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Watch 2022 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Taking Steps Towards Restoration

Steven Furtick - Taking Steps Towards Restoration

Steven Furtick - Taking Steps Towards Restoration
TOPICS: Restoration

This is an excerpt from: This Isn’t Working

What the Enemy loves to do is to take a good gift God gave you and twist it and disfigure it, like this man's hand was disfigured. That's what had happened to the people's hearts. They had taken a gift and turned it into a prison. They were serving something that was supposed to be serving them. When God sees you chasing material possessions, he says, "That stuff is meant to serve you. Why are you serving what I gave to serve you"? It's out of order. We have one man who can't work because he has a condition, a situation. We have a system of religion that won't work. Why? "It's the Sabbath. We can't do it on the Sabbath". Jesus said, "The Sabbath is for you, not you for the Sabbath. I gave it as a gift. Why would you twist the gift"?

That causes me to wonder how many gifts God has given me in my life that I have twisted. God gives you people in your life so you can encourage them, and then you become so needy you twist the gift and ruin the friendship. How many gifts has God given us? How many people will you sleep with before you realize that sex is a gift…? It's a wonderful gift, but it's a terrible master. Within a certain context it's a wonderful gift, but if you get it twisted it begins to take over your life. You're out of order. You put the Sabbath before people. God puts people before the Sabbath. Religion always gets it twisted. We always tell you 10 things you have to do to be a good Christian, but God taught me I don't change so he will love me; I change because he has loved me. This is the revelation of the cross. We love him because he first loved us.

When you get that out of order, you will twist great gifts God gives you in your life. Jesus looked around and said, "This isn't working". So he calls the man as an object lesson. Are you ready for this? He doesn't give a speech; he gives a lesson. He gives a demonstration. Faith is a demonstration, not an explanation. "Stand up". He could have called him back tomorrow, by the way. The guy is not dying. He lived this long with a bad hand. He could live another one. By the way, when life deals you a bad hand, let me tell you what to do: Don't fold. I know some of you are holding a bad hand today, and it's a terrible situation you're in. I understand all of that, and Christ has compassion for you, but whatever you do, don't fold, because God is about to change the entire system through the most desperate situations.

This is how hope works. He says, "Stand up and stretch out". If you keep procrastinating… This is the fourth. Procrastination will always keep you from experiencing the power of God. Always. When you wait until, when you put it off… I did it the other day. I'm almost 40 now. I have some gray coming in. I'm not worried about that. That makes me feel like I've been a good pastor. If I could pastor this church 12 years and not a little gray on the beard, I'm sleeping. But I said the other day there are about three things in my life I really want to change. Do you have at least three things you want to change? Let me see if you've arrived and I'm just up here by myself trying to improve. I was like, "By the time I'm 40"... It was the first thing I thought. It's a nice round number.

"By the time I'm 40…" God said, "Why not now"? Because it would require action, not theory. I do it all the time. The way I want the verse to work, the moment the miracle happens… I want it to work like this. "He looked around at them in anger, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…" Remember, what this man's hand looks like externally their hearts look like inwardly. He's using the visible, the situation… That's what he does. Trouble, hardship, persecution, sword, the things that come against you… He uses those situations to show you a system, to fix the system. He looked around in frustration at the failed system, and he had asked them a question. Because he's so savage, he answered a question they didn't ask with a question they couldn't answer. He's such a savage. "…and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.'"

The way I want the verse to work… I want it to say, "His hand was completely restored, and he stretched it out". In my mind, that's the way it should work when God changes my situation. He fixed the man's hand, it was restored, and because the man's hand was restored, he stretched it out. What we find, instead, in the syntax is this. In the order it happens there is a revelation of the way God works. The man stretched his hand, and then it was restored. He did what he couldn't do, and in doing what he could not do… In loving who you cannot love, in forgiving who you can't forgive, in trusting and believing what your eyes cannot see… He did not stretch out his hand because it was healed; his hand was healed because he stretched it out. We keep waiting for feelings, but feelings follow faith. You don't have to feel it to believe it. If you believe it, you will see it, the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

God says to everybody with a bad hand… I know you come to church sometimes with your good hand out, and I know you go through life sometimes with your good hand out. We have all of these profiles and all of these images and all of these personas and all of these one-sentence bios on our social media accounts, but God doesn't bless your bio; he blesses your brokenness. It is only when you lay down (here's the fifth one) your pride to stand up in the middle of controversy; to stand up in the middle of a hopeless, desperate, naked situation; to stand up in the middle of famine; to stand up in the middle of lack; to stand up in the middle of weakness; to stand up in the middle of discouragement; to stand up in the middle of failure and stretch out your hand and stretch out your faith and open your heart and believe he is here and all things are possible.

You're not going to get this blessing with your arms crossed, waiting to see if God will do it and pretending like you don't need it. He stretched his hand. Jesus healed him in an unusual way at an unusual time on an unusual day. On the day they weren't supposed to do any work, the man's hand started working again. Do you know when God is going to do it? When you least expect it. Do you know who God is going to do it through? The ones who least deserve it. Do you know who's not going to get it? The one who's just sitting there waiting. If you don't mind praising him right now, I would love to see you stretch your hands. Clap your hands. Come on, Blakeney. Come on, Rock Hill, and lift your voice. Don't praise him because you got the blessing; praise him because he is the blessing!

Jesus did what he shouldn't do so the man could do what he couldn't do. Right there with all of the critics watching and all of the people who didn't like it. It didn't matter, because they were out of order. If you keep going to people, you're out of order, but if you'll do what he told you to do, I promise you this. It's simple. Stretch your hand. Don't you know he was tempted to show him the good one? So then, it's on the other hand, the right hand, the hand you need to be a good husband, the hand you need to be a good father, the hand you need to get the disciplines working in your life, because you have some things that aren't working, but you didn't know why. You keep running from situation to situation to situation, and you're so stressed out. From relationship to relationship to relationship, from thing to thing to thing, from job to job to job, from high to high to high. It's a system.

So he said, "I'm going to do this". Jesus found a loophole because he's a savage. He said, "I can't set the man's hand back in place today because it's the Sabbath, and I didn't come to break the law but to fulfill it". So watch what he does. Jesus tells the man, "Stretch," and he doesn't touch him. The Pharisees are watching. "You can't do that. It's the Sabbath. No working on the Sabbath". Jesus said, "Oh this? This isn't working; it's a word". "I didn't stretch my hand; he stretched his". Now I know why he went to the cross: so it wouldn't be from my works. Now I know why he stretched his arms. Now I know why he did it: because I couldn't. Now I know it's by grace through faith, not of works, so I can't boast! The only thing I can do is lift my hand!
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