Steven Furtick - You Are Not It
All right. Stay standing. I want to share with you today a story in Mark, chapter 9, verses 14-29. Let's don't let the dramatic nature of this Bible story make us think that it doesn't apply to us. Because the story I'm going to read you is very extreme, and there are people here who have extreme situations that you're dealing with and joining us who have extreme situations. But even if the situation you're dealing with in your life today and the need you have isn't this dramatic or doesn't fit this particular description of this picture, I believe the dynamics of what God wants to teach us would apply to every person in the room of every age. So just with that in your mind, listen as I read this account.
The Scripture says, "When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 'What are you arguing with them about?' he asked. A man in the crowd answered, 'Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.'" Listen to Jesus, how frustrated he sounds. "'You unbelieving generation,' Jesus replied, 'how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.'" I feel the Lord saying that to someone today. "Bring him to me".
Now let's keep reading. "So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy's father, 'How long has he been like this?' 'From childhood,' he answered. 'It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.' 'If you can'?' said Jesus". I like that part. You like that too? "'Everything is possible for one who believes.' Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'" "When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit, 'You deaf and mute spirit,' he said, 'I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.' The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently, and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, 'He's dead.' But Jesus…" Many said, "He's dead". But Jesus… Many said, "That's it". But Jesus… Many said, "It's over". But Jesus... That's not my message, but I want to shout in the middle of the sentence: "But God! But God"! "But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up".
Now this is the part I want to preach about. "After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately…" They were kind of embarrassed about the way things went down. They just experienced a terrible failure and got called out in front of the Son of God. "They asked him, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?'" Here's why. Verse 29. "He replied, 'This kind can come out only by prayer.'" I want to give you this message today: You Are Not It. You remember: "Eeny meeny miney moe; my mama told me to, and you…" Put your finger six feet from your neighbor's face. Let's obey the law, but look at them right now, and say, "You are not it". Put it in the chat. Be seated. Let's talk about it. You are not it. Oh! It's my oldest son's sixteenth birthday today. Happy birthday, Elijah! He's not in church today; he's on a little trip with his mom. They're coming back today. I love you so much. I'm so proud of you. It hurts how much you love your kids, doesn't it? It hurts how much you love your kids. Sometimes I just walk by him, and I can't even speak. I just… Sometimes I just walk by him and just think, "Man, it hurts. I hate you for making me love you so much".
I love you, man. He's watching. They're flying back. I think they're headed to the airport as we speak. If the signal is good, he'll be getting this message. If not, he'll be watching this message and taking notes later in the week. Little birthday trip. They're headed back today. We're excited to have Holly back today. Our family… Graham and Abby are really excited. We have DoorDash-ed every restaurant in the Carolinas in three days. It's amazing. It's a miracle. So 16. I have a 16-year-old, y'all. That is the Devil. I rebuke that accusation of age, a 16-year-old. Elijah is, I don't know if he's a litigator at heart, but he always finds a loophole. I'm kind of reflecting on his personality. Because when you're a dad, you look for all these techniques, and you'll steal, beg, borrow anything as a dad. You know, like the guy in this passage; he's doing anything he can to get his son healed. When you become a parent, since God forgot to put the manual and the instruction sheet inside all the little 75 million pieces of parenting a human life, and since you can take a test to drive a car but not to be responsible for human life, you'll try anything.
My friend, Judah Smith, told me that his dad used to tell him when he was a little boy, "Of all the five-year-olds in the world (or whatever age he was…seven, nine)…" He said he did this all the time growing up. He said that his dad would say, "If they lined up all the five-year-olds, seven-year-olds, nine-year-olds in the world…" Then he would name all the continents and countries. All those seven-year-olds from India and Australia, Africa. All the foreign countries. Alabama (cheap shot). "And they let me choose of all the little five-year-olds, I'd choose you". So I tried that on my kids, and of course, Elijah is our lab rat. I do have a theory about firstborn children. While you're putting away their college funds, save them a therapy fund, because you're learning all the stuff that doesn't work on them.
