Steven Furtick - Built Different
So right now in the chat just say uh... Thank God I'm here. Right! Just look at somebody and say thank God you're here! Oh I've been waiting to see someone like you all week. Someone positive, uplifting, encouraging, well-built, tall, sturdy. I trust that you smell good. I trust that you're blessed. The best rhythm section in Charlotte, North Carolina with Vinnie and Shae. It's great to have Joe L with us. Let's thank God for Joe L. We started dancing the other night. We didn't even mean to. We've got this amazing collaboration with Elevation Worship and Maverick City coming your way. Somebody say when... soon. Soon, and uh Joe L we'll have to have you come back and share the song that you carried uh it's about miracles and your life is a miracle and I can't wait for you to hear that song and all the other songs. It's great to have you!
Tiffany tell me about the leather. Um... I'm a rocker now. She's a rocker now! Jon Sal, she's a rocker now. Jenna, do you believe that? Okay. Upon this rock, I will build my church! How many thank God for it! Oh it's good to see... How did you get off work? Good to see you. I miss you so much. Hey, by the way, let us know in the chat who you are and where you're... Where you're joining us from. It's a worldwide ministry and we thank God for you, but we won't know you're here if you don't tell us, so tell me right now. I'm here and my name is and my favorite movie is and my favorite food is and my favorite bible verses and tell me everything you want to tell me about yourself. Okay. Where is uh Cindy from Chuy's. Hey Cindy! Good to see you! I told you I would find you! I told you.
Now put your name too so we can know you're here. All right. Cindy told me she was coming, and she came! She.. she works at Chuy's! Nicest hostess I've ever seen. And we're all a hostess for the Holy Ghost today. Y'all be seated. This is getting ridiculous. This is some very mediocre stand-up. We better get to the Bible verse 1 Peter chapter 2. And let's really take our time with this passage so we can taste it today. This is a delicious, delicious scripture and I want us to chew our food. First Peter, chapter 2. Let's really take our time with this passage so we can taste it today. This is a delicious Scripture, and I want us to chew our food. I'll read it, and then I'll break it down.
"Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind". Basically, he's saying delete all of your social media accounts is how I read that… malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander. If you can't say "Amen," say "Ouch". I'll give you 30 seconds to delete some things before we move on in this Scripture. He said, "Therefore, rid yourselves…" That's what we've been talking about the first part of 2021. The Lord was saying we need to have room to receive. How can I receive the love of God if my heart is full of malice? How can I receive the truth if my heart is full of deceit? How can I receive the revelation of the real me if I'm living in hypocrisy, so determined to look better than I really am?
Hypocrisy isn't struggling with something; it's pretending like you don't. Envy, slander… If you can get rid of all of that with all of your social media accounts on your phone, you're a better person than me, but most of us have to make some decisions about what we're going to allow to have access to us. Maybe write this down: the first step to getting ready is getting rid. Get rid. Get rid of these things. None of the things he talks about are direct behaviors; they're attitudes. You have a whole list of what to do. Some of you logged on today, "Lord, give me a word. Show me what to do". He just did. You have plenty to do. You can turn me off now and just get busy getting rid of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. "Well, I don't know what the Lord wants me to do".
First Peter 2:1 just told you. When you get those five, then come back and ask me about the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation. So, that's verse 1. We have nine more. Get rid to get ready. It's like clearing out a space that you know God is going to fill with something better. "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, the living Stone…" Who is him? Not a trick question. It's totally Jesus.
"As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, 'The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,' and, 'A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.' They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession…"
Not the beaters…the shoes on the top shelf he doesn't just wear every day. "…that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy". Verse 5: "…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ".
