Steven Furtick - Trusting God's Plan
We love Jeremiah 29:11 in church. If you're new to church, you'd better learn that one quickly. Even the people who only come on Easter will quote Jeremiah 29:11 at you. "For I know the plans I have for you…" Wait a minute. "'I know the plans I have for you,' saith the Lord". So if he's saying, "I know the plans I have for you," what does that imply? You don't. I'm sorry, y'all. This is the message God gave me. You're going to have to talk to the supervisor. He said to tell you to make sure if you quote Jeremiah 29:11, at least do the courtesy of reading verses 12 and 13. "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you…" "Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, yes, Lord". Remember that one? That's a youth group anthem. But he said, "And then you will call on me, and I will answer you, and you will seek me, and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart".
What's interesting about that is he said, "Seek me," but we don't like the verse that's about him; we like the verse that's about his plan, because I am addicted to my plans, because I am a control freak by nature. The second yes says, "Do you trust the person even when you don't like the plan"? That's the second yes. It's easy for Holly to be my wife in certain moments. I promise you she had no idea everything she was saying yes to. I am the son of Larry Furtick. There are some genetic "yeses" she did not know she was saying. I love a newly married person. "Well, I'm marrying them, not their family". All of these little cute things you say on the first yes. The first yes you say to them; the second yes you say to Uncle Don, and Uncle Don is crazy. Uncle Don is a drunk. Uncle Don is absolutely demon-possessed. You have no idea what you're saying yes to.
Now here's the question: Do you trust the person even when you don't like the plan? I did not say yes to my understanding of God's plan; I said yes to God. The second yes is not just to the blessing; the second yes is to believing that God is working even when his presence is hard to discern. Who is this message for today? You're on the second yes. You're not on the first yes. Here's the first yes. The first yes is immature. The first yes is, "Yes, except…" or "Yes, unless…" You know, "Yes, God, I will do everything you want me to do except… That 'turn the other cheek' crap? I'm not soft like that. I wasn't raised like that. So yes, Lord, to the other part". Or do you know where you really see it? In the areas of greatest conviction and in the areas that go against the grain of what has been culturally embedded in us.
The first yes is the stuff we want God to change about us. The first yes is, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men". The second yes is, "I'm going to Jerusalem to die, and this ends on a cross". The second yes. I don't know if you're ready for the second yes. The second yes is not "Yes, except…" You know how someone will say, "Well, I'm coming to Christ. I'm going to go to church, but…" This is "Yes, unless…" "I'll do it unless…" Some people watch my sermon online unless I start talking about something they don't want to hear about that day. Now we have "click Christianity". It went from a cross to a click. I can't figure out what happened. Jesus didn't say, "Take up your 'click' and stream me if I'm saying something you want to hear". He said, "Follow me. Follow me when it's hard. Can I still get a yes when it's not what you expected and it's not what…? Do you still love me? Will you still serve me? Will you still trust me? Will you still surrender to me? Will you still follow me when what I speak to you leads you to a place you didn't know to expect"?
This is the second yes. This is when Jesus knelt down in the garden of Gethsemane and said, "Father, I don't want to do it. I don't want to go to this cross. I don't want to experience separation, so if there's any other way… I don't want to say yes". But in that moment, in that crux, in that crucible of the second yes, Jesus said, "Nevertheless…" See, a real yes will reach past your flesh, past your feelings, past your experience, past your logic, past what's popular, past opinions, and say, "God, this is not a yes from my flesh; this is a yes from my spirit". "Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done. The answer is still yes, Devil. Come against me. It's still a yes. Tell me I have no right. It's still a yes. And the more he persecutes me, the more I'm going to praise him, because it's a yes. It was yes. It was settled when he called me, when he chose me. It's a yes"! Yes and amen to the glory of God. Amen is not just something you say to help the preacher know he's doing a good job. Amen is a covenant word.
