Steven Furtick - You Didn't Lose It; God Moved It
So here's the tension. Okay? We find these seasons in our life where we're trying to protect something, at the same time we're trying to accept something. That's the tension and we're all there. We're all there. It's like we're trying to receive what God is doing. This is what the church was doing. They have just gotten used to the idea of justification by faith, that was new. They were no longer shedding the blood of bulls and goats in the sacrificial system, in order to atone for their sin. They are now having to believe by faith what they used to be able to touch. They are having to learn an entirely new way to relate to God. They are having to take what was visible, the circumcision and in an invisible covenant, they are having to trust in an unseen God and just about the time they're getting the hang of that, just about when they are getting used to this new way of relating to God by grace, just about the time they are getting used to, it is not by the works of the law that you are justified, that none are righteous, no not one.
That the righteous requirements of the law are fully met in Jesus. And then through faith in him, we are made right with God. It is not our righteousness. Our righteousness is like filthy rags. You could not keep the law, you could not get to God. So grace came to you, just about the time they're getting used to grace, here come the Gentiles. Just about the time they're learning how to do with this way ... You will still be eating last year's harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. Who am I preaching to? God is moving stuff around in your life. God is moving stuff around in your life. I just learned how to use Instagram and now everybody's on TikTok. It's just stuff moves so fast and I can't dance. Stuff moves too fast. I don't know. I don't know if you feel it too, but everything is moving.
And when God speaks to Peter about this, it's really a message for us. It's really a message about how do we protect what God did while accepting what he's doing? How do we not get stuck in a way of going, man, I wish it could be like it was. Well, it's not. Well, I wish God would give me an announcement or make an appointment with me on my calendar. Did you know that change never makes an appointment with your calendar? It just shows up when it wants to show up. I think it's so crazy how Peter was like, look at how he responds to them. Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story. And let me give this to you from Acts chapter five on and I'm going to do my best to just be diligent and read the text and not comment on it. Will y'all pray for me?
I love this text so much. I'm going to want to keep on saying stuff about it, but I want to read this to you. "I was in the city of Joppa praying and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners and it came down to where I was. And it came down to where I was. And it came down to where I was. And it came down to where I was. And it came down to where I was. God said, don't chase it, chase me". I feel like a vinyl record that started skipping. It came down to where I was. It came down to where I was. It came down to where I was. It came down to where I was. I wish it would shout real quick. God's going to bring it to me. God's going to bring it to me. While so many people are out chasing stuff, if I will stay stationed in the will of God, in the peace of God and be planted by the streams of living water, God's going to bring it to me.
Somebody shout, God's going to bring it to me. See, heaven opened up and Jesus came down to show us that God came to me. Favor comes to me, blessings come to me. Joy comes to me. Peace comes to me. The right people come to me. The idea comes to me. The wisdom comes to me. All I got to do is ask God, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. God said, I'm going to bring it. I don't care if you are contagious. You got ... Touch somebody real quick on their shoulder and tell them real quick. God's going to bring it to me. God's going to bring it to me. Somebody in the back that's just sitting there. The word of the Lord for you today is, if you will stay in Joppa, if you will, stay in Joppa.
When I studied the text, I found out that God gave Peter an opportunity that he wasn't even praying for. Joppa. Joppa. I was like, "Lord, what's significant about Joppa? Why was he in Joppa praying when the gospel went to the known world"? This is a big deal. This is a big deal Mr president, this is a big deal, Peter, but he didn't know it. He went up on the roof to pray. Let's look at the story. Can we look at the story? All right. Sit down. He was in Joppa. That's what he said in verse five. "I was in Joppa, not posting, praying". I was in Joppa. Everybody say Joppa. Come on, you got to say it out loud. Not in your head. Say Joppa. There it is. Because that's where some of y'all are right now.
Peter went to Joppa because an E kids volunteer in the church had just died. Her name was Dorcas. Dorcas. How are you going to go all ... Peter, how are you going to go out of your way to check on Dorcas? She's not famous. She's don't have a lot of followers. But Peter was in Lydda and he was preaching the gospel, raising people from the dead and stuff. Just you know the things you do when you're Peter. And when he went to Joppa to see all the people who were discouraged in Joppa, when he got there ... Look at acts chapter nine, I'm all over the scriptures today because this is such a great, great, great passage of scripture and the Lord just keeps unfolding it for me even as I preach to you. But give me Acts 9:40. Peter sent them all out of the room because Dorcas is dead and he went to comfort them. But he sent them all out of the room. He sent them all out of the room. Y'all got to go. Y'all got to get out of here real quick. He sent them all out of the room, all out of the room. What did we come here to do today? To make room for the new.
Now, he knew that if he keeps people in the room who have an old mindset, old mindsets cannot receive new miracles. Preach the word verdict. Old mindsets cannot receive new miracles. So he said, "Y'all get out. I love you, but get out. I appreciate you but get out". Because there's something new that God wants to do and I need my faith focused right now. I'm sorry, my phone was off. Make room. I'm sorry I didn't respond to you. Make room. I'm sorry that I didn't come crawling back to you. Make room. I'm sorry, make room. I'm sorry. I was at church. Make room. I'm sorry I couldn't gossip with you. I had to walk away. Make room. Because if I allow an old mindset to crowd the space of my heart, wow. Peter's like, y'all got to go for a minute. Get out, get out. And when he sent him out of the room, he got down on his knees and prayed. And turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up".