I want to use for a title Built Different. What you're getting here in 1 Peter is sort of a synopsis of a salvation experience. It kind of reminds me of some of the time-lapse videos I see on YouTube. I saw this series of videos (somebody told me they weren't real; I don't know if they're real) where he was building a swimming pool with a stick. Have you seen these? I thought about playing one, but I thought it might be copyright protected or something like that. Google might come shut the church down if I showed it or we'd get demonetized, un-ordained, or something like that. I don't know what happens if you play somebody else's YouTube video. But they had all kinds. I kind of went into a time-lapse wormhole preparing for this message. I was watching people build Legos.
I remember several years ago I wanted to do an illustration how God is doing things in our lives, that our purpose appears in pieces, so I brought up a box of Legos, and I really milked the illustration. I had the box, and I pulled it out and spilled all of the pieces everywhere, and I said, "Oh no. It's broken". My point was it doesn't look like it looks on the box until it's fully built and how we have this vision for our lives, for our family, our relationships, and we want to take it back to God because it doesn't look like what was on the box. It has to be built. That's the whole point of the Legos. There was this 9-year-old on YouTube who built this whole Star Wars Lego thing. I don't know what it was. It was so big, but it only took me about 10 minutes to watch him build it. It was crazy. I noticed he changed outfits like six times in the video, so that makes me think it went on over several days.
I was watching that, thinking about how when… When somebody tells you their testimony about their relationship with God or when they tell you their testimony of how they got set free from something in their life, it's usually a time-lapse testimony, which is what Peter is doing here. He says it so simply, and the way he says it, it sounds so sudden. I want to point that out to you again. He's like, "Get rid of all of the bad things in your life and grow up in your salvation". That's the first two verses. But he uses the image of a baby to let me know that God's kingdom and the way it is built will be different than the way the time-lapse video works on YouTube.
When you hear somebody say, "Oh, I gave my life to Christ, and it was wonderful. I used to live in the darkness, but now I live in the light. I used to be bound by sin, and I served only the false gods of Babylon and myself…" They still go see those gods sometimes, but they don't tell you about that in their testimony. What they're doing is they're fast-forwarding past all of the stumbles. "All of our kids just grew up to serve the Lord, and they just love the Lord. We taught them to pray early, and we used to pray the blessing from Numbers 6, the Aaronic blessing". They leave out so much. It's so fast. You can barely watch the three years their kid was on drugs. You barely saw the three years they slept in separate beds. "Oh, we've been happily married 32 years," but you didn't know there were eight other years. That's called a time-lapse testimony. It's not untrue. It's just you're hearing it so quickly. The hard part becomes when we compare our real-life process to somebody else's time-lapse testimony.
"Built different". It's something I heard my kids say kind of ironically. You know, I'll make fun of their hair or something like that. I remember one of them was saying to somebody, "You never cry," and the guy said, "I guess I'm just built different, man". I was like, "That's cool. That's something y'all say"? This is what I do all the time. I'm trying to crack the code of how to reach the youth. Sermon research. I even said it the other day. Buck sent Elijah and me a workout the other day. Here's how the workout goes: superset, superset, superset, superset, where you don't have any rest between. Then he said after doing four supersets and not resting to only rest two minutes between sets.
I told Elijah what Buck wanted us to do, and I told him what we were going to do, and I said, "Because Buck is built different". Some would call him a psychopath, and some would call him an athlete. There's a fine line. He's just built different. If I try to do what Buck does, it's going to end in vomit, injury… I was studying the Scripture, and I was reading how Peter said, "As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ". Time-lapse testimony. Like it's all one thing, all one moment, like, "I have decided to follow Jesus" says it all. "God said it. I believe it. That settles it".
