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2021 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - When The Gift Becomes A Prison

Steven Furtick - When The Gift Becomes A Prison

Steven Furtick - When The Gift Becomes A Prison
TOPICS: Legalism

I want you to look at this Scripture in Luke, chapter 6. I'm going to share a little story from the life of Jesus. Over the last two weeks, I've been unpacking what it means to examine your examples and think about what you're modeling your life after and what mold you are squeezing your mind into and what determines the way you think. This is the last sermon I'm going to preach in this stream of teaching, but I think it's going to be a really important one. Luke, chapter 6, verse 1, says, "One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels".

I just have a theory, but I think Peter started this little grain-picking thing. Verse 2: "Some of the Pharisees asked, 'Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?' Jesus answered them, 'Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.' Then Jesus said to them, 'The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.'" I want to talk to you today about When the Gift Becomes a Prison.

Lord, I thank you for what you showed me. There's no way I can preach it the way you showed it to me, but help me to come as close as humanly possible in these moments. I'm excited about it. God, I want you to distribute this food through me. I pray we would block out distractions and receive the seed of your Word, the incorruptible Word of God. Fall in our hearts now. In Jesus' name, amen.

When the Gift Becomes a Prison. I watched this documentary about Olympic athletes the other day. All of the Olympic athletes on camera were depressed in the documentary. Did you see this? It was called The Weight of Gold. (I'm not recommending it. They're not sponsoring me to say this. If they want to, then I'll consider endorsing it formally. I'm not against that.) The thing that got my attention, regardless of the point of view that I'll never understand, is watching Michael Phelps, who did a great voice-over, by the way, for the whole documentary. He was narrating the process of going from the greatest human accomplishment you can imagine and being the most celebrated, decorated athlete in the history of the Olympics to going to the fact that then he had moments of even wondering, "Do I want to live"?

So then I thought, "Man, we need to pray for Michael Phelps," but then there was another athlete, and another athlete, and they all shared the same thing. I understand it was just a documentary and there's a storyline. I get it, but it got me thinking about how such a great talent that came from God actually became a trap for these individuals, as they were describing what it felt like to wonder, "Who am I when I'm not in the pool? Who am I when I'm not on the uneven bars"? One of the ironic things was watching a gymnast talk about the difficulty of balance. She was saying, "There was no balance in my life. I became this machine, and I lost me".

I thought about how that can happen, that a talent that comes directly from God… Because there's no way my body is going to do those things…it wouldn't matter how much I trained…so it obviously came from God, and they worked hard too. But something that was God-given, like the talent to be one of the greatest athletes in the world, could actually leave you feeling trapped because, after a while, you don't even have a concept of self that is separate from the skill set you've developed and honed. When the Gift Becomes a Prison. Did you know the Sabbath in Luke, chapter 6, was meant to be a gift to the people? I don't know if you've been paying attention, but there are some issues that are controversial in our world today, yet there is no amount of controversy we experience that can compare to what Jesus went through with these characters called the Pharisees.

You may have heard of them before in the Bible…the Pharisees. They're not as bad as we think they are. They're actually people who got caught up in something that was meant to be a good thing, which is protecting and preserving the law of God, but in the process of trying to protect the truth, they got it twisted. This is exactly what's happening in Luke, chapter 6, while Jesus' disciples are snacking on the seeds from the heads of fully ripe grain in a field, and the Pharisees call Jesus to the side. "Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath"? Sabbath to us may just be something Jewish people do, yet for many of us, we would have a hard time understanding what a great gift it was when it was originally given from God.

In fact, God said, "I gave you the Sabbath so you could pattern your life after the way I created the world, so that you do your work in six days and on the seventh you rest". It was a pattern. God wanted us to then copy him, to know we can rest from our labor. It ultimately was a shadow of what Jesus Christ would accomplish, that he is our Sabbath rest and that when we trust in him for our salvation, it is complete, and we can rest from our labor because of what he did for us. Yet isn't it funny how a gift God gave them so they could reflect on the rhythm of his creative ability has become, by the time of Jesus, a trap by which they accuse Jesus of blasphemy?