Elijah, when I was putting him to bed one night, I said, "Of all the kids in the world, if they lined up every kid from…" I went through the roll call of all the countries and states that I could think of. "If I could choose anyone… If God let me choose any little five-year-old boy, I would choose you". Then I'd do it again the next night and the next night. By the third night I did it, I said, "If I lined up all the kids in the world that were five years old, and God let me choose one, I would choose you". He goes, "Technically, you can't say that, because you haven't seen all the five-year-olds in the world". Y'all think that's bad. Graham is much worse. He's a couple of years younger than Elijah, and he's much more ruthless. One night with Graham, I tried to turn it on him. I said, "Now if they lined up all the daddies in the world, would you pick me"? He goes (just cold blooded), "How could I know? I haven't seen all the different dads".
My demon-possessed children today in the Scriptures. "I don't know! I don't know! I don't know"! Part of me was like, "I feel you, man," because I really mean the part about 'I wouldn't pick a different kid.' I make a lot of jokes in the pulpit, but being a dad, to me, is the greatest privilege other than being Holly's husband, even more than being your pastor. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I would let y'all all go to hell before I would let one of my kids grow up without an active dad. That's just a fact. I'm not even saying it's right, but that's how I feel about it. One guy said to me at one of the kids' baseball games… I was getting kind of fired up. Nothing really bad at the umpire, but I was kind of, you know, making myself known because he made a bad call on my kid. One of the other parents said, "I thought you were supposed to be a pastor". I said, "But right now I'm a dad". And I went back to yelling at the umpire, right? "Now you can take my ordination certificate. I don't care, man. I'm a dad right now".
But I do think when it comes to your kids, like, how crazy it can be that I thought the same thing. Graham was just kidding, obviously, when he said that. He knows I'm the greatest of all time, but he said what I fear. Sometimes I think they could do better with a different dad. And not to go so deep so quickly on y'all, but I think every parent has thought it before. "I don't want to pass this on to you. I don't want you to be later in life showing up for something and not having the tuition to pay for a lesson I should have taught you when you were 12, but I didn't know I was supposed to teach you". It's nerve-racking, and that's why I want to cry when I walk by him sometimes, because I'm like, "You are so much better of a kid than I am of a parent. I just don't want to mess this up for you". It's a real feeling. I know this isn't Father's Day or Mother's Day, but it's my kid's sixteenth birthday, and this dad in this passage got me thinking of all the different ways that Graham was right. Maybe you should have a better dad.
We watched Space Jam II the other night, and I thought to myself, "How much better would Graham's life be if LeBron were his dad? But what's inside of him that will never come out because I'm 5'9" right? So I'm punishing myself for genetics that had nothing to do with my decision. I wonder if Jesus ever looked at the disciples and thought, "I could do a whole lot more with different disciples"? Because did you see in the passage, Jesus wasn't always feeding little children Captain D's happy meals, regardless of the selected Bible stories that you've had cherry-picked for you to personify Jesus to always be so patient that he never corrected anyone.
In the passage I just read to you, I'm talking seven minutes ago when I started the sermon, Jesus your Savior, your loving-arm Savior, your sheep-stroking Savior, your Good Shepherd Savior, your "Let the children come to me" Savior said something that every parent in this room has said before: "How long shall I put up with you"? It made me wonder… Do you ever feel that way about me, Heavenly Daddy? Like, if you could pick all the preachers in the world to be in this pulpit today, and line them all up, all the 41-year-old 5'9" preachers, would you have put me in this pulpit? Sometimes I can't figure out did he pick me, or is he putting up with me? Because I think I am what I do. I am what I do. The disciples here… Can we work backward through the passage? Because there's a lot to talk about.