Yeah, I feel you, but why did Jesus use the illustration of a mustard seed to describe how his kingdom grows in our lives? When I gave my life to Christ, my mom had been planting seeds for years. For me, I experienced that suddenly, but she had been sowing that from the time she was singing to me as a baby. So, when I would share my testimony, I'd be like, "On such-and-such date, when I was 16 years old…" That's how old I was when I made my own decision to follow Christ. It was real, but for me to just skip to that and say, "When I was 16, I went forward at First Baptist Church Moncks Corner and gave my life to Christ…"
That's how I told my testimony for years, but that was the time-lapse. That was just when what she was sowing into me finally caught up with what God was doing all along. That really blesses me, as a parent now, to know "Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they won't depart from it". Everybody wants to skip telling you about the stuff that doesn't make them look so spiritual. Let's back up all the way and talk about how God built a nation. When God decided to build a nation, he found a man with a wife who had a barren womb. We should have known from the very beginning this nation was going to be built different, because you don't build a nation through a woman's barren womb. That's not how you do it.
God was sending us a signal from the very beginning that this nation would be built different. It will be built in the face of impossible odds through even what seems to be a physical impossibility. If that's you today and you have an impossible situation, that should be a great encouragement to you. God doesn't need to have the finished product in hand to fulfill his promise to you. I'm just trying to say the way God works, he builds different than how people build. When Jesus chooses his disciples… Do y'all remember Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John who wrote the Gospels? Well, there's James and John, the sons of Zebedee. There's Peter. We should have known from the moment Jesus picked Peter that whatever team Jesus was building… I mean, Peter is so far off the scouting report for all of the professional Christians, and he's not even in rabbi school; he's a fisherman. If you're going to the fishing boat to pick your team to change the world, you must not be building according to the values and the systems of this world.
Holly preached about Gideon last week, how Gideon had too many men to fight the battle (she didn't get to that part; this is a sequel), how he got down to 300 men to attack the Midianites. She just mentioned that part. Do you know what's crazy about that? If you're building an army and you go from thousands to hundreds, that's called building backward. Has God been building backward in your life over the past year? Sometimes he is stripping and subtracting more than he is adding and multiplying. I mean, really, the whole clue is built into the text I read you. Before you can be ready for what God is building, you have to get rid to make room. What drew me to it more than anything is 1 Peter 2:4. He says this living Stone, Jesus, whom we worship, who is perfect, was rejected by humans but chosen by God.
I don't know if you've ever heard me say this before, but it seems to be true whether you're talking about Moses or Peter or Mary who's a virgin or whether you're talking about… You know, pick your Bible character…the overlooked, the unlikely, the little boy with the lunch who wasn't even included in the crowd count. God selects what man rejects. In this passage, we're given a picture of Jesus. He's what God put on the box to show you what your life can look like. He's so kind and so powerful and so perfect. He's big enough to do miracles, and then he's also attentive enough that when a child wants to come up and sit on his lap, he makes time. He is, you might say, the new blueprint for humanity, God's second Adam, the way to do it right. He's using Jesus as an illustration to say that when God sent perfection into the world, people didn't recognize it.
Let me give you a theology lesson on why people did not recognize perfection when it came: Because people are dumb. Because people look at all the wrong stuff all the time. We will find a celebrity to emulate and not even take into account that celebrity is miserable. We will model our lives after somebody who is secretly miserable. Meanwhile, God puts people in our lives who are actually good, examples and role models in our lives who are actually good, and we call them old heads. We don't like them because they don't wear the stuff that looks attractive, but it's okay, because here's the message: Jesus was rejected. Can you believe that?
The eternal Word of God, the pure, spotless, without blemish Lamb of God, Jesus, the Alpha, the Omega, and everything in between… Jesus was rejected. He's talking about Jesus. He said the stone, the foundation… On Christ the solid rock I stand. The thing everything was built on, the Word that is eternal that was spoken from the portals of eternity into the labor pangs of time… That Jesus was rejected. He came to his own, and his own received him not. He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Jesus was rejected. What made you think you would never be? He was despised. Why do we always think we're going to be so well liked? Jesus was rejected.