There were many things Jesus argued with these teachers about in his day, but nothing was more controversial than the Sabbath. Nothing was more controversial to them than trying to catch him break the Sabbath. I don't know why I never studied it before, but as the Pharisees are accusing Jesus in Luke, chapter 6, of breaking the Sabbath, in Luke, chapter 5, everything is breaking. In Luke 5:1-11, the disciples are out fishing, and they can't catch anything without Jesus, but when they went deeper into the water and obeyed Jesus at the point of their frustration, they had a great catch…so much that their nets began to break. A few verses later, Jesus is teaching in a house, and there are some men who need to get their friend to Jesus because he's a paralyzed man. His body won't work appropriately. Since they can't get him through the front door, they climb up on the roof and break the roof to bring their friend to Jesus.

Then at the end of Luke 5 (if you want to study this later this week, this would be an awesome thing for you to pack and take out and snack on sometime during this week so you can read what I'm saying), Jesus describes that when new wine comes into old wineskins, the old wineskin can't hold the new wine. If you try to pour something new God has given you into something old to hold it, it will waste the wine and the skin will break. In that context now, I want to show you how the nets were breaking, the roof was breaking, the wineskins were breaking. And here is Jesus breaking the Sabbath on purpose, by the Pharisees' definition, in order to engage them in a conversation that will confront the very nature of the corruption of their way of seeing and teaching God's Word in conformity with their culture and not the character of God.

I'm glad that Jesus will break stuff. I'm grateful that Jesus will break stuff. Some things I need him to break. There are some chains I've tried to pull myself free from for years that I need Jesus to break. There are even some thought patterns that I need Jesus to break the pattern of my thought. Some of the things I maybe grew up thinking were normal, I need God to break me out of the tradition… Let's talk about tradition for a moment. When my tradition and the truth contradict one another, one has to break. How many of you, if Jesus was doing a casting call for disciples, would try to sign up and be one of the Twelve? Raise your hand.

I was thinking it would have been easy to be a disciple of Jesus, because when I ask what Jesus would do, I have to use my imagination and read all of these words. All I would have to do if I was a disciple and lived 2,000 years ago and had been able to see him in the flesh is follow him and do what he did. But I don't think it would have been that easy, really, especially because everything he would do would contradict everything I had seen done. Disciple. It said Jesus' disciples did something, and then Jesus is defending his disciples. Everybody in here is a disciple. The word disciple just means learner, so everybody in here is a disciple. I want you to write something down. I don't know if we still give out Elevation pens in the time of… No? Yeah, everything has changed. You don't even get Elevation pens anymore. What has the world come to? All right. Just put it in your phone or put it in the chat. Write this in the chat: discipleship by default or design.

See, everybody in here is being discipled. I'll never forget when Holly had to ban the movie Kung Fu Panda from our house because our boys were running around the house kicking everything all the time. She had to put a temporary moratorium on Kung Fu Panda, because they were kicking without Mr. Miyagi to show them how to do it, so they were just running around kicking crap. I did the same thing watching Karate Kid when I was little. I put my foot through a picture window in my mom's house, and she was more worried about the window than my foot at first. I remember her running into the room, "My window"! I'm like, "My bloody ankle! My Achilles"! Anyway, I realized I am a disciple of somebody or something.

Now, what I was trying to get across in the last two weeks… How many of you were following with my messages about Be Careful What You Copy? Then I preached a whole sermon called Copy That. Copy that. Don't copy the dysfunction. Some of us were discipled by dysfunction, and now we have dysfunctional norms in our hearts that have become the default of how we approach life. We were discipled, or taught, in dysfunctional ways. I'm not even talking about blaming your parents or your nursery was painted blue, and you really like green, and to this day it really bothers you because green means "Go" and blue got you thrown off. I'm not talking about some blame game we play. I'm talking about understanding that the patterns that were established in your heart usually started in ways you weren't even aware of at the time.

Some of us were discipled in dysfunction. I thought about this too: some of us had an apprenticeship in anxiety, because we were either in an environment… My mom wrote me a letter, and she was sharing with me some of the things she saw growing up to help me understand some of the things she modeled for me. She was showing me "This is what I saw. These are some things I went through. These are some things that happened to me that I've never told you about because, up until now, I haven't known if it was appropriate to share. But I don't want you to spend your whole life wondering why certain things happen in your heart over and over again when I can expose you to some of the things I saw or some of the atmosphere I was raised in". The fact is we come to church and teach you to worship God, but we only get 90 minutes a week with you. Okay.

