Steven Furtick — Savage Jesus
I think we need to speak to some things in the presence of God today that have occupied space in our spirit, and in our minds, and in our families, and in our schools, and in our generational bloodline. Somebody shout, "Come out". And the spirit came out with a shriek. The power of God is not always pretty. See, this man is shaking on the floor. We just want a nice, clean path with roses and chrysanthemums, and we walk down the aisle, and accept Jesus, and everything is all right. But some stuff in your life will not come out unless it is confronted. It has to be confronted, or it will not come out. Shout it again in the back, "Come out". Come out, and the spirit obeyed Jesus.
What I can't figure out, and this is what I've been studying this week in preparation for our time together, is why this man was able to sit in their synagogue for so long, and the evil spirit was comfortable in church. But when Jesus showed up, I said when Jesus showed up, when Jesus shows up, power shows up. When Jesus shows up, demons tremble. When Jesus shows up, dysfunction has nowhere to hide, and nowhere to run, and we came to declare today to every evil spirit in our city, come out in the name of Jesus.
How many times had he been to church, possessed by this demon? Don't get caught up on demon. I know some of y'all are so scared right now, looking for the exits. We're not gonna do anything like that. If you make this Bible passage about demons, you missed the entire demonstration of authority, because we don't call it demons anymore. In the ancient world, everything was a demon. Runny nose? Demon. I'm serious. Mental illness was demon. They didn't have tests and pills and all this, so it was just a demon. Now, do demons still exist today? Yes, but do we call them dysfunctions instead?
I won't do it, but I was thinking about having you raise your hand if you came from a dysfunctional family. Reason I won't do it, number one, might cause you some tense conversations on the way home. I'm looking out for my teenagers. But I did it one time, I said, "How many of you came from a dysfunctional family"? And I thought I would minister to 20% of the room. Every hand went up.
When I think about the dysfunctions in my life, I have to be honest with you. I don't like to say this, but some of my dysfunctions I've really learned to love. I don't love the dysfunctions, I don't love the devil, I don't love sin, but sometimes, I love the way it makes me feel. That was too real for 'em. You know how church people are. If you say anything that resembles real life, they stop shouting. If you put Jesus on a horse coming out the clouds, they shout. But when you say stuff like this, dysfunction can be comfortable. Dysfunction can be a snuggie. I mean, if you really wanna feel good quick, let me tell you the best way to do it. Criticize somebody.
Can we talk about this, how fun it is to be critical of others? It is amazing how quickly my dysfunction is swallowed up, when I picked somebody who has a different dysfunction that I don't happen to struggle with, and put all of my energy, rather than confronting my own dysfunction, if I can spend five minutes judging yours — come on, can we be honest? It's fun. Listen. It's fun. That's why they call it dys-fun-ction. It's fun. It's fun to talk about how other people should parent. It's amazing to talk about how other people should spend their money, and what you would do if you — it's amazing. I love it. I love my dysfunction, the way that it comforts me.
Here's my favorite dysfunction. I love to indulge my insecurities. It feels humble, but really, what it does, it gives me an excuse to not fulfill my calling, but it's comfortable. So rather than come up to the level God has called me to, I indulge the insecurity. That's just the way I am. Come out! What'd you say? Come out of what? Come out of the insecurity that has imprisoned you. This is a word for somebody who has gotten comfortable in your dysfunction.
In fact, I wanna take you to another passage real quick that shows you the devil's strategy. How many of you would like to know the devil's strategy for keeping you defeated? Three of y'all. All right, I'm gonna do it for three. Three of y'all. Because Paul writes something in 2 Corinthians 1 that I have always loved as a counseling scripture. When people are going through hard things, I will often share this verse with them, because really, the whole passage is good, but two verses in particular, where it talks about how sometimes, when you go through something in your life, you're not going through it for you. But there is somebody who will go through something that will need what you will have after you get through what you're going through, and you will have it to give them. It is the function of comfort.