One time Jesus went in a room and there was a little girl who had died. And the word for a little girl in Aramaic is Talitha. And he said, Talitha Koum. And I looked back at the scripture again. What Peter said was Tabitha, her name was Dorcas in Greek, but the name that they would have been familiar with was Tabitha. It's one letter different than Talitha, little girl. He is mimicking the miracle that he saw the savior do. He decided in this moment, I want to see if resurrection power is real. And when he said Tabitha, Tabitha Koum, Tabitha Koum, little girl get up. And I wonder what you need to say get up to today, that is lying dead and dormant in your spirit and in your life.
This message is not for everybody, but whoever it's for. When he said, Tabitha, get up, Tabitha Koum, Tabitha get up. She opened her eyes and seeing Peter, she sat up. God said, make room for resurrection. I know there are some things in your life that you have given up on, but whoever this is for today, make room for the new. And the only thing that is blocking you from receiving the grace of God is your unbelief. So I want to take a minute and send an announcement to unbelief. Get out the room. Resurrection is here. Get out the room. Grace is here. Get out the room. Jesus is in the house. Come on, shout about, he says. I'm preaching it to whoever he sent me for. He said, make room for the new. Make room. Your mind is more crowded than your closet.
And people will apply this message so many different ways. It's crazy. They'll be like, I heard the preacher say, make room for the new. I want to divorce. I'm going to go tell my boss Monday, Leviticus 26:10, Ken Co... Somebody named Ken Coffee. What was his name? Ken Costa. He told the preacher, he said, Leviticus 26:10, I quit. But I found out that the most crowded place is not because of other people on my job or even who is bringing me what I perceive to be external conflict. God needs to make room in me. I'm the crowded one. Joppa. He was just hanging out in Joppa, raising up dead ushers, greeters.
Dorcas would have been a volunteer at Elevation Church. She would've served at the Riverwalk campus. She would have been there early, greeting people, handing out breath mints in the bathroom or something like that. She did the little things and because Peter, see, he did not categorize it as a little thing to go to Joppa and when he was praying on the roof, God said, are you open? Are you open? I thought it was significant that he was on the roof when God showed him what he was doing. I think a lot of times we get confined in spaces where we think that's all there could ever be. We begin to look at our family and what they've done for an indication of what we can do. But God said, make room for the new. Because for some of you, you are a generational blessing vessel.
God shows Peter to take the gospel to new people and that will always require conflict. You are going to have to confront your old ways of dealing with people because if you don't, God can bring you new people. But if you carry the same patterns from your old relationships into the new ones, you didn't make room for them. That's why I was telling you this morning when John Butler came, Graham said, how fast did Elevation grow when we came in? And there's pictures on my wall of different sizes of the church. So I told him the John Butler story, when he said came in and said, "Preacher, you're full". We had, I think that week, 1200 people in church. He said, "Your church is full". I said, "Praise God". He said, "That's a problem. You're telling people to invite their friends. Where are you going to put them"?
Where are you going to put it? If your heart is full of bitterness, where are you going to put love if God sends it? May his favor be upon. Where are you going to put it? You can pray the prayer of Jabez all you want, God bless me indeed, but if you don't enlarge your borders to receive it and sometimes that means just changing your mind about what God can use. Joppa, Joppa, why does that sound familiar to me? Joppa, Joppa, Joppa, Joppa, Joppa. It's a port city. It's a Mediterranean ... It's on the coast, Mediterranean, so they would send him. I studied this, when Solomon built the temple and when they built it after the Babylonian exile, they got the wood sent to Joppa and then took it to Jerusalem to build the temple.
So I was like, yeah, this is what God does in Joppa. He sends the raw materials and you decide what to do with it. That's what Joppa is. That's what this season of your life is. That's what this moment in your mind, this moment in time, you will still be eating last year's harvest when here comes the new, will you make room for it? Or are you going to sit around looking at pictures of when your kids were cute? Ma'am, he is 48. He stopped being cute about 43 ago. But can you now relate to this stage of your life with faith? Can you make room for the new job? But Joppa, Joppa, Joppa chop. Who was it that went to Joppa? I asked the interns this week because we've been doing this scripture with campus pastors. We did it with interns. I've just been stuck in this scripture. I was like Joppa, Joppa. Who went to Joppa? And of course I knew, but I was just using the technique. I was like, who went to Joppa?
Do y'all know who went to Joppa? They were saying every Bible character, just a guessing game. These interns, they love the Lord, but they don't know the Bible too good yet. And they were like, "David"? No. "Goliath"? No. Everything. Larry, Curly, Moe? Every saying in the scripture. Bartholomew, random characters. Ruth, Naomi. No. Who went to Joppa? Peter wasn't the first one. All right, let me get a few hands. Water? Fish. Rhymes with Corona. No, it's not funny. It's not funny. Jonah, Jonah chapter one, verse three. But Jonah ran away from the Lord. Peter went toward purpose from Joppa. Jonah ran away from the Lord, went down to Tarshish and went down to Joppa to get to Tarshish, to run away from the purpose of the Lord. And I hear the Lord saying, what are you going to do in Joppa? You're going to run toward and go with it or run away? Because Jonah still had to go to Nineveh.