Let's be honest about most people's church attendance patterns…90 minutes a month. So, if you were raised in a home of anxiety and we're in here teaching faith and "Trust God" and "By faith the worlds were formed…" But if your life was framed by worry and "What if…"? and scarcity… Many of us have a full apprenticeship in anxiety. I thought about this: some of us had an internship in insecurity. We were taught not to trust God to be enough to meet our needs but to know everything that was wrong with us, because it was repeated over us, and it was insinuated if it wasn't said out loud. So, when you come to church, you have to realize you have been discipled by default, but following Jesus gives me the option… This is what I want you to know. You don't get to decide how you were raised, what you were born into…any of that. Those decisions were made for you. But you get to decide "From this point on…"

What time is it right now? It's 10:28, Eastern Time, August 22, 2021, the year of our Lord, anno Domini. From this moment forward, or whenever you're watching this, you get to decide, "Who do I want to be discipled by"? In the Scripture you have the Pharisees who have been discipled by generation after generation of scribes and teachers of the Law. And the Law was good. God gave the Law. It was a gift from God. God gave them the Sabbath as a gift to reflect and remember. One little known thing about the Sabbath is that God said one time, "I gave you this as a gift to remember when you were slaves in Egypt and I brought you out". Isn't it crazy that a gift God gave them to remember how they were set free from their slavery…? They have now become slaves of the Sabbath. Mark says it really clearly. He says Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath. But by the time Jesus is walking the earth and touching and healing and teaching with power and preaching the kingdom of God and inaugurating a new order of things… By the time the true King has come, they have turned the gift God gave into a prison. Anything can become a prison.

Right now, technology is enabling me to preach this word to somebody who couldn't hear it any other way, and I praise God for the gift of technology. On the other hand, I curse the day our phones ever got smart. I don't have the faith yet, but I bought a flip phone two years ago, and when I get enough faith, I'm going to hook it up, and I'm going to be the only person carrying… They're going to call me "Flip Phone Furtick". Yeah. If you want to talk to me, you're going to have to… I don't have the faith yet. I'm not there yet, because I'm tethered to this right now, but I'm praying for the day where I can have enough faith to be set free from the curse of this. But it's a gift. Welcome our eFam around the world. Somebody is going to get saved off this message, and I'm trying to cast the Devil out of your YouTube feed and your algorithm.

The same feed that is making you crazy is putting the Word of God in your spirit right now, but the same gift that helps me preach the gospel can become a prison. It can put you on so many stupid headlines and half-truths and 10 percent truths and 2 percent truths and conspiracy theories. All of that is contained in the same gift. Same thing with money. God can bless you with income, but then that income can cause you to step out a little too far, a little too fast, and now all of a sudden, you are imprisoned in something you prayed for and God gave you because you didn't know how to manage it. I think I ought to teach you about this. A gift can become a prison. Intimacy is a gift from God…all kinds of intimacy, not just sexual intimacy, but sexual intimacy is a gift from God. You understand how when we talk about the Sabbath, a gift God gave that became twisted to imprison so that the Pharisees are saying, "You're not allowed to eat on the Sabbath…" They had become locked into the law and missed the spirit of the very gift God gave.

That happens all the time in our lives, so an Olympic athlete can say, "This talent that was given to me by God that was such a good thing…it almost broke me"; so that someone who starts to be blessed financially can say, "You know what? When I started getting more money, I stopped trusting God as much". I had a man tell me one time, "I started thinking money was the answer to everything. I started just skipping God in the process when I didn't need to ask him anymore. I basically designed a life for myself that made God unnecessary". So he thought. The gift became a prison. I could give you more examples, but I think you have your own…things God gave you that you became a slave to. I'm not talking about the Devil. I'm talking about a gift… The Sabbath didn't come from the Devil. It came from God. It's in the book of Genesis. It's God who gave them that rest, but they turned the gift of rest into a weapon. They turned the gift of God into a prison.