Now look. The first yes is about convenience; the second yes is about covenant. Anytime you see something twice in Scripture, like when God called Moses and said his name twice, it is symbolic of covenant. It means God has already said yes to you even when you say no to him. Some of y'all don't like that, because you were really Christian this week, but I promise you, if you will have a bad week, you will need a covenant with God. You will start quoting verses like, "Even if I am faithless, he is faithful, for he cannot deny himself". That's the second yes. It's when you've given God every excuse or reason to exclude you and he brings you in and uses you. The second yes is a covenant yes.
When I give to God in an offering, the reason I give to God is because I believe everything I have comes from him. I don't want to take a vote, because we don't really do a lot of church votes here, but how many would say, "Everything I have comes from God"? "I worked hard for what I have". Who made it so you weren't lying in a hospital bed this morning? Or who even made it so you were born into an opportunity where you could have the ability to work hard or see an example of hard work set so you could follow in it? I found out a long time ago that if he doesn't breathe out, I don't breathe in. Everything I have I received from the Lord. You know how Malachi 3 is a Scripture about giving back to God? On our offering weekend, it will be a great chance for some of you to say the second yes to God. The first yes is "Yes, I enjoy this church". The second yes is "I'm invested in it". Praise the Lord!
The yes of investment. God says in that great Scripture, "Test me in this. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse". It's that first 10 percent I give to God. "Ten percent? That's a lot". No, 90 that he lets me keep is a lot. It all comes from him. Somebody said to me one time, "Why do you have such boldness when you preach about giving"? I said, "Because I believe our faith is the access point by which God blesses us". A couple of years ago, Abbey was bringing me her cereal in her bowl. She was 5 years old, and she said, "Look on the bright side. Here's my bowl and here's my cereal for you to make me cereal, but look on the dark side, Daddy. I can't reach the milk". "Look on the dark side". That was so adorable. I wrote it down in my phone so I wouldn't forget it. "Look on the dark side. I can't reach the milk".
She understood something. Sometimes you can see something, but you can't reach it. It was available, but it wasn't accessible. It is by grace that you are saved. That's God's yes to you, but it is through faith. Faith is what makes grace accessible. It is believing that God is with you. It is believing that God is for you. It is believing that God is enough, because God's yes is settled; your yes will be tested. I need you to understand this last point: your "yes" is connected. Your yes is connected to God's yes. Not that we earn his love or our obedience curries his favor. God is not a man like that. But when you put yourself in a position where you say yes to God, you have no idea what is connected to your yes. Sometimes when you're really fighting to trust God, you're not even actually fighting for you; you're fighting for your children and your children's children.
Hear the word of the Lord. Some of you are changing bloodlines by your faith. I'm going to say it for the 50 people who receive it. Some of you are not just fighting for what's right in front of you. See, your yes is connected. When Jody said yes to Jesus and came through Moncks Corner and led me to Christ, sitting at the restaurant, his yes was connected to me preaching. Now that we've started this ministry, I've seen thousands of people say yes to Jesus. Without his first yes, the second yes would not have been possible. The Devil is fighting you over your yes right now, because he knows what is connected to your yes. If you throw your hands up right now, I promise you there is a breakthrough in your yes. There is deliverance in your yes. There is freedom in your yes. There is healing in your yes. Come on! There's salvation in your yes!
Let me ask you a question. Aren't you glad Jesus said yes to the cross? That's why you got saved. That's why you got healed. That's why you got redeemed: because he said yes. "Yes". Say it. "Yes". Say it with defiance. "I'm hurting, but yes. I'm confused, but yes. I don't know the way out, but yes. It doesn't make sense on paper, but yes. I'm still in a depression right now, but yes. I still believe in freedom, even though I'm dealing with the addiction. Yes"! Say yes. Say yes until the Devil has no choice but to believe you. Convince yourself in your spirit. Press past your flesh and say yes from your spirit. Yes! Your yes is connected to your purpose.