The only thing you really need to know about what happened right before this miracle for the lesson today is that Jesus has just taken his favorite three disciples (Peter, James, and John) up on a mountain to see him transformed. When they get back down the mountain… This might remind you of Moses coming down Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, and the children of Israel are dancing naked around a calf. Like you can't leave these disciples alone for seven days, and they're fighting with the teachers of the law, arguing about something that they were very capable of doing but didn't exactly accomplish. Jesus is explaining to them the root of their failure. He says, "The reason you couldn't drive out this evil spirit that possessed this boy who has been thrown into fire and water and whose life is on the line is because this kind of situation can only be fixed by prayer".
Let me point out the obvious. I know you're thinking it. If it can only be driven out by prayer, why didn't Jesus pray before he casts the spirit out? "I'm sure he did, Pastor Furtick. I'm sure he did". Let me see. No. Look, the father said, "I do believe; help my unbelief". And Jesus saw the crowd was running, and he rebuked the impure spirit, the deaf-and-mute spirit. He said, "I command you to come out of him and never enter him again". The spirit didn't like it, but he had to go. It didn't want to go, but it had to go. It put up a fight, but it had to go. The disciples said, "Why couldn't we do that"? Because they've done a lot of amazing things. They've healed a lot of people. "Why couldn't we do it"? And Jesus said, "You had to pray". But he didn't pray; he just did it. He didn't pray. Maybe Jesus isn't so much talking about the activity of prayer as the attitude of prayer. Maybe he's not talking about the technique.
"If you would have said the right words, you know, if you would have done the right, whatever you grew up in… If you would have done that, if you would have done this, you could have had the result". No, it seems like the disciples in this particular passage of Scripture have confused the power with the source. Because when Jesus gets down the mountain, they're arguing with the teachers of the law. So here's what's happened. They have confused their ability to do it with their dependence on the One who can enable them. You are not it. Maybe a little pride started entering into the disciples. You know, "Oh, look how God used us last time". If you're not careful in your life, you will start to believe that you are what you do. One Scripture that got my attention one time was about Jacob in the Old Testament. It just came to my mind when I was studying today, and I thought I should share it with you. Because when Jacob was in the womb with his twin brother, Esau, he was fighting for position with Esau. He tried to come out first so that he could get all the blessings that the firstborn gets. But it didn't exactly work because instead of coming out first, he came out being named after his aspiration: Jacob (deceiver, supplanter, heel grabber).
Now Jacob grows up, and he does this little trick thing where he tricks his brother out of his birthright and his blessing. He learns how to play a certain game. He even wears this really wooly suit to pretend to be his brother so that his blind father Isaac will think that he's blessing the older one, but he's really blessing the younger one. Because you can learn how to trick people with stuff. You can actually act like it and not be it. That's the message here. To the point that when Jacob had to run away from his brother, Esau, and go stay with his Uncle Laban. He was coming back to make peace with Esau after 20 years away from his homeland… The Bible says something really interesting in Genesis 32, verse 20. He said to his messengers, "Be sure to say, 'Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.' For he thought, 'I will pacify my brother.'" The one he tricked. "I will pacify the issue. I will pacify the thing I need to deal with. I will pacify the thing I've been running from".
I'm going to preach today. I'm going to preach today in a minute. "I will pacify my problem with these gifts". He sent out all these animals that he had accumulated. He sent out all these clothes he wanted to offer to Esau. He sent his gifts ahead. Say it: "He sent his gifts ahead". One more time. "He sent his gifts ahead". "When I see him, perhaps he'll receive me". Now look at verse 21. "So Jacob's gifts went on ahead of him…" The things went ahead of him. The things that represented his status went ahead of him. The things that were impressive went ahead of him because, "Maybe Esau will see all these blessings I've acquired, and maybe if I send my gift, he will accept me, so I'm sending it so that he will receive me". But here's the separation. Watch this. You are not your gift. "So Jacob's gifts went on ahead, but he…" One more time. I'm going to leave this alone in a minute. "…but he himself spent the night in the camp".