It is the function of comfort. Comfort has a specific function. The comfort of Christ comes into our life, not so that we can only be comforted, but that we can comfort others. If you search the scripture for comfort, you will find many commands to comfort others, and you will find many promises that God will comfort you. But you will never find permission to comfort yourself. What the devil wants us to do is to learn to run for comfort and cover, to places outside of our calling, so that he can keep us comfortable in our dysfunction, so that we will never see our destiny come to pass.
When Paul says it, he says: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort..". — "Well, see, Pastor Steven, you said that Jesus didn't come to comfort us, and there Paul says that He did. And so, I'm going with Paul". Hang on for another verse, and see if you still wanna sit there and argue with me after I've been all up in these books all week. 2 Corinthians 1:4. Says: "Who comforts us in all our..". dysfunction. No, see, that's what the devil does. The devil wants to comfort you in your dysfunction until you no longer see it as a problem, until it becomes so normal that you can go to church with an evil spirit, and take it to lunch, and take notes, but not take action. But Christ came to confront your dysfunction.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of compassion, who comforts us in all our..". — give me the verse: "All our trouble". All our trouble. Comfort can become dysfunctional, when we get it from the wrong place. Some of us have comfort foods. Why are you looking at me? Like you never ate the whole bag, okay. Let me try another route, since you're gonna be all dietary about this point. Some of us have comfort friends. Here we go. Help me, Holy Ghost. I feel demons shrieking while I preach this word. Some of us have people in our lives who are good to us, but they're not good for us. I don't mean to call you out, but could it be possible that your comfort is keeping you from your calling? That you have put yourself in a space that seems safe, but you are sabotaging and silencing the power of God in your life, because you love comfort.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of our compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles..". — in all our troubles. You mean God will use trouble to bring me comfort? Yes. And not only that, but God will disrupt my comfort to confront my dysfunction. So when I'm going through trouble, let me be a little slower to ask God to rebuke the devil. Maybe the trouble is the means of transformation. When God calls you out sometimes, it is uncomfortable.
Sometimes, the way I gauge the presence of God when I'm preaching is by how uncomfortable people look in their seats. I didn't do that when I first started preaching. When I first started preaching, I thought if they clapped, I was doing good. Now, I understand. When you squirm — my favorite is when the Holy Spirit has you pinned so up against your chair, and I'm, like, about to send the medical team to check your pulse. That's when the presence of God came, when you got most uncomfortable. As long as we associate Jesus with comfort, we will miss Him because Jesus comes to confront. Not to condemn. There's a difference. Confrontation has the intent and the means to change you. Condemnation does not. "God so loved the world He gave His Son..". not to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved. The Spirit of Christ is not to condemn, but the Spirit of Christ will confront. Confront.
And my question today is, what have we allowed to become too comfortable in our presence to occupy space that belongs to God? That man sat in their synagogue, week after week, day after day, and the demon said nothing. Until Jesus came, the evil spirit, the dysfunction, stayed silent. But the proof of the presence of God is not always comfortable feelings. Sometimes, the proof of the presence of God is disruption.
Sometimes, the proof of the presence of God is that one thing in your life dies, so that something else can come alive. I don't think we recognize Him when He comes, because we don't understand what He came for. But I'll show you one thing, the demons knew more about who Jesus was than the church people did. When Jesus spoke, they said, "Uh-oh. You came to get rid of us. Uh-oh. This is our eviction notice. Uh-oh. This is the promised One". The church people were still taking notes, and the demons were popping Prozac, because the demons know the name at which every name must bow. The name at which every tongue must confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, and if He is Lord, fear has got to go. And if He is Lord, darkness, back up. And if He is Lord and has the keys of death, hell, and the grave, there is nothing...
I think we get too comfortable sometimes with our dysfunction. I do, I think we — the devil doesn't want us to get uncomfortable, 'cause then we would change. So he will make it so comfortable for us to be dysfunctional, that we don't seek anything different. I don't hear a lot of people get in the baptism tank, and say, "You know, I got a race. I got married. The ring was seven karats. And I went to Elevation". I hear a lot of times, where they say, "Something shifted in my life. I lost something. I went through something. I faced the consequence of something, and at that point, in my discomfort, God used my trouble to confront my dysfunction".