I don't think we get that message very much anymore. We get Jesus was resurrected, but before he was resurrected… The only reason he needed to be was that he was rejected by the people he came to save. That's a very painful thing, y'all. There's not a person under the sound of my voice who hasn't experienced the… Maybe you don't call it being rejected. Maybe it just feels like being ignored. The popular term now is unseen. "I need to feel seen". It's like you change your hair color and all that stuff, and nobody even cares about it much. You bought those shoes on a credit card. You can't afford them. You're paying them off until you're raising your grandchildren. Nobody even cares about that. You're trying to be seen. Really, if I come to the theological truth that's in the text, it's nothing new. Jesus was rejected.
I was 16 when I gave my life to Christ. The language we used was I accepted Jesus. I remember that's what the preacher said. "If you would like to accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior…" He was saying, "Make a decision. Put your faith in Christ. Put your trust in him". When I did that, I meant it. I would say I've never looked back. I've looked back plenty, but I've tried to keep moving forward or at least get back up when I fall down. The time-lapse testimony is "I gave my life to Christ when I was 16, and here I am today preaching the Word of God. Shout-out Nairobi. Shout-out Botswana. Shout-out Bamberg, South Carolina".
Accepting Jesus was easy. What's not to accept? I mean, he's going to pay for my sins. Not my bill at Chuy's…my sins, my wrongs. He's going to take away my shame. He's going to stand in the place where I deserve to stand. He's going to die for me. He's going to put his resurrection power in me. He's going to pray for me to the Father when I don't have the words to say. I'll take it. This is a good deal. I'm accepting Jesus. That happened when I was 16. This week, I turned 41 years old. That means it has been 25 years since I accepted Jesus. That's a quarter of a century since I accepted Jesus. When I accepted Jesus, I bet it took me 25 seconds to walk down the aisle. I prayed this prayer. I accepted Jesus. Twenty-five seconds. But what has taken me 25 years is accepting Steven. That hasn't been as easy. He's not perfect. He's not always forgiving. He doesn't have all wisdom. He doesn't have a lot of things. He's 5'8-1/2".
People say things when they meet him like, "You look taller on the screen". That's appropriate. Accepting Jesus took a moment; accepting me is taking a lifetime. The longer I live with Steven, the sicker of him I get. "Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before". There's a hymn that goes like that. Every day with Steven, I discover a new depth of the depravity. There's good stuff too. I'm not up here self-flagellating, like, "I'm so horrible". A lot of y'all suck worse than I do. I mean, I'm a good man. I love my family, and I do good things sometimes. That's not the point I'm trying to make here. The point I'm trying to make is to accept Jesus and not accept Steven is to miss the gift of salvation where it matters the most. Peter doesn't just say he's holy. He said the same him who was holy is making you holy. He didn't just say Jesus was a stone.
Look at verse 5. He said, "You also…" I read this Scripture a million times. I thought, "Yeah, Jesus was rejected. Jesus was crucified. Jesus came and the Jewish people didn't receive him, so the gospel had to go to the Gentiles. Jesus was hung up, and they took Barabbas instead of Jesus on the cross. Yeah, they rejected Jesus". I thought this is a Scripture about how the wisdom of men is always faulty and the wisdom of God is the only wisdom that can be trusted, and that's all right there. I missed the hinge in verse 5: "You also…" He's the stone I build on. I'm the stone he builds on. Yes, you. Who better to hear this from than Peter? Freakin' Peter! Peter had problems. Peter was cussing while Jesus was going to the cross. But the promise was to Peter.
Jesus said, "Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock…" His faith would still be shaken. He would still at times in his life be belligerent, obnoxious. Am I talking about Peter? Am I talking about Steven? Am I talking about you? I don't know who I'm talking about. I'm talking about what God builds on…barren wombs, virgin girls, people who have no business being built on. The reason you don't know that is because you've only heard time-lapse truth. You only see it happen in like 10 minutes, and then when it has been 10 years for you… You don't realize the same one who is sitting here saying… In 1 Peter 2, it's the same Peter. The same Peter who's saying, "You are chosen," when Jesus first said, "I want to use your boat," said, "Go away from me, Lord. I'm a sinful man".