When I saw that, it gave me such a clear picture of what we do when we confuse ourselves with our stuff, ourselves with our gift, ourselves with our ability. Did the disciples come to a point where they began to believe that they could do ministry without Jesus? How many times have I found myself in a state of failure because I tried to do what God called me to do without him? You begin to believe you can just do stuff (it worked last time) and do it again. Do you know what that's called? Manipulation. You want me to say more about that? I want to say a little more about that. You are not your gift. When Jacob was left alone from all of his stuff, he had to wrestle with who he was. That's the season of life some of us are in right now. We realize at the end of the day, I can drive it, but eventually I have to park it. I can wear it, but eventually nobody else's name can make me feel sure of who I am. If I wear a brand name on the outside, but I don't know it on the inside, if my identity is given through a gift that I have, or even a label that people confer on me, I will always be a slave to their label.
It says the other disciples were standing there arguing with the teachers of the law, arguing and fighting while a young boy is dying. And Jesus said, "How long do I have to put up with y'all"? It's like, "I picked y'all, but I'm sick of y'all". "Heavenly Father, deliver me from stupid". Have you ever prayed anything like this? Yet God, God is not like Graham. God isn't still shopping his options on you. I read something in Ephesians 2 that helped me one time. It says, "For it is by grace you have been saved". How many are really glad about that right there? Let me show you how it could have been without Jesus, without the blood of Christ without the mercy of God. If God were not slow to anger and abounding in love. It could say, "By behavior you are saved," and you'd be burning up. Your butt wouldn't be able to be in that seat right now. You'd be burning with the fire of judgment right now. Little sneaky self. I know what you've been up to. If it was by behavior you have been saved, but no. But he said, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast".
Verse 10 really sealed the deal for me because that made me happy to think about it being God's gift not mine that identifies me. I think I need to teach this more in the church. I don't think we understand what it means to have imputed righteousness, our standing in Christ. I think we still secretly think that some days God doesn't even want to talk to you. I think we still secretly think that we can hit a certain point where we actually deserve and are worthy of the grace of God, so we haven't truly accepted Ephesians 2:8 yet. We still can't receive his gift because we're still identifying ourselves by ours. He said it's not a work so that no one can boast. The disciples are down there arguing because they thought they were the work they were doing. Now verse 10 is awesome. You thought verses 8 and 9 were good. Look at verse 10. This is a prime cut, baby. You ready? "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do".
That blessed me to know that God created the work for me to do before he created me to do it. Read the verse again. It said God prepared the work in advance. We define ourselves by the work that we do. That's why, for some of you, the last year and a half has been the hardest, because either you've been unemployed for the first time in your life or your position has been shifted. I told our campus pastors a few months ago how hard it was to be a pastor when there were no people in the building. When there were no people to pastor, and you can't lay hands on people, and you can't pray for people. If you touch them, they'll come lock you up; the CDC will shut you down. That's fine. That's good to be healthy, but I talked to them about how difficult it is when you've identified yourself one way in one season to have that stripped. But the Bible says that Jacob got the greatest blessing of his life when he was stripped of his gifts and left with himself.
So if it gets me to the core of myself to realize that before God gave me the work to do, he created a work with my name on it… God isn't like Graham. He isn't shopping. "Would they be a better parent? Would they be a better fit for this opportunity? Hmm, I wonder if I could get somebody a little bit smarter, a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller. I wish I had a good…" (No, that's another era in time.) God is not doing all that. God doesn't pick people like people pick people. God formed the role, and then he filled you with his Spirit to do the thing he formed you to do. This is where theology becomes therapy. See it? This is where I understand that I'm not it. I'm not it. For years, I've preached this passage, and I would share… It's a difficult passage to preach, right? Because the first group of Christians, they want to make it all about foaming at the mouth, and all about the symptoms of the boy, and demon possession. I've seen all of that. I have been preaching since I was 16, so I've seen every manifestation of evil. I think I've seen every category, if not every specific one, I've at least been in the neighborhood. Some of it I saw even in my own dad.
