Steven Furtick - You've Got An Angel
You have an appointment with an angel, and you have an angel telling you right now, "You're going to make it. In fact, you're going to be better". It's all right. I've got an angel! Now who are you going to listen to? Your angel or your enemy? My angel said I'm going to make it. My angel said I'm right on time. My angel said it's working for my… I've got staying power! I love what the angel said to Paul. "You can't die in this storm. You have an appointment in Rome. You have to stand trial before Caesar. Can I give you the good news? You're not going to die in this trial. Can I give you the bad news? You've got a bigger one ahead". Greater things. Bigger storms. Better stories. I've got an angel. I've got an appointment.
So Paul is like, "Oh, I can't die". Did you ever watch a TV show and you knew…? I remember when we started watching that zombie show back before that looked just like the news. The Walking Dead. The trailer used to come on. (Don't send me a thing about the Word of God and The Walking Dead. It's in the Bible, the walking dead. Third day, Jesus Christ, Lazarus…it's all in there. Same stuff.) I saw the trailer, and I saw that the same guy who was in the first episode was still in it (because we watched it later) in the current season, so it took some of the suspense out of the first season, the second season, the third season, the fourth season, the fifth season.
Now, when you have a word from God concerning your life… And it could be simple. He said he would never leave me nor forsake me. So if he's going to stay with me, then whatever happens in this storm… I already saw season 6. They can't kill Rick. It doesn't matter how many Walkers. They can't kill him. I saw the season finale! I've got staying power! I've got the Holy Ghost! I wish we could high-five our neighbors, but tell somebody, "I'm in the season finale". Staying power. That's what we're celebrating today: not that we avoided the storm but that we stayed in the storm. "The crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law". He shared with them a parable. A certain man built a house.
Do you all know this story? It's kind of like the big bad wolf, but it's the big bad storm. He said two men built a house. "I'll show you what he's like who comes to me and puts my words into practice. He's like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rains came down, the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall because it had a sound foundation on the rock". You got that? Rains came down, streams rose, winds blew and beat up the house. That's what happened to the first house. That's the man who had faith. Let's go on to the second man. He was foolish. He didn't do what Jesus had instructed. Instead, he built his house on a sandy foundation, not a strong foundation. He built his house on something that was not stable, and it says the storm came. Rains came down, streams rose, winds blew and beat against the house. That's what happened to the man who did the right thing. Same storm.
What I wanted to preach today was "The Storm Is Over". I thought that would be cool. I thought that would get a lot of views on YouTube. "The Storm Is Over". But the Lord said, "You can't preach that in good conscience, because like these men who were headed to Rome and they didn't know how much longer the storm would rage, you have to teach people how to keep their hope in a storm". The Lord said, "You have to preach on staying power. You have to tell people to stay in faith". Doesn't it take faith to stay? Come on, be honest. It's just us. There's not even anybody else in the church. It's just you and somebody you live with, and you can't even be honest with me like this? How are you ever going to survive in the real world? Doesn't it take faith to stay? To stay grateful when everything in you wants to complain? That takes faith. "Come on, man. Step out of the boat".
I know this message is probably going to be my least viewed sermon of all time, but stay. That's about the only thing I can control right now, and that's what he said would save them. "If you stay, you will be saved". That's when they taunted Jesus. They said, "Come down off that cross. Do something amazing". He said, "I am". See, he couldn't come down and save you at the same time. God sent me with a word: You can't come down right now. You are like Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. He said, "I can't come down. I hear what Sanballat is saying. I hear what they're saying, but I can't come down right now. I'm doing a great work". The Spirit of God says, "I'm doing a great work in your life. You can't come down now to a lower level. You can't come down now. You can't give up hope now. Not now".
I have to stay in this moment and let patience have its perfect work. The proof of faith is not change; it's patience. Patience is the active ingredient in faith. He decided to stay. He could have called legions of angels, and they would have come at his beck and call, but he stayed. I wonder who will be saved if you stay. You'll save your own life if you stay. If you stay praising… I've decided that is my survival. Do you hear me? This is not some sort of extracurricular activity where… I appreciate the president and the governor saying that we are essential, you know, essential business, but I knew that way before the president said it. I knew that way before the governor said it. I knew we were essential. This is essential for me. I have to praise him. I'm under obligation to praise him. He gave me life itself. If I don't praise him, the rocks will cry out! I have to praise him! I stay praising. It takes faith to stay…to stay encouraged while the storm is raging; to stay optimistic when the world is pessimistic; to stay expectant when you've been disappointed; to stay sweet when the world is sour. Staying power is what they experienced on the day of Pentecost.
Before Jesus left, he said, "I need you to do something that's going to be hard for you to do right now. Stay in Jerusalem". Jeru-salem. Salem, peace. "Stay in the city of peace. Even though there's a riot in the streets, stay in the city of peace". It takes faith to stay in a state of peace. It takes faith to stay in a boat when a storm is raging. It takes faith to stay in the middle of the sea. It said they weren't saved until they cut the ropes. The Lord told me to tell you, "Cut the ropes". Quit trying to escape the stuff God is using to change you. You can't be changed unless you stay. You can't be saved unless you stay. You have to stay. You can't bear more fruit when he's pruning you unless you abide in the vine. If you cut yourself off… But if you stay, he said, "I'm going to make you more fruitful". That's what Paul had in mind, because he always wanted to go to Rome. No matter how the storm raged, no matter how the boat rocked, he said, "I'm going to Rome. I have an appointment".
The Lord said, "I've appointed you, I've chosen you to bear much fruit, and the proof that I've appointed you to bear more fruit is that I am pruning you". Staying with the ship means cutting the ropes, but if I keep on trying to find a way out of it, how can I be changed through it? Lord, I thank you for the faith to stay. You gave me this word, and you told me when I studied that someone was hearing two voices right now, and they don't see any stars to guide by. Their calendar has changed. Their rhythm has changed. They can't even go to the stores they used to go to right now. When they go there, it looks like the rapture, the Apocalypse. "Don't know what to do. Do I go in? Do I go out"? I don't have any answers for that, Lord. I'm just a preacher. But you told me to tell them that if they will stay in Jerusalem they will receive power.
So, God, give us the faith to stay. Look at me. You stayed with this whole sermon. Don't click off now. I know; I hear the kids in the background. Tell them to shut up. "Stop screaming"! Stay with me, because the thing I want to show you that's so powerful is that the only way they could receive the power of God was to stay in the place of peace. Keep your peace. Do you hear me? You have 600 employees, and you don't know how to rebuild the organization to accommodate the new situation. God has given you the power not only to survive the storm, but he gave you the power for miracles on the other side. I have the faith to believe that if we cut the ropes today, whether that's someone who's without a job and just trying to raise their own family or whether you are looking for wisdom as a leader and you don't know how to lead the people because you've lost what you are guiding by, I hear the Spirit of God saying what Paul said: "Stay with the ship".
Now, you say, "How can I stay with it when it's breaking"? No, no, no. Paul didn't promise that the ship was going to look the same when they got to the shore. He didn't say it would look the same. He said, "You're going to make it anyway". The disciples who accompanied Jesus through his ministry did not follow him to the cross except John, but he made it anyway. What he started with he did not finish with on the cross, but he made it anyway. Now we look to Jesus and we hear the echo of Paul preaching to us, saying, "Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve…" He will never leave me nor forsake me. There was an angel beside me. That's how I have staying power. That's how I can make it.