You've still got to learn the lesson. Look, if you don't embrace change, it's still going to change. You can go on protest about it. Make a picket sign, change doesn't care. I remember when Christians were boycotting Disney. Yeah, that really hurt them. Y'all remember that? You can't fight Disney with a picket sign with some Elmer's glue and a sharpie with a sign. You can't fight God, you can't fight change, you can't fight life. I don't pray for problems. I don't pray for things to die in my life. I don't pray for controversy and conflict and I think you're stupid if you do. I think you're stupid if you pray for patience. What kind of dumb prayer is that? Who taught you, Lord, we just pray.
I heard a God praying the other day, Lord humble me. I was like, Oh no, no, no, no. I think life will humble me. God will humble me. My kids will humble me. Five foot nine will humble me. 40 will humble me. But when it comes, I almost called this message the Joppatunity of a lifetime because I would ... I didn't call it that. I almost called it that. Because I thought it's what you do in Joppa. Peter said, I was in Joppa praying. So three things the Lord gave me, don't get nervous. This is the conclusion part one, Joppa.
Three things the Lord gave me and we'll go, that he gave Peter. When Peter was praying in Joppa, not looking for something new, not chasing something new, not quitting jobs and leaving marriages, but just staying. The Lord showed him four corners. It was a vision that God showed him. The vision came to him. God, what do I do? You fulfill God's purpose and you pray and you be who God has called you to be. And the sheet came down from heaven. Heaven comes to you. You don't climb to God. This is the new covenant. This is the new way of relating to God. God comes to you. While he's praying, the sheet came down from heaven and he said, "It came down to where I was". Verse six, "I looked into it and saw four footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds". Next verse, "And I heard a voice telling me, get up Peter, kill and eat".
And watch Peter resist the tension. I thought it was this way, but maybe it's that way. I thought God was going to do this. Maybe he's going to do that. I thought this was who God was going to use, but maybe he's going to use somebody different. I thought God gave me this opportunity, but maybe he's opening a door. I thought God had opened that door, but then it closed. Maybe God closed that door to show me another door that I wouldn't have seen if the one that I wanted to walk through hadn't closed. Who is this for? And Peter said, "Surely not Lord. I don't like it. I don't want to make room for it. I like last year's harvest. I like the way it was. I like the tabernacle. I liked the old way. I like fighting. I like that. Surely not Lord. Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth". And the voice spoke from heaven a second time saying, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean".
So he went to Cornelius and gave him the gospel and the Gentile world opened up to the purpose of Jesus Christ because of what happened in Joppa. I wonder what's at stake in this Joppa moment of your life. And if I could give you three things before I send you out, it would be one, don't be limited by a label. God said, don't call stuff what I didn't call it. You keep calling it impure or unclean. You have your categories for life. You have your categories for people. You think you know what a blessing is and what a blessing isn't.
I read a proverb, a Japanese proverb from a long time ago that said, one day a farmer had a horse that ran off and the neighbors came around later that night and said, "We're so sorry for your loss. That's horrible". He said, "Maybe". Next day the horse came back with two other horses. The neighbors came around and said, "Congratulations. That's wonderful. You have two new horses". He said, "Maybe". The next day his son was out trying to train one of the two new horses or one of the horses. I don't know which one. It didn't say in the parable, but he fell off and broke his arm. The neighbors came around and said, "That's horrible that your son broke his arm". He said, "Maybe". The next day the army recruiters were coming by to draft somebody to fight in the war, but the son had the broken arm. The neighbors came around that night and said, "That's wonderful. Your son doesn't have to go to war". He said, "Maybe".
Oh, that's the end. Y'all waiting on the punchline. That's where we have to live church. We have to live in the space called, Maybe. This is the tension of the mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a blessing? Maybe. What a burden? Maybe. What if they're the same thing? Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. I don't want a maybe, I want a miracle. The miracle is in the maybe.
I've got to close. Take the mic. I can't stop preaching this because God said make room. Make room. Stop being so closed minded about who God can use. God might use somebody you don't even like to bless your life. What a word. What a word. This is a daylight savings time anointing. This is a one hour early word. This is a word for people who know you cannot limit yourself with a label.
And number two, don't be loyal to a lie. Some of us will hold on to something that is old because it feels comfortable like sweat pants with holes all up in them. You wear it because it feels good, but you look stupid wearing something you should have thrown out a long time ago. Some of us would rather believe what people said about us because it's what we got used to believing than stepping into who we really are. So don't be loyal to a lie. And as you stand to your feet, I want to tell you something that I'm going to tell the whole next service. Don't be late. Don't be late. You will still be eating last year's harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. So the prophetic declaration goes like this. You didn't lose it. God moved it.