When he was dying, we'd be like, "That's not him. That's not him". It was partially… He died of ALS. It was partially the sickness. It was partially the, I think, the medication, the loss of control. Part of it is the crazy that you can keep down for most of your life, and then it has built all the strength and comes back up when it sees a door. My dad had a lot of crazy. Oh, man. He started telling stories in the last year of his life, and I'm like, "How were you so normal compared to what you should have been"? I thought he was crazy till I understood the context of his crazy and realized he was the most normal person on earth for the context of crazy that he could have been. Look at somebody and say, "Be nice to me. You don't know how bad I could be". Be nice to me. You don't know. If you only knew what I wanted to do that I don't do, you wouldn't judge me so much. After all, there is a judge, but then you hear the preacher say, "You are not it". You're not my judge. You're not my jury. You don't get to tell me how far I've come on my journey.
I'm praising God for where I am. God made me. I'm his handiwork. He's my manufacturer. You are not the Customer Service Hotline. I'm not calling you about my defects. I'm bringing it to Jesus. There is a power that can heal. There is a power that can deliver. There is a power that can save, and you are not it. Did I ever tell you when the Holy Spirit starts speaking to me when I would say, "I don't want to preach today"? He said, "You don't have to. There are other preachers. You're not it". A two-letter word in the passage, and y'all were laughing when I read it because it's so funny. He said, "If you can do anything. If you can do anything". How long has he been like this? From childhood. He didn't always say if. There's a good chance this father, if he's the kind of man who has the instinct to put up with the dumb disciples long enough to wait on Jesus to get down the mountain, to put up with the arrogant Pharisees and Sadducees who are arguing with the disciples. I have to put this in because I'm going to forget it. Once I take this next turn, there's no coming back to this, but I have to tell you this.
Sometimes you are fighting against them, and the real enemy is it. That first verse said that they were arguing with the teachers of the law while the spirit was wreaking havoc on this boy. Sometimes we are fighting somebody when we really ought to be fighting a spirit. Everybody that's been married under two years, stand up. Sometimes, she's going to be the one that you're frustrated at, but y'all have to square up together, man, because it's not... This is what the Lord showed me one time with Holly. It's not me versus you right now; it's us versus it. Do you hear me? I know y'all don't ever fight, but if you ever did… Yeah, you can sit down. I know it's embarrassing to stand up in church. The people at the other campuses aren't even doing it. They're like, "He's on a screen; I'm not doing what he says. Hate this guy". But watch how we'd fight against them and not it. I was talking to somebody I love the other day, and this came out of my mouth. Aw, I wish I could take it back. I wish I could have taken it back. I said it, but I didn't really mean it. I said it, but I was just frustrated in the moment.
I said, "You're so negative". I could see the color drain out of their face, and the more we talked about it, this is what the person said to me. "Next time, can you make it about what I did, not who I am? Because I can't fix it if it's who I am, but if it's about what I did, we can discuss it". "So next time, will you say, 'Man, I feel like you're being kind of negative right now". Now it still would have pissed a person off (I'm sorry, I said that word in my sermon), but that would have made it about the problem, not the person. The Devil wants us arguing against them, so we never deal with it. I have an enemy, but you're not it. You're not it. I just heard that phrase: you are not it. The father said, "If you can do anything, if you can do anything, help us. Help me". In fact, he says something pretty powerful when Jesus said, "If"? I used to think he was insulted, but did you know that this man's if was an invitation? The boy still got healed. The Lord didn't say, "Go straighten out your theology, and when you get this if out…"
I grew up in a time of ministry where people taught that you had to show God your faith, and if you showed them anything other than your faith… You know, when you pray, you have to say, "Lord, I enter your gates with thanksgiving, and I enter your courts with praise…" But sometimes that left me standing outside the gate for like six days out of seven during the week because I didn't feel thankful, and I didn't feel "praisy". In this situation… I know the Bible says you should not doubt in your heart, and if you're a double-minded man unstable in all he does, you're like tossed and driven with the wind and love not the man and you should not receive anything from the Lord because he's double-minded and all that. I know the Bible, y'all, but Jesus didn't penalize the man for his if. "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief".