In fact, just a few verses later, they go from picking on the disciples about eating grain in a field on the Sabbath to telling Jesus he can't heal a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. You mean to tell me Jesus can't give this man his ability to work on this day because you've set it aside as a day not to work? But see how this happens in our lives so subtly, that a gift God gives you can become twisted to the point that the gift that was given to serve you begins to enslave you. I think what's happening in this passage is really demonstrated in what the disciples did that we have to do all the time. Verse 1. They took the heads of grain, and when they would rub them in their hands, they would then eat the kernels. So, what's wrong with this? What's so bad about it? Are they stealing in someone else's field? No. The Levitical law says the edges of the field are to be left unharvested so a traveler passing through can eat from it, so they're not breaking any laws.

See, the Pharisees had 39 categories of things you couldn't do on the Sabbath that God never said you couldn't do on the Sabbath. Now, here's what's going to trip you up. This is how weird religion can get. You're allowed to pluck grain on the Sabbath, but you can't harvest grain on the Sabbath by the Pharisees' rule. Not God's rule…by the Pharisees' rule. How closely do the Pharisees have to be watching the disciples? Like, who's the sick one here if you're stalking me to the point that you are watching me rub the heads of grain between my hands? I think you are the one who has a problem and needs counseling, not me because I'm hungry. Yes, I'm talking about the comments section. I have never, ever in my life seen more crazy than in the comments section of a Christian YouTube channel.

Here I am now watching everything. "Ah! They're not supposed to do this". It would have been fine if they would have plucked it, but when they rubbed the grain to get the husk to fall away… You know what the husk is. The husk is the worthless part that protects the kernel. The kernel is the seed the grain comes from, and the husk is the part that covers the kernel. So, the disciples are walking through, and Peter says, "Watch this. Jesus isn't looking right now," and they picked the grain. Now, Jesus knew what was happening behind him, and he didn't tell them to stop, because he wasn't following the pattern of the Pharisees. I'll take it a step farther. He didn't care what they did with the grain because he's the Bread of Life. I think that's the most anointed verse in the Bible. Jesus was going through the grain field. Jesus, the Bread of Heaven, the Bread of Life, is walking by grain, and irony of irony, the Pharisees are arguing with the Bread of Life about how to pick grain on the Sabbath, which he is.

So, they're picking what he is on the day which he came to fulfill, and they're like, "You can't do that". Watch out for people who tell you what God can't do. "No, God can't bless you like that. It has to be like this. It has to fit this structure". That's their wineskin, not your limitation. I was talking to somebody one time. They said, "You tend to let other people's insecurity become your limitation. Just because they haven't seen it done before, you let them convince you that you can't do it". I realized that what God has given me doesn't have to conform with what someone else's wineskin can hold. Jesus is like, "Have you never read what David did"?

Now, the Pharisees here read a lot of Scriptures, so for Jesus to challenge them about a Bible story… How many of y'all have heard of David before, by the way? What did David do? I'm not talking about when he killed Goliath, which is a great story, by the way. I love that one. I'm talking about when David was running from Saul. Can I teach you something real quick? Israel wanted a king because all of the other nations had a king. God wanted to be their King. He didn't want them to have to rely on a human king, because God knew the hearts of men. When it came time for them to choose a king, they chose the tallest king they could find, named Saul. When Saul became king, all of his insecurities and limitations showed up with him in the palace to the point that when David was enlisted into his service and subdued the Philistine champion from Gath called Goliath, who you've heard of, it didn't make Saul happy; it made his heart harder.

So, we find David now in a position where God has called him to be a future king, but he's having to deal with a crazy king. David has a heart like God's, but he has a king named Saul, and now he has to make a decision whether he's going to copy the king he sees or become the king he is. David is not only a good fighter; he's also a skilled musician, and Saul recruits him into his service to play the harp for him. The Bible says Saul was starting to lose his mind to the point that the only thing that would soothe him was the sound of the music, so David would play for Saul. He played a song one day that Saul must not have liked very much, because Saul threw a big spear at David, but David eluded it, twice, and started to think, "Maybe I'm not too safe with Saul".

