God Lifted that Burden from Me
It’s my responsibility to see that my kids are raised in a Godly manner. It’s not an overwhelming responsibility. God has lifted that burden from me. God has helped me deal with that burden and provided exterior influences through our friends and acquaintances that have allowed me and helped in dealing with that.
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Do you remember, last time, when I told you about that woman that I saw in a restaurant who had a figure that would embarrass Pamela Lee Anderson? Do you remember that? When she walked past me, I said that I looked at her like that [Ed snaps to show the instantaneous look that he gave her] and I kept on walking. Well, at that time, when I saw that woman and I was attracted to her because of the way she looked. I love God as much as I have ever loved God. I love my wife as much as I have ever loved her. But, I noticed her. The “tantal-eyes” was there. But, at that point, I pressed the delete button and I kept on walking. I don’t know why that woman was dressed that way. I really don’t. I don’t know where she was coming from. I’m not sure if she was insecure or had poor self-esteem. I’m not sure if she was trying to get the attention of guys because she never got it growing up. I don’t know. But, I do know where the Evil One comes from when he cooperates with people who dress that way.
Next weekend, I am going to talk specifically about some of those issues. I’m going to talk to parents about what you are thinking, many of you, when you allow your kids to dress they way they do? What is going through your mind? Some of you here, when you get dressed, when you look in the mirror, I wonder, “Where do your faith and fashion intersect and then go their separate ways?” The way we dress should honor the Lord. I would love to preach that message right now, but I can’t. Just stay with me.
The Evil One wants to vandalize your life and mine. He wants to take us down this flight pattern, lure us, and move us into this light of lust. So, hopefully, you’ve seen this process from scripture. You have seen the whole tantalize thing, and now you own the fact about how Satan plagiarizes, customizes, and vandalizes.
And by the way, if any man thinks he can sit with his arms crossed, tapping his foot, and say, “Well, this one is not for me. There is no way I will ever have an affair or I will ever cheat on my wife.
I think it is no accident that the word integrity has the word grit right in the middle of it. It takes grit, it takes substance, it takes power to live this stuff out. And I am not going to lie to you. I am not going to broad brush this topic with a bunch of generalizations. I want to show you what you sign up for if you want to integrate integrity into your life. It will take everything you have, but I want to show you through this message that it is well worth it.
Enough of the introductory remarks. Let’s talk about the how. How do I integrate integrity into the recesses of my multifaceted life? Well, right up front we need to line up with God’s organizational chart. Are you lining up with His organizational chart, with His chain of command?
I talked to a close friend of mine awhile back and I was questioning him about his loyalty level. I asked, “How in the world did you work for a couple of decades for an organization that had a weak leadership structure? Why didn’t you just blow a fuse or go on tilt? Oftentimes you knew much more than the leadership did.” I will never forget what he said to me. “It is always best to discover God’s organizational chart and to put yourself beneath it. When you do that, things always go the best.” Today, my friend is working for one of the top organizations in his field in America. Truly believe that he is where he is today because of the loyalty lessons that he learned years ago and because he got beneath God’s flow chart, His chain of command.
Everywhere we turn in this life we see God’s structure. We see this organizational chart. God has placed, for example, doctors in authority over their patients. He has placed attorneys in authority over their clients.
We love you but we don’t accept and really don’t approve, I should say, of the way you’re living.” I’ll talk more about homosexuality because people ask me about it all the time. But we have got to have confidence as we face these difficult times, as we face these flames.
Now, I’m going to share with you something else. God never promises us that he will keep us out of the flames. You hear that? God never promises us in the Bible he will keep us out of our fiery furnace. It’s not in there friends. It’s not in there. He does promise though that he will get in the furnace with us. OK, he doesn’t promise that he will keep us out, but he does promise “I will get in the furnace with you.”
Let’s go to the next one. The next flameworthy fact. Don’t allow your circumstance to cause you to compromise. Now do you ever get into that situation like where your circumstances might cause you to compromise. Like the people that you are hanging out with or just the peer pressure that then segues into fear pressure. Do you ever get that?
Now Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, their lives were on the line. Look at verse 18. They’re still talking to King Nebuchadnezzar, “But even if He does not…” They’re saying, “Hey King, even if God does not deliver us, we want you to know O King that we will not serve your god or worship the image of gold that you’ve set up.”
Do you know God says about himself? God says, “I am a jealous God.” Do you know why he says that? It’s a great line of love. God is a jealous God because he knows if we follow any other god on our plain of Dura, we will be disappointed.
God is saying, “Moses, pretend like these ungodly people, these idols are a set of drums, and you wipe them out.” The Bible says in verse 52: “Drive out not some, but all of the inhabitants of the land before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images, and demolish all their high places.”
What do these words mean in the Hebrew? It means, as we claim this land for the Lord, we have to drive out ungodly relationships – maybe items we have in our homes. And there are some people here who need to go home and wipe out some videos, magazine, novels from your life, from your home, from your land that the evil one is using to totally destroy you and keep you from inheriting this Promised Land.