Now this man's son is sick, but there's something very healthy that's happening in this passage. This is where the theology meets the therapy. You ready? He separates his faith from his feelings. We are going to have a million different feelings every day of our lives. We are going to go from feeling like… Even in this service today, I don't know how many, but somebody probably thought, "This is the best thing I've ever heard in my life. This is exactly… What's for lunch"? Wasn't even a breath. Wasn't even a comma. It was just in the same sentence. "God helped my un-… We're going to go over to…" What I noticed about the man is that he owned his unbelief, but he did not identify himself with it. I didn't see this when I was 28 and preaching this text. All I saw was the boy foaming and gnawing, and I thought this was all about demons and evil.
I missed the point because I was so hung up on the word if, and I was trying to eliminate the if, and I was trying to eliminate the insecurity. I was trying to eliminate the doubt. I was like, "If I could just get this out of my life, I could just be a better person". I was still trying to qualify myself rather than understanding that I was created for what God will qualify me for, and if I'm available, my ability will never be the issue. This is so good. He said, "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him, but if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us". If. If. If. The Lord told me to look at the other two-letter word in verse 22. He said, "It". "It has often thrown him". Look how this father sees his son. He knows that it is not him. That's why it drives you crazy when your disciples (or kids) are doing something that you know is so driven by their amygdala, but you know, "If I can keep you… Because I know you. I've seen you, and this is not you". "This is an it".
Your kids may not be foaming at the mouth, and that's fine. Don't get distracted by the dynamics. Don't think this is about a demon possession This is about everybody's it. I could elaborate on that, but let me just say this: Everybody has an it. It has thrown him into the fire. It has thrown him into the water. "No, Pastor, I don't have anything like that now. I never just went… Just jumped in the swimming pool. I do have good sense. I'm not going in there with the alligators, and I don't touch fire, man. I know better than that". But you're drowning in debt. It. You complain… I'm preaching to myself right now, not you; don't take it hard. See? everybody else's it is something you can see, but your it? Help me, Holy Ghost. Help me. Help me, Lord. Your it is hidden because you think it's you. But you are God's workmanship. You are a new creation. You are not a body; you are a spirit in a body. You understand what I'm saying?
So it is not you, and you are not it. You are not it. "Naw, the Devil made me do it". How many times have we used that excuse? "The Devil took my joy". "The Devil gave me a flat tire". No, that was a nail, and you knew the tire pressure was low, and it was a construction site anyway, and you weren't paying attention. "The Devil made me late". No, you hit snooze seven times. I'm not talking about blaming the Devil for decisions that we should make ourselves I'm just saying that even at the root of what you did… We get so distracted by the behavior: foaming at the teeth, becoming rigid. But what has it robbed you of? God, this is heavy, man, because it takes from you. It takes from you. I'm talking to every person who has been in a battle with depression. You are not it. It might be throwing you around right now. Because you get happy for a minute, and then you're like, "God, I can't even hold happy for five minutes. I guess I'm just depressed. I guess I'm just…"
It said that it for this boy, the spirit, tried to drown him. It tried to throw him in the fire. He could have had no way of knowing that his healing was the last thing that Jesus would do before he headed to Jerusalem to give his life for our sin. When you identify yourself with it, whether it's your gift and your good stuff, you end up like… I read about one Olympic athlete. A guy. Michael something…Phelps, 28 gold medals. I Googled him the other day to try to find out how many gold medals, and they pulled up an article about Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete. Are you watching the Olympics? I can't watch water polo; that gives me heart palpitations, watching people tread water for that. But the headline said from 2018, "I didn't want to be a part of the sport. I didn't want to live". That's how he would feel after he did it. It. It. It. He said, "I could compartmentalize. I could do it. But deep down, I never dealt with me. I have a gift. I got more gold medals than letters in the alphabet, and I didn't want to live, because I started to think I was an it".