David asked Jonathan, Saul's son, who should have rightfully been the next king but wasn't going to be because God chose David… When David ducked, not once but twice, and asked Jonathan, "Is something wrong with your dad? Did somebody switch his pills in the cabinet? Should I get out of here?" eventually, he realized the only recourse he had was to run, which puts him in quite a conflict, because he is anointed to be king by Samuel the prophet, but his life is under threat from Saul, the crazy king, the one the people chose, and now David, the one God chose, is running from Saul. Jesus said, "Have you never read what David did when he was hungry"? He takes them all the way back to 1 Samuel 21, because David and his men are running from Saul. He's crowned to be king, but he's about to be killed.

In 1 Samuel 21… This is so powerful what David did. "David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, 'Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?' David answered Ahimelek the priest, 'The king sent me on a mission…'" That's a lie. Saul didn't send him on a mission. Saul was trying to kill him. "The king sent me on a mission and said to me, 'No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.'" I just want to study the Bible with you. Go back to Luke 6:3. "Jesus answered them, 'Have you never read what David did…?'" Then he mentions this incident. "You mean when he lied to the priest"? It gets even worse.

Now go back to 1 Samuel 21. This is crazy, y'all. This is who Jesus uses to justify his disciples picking heads of grain, running around rubbing heads of grain on the Sabbath, just trying to get in trouble, just trying to get Jesus in a fight, just trying to get him to the cross quicker, just doing dumb stuff on the Sabbath, you know, like all of us, as Jesus' disciples, do all the time, just the dumbest stuff possible. Jesus is like, "Have you never read what David did when he went into the house of God"? Go back to 1 Samuel 21. "I have told them to meet me at a certain place. Now then, what do you have on hand"? This is what David did. He asked the priest, "What do you have on hand? Give me five". I almost called this sermon "Give Me Five". "Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you have on hand". The priest answered, "David, I don't have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here, but you're not supposed to eat it, because it's consecrated".

Every week on the Sabbath, they would bring the bread back to the table in the Holy of Holies and replace the 12 loaves with 12 fresh loaves. Then the loaves they took away only the priest could eat. So, the priest is like, "I have some bread, but you're not supposed to eat it". David is like, "But my men are hungry". Jesus now is using the example of what David did to let the Pharisees know they have completely missed the heart of the gift God gave. They have become so consumed with principles they have lost sight of the people the principles were meant to serve in the first place. "You have twisted the gift of God that God gave and made it a prison. Instead of the gift of the Sabbath bringing you into rest, you've put 39 categories on top of something God gave, and you have covered the kernel in a husk".

What David did. Remember how nobody else would fight Goliath but David did? Remember how David took off Saul's armor because it didn't fit him, what David did? Now Jesus uses David as an example to say, "I'm not copying you. I'm the original". I believe God wants to give somebody permission to copy the original, permission to do it differently. God is sick of your excuses. He is. He told me to tell you. He didn't say it mean like that. He said, "Tell them they have…" Does your God talk in a British accent or is that just the guy on the Bible app? God said, "I am trying to give you permission to break the pattern of the Pharisees to separate the chaff from the wheat". See, the chaff is the tradition. The kernel is the truth. The kernel is the seed the grain comes from. The husk…

Do you know what the husk is around the kernel? I didn't grow up on a farm either, but I just studied this this week. The reason they were harvesting by hand… This is why the Pharisees were accusing them, because they said, "That's threshing. Technically, that's threshing. You're separating the husk from the kernel, and you're not allowed to do that on the Sabbath, because technically you're doing work. Now you can pick the grain with your hand, but you can't thresh it…not on the Sabbath". But God has been trying to thresh them the entire time since they started putting layers of husk of humanity on the law that was given by God. God has been threshing some of our lives lately to try to separate the kernel of the word he spoke over us and the character he implanted on us from the husk of what people have said about us.

