying to bless you. All your life I've been trying to release what you need. All your life I've been trying to give you what is in me. I've been trying to flow through you and flow to you. Touch your neighbor again. I won't do this but maybe about ten more times. Tell them God is trying to bless you. He is trying to bless you, but Isaiah speaks up because the people of Israel have been by their behaviors blocking the blessing of God.
So, I call this message "Barriers to Blessings" because just like there are blessings, I mean real blessings, not just cars and houses. Those are fine. Not just pools and boyfriends. Although if you get one of those or both of those, I'll celebrate with you, but far beyond that, God wants to bless you at the very state of your being.
That's what He said to Abraham, "You will be a blessing." Not just you will be blessed, but everybody you touch, talk to, even look at will be blessed just because they got in proximity to you. That's the promise. That's why God brought His people forth so that they would be blessed, and the reason that He wanted them to be blessed is so they could be a blessing and that's what we're talking about in this series is that sometimes we experience... here's the term in business terminology.
Any business owners in the house? I need to know who to pray for. 'Cause it is not easy to lead an organization, is it? If you started your business, raise your hand, if you started your business. Now see, that takes a lot of courage because every business has barriers to entry. That's the technical term.
It's start-up costs, government regulations, knowledge that you may not have that existing competitors already have. And so even to think about starting a business should make you a little nauseous because there are barriers to entry.
One thing that has changed in our modern age is that in regards to creativity and content, there are so many different ways to distribute content, that it's no longer like it was. It's not like the old days. In the old days, you had to have a record label to put out an album. You had to have a lot of money to book studio time.
Well now, if you have the right software and a sound cloud, you could just put your stuff out. If it's any good, maybe it will get somebody's attention. I mean, if you really consistently, I'm not saying it's easier because now there are more than ever many different people and many different entities vying for attention, but what's happened is the barrier to entry has really been broken down, and now the barrier to entry is no longer do you have enough money to make an album or do you have somebody who will help you make an album. It's are you any good and are you consistent enough that you will put out enough stuff until you connect with your audience.
So, I kind of feel like that's what we're trying to understand here in Isaiah 43 and Hebrews 6, although these Scriptures are separated by about seven centuries of time. I think God is trying to get us to see that the barriers that were before us to keep us from experiencing His blessing are no longer there.
So, I'm talking about shame that was dealt with at the cross. I'm talking about your weakness that can actually become strength. I'm talking about the mistakes of your past that you relive in your mind over and over again. I'm saying God has dealt with that, defeated death, defeated the grave, taken your shame.
How many want to thank God that the barrier has already been broken? Just receive it right now because since you couldn't get to God, God came down to you, wrapped Himself up looking like a little infant, but really He was infinite coming through the eons, coming through the ages, coming through eternity.
Can I preach like the barrier is broken? As a matter of fact, when I even look out over our church, I see lots of barriers broken. I see people who shouldn't even be in church together praising God right beside each other like we have the same baptism, the same faith, the same birth, the same hope. It gets me excited.
Now, if the essence of the Gospel is that God breaks barriers and that He broke every barrier, even the righteous requirements of the law which were fully met in Him so that you might be fully found in Him so that nothing could separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus you Lord. Neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation. When Paul wanted to say it, he said it like that, etcetera.