Jesus never called the boy it. He said, "Bring him to me". Are you thankful that when he sees you, he doesn't see what you did? People do. "Oh, she gained a little bit there in quarantine". That's how they identify you. But I'm not this. I can lose this, gain this, put it on, take it off. I'm not this, that, or the other that you can see or count or weigh or measure. No, no, no. I am a spirit, and my spirit testifies with God's Spirit that I am his child. The dad said, "I know my boy, and this is not him". And Jesus said, "How long has he been like this"? Now I asked God, "What do I tell them after I've told them that they are not it, that they are chosen by you and used by you, that they have to include you, and they can't get out there in their own power, and that's why they've been tired, and that's why they've been dying, and that's why there's no life detached from the vine…"? Because you started to think that you were the vine, but you're just the branch. You are not it. You started to think that you were the sin, but you are not the sin.
We are so sin conscious in church that we can name everything that's wrong with us and not name anything that God has done for us. If your instinct is to identify with it… Jesus said, "Bring him to me. Bring him to me". The father said, "I believe; help my unbelief". Jesus said, "Bring that to me too". That's not you; that's it. Your doubt is not you; your doubt is it. You can overcome that with his help. All things are possible to him who believes. Jesus said, "How long has he been like this"? The father said, "He's been like this so long that all I've got left is an if". God said to tell you that you won't always be this way. What has been taken from you can be restored to you. What has been snatched from you… The man said he robbed his ability to speak. He can't hear, so he can't speak. You know, the Enemy loves to do that. He loves to get it where you can't hear God. You can't hear truth. You can't hear beauty. You can't hear peace. You can't hear it anymore. So now that you can't speak, you can't do it.
Every time you go to it, it throws you in the fire and water. You push the people away who could help you, but the Lord said it's not always going to be like this, because you are not it. Any it that you will bring into the presence of Jesus… I'm not talking about bringing it to church. You can bring it to church, put it in your purse, and chew it with chewing gum, and you won't get better. But if you will bring it to Jesus… The man said, "I brought my boy to you," and Jesus said, "You haven't brought him to me yet. You brought him to my boys. Bring it to me, but make sure you bring the boy, not just the issue". Now what we've been doing in church so long is we keep bringing God issues that we want him to fix. Y'all are so quiet; I know I'm preaching good. I got you pinned. I know. Sometimes I think of myself like some kind of machine. It. Men are the most dysfunctional. If we want to compliment another man, we say he's a beast; he's an it. The Lord said, "Bring me your boy". Whatever your it is today, I see God separating it out. For you to understand that you are not it… Yes, he chose you. He wants you. And before He created you, he created what he wanted you to do, so in that sense, you're it.
One time I told Holly, "I don't think I'm the right pastor for this church". We were three or four years into the ministry, trying to have a date night at Firebirds. I was mad at every staff member. I couldn't fire any of them because I didn't have any better options. I would have if I could have, but I couldn't, so I said I might just fire me. If all the players suck, fire the coach, right? I said, "I don't think I'm it. I don't think I'm meant…" She said… This is how Holly can just cut through with a sentence. She said, "You're the one we got". Now, Graham… You watching this, boy? I'm the one you got. This is not CarMax. This is not Amazon.com. This is not a selection process; I'm the one God gave you. And even this imperfect dad said, "I have a lot of unbelief, but deeper down, I do believe". And see, deeper down, there is an anointing. Deeper down, there is knowledge. Deeper down, there is wisdom. But you have let it take over you.