So can I say something to everybody who's in trouble today? This is not just a test, this is a confrontation. This is an opportunity that God wants to use to confront what you have called normal, and to call you into something greater. I believe the Spirit of Jesus Christ is in you, and if the Spirit of Christ is in you, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. So we're gonna take 18 seconds and issue the command to every insecurity, to every fear, to every doubt, to every regret, come out in the name of Jesus. I will not become comfortable in the darkness, when God has called me into the light. That's what the devil's telling his demons. "Keep 'em comfortable". Keep 'em so comfortable that what I died to set them free from will take up residence in them. Keep 'em comfortable.
One of my friends gave me some good advice, because I was telling him something that somebody said about me that I heard through somebody else. How dysfunctional is this? He said, "How did you find out that they said it"? I said, "Well, the person told me that somebody told them". And he said, "Oh, okay. Well, here's what to do about that. Don't ask the person what the other person said about you next time. Ask them why that person felt comfortable saying it about you to them". I never had anybody say anything bad to me about Holly. I don't think they would feel very comfortable. So what did I do? What was — Capernaum, Capernaum, the Village of the Comforter. Were they so comfortable in their religion that they missed the revelation of Jesus Christ? You know what's sad?
Capernaum is the place — Kfar-Nahum. That's how we say it. That's the authentic way that we say it. Okay. It was the place where Jesus based His ministry, and it was the place that He cursed before His ministry was over. In Matthew 11, He gave some woes — actually wanted to give 'em Matthew 11:20, too, because it's important to the context. Matthew 11:20. You got it? "Jesus began to denounce the cities..". here it is: "In which most of His miracles had been performed, because they did not..". change their minds. They saw the miracles, but they did not change their mind, and their direction. The third city that He renounced, or denounced, is a city called Capernaum. The place where He lived, the place where He based out of, and the place where He most mightily displayed His glory.
And look what He says about them in Matthew 11:23. "And you, Capernaum..". Kfar-Nahum, Village of the Comforter: "Will you be lifted up to the skies"? After all that you've seen? After all that you've been exposed to? After hosting the presence of the eternal, living Word of God? Will you be lifted up? "No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom..". that wicked city that was judged for its pride and arrogance: "It would have remained to this day. But I tell you it would be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you". Why? Because you got too comfortable. You got too comfortable. Your name was a prophecy of what would ultimately be your undoing.
When I love comfort more than I love Christ, and I run for comfort, I run from calling. You will not be lifted up, you will be brought down, because you ran to comfort outside of Christ. You ran to religion. You ran to others. You ran to familiar fears. You ran back into insecurity, and you will not experience your calling, because you got stuck in your comfort. Are you stuck in your comfort? Has it become dysfunctional? Have you learned to tolerate things in your life, the works of the devil, that Jesus came to destroy? He came to save us from our sin, but He also came to set us free from it. And the Spirit of Christ is in this place, and you don't have to stay stuck in comfortable dysfunction another day.
I don't think it has to be loud and I don't think we have to scream and shout sometimes. Sometimes, I think the loudest response is a decision in your heart. To say, "I am going to confront this". Come out. Come out. For you who have been living in the year 2011 and 2012, in the relationship that didn't work, come out. For you who have been living in the trauma of an event that has passed, come out. For you who have been living in a complacent place of mediocre faith and lukewarm commitment to Jesus, come out.
He's in the place. This is an eviction notice, to let everything in our lives that is keeping us from the high calling of God in Christ Jesus know we serve notice on you, this day. We serve notice on you this moment. We serve notice on you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. We're coming out of our dysfunction. We are coming out of our excuses. We are coming out of our complacency. We are coming out. I'm coming out. I don't want the comfort that comes from dysfunction. I want the comfort that comes from God, and if the Spirit of the Lord is here, there is liberty here to break every chain. Come out, in the name of Jesus!