I never caught that before, how far Peter has come to be able to go from saying, "Not me; you can't use me" to now God is using the same one who tried to push Jesus away. The stone the builders rejected is the one who preached on the day of Pentecost, the one with the loud mouth, the one who lied about his affiliation with God, the one who couldn't seem… Peter was always the one who was jumping up at the wrong times and shrinking back at the wrong ones, and God said, "I'm going to build on that". "My kingdom will not be built on prestige and personas and images. My kingdom will not be built on perfect people. No, this kingdom will be built different.
See, I'm going to find somebody who's real rock solid, who knows they need grace, and I'll build on that". I was so thankful Jane was up here when I came to preach. You wrote me a letter 10 years ago that I never forgot. I memorized it like it was Bible verses. The "book of 2 Jane". Jane Williams. We were celebrating some milestone for the ministry, four years or something like that. She said, "I thank God for you". She said, "Respectfully, I want to tell you something". She said, "What God is doing in you and through you is going to look different than any of the heroes you have". And she listed them. She knew who my heroes were because I'm unashamedly… I look up to people in big ways. She named my heroes, and she said, "Respectfully, I just want to encourage you to be open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do through you".
I never forgot that letter. When we started going away and writing songs together, none of my other pastor friends were writing music. I would quote 3 Jane 2:14. "It's going to be different". You're trying to build what's on somebody else's box with your pieces. You're trying to squat Buck's weight. Buck is built different. He's an alien. He's a freak. He is not a man. He is a machine. You get the point. He's built different. He said, "Get rid of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy". Your life is going to be built different. Your season is going to look different. Your timing is going to be different, everything about it, how God uses you. You know the principle "What God selects man rejects; what man rejects God selects"?
That's true of you, your life. It's true of David who wasn't even in line to be looked at as a future king but was still out in the field. Study it. God said, "I have rejected Saul who the people chose, and I chose David who the people didn't even know was there". In the same way, that was true of Jesus, the suffering servant. They wanted a king, not a carpenter. He was both. We should have known this kingdom was going to look different when we crowned a carpenter as our Savior. That means there's going to be cutting, sanding. That means the raw materials don't look like the finished product, but you have to stay entirely confident in the carpenter's process.
Your belief is your blueprint. All of the behaviors we're trying to change to rebuild our life… If we don't first deal with the belief that caused the behavior, it will be short-term in nature. The change will not stick. It will be a time-lapse transformation. Real transformation takes time. It took Peter, if I have my dates correct, roughly 25 years to go from saying, "Jesus, you are the chosen one" to being able to say to the Gentiles he wrote this to, "You are the chosen one…you also". People skip that stuff when they tell you. I'll admit I do it. I have a word I've heard from the Lord I'm excited to preach. When I woke up this morning, my stomach was so torn up… I don't tell you that part. You don't need to know all that.
It was even too much information right there, and I didn't even say the full sentence. You can't handle this. You don't need to tell everybody everything, but my point of it is don't judge your transformation by somebody else's time-lapse. It's just like I said a million years ago. You're comparing your behind the scenes to everybody else's highlight reel. He said, "You are being built". When I walked in and heard Holly telling her friends about when we got to take a COVID test… This was a few weeks ago. I heard her tell the story, and I'm like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. You didn't tell them the part that when the man stuck the Q-tip in your nose…" Can I please tell them?
She is looking at me so evil. I might not get a kiss for a month. I don't know if this is worth it. I mean, when that man put that Q-tip up her nose, this woman who is so tough, who has delivered three human beings, precious babies, into the world… This woman who I have seen weather storms and controversies and criticisms of the church we're giving our lives to build… This woman screamed in agony like she was thrust into the flames of an eternal hell, like she had just survived a head-on collision with a UFO. She screams at the top of her lungs, and the man says…I'm not kidding…"Ma'am, I'm not even in the nose yet". It was touching the ridge of her nose.