Jesus spoke to it to free him. I want to thank God today that even when I feel unbelief… It's no secret to me what people are going home to. I'm not stupid, y'all. I know everybody isn't leaving here to cross stitch and crochet a visual of my sermon from today. But the Bible says that he looked at that boy whose body was as good as dead and took him by the hand and helped him up. In my prayer time today, I saw God separating you from it. Because honestly, the depression has been talking, and the anxiety has been talking, and the fear has been talking so loud. We talk about these spirits that we can see, and he shook and convulsed and shrieked, but what about the ones that throw you around? What about the spirit of fear that's been throwing you around? You can't even speak up anymore. Things that you used to be able to do easily. Things that you see others do easily. And it's a spirit, but it's not you. There's a greater spirit. "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world". "It is by grace you are saved through faith".
You are not it, and the Devil has been telling you that one way, and you've been hearing it. "You're not it. You're not a good dad". "You're not fit for this". "You're not experienced". You're not it; look at you". "You're not it. Look at them. They're it; you're not it". So here's what we're going to do all week long. We're going to agree with him to a point. Okay? I'm not it. There is a Savior. I'm not it. There is a power that is greater than all sin and shame, and I'm not it. There is a righteousness that comes from God by faith, and I'm not it. But let me tell you something, Devil, you accuser of the brethren. At the same time you're pointing your finger at my inadequacy and my shortage and my lack of knowledge… At the same time that you're dragging out my mistakes from three years ago, or three months ago, or three minutes ago, and throwing them in my face, you need to understand something: "He became sin who knew no sin that I might become the righteousness of God".
God, I pray for restoration of your understanding of righteousness. I am the righteousness of God. I am a child of God. I'm a son. I'm not it. I'm his workmanship. You are not your sin. You are not your fear. I command insecurity, get out, in the name of Jesus.
Step aside. The glory of the Lord is in this place. The king is here. You gotta go.
I'm not it. God, you have all authority. You have all power. You have all might. We take you by the hand right now.
Just stand up on our feet. You are not it. Our sins had to be punished, had to be dealt with. God needed a lamb, a perfect lamb without blemish, without spot, for the sacrifice so that your shame and your sin wouldn't stay with you the rest of your life. God needed a sacrifice, and guess what? You are not it. You're not it. You're going to punish yourself for what Jesus paid for on your behalf? "He became sin who knew no sin so I could be the righteousness of God". Right now, there's an opportunity for you to bring your sin and unbelief to Jesus. I want to pray for those of you who need to be set free from your sin today. It is by grace you are saved through faith. It. Everybody say, "It". It is the gift of God. It is the gift. And you know what? Not just the grace is the gift of God; the faith is a gift too. God will give you the faith. "I want to believe, Lord. I want to trust you. I want to move forward. Help my unbelief".
So here's what we're going to do. You bring your imperfect faith, you bring your unbelief to Jesus, and watch him take you by the hand and give you a brand new life. Right now, for all of those who came into the service today, or who logged on, and you say, "I'm far away from God, man. I feel like I've been robbed by that same enemy. Different manifestation, but the same enemy. I've been robbed". The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but he came that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.
So right now, I'm going to lead you in a prayer, and this is how we bring it to Jesus. He's not in a physical form before us today, but he's seated in heavenly places. The Bible says that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. You are not it. You can't do it on your own. You're not supposed to. He already did it. So right now, all across this church, whether you're by yourself or in a building, I want you to repeat after me this. If you honestly in your heart, you say, "I want to turn from my sin; I want to trust Christ; I want to receive his grace; I want the gift," you pray with me right now. We're going to pray out loud as a church family for the benefit of those who are coming to Jesus or coming back to Jesus. Repeat after me:
Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. And today, I make Jesus the Lord of my life. I believe he died that I could be forgiven, and he rose again to give me life. I receive this new life. This is my new beginning.
On the count of three shoot your hand up if you prayed that. One, two, three… Look at that new life.