God has been rubbing his hands lately, because he's trying to get the husk to fall off your life. He's trying to get the chaff to fall off your life…all the worthless stuff, all of the worthless things you've been spending your energy on, all of the worthless things you've been telling your mind, all of the worthless things you've been worrying about, all of the worthless things. The disciples are giving a demonstration of what Jesus is doing on the earth. He is rubbing away the husk of what is not working. He is rubbing away the husk of everything that did not come from his heart. For some of you, he is rubbing away the husk of the house you grew up in, of the habits you have developed, of everything that is keeping you from discovering the kernel.

I started studying about kernels, and I found out something. I found out that kernel also means, in computer programming, what is at the core of a computer's operating system and has complete control over everything in the system. So, when it says they rubbed away the husk and kept the kernel… The Lord said for me to tell you "Keep the kernel". Some things have to fall away for you to get to what's true. Sometimes that doesn't happen in a harvest field. Sometimes that happens in your mind, in your habits, in your prayer life, in your devotion. In a computer program, the kernel is the operating system, and it has control over everything in the system.

So Jesus said, "There's a new kernel in town. This system is broken". Jesus Christ… We talk about Jesus, and we sing about Jesus, but I wonder if we really understand what we have inside of us to say, "Christ in you, the hope of glory". It means no amount of husk, no amount of habits, nothing that has been covering you… Because when God does this… Do you know what I love about God? He threshes by hand. I love God because he threshes by hand. He knows exactly what needs to fall off my life. He knows exactly who needs to fall out of my life. Somebody thank God for the breakup. Somebody thank God for the pink slip. Somebody thank God for the relocation. That's God getting ready to bless you, and everything that doesn't come from him is going to fall off. It's going to fall off. Work the kernel. Even on the Sabbath, even if you've been in a bad situation, there is a kernel of the goodness of God. The kernel doesn't look like much, but everything that is going to be in the grain is in the kernel. It just hasn't come to maturity yet. The kingdom of God is like that kernel.

So, God is in the business of removing some things. He said, "Did you never read what David did"? How hard would it be to be David? The only king you've ever seen is bipolar. He really was. They didn't diagnose it like that at the time. They said an evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul. Not only was it a mental disorder; it was a spiritual warfare. That's what David grew up seeing as king. So he had to make a decision, and so do you. "Am I going to copy Saul or copy God"? He had opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to get revenge on Saul. One time Saul was (this is really gross, y'all, but it's in the Bible) relieving himself in the cave, and David got so close to him he cut off a corner of his robe. He could have killed him. He had a decision to make. "Am I going to copy Saul and continue to sow the same kernels of conflict that made him crazy"?

See, God chose David because he said, "I want a man after my own heart. I want a woman who will copy me, who will learn from me". To be discipled by Jesus means more than wearing a bracelet of "WWJD"? It really means you have to allow him to do what he didn't stop the disciples from doing: to separate the husk from the heart. There were certain seasons in my life where I owe the Devil an apology for giving him credit for something Jesus Christ was actually doing. All I felt was this. All I felt was threshing, and I'm like, "O God, I'm losing this person, and I'm losing this thing, and I'm losing this opportunity". That was God threshing my life by hand. That was God. Aren't you glad he doesn't just use a sickle and thresh you like he threshes everybody else? Just come on through and make a row. God loves you enough to thresh you by hand so he can get to the kernel, the kernel of the prophetic word he has spoken over your life, the kernel of your true beauty unadorned, the kernel of who you really were all along before all of the layers of 39 categories of what God can't do got on top of you.

God is threshing all that away now in Luke, chapter 6, and the nets are breaking, and the roof is breaking, and the wineskins are breaking, and the Sabbath is being broken because it has become a prison when it was meant to be a gift. God is breaking you out. That's what all this has been about. Quit giving a praise service to the Devil by telling everybody you're under attack. You're not under attack. It's not a threat; it's a threshing. What happens after the threshing depends on whose hands you're in. When God does this, you do this. "I'm excited. I'm getting ready to see God reveal something in me that I forgot was even there. I'm getting ready to see God do Ephesians 3:20".

