Steven Furtick - Let Go And Receive The Gift
What Romans 8:28 is saying is that through the redemptive of the activity of God in your life, there is nothing that is happening to you, has happened to you, or will happen to you that is beyond his redemptive touch. And so, when something shifts suddenly in your life, it is customary and logical to believe that God has left you. Or perhaps if you don't put it in that language, you can identify it as a negative experience, like what am I going to do now? Because it creates instability.
Now, even if something bad leaves your life, you still feel the absence of it as a loss. Even if it wasn't good for you, it still hurts to let it go. That's the interesting thing about Acts chapter one. He is giving them a gift, but in order for them to receive the gift, he has to remove himself. If he stays in physical form, they will be limited to his physical body. And that's why I'm so grateful that he gave us John 16:7 before we experienced Acts 1:9, because in John 16:7, he said, "I tell you the truth. I know you're mourning. I know you're sorrowful. I know you don't want me to leave you, but I tell you the truth, it is for your good that I am going away".
"How could you say something like that, Jesus. How could you say it is good if you go away? We followed you. We trusted you, and now you're leaving us"? "No, I am not leaving you. I am changing forms. See, up until now I have walked with you, but when I send my spirit, I will be in you. So I am not leaving you, I'm just changing locations". God said, "I didn't walk away". God said, "I'm working in this season". God said, "It doesn't matter who changed their mind about to you. I chose you from the foundation of the earth, because if I go, I can send you my spirit". God said, "I'm sending you something greater. I'm sending you something greater. You thought you were ghosted, but really you were gifted".
If you can receive the... Help me preach this sermon. I didn't come here... If you can receive the gift. This is so much easier to preach than it is to practice, because I get so offended when people don't respond the way I want them to. I'm so Southern that I wave at everybody, and Holly didn't understand that for the first 10 years of our marriage. It took her a whole decade to learn hospitality. Actually, she's the more normal one because when somebody doesn't wave at her, she assumes that they must have been distracted. When they don't wave at me, I don't cuss at them out loud.
I was waving at a guy yesterday. I was getting ready for my sermon, walking around, quoting the scripture. My former book, Theophilus, I wrote to you about all that Jesus began to do and teach em and take em up into heaven. The Holy Spirit… I'm walking around quoting scripture. And I had on a bright orange sweatshirt, so I know he saw me. But this car was driving by me, driving fast through the neighborhood too. But I waved at him anyway. I love everybody. And I waved at him, and he's driving by. I waved with an elbow bend. I waved at him real hard. He didn't wave back. I have rejection issues, I'm afraid.
I have this need sometimes to be seen by people, and where it shows up in my life, it's one thing when they don't wave back. But sometimes when I feel like people don't reciprocate my love, I take it as a sign of a lack of my own worth. And I think we can do that over time. We get to a place where we see what we didn't get as a sign of something that we're missing. We see all the relationships that didn't work out. A lot of times, it has nothing to do with us. It has to do with the other person's stuff. But we can interpret that and internalize that. And when you internalize rejection, it hardens into insecurity. And then it keeps you from receiving what God wants to give you because that rejection will block your ability to receive, not only the love of others, but his love.
I didn't know how deep to go into this, but there is someone here, and maybe several of you, but I know it's one, because the Lord keeps saying this phrase to me over and over again, and I'm hearing it as I preach to you, the phrase is, he had to go through Samaria. And I know that's weird, but that's what I keep hearing. In John four, Jesus was showing up. And remember John two, the wedding at Cana, John three, Nicodemus, John 3:16, the baseball verse. John four, he had to go through Samaria. The Jewish people hated Samaria, and the Samaritans hated the Jewish people. So it was beef on both sides. This was not a one-way hatred, okay. And not only did they have a division politically, but the Jews were so averse to Samaritans, they would walk around Samaria even though it added hours to their trip rather than have to interact with the Samaritans.
So when Jesus spoke to the woman at the well in Samaria, it was not only scandalous, but in many ways she was surprised. She said, "You Jews have no dealing with us Samaritans. Why are you talking to me and I'm a woman"? Because he needed her to go preach. She came to get water, she left with water, took the water, the living water back to her community, which was a picture of what Jesus was giving the disciples to do when he said, from Jerusalem, which is home base, to Samaria, the place you want to avoid. That's where the gospel needs to go through.