There are some folks here who need to get away from ungodly relationships that are bringing you down. Let me say a word to our single adults here and our young people. If you are dating someone who does not know Jesus Christ personally, 9 times out of 10, he will use that person to bring you down, away from where God wants you to be. But you’re saying, “He’s so good looking, pastor. He’s the captain of the football team, in the honor society.” “She’s a cheerleader. She’s great. She’s the perfect one.” I’m telling you this is God’s word, not mine. Ed Young Ministries believes that God will use those relationships to bring you down.
As we’re moving out, if we don’t wipe out that little thing, that little sin, that little ungodly habit one day will turn and take us down. We come to God and we say, “God, I’m ready to move out for you.” And God points to the areas in our lives that we need to get rid of things, that we need to come clean on.
But we say, “God, I’ll go ahead and keep that closet for myself. I’ll go ahead and keep that area for me.” You say, “Jesus, you can have everything in my life, but don’t mess with this little area, my secret door back here, my little stash.” If you let that secret little room in your life fester, one day it will grow bigger and bigger, and the square footage will increase ten-fold, and one day, it’ll totally wipe out your life.
Joshua recognized who he was talking to, not just anybody, he was talking to God himself. Not only did he recognize who he was talking to, but the Bible tells us that he responded in the proper way. If we are going to humble ourselves before God, folks, we not only recognize who he is, but we had better respond in the right way. Joshua’s response was to say, “Lord.” Then the Bible says that he knelt down and took his sandals off, because he was on holy ground. What are you calling God when you pray? When you are trying to wave the white flag, do you call him “Lord”? “Sir” doesn’t work. “Mister” doesn’t work. “Teacher” doesn’t work. “Hey you” doesn’t work. “Lord” works every time. That word “Lord” is the all-inclusive word of recognizing and responding to God in the proper way. When we say “Lord,” we are saying, “God, you are the king of kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of the Universe, and in total charge of everything that happens. You know what is going to happen tomorrow.” We just give God the credit.
How many of you are getting low before God? James says if you are going to end the battles in your life, you have got to get low.
One time, you remember, in one of the Gospels, he healed a boy and he said, “Get this child some food.” It was personal.
I think Jesus also healed with a great passion. It’s interesting to go through the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and to see how many times Jesus touched people during the healing process.
His healing ministry was also a purposeful one. It was always for the glory of God. He didn’t just do it for the crowds and many times, as I said a second ago, he would take people to the side and heal them and would say, “Don’t tell anybody about it.” That’s how Jesus healed. In this hotbed for faith healers, in this Mecca for miracle workers, in the belt buckle of the Bible belt, we have to ask ourselves some questions. I think it is important that we compare and contrast Christ’s healing ministry, don’t you, with some of the ministries we see on television, or here on the radio, or read in the headlines.
Leprosy had the social stigma of maybe the aids virus today. Jesus touched the person and the Bible says the man said, “’I am willing, Lord.’” Then Jesus said, “’Be clean!’ and immediately the leprosy left him.”
What did Jesus do after that? Did Jesus say to the leper, “Hey, hand out flyers, because I am going to have a huge healing service at the American Airlines Center in Jerusalem.” Did he say that? No, he didn’t.
Look at the next verse, verse 14, “Then Jesus ordered him, ‘Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’”
Jesus never refused anyone concerning healing but he did refuse people who wanted to exploit his miraculous powers. He never showed off. Often times, Jesus healed in a private manner. If you look at the healing ministry of Christ, his healings were personal. So often, he asked for the person’s name.
Lepers wore bells all over their clothing and, anytime someone would come close to a leper, the leper was say these words, “Unclean, unclean.” So, the person who did not have leprosy could take a wide birth around the one who did have leprosy. That is the situation we find in Luke, chapter five, because Jesus saw someone who had leprosy, and this leper ran up to Jesus, fell down before him and said, “Jesus heal me.” The Bible says that Jesus did exactly that.
Let’s pick it up in Luke, chapter 5, verse 13. The leper is laying down before Jesus saying, “Heal me,” and here is what Jesus did. “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.” Let me stop right there. He touched the man. This leper lived in a leper colony and I am sure he had not felt the touch of human flesh for years. Can you imagine Jesus touching him?
Eighteen months ago I had a spiritually intensive conversation with a man in a Mexican restaurant nearby. Over our meal I challenged him about Christ and the church. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Ed, I want to say yes to the Lord and yes to the Fellowship.” I talked to him about what his commitment meant and the benefits of the church that I just shared with you.
Eighteen months have passed. And this guy is nowhere to be found. I’ll call him John. A couple of weeks ago I saw John at a gym where I work out. I walked up to him and said, “John, how is it going?” He answered, “Oh, its going pretty well.” I said, “John, do you remember the conversation that we had eighteen months ago?
Remember your commitment to Christ and the church?” He said, “Yes.” I asked, “What is the deal? Where are you? John, you were talking about your struggles in marriage, parenting hurdles and career pressures.