Yes, it's true. You didn't tell them that part. I have the mic this week. All she told them… There were all of these people around. She said, "I got a COVID test". I said, "That's all you're going to tell them"? That's all we do. "I made it by the grace of God". You barely made it. You still aren't sure you made it. Don't make me take my sweater off to preach. Everything we showed you for the 15-year anniversary was a time-lapse testimony. You don't get to see the deleted scenes, but I know them deep down. That's what gives me confidence for the grace of God, to know that he who began it will be faithful to complete it. I'm looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.
What's so weird about us is that knowing all this, that God is building us as stones (that means we need each other, because it's not a singular stone), we will isolate ourselves and think we have to be good at everything. No, no. This kingdom is going to be built different. The kingdoms of this world are built on self-reliance and independence. The kingdom of God is built on a coming together of imperfect people. This kingdom is built different. It's enhanced by the imperfections. It enables grace. That we're not perfect enables us to fit with one another. It's an absolutely amazing thing that I can accept Jesus and not accept me, yet the Scripture says the process of maturity is offering to God a spiritual sacrifice… that's my life… acceptable through Jesus.
So, the real challenge of my faith will not be accepting Jesus; it will be accepting his process with me. If that's sanding and if that's cutting and if that means I've been looking at the wrong box and that God wants to build something completely different in my life than what I had in mind, then I'm good with it. Built different. That's a statement of clarity. It helps you to know, "Hey, man. It's all right if my life doesn't look like your life or if my gift doesn't look like your gift or if my timeline doesn't look like your timeline".
Who gave you your blueprint to begin with? Your beliefs are your blueprint. For most of us, we never really checked out what model we're building according to. What happens in a marriage is you essentially repeat the same blueprint that was demonstrated in front of you without ever stopping to analyze, "Is there a new blueprint God wants to give our family"? Nobody was supposed to have a church this diverse in Charlotte, North Carolina, but God had a blueprint we were building according to before we knew what the blueprint was. I love the picture when Moses is building the tabernacle where God's presence would dwell in the wilderness.
Remember, the tabernacle was mobile. You had to be able to follow. Kind of like life is right now. You have to plan everything in pencil right now with a big fat eraser, just to know that everything is moving, just to know the blueprint might not be what we think it is. There was a verse that always got my attention. I would use it to talk to leaders. The verse is after God has given Moses these very specific instructions about "Here's how you build the curtains for the tabernacle". He goes into great detail about the lampstands and the table of presence where the showbread was. He gives great instructions about where the covenant was to be kept… all of these things in the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place.
Then there's a verse where it's like God is reminding Moses, because he showed him all this on Mount Sinai where he gave him the law. He gave him the instructions. He gave him the vision. He gave him the blueprint. After telling him where the furniture should go in the tabernacle, he tells him in Exodus 25:40, "See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain". "See to it that when you come down from this place where I'm giving you a revelation of what's real and you have to go down into everyday life where people are, you have to go down into everyday life where problems are, you have to go down into everyday life where confusion is, you have to go down to everyday life where things aren't so direct connection… See to it the pattern you build according to is not the pattern you see in the world but the pattern you see in my presence". I think it's so hard for us, because God gives us these great glimpses of the kind of person we can become. You see it through somebody else. You hear it in a moment. You get a glimpse of it. Then you have to carry that glimpse all the way down into the distractions of your real life.
Let's be honest. Now, because many are having church at home, you don't even get to have church by yourself anymore. Even as I'm preaching this, there is a distraction. While I am giving you the details God gave me to give to you for what he's building your life and designing your life according to, there's stuff running around all over your house. Some of you even have AirPods in because you're embarrassed to be listening to a sermon in front of your roommates, because they know how you really live and you don't want them to make fun of you. So now you have to take the faith God birthed while I was preaching in your ear and live it out loud in the face of people who might not respect or expect or accept you at all.