Now, we all have some area. Yeah. Some area. You all are a little slow on this side. Some area of your life and it can be anything from a trauma from the past or it can be a tradition. Sometimes the place that we need to go through is to break through a tradition, a way that we have done things or seen things done for the gospel to go forth. I always saw the text geographically so I didn't see it psychologically. I always saw it theologically that the Holy Spirit that used to come on people was now going to live in people. But now I see the text psychologically, that it is through Samaria, some area, the area that you want to work around, the area of your life where you have experienced rejection and failure, the area of your life that has caused you to believe I could not be chosen.
Now when I preach like this, some people think I'm only talking to drug addicts and people who have been through the worst, but everyone has some area. Everyone. If you could peel back that church face and rip off that halo, you would see that the person who is the best dressed, and smells like perfume, and looks like a million bucks, we all have some area, and that's what the gospel must go through in our lives in order to have full effect. When we pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done", we need to be willing to let God work through the area of our life. Not the area that is presentable, not the area that is comfortable, not the area that is obvious, not the area that will earn us points with people, but the places in our lives where we are most resistant to change, that is where God wants to live.
You will receive power. Somebody shout power. No, no, don't mumble power, shout like you've got it. Power. Power. When the Holy Spirit comes on you, not just on you, lives in you. And the Holy Spirit comes for that place where you are not enough. And he is more than enough. and he is Jehovah Jireh, and he is the Jehovah Tsidkenu, and he is my righteousness, and he is my life, and he is all that and I am not ghosted. I am gifted and he is for me, not against me, and what shall be able to stand against the seal of those whom God has chosen. Come on, I need you to shout like you've got power. I wish 20 quiet people would shout. Come on, 20 people that usually sit down and golf clap, stand up, this isn't the masters. Stand up and give God a great shout of praise on Lake Norman, on Gaston, on Ballantyne, on Ballantyne, on Ballantyne, in the overflow.
He said it is not for you to know the times. It is not for you to know the plan, but you will receive the power. I want to say something to you, is sometimes through the things that leave our lives that we discover what we had in us all along. And it's not always people. Sometimes seasons change and we feel ghosted. I was telling them at 9:30 and Saturday night how the first time that I experienced my oldest son, when I went to hug him and he did the Heisman about two years ago, and I was like, "What just happened"? He goes, "Dad, your hugs are the longest". I said, "Dad, who's dad? I'm daddy". He's dropped a consonant and a vowel off my name. Sometimes, well, I... My son doesn't love me anymore? No, no. The love didn't leave, it just changed forms.
So I have to figure out in this season of my life and everybody who's raised kids, maybe you can send me your parenting tips to [email protected] It didn't leave, it just changed form. So now I have to adapt to the new needs. And that's what Jesus was saying to his disciples. He said, "You will be my witnesses". They wanted to know what are you going to do? When are you going to do what we want you to do, Jesus? When are you going to fix them? So they go to the Ladies e-group and pray for God to change the husband while the husbands are going to the Men's e-group at the car shop praying for the husbands to change the women. You know what I'm trying to say. But the thing about it is he didn't give them something to do. He gave him something to be.
In Acts 1:8 he says you will be my witnesses. Now I always thought of witnessing like an activity, because that's my Baptist background coming out, and we would knock on doors and you were witness to Jesus Christ. But the key word here, witness, is used 31 times in the book of Acts. But the word that comes before it, you will be. Now, so when God isn't doing what you want Him to do, maybe He is helping you to be who He called you to be, because that's where patience is born. In the absence of answers, faith is born. In the absence of answers, faith is born. When you don't have what you thought you needed, that's when you discover the grace of God that fills gaps and makes ways where there seemed to be no way. That's what that means.
He wasn't leaving them. He was indwelling them. When he was taken up, he was only making a way so that the Holy Spirit could come in. If this is your word today, I trust that the Holy Spirit will minister it to some area of your life where you need it at the most. We would all hear this same nine verses thousands of different ways. It just depends on what the Holy Spirit is trying to do in us and through us in each moment. But I know that he wants to make you like Christ, and I know that he wants to bring wholeness, and I know that he wants to bring a sense of congruence and alignment to your life with his will for you.
And I know that you're chosen. After all that you have wasted, and after all that you have misappropriated, you are still chosen. These are the same fools that ran at the cross and he called them chosen. That's who he chose to be his witnesses. Notice he called them to be the witness, not the judge. For three years, they saw the power of his presence. Now they had to decide what to do with what they perceived to be his absence. But he didn't leave. He didn't leave. He just changed forms. God is still with you. It's just, it's going to look different in this season. You're still going to get the victory. You're still going to get it done. It's still going to come to pass. It's just going to be a different route.