I wish you'd participate in this sermon and just do what God has been doing. Just do this. "Oh, I can't wait to see what God has in mind. I'm filling my horn with oil. I mean fresh oil. I'm filling it to the top, running over. I'm getting my joy back. It's reaping time now. God has been taking the husk off my heart and the husk off my mind, and God has been shedding me of wrong thinking. Now I'm getting ready to see what God put inside of me". He's harvesting you by hand. He knows when the fields are ripe. He knows when the time is right. He doesn't need permission from a Pharisee to do it on the right day. He has been doing it all along. The threshing was a blessing. I don't know who needed to know… That's God's hands you feel. He's going to keep the kernel. I'm going to tell you something else we need to teach theologically. God, forgive me for not teaching this enough. Christ in you is the operating system of your life, not the condemnation in you.

I was thinking about David. When Jesus said, "Did you never read what David did"? he could have talked about a lot of things. He could have talked about Bathsheba, because David did that too. He could have talked about Amnon, David's son who he wouldn't deal with. He could have talked about Absalom, David's son he was passive-aggressive with and wouldn't let him come past a certain distance. He could have talked about all of that, but he didn't. By the time it says in Acts 13 that David was a man after God's own heart, it doesn't mean all of his decisions were perfect. It means he kept the kernel of God's heart. The Enemy wants to wrap you in so much condemnation you can't see the kernel. That's why God brought you here today. That's why he has been allowing you to go through… I don't think it probably felt good for the grain, but it was good. He is removing everything that does not belong and breaking everything that is holding back the purpose he created you for to get you out of that prison, to uncover the kernel of your true character. He will even allow life sometimes to do this to you. Sometimes it doesn't feel so gentle, and sometimes we don't know how to praise God for this.

I want you to rub your hands together real quick. You can still do this on COVID protocol. You don't have to rub somebody else's palm. I want you to hear the Lord saying, "The fields are ripe now. I'm bringing you into a moment where you can grow up past what you grew up around, to establish a different pattern, to break tradition with the things that are not true about you".

Lord, we pray for release for the captives today. Some people are captive by the customs of their life, and some people are captives in a certain area of their character, but I see something coming forth today by faith. I really do. I believe you have been unlocking as I preached this word today. You literally have been walking through the grain field. I thank you, Lord, that when you walk through the grain field of my life, you know how to take the husk off. I thank you, Lord, for everything you have spoken over her life, over his life. Thank you for everything you've planted in them, the experiences, the wisdom, the gift you've given. We will not allow the lies of the Enemy or the patterns of Saul to keep the king in them from being born.

So, Father, I thank you now in Jesus' name. Not David's name…in Jesus' name, the Lord of the Sabbath, the Lord of the gift, the God of the grain field. I commit them into your hands. It's not the spear that was in Saul's hand. God, it is the grain in your hand that gives me confidence and faith today to know we'll make it. This may be a word, God, that needs to go down deep for somebody. They may need to hear it another time or two to really get it down deep, but I thank you that your hand has been there keeping the kernel of their purpose, keeping the kernel of their life, and nothing anyone does can change it. Father, our hands are open. Our lives are yours.

In this place today there's somebody who needs to give their life over to God. You have been running from him. He has been walking through the grain field, trying to get your attention. He wanted you to hear this message today so you could know that salvation is a gift from him. It's not of works or behavior or keeping 39 Sabbath laws or getting your life together. It's to believe in Jesus Christ, his Son, the Savior of the world, the Lord of the Sabbath, the God of all creation.

So right now, I want to give you an invitation. Wherever you are in the world or if you're right here in this room, I'm going to pray a prayer. It's not magical. It's not about the words or the order of the words. It's about your heart. The Bible says if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. That's a promise, not a probability. You will be saved. So, I want to give you that opportunity right now to place your faith in Jesus Christ…what he did for you, how he died for you, how he took your sin on him, how he rose from the grave so you could have a new life. I'm going to pray that prayer right now for everyone who wants to put their faith in Jesus. You've been running from God, and he called you to this moment, and he's speaking to you. I want to give you this moment to put your life in his hands. Repeat after me.

Heavenly Father, today is my day of salvation. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and today I make Jesus the Lord of my life. I believe he died that I would be forgiven and rose again to give me life. I receive your new life. This is my new beginning. I am a child of God.

Shoot your hand up on three if you prayed that prayer. One, two, three! Shoot them up. I celebrate you. I celebrate you. I celebrate you.

Are you Human?:*