But don't worry about it, because God selects what people reject. Don't you turn around and do the opposite. Don't reject what makes you special. Don't downplay what makes you destined. Don't you take what God gave you on the mountain and the true you and build with an old blueprint. I read that and thought, "That's it right there". You have to take what God shows you on the mountain and build it in the valley. You have to take what you know to be true when you feel joy and apply it when you feel depressed. You have to take the blueprint of what God showed you it's supposed to look like and just build and hammer. You have to build an ark when you've never seen rain. You have to build in the valley what God showed you on the mountain and not take a vote of a committee of cynics who are going to tell you it can't be done.
He told Moses, "Make sure you put all the furniture where it goes in the tabernacle according to what I showed you on the mountain". Moses had a pattern that was shown to him on Mount Sinai, but that's not the mountain we get our pattern from. That's the mountain where God gave the law to his people. The kingdom Jesus came to inaugurate is built different. It's not built on Mount Sinai with rumbling thunder, flashing lightning, and wrath. It was built "on a hill far away stood an old rugged cross". The mountain I want to pattern my life after is not Sinai where the law lives. The mountain I want to pattern my life after is called Calvary where grace is greater than all my sin and shame.
What I think God is saying more than anything else is to make sure you are building by grace so that when your faith runs out, Peter, and you run short, and when your faith runs out and your answers aren't there, and when your faith runs out and your explanations fall short, you have a greater grace working in your life. God is not going to build the rest of your life based on what you deserve. No, no, no. It is built on a much truer foundation than that. This foundation cannot be shaken. If the rain blows, if the winds blow, if the streams rise, if it beats against your house, it will have its foundation on the rock and it will stand firm. That's what you've been learning in this season of your life. You've faced some rejection.
Some doors have been shut. Some things have gone wrong. Some things have toppled. Some truths have been tested, but it's not about the furniture. It's about the foundation. God can move it all around, but how great a foundation, how firm a foundation is Jesus our Lord. If you know you have the right foundation, give God a shout of praise right now!
Lord, I release this word in the spirit you gave it to me. You said to tell these people that if a thousand fall at their right or their left it will not come nigh them because they're built different. You told me to tell them that though the world may be dismayed and discouraged, not so with them, because we're built different. You told me to tell them that in a divided time politically, your church still stands together united under the only name that matters, because we're built different. Upon this rock you have built your church, and upon this rock you are building our lives, and upon this rock of revelation you are building an understanding that can never be shaken, and we praise you for it. In Jesus' name.
Lift up a high praise if you receive it, if you believe that the stone the builders rejected is the chief cornerstone.
Lord, here we are. We're not shifting sand. Our lives are built on you, the solid rock, the one who never walks away, the one who never gives out. I pray for people today who have been flapping back and forth. Maybe they've been more concerned with the furniture than the foundation. Maybe they've been more concerned with certain little items and things in their lives and this going right and that going right, but none of that mattered when the storm came. Only what mattered was what it was built on. Lord, we want to build what we behold in your presence. Today you showed us some things. I could feel it while I was preaching. You were showing us some things. All we ever see is what's wrong with us, but today you showed us what's right with you. If I can accept Jesus and Jesus accepts Steven, I have to accept me too. We join with Peter's pronouncement today. He said it to people thousands of years ago, but he was saying it for us too. You are a chosen people. Once you weren't. Now you are.
Lift your hands like you're receiving on the mountain.
God, give me a new blueprint this week. I've been looking at some of the wrong models. Give me a new blueprint for how to spend my day, for how to spend my week. Give me a new blueprint for how to handle temptation and pressure and stress. Give me a new blueprint for how to treat other people when they're unfair to me. Give me a new blueprint for what significance really is, because I need it.
Listen to me. What it's built on determines what it can be destroyed by. Anything that isn't built on Jesus, who is eternal, can be destroyed by something that is temporal. But you are a chosen people. Peter was chosen while he was cussing. He was chosen while he was preaching. Upon this rock, the living stone, rejected by men, accepted by God. We thank you for it right now. Receive it. Just receive it.