Sermon September 8, 2007 : How do you perceive life?

Posted in Sermons
  • Presenter: Dr. Roberto Miranda
  • Date: September 8, 2007
  • Location: Congregation Lion of Judah, Boston MA

We’ve entered this journey of studying Philippians, the letter to the Philippians and we’re about in our third sermon, I guess, and I know I have been blessed, even as I have explored it from up here, in all kinds of insights have emerged, even standing here, and things that I didn’t even see clearly as I studied this passages, have emerged in a wonderful, spontaneous and I believe, spirit-lead sort of way.

So, I’m looking forward to more of that. So, let’s look at chapter 1 and last week I emphasized from verse 7 on, we made a journey through that passage and some of the things that you might remember that I touched upon:

Number 1, in verse 7, I talked about Paul’s freedom to express his feelings and to acknowledge his humanity, his love for the Philippians for example, when he says “…I have you in my heart….”, and he speaks about the way that he feels about all of you. We talked about how important it is to express feelings, to acknowledge where we are, to be in touch with our humanity and to be in touch with who we are, as the Apostle was, very much, throughout all of his writing, you see the humanity of the Apostle Paul, in many passages even beyond his prophetic, doctrinal function. He was a man and he was expressing his humanity in very powerful throughout his letters, and that was an example to not be afraid to acknowledge of what we’re feeling and bringing it before the Lord, a God who is not scandalized by anything that we present before him. On the contrary, he rejoices because he knows it anyway. When we bring it before him, those feelings are sanctified, they are purified and they are returned to us in a much more God honoring way.

I touched upon the fact that he says, “…whether I’m in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me…..”

I spoke about the fact that God’s grace doesn’t only manifest itself in the good times, when things are going well, when we’re having a great time, all the bills are paid, people love us and we’re in great health, and we have the BMW nice and shiny, but also in times of being in chains and struggling in all kinds of ways. And God’s grace is there, and Paul is a master, as we saw this letter to the Philippians written while the man is in chains, uncertain about his ultimate fate, whether he is freed or not, whether he lives or dies or whatever, and yet he can write a lovely letter inviting people to rejoice, encouraging people, strengthen them and affirming them in the gospel.

And this letter invites us to learn to see God in all the situations of life whether they are superficially good or bad. God is in all those things and I will dwell on that a little bit more tonight.

We spoke about this need to add to our love, in verse 9, knowledge and depth of insight or discernment, as other passages say. That love of God and love of people, passion, feeling in the Christian faith are not enough. They need to be informed. They need to be strengthened, they need to by bolstered by knowledge of the word of God, knowledge of the principles of scripture. We see this facile Christianity today and this superficial sense of what love is and many times when the church of Jesus Christ announces the fact that God is a God of holiness, is a God of order, is a God of principles that need to be followed beyond feelings, we hear the world saying, ‘well, you’re not loving, because love accepts everything, love accepts all, love doesn’t shut out anyone and so on and so forth, that’s as far from the truth as could be, whether it’s from the philosophical human side, because a lot has been written about love and certainly love is not this open, completely formless, boundary-less feeling and certainly not from the scripture outsiders as well, because the love that scripture shows is a strong love with all kinds of boundaries and frontiers and things that it does not receive, such as for example, anything that threatens life or that is against the truth of God.

So, the Apostle invites us to add to our love knowledge, sofia, and depth of insight as well, which is an important, that deeper, deeper knowledge of the spirit. So let me just… I’m going to skip because there’s a few wonderful things even there in verse 11, but I want to make this teaching a unit and just go on to verse 12 and dwell on how we can find joy in the midst of suffering, and what was Paul’s secret? How could he write a letter that has been called the Epistle of Joy in the midst of such great suffering and uncertainty. What was in the Apostle’s mind? How could he?

And I think that if we do a kind of a diagnosis of Paul’s outlook, how he saw life and death and how he saw himself, I think we may be able to understand how this man could right such a letter of encouragement, rejoicing in the midst of such suffering, and it’s an invitation for us to adopt that same kind of attitude, because you know that as we frame life, so will our conduct and our feelings be. I learn more and more, I say this via by way of introduction, that often in my life, I discover that many of the sufferings that I experience or the anxieties or the struggles, depend so much on the way I frame experiences. If I approach experiences with an attitude of confidence and trust that God is there, that everything will be ok, somehow I can sail through them and they don’t wear me out, on the contrary, they energize me.

But if I approach them with an attitude of fear or deficit, then somehow those experiences drain me rather than energize me. So much of life is often…… you know, the mind is such a powerful thing, the mind controls so much. You’ve heard of mind over matter. We are beings that are so mysterious and truly matter is under the control of mind, let’s say, as Christians we know also spirit, so that many times the way we approach life and what we have inside in our psychological, mental, emotional space will determine how we approach others, how we relate to others and how we approach the greatest crisis in life and less I lose that thought, let me just develop a little bit further before I go into the passage, because really I’m in the passage already implicitly and I’ll go back into the passage and you can see the connection here.

I spent an hour plus with a man this week from our Latino congregation in my office, and as I heard him, knowing him for a couple of years at least, and knowing his drama and all his struggles with himself, his marriage, family, the church, my own person with whom he has a kind of love-hate relationship. He doesn’t know whether he loves me or he hates me. I’ve seen that over the years…. As I spoke to him and I kind of tried to draw out certain things, his mother left him when he was very young, his mother left the family, just disappeared, it’s a wound that he has been carrying for so many years in his life, it’s a bleeding wound.

His relationship with his father was conflicted and difficult as well. He spent a couple of years in jail for drug situations in his native country, on and on and on… and so, as I tried to enable him to see or share with him these wounds, but particularly that wound of having been left by his mother at a very young age is something that has colored his entire outlook. So, when he relates to people, he relates from a perspective of pain and of lack and of anger at his mother probably who left him, and there is a mixture of depression there as well. And then he projects that on to people as well, as he has conflictive relationships with his brothers and sisters and his family as well.

What I tried to lead him as to…. and of course you don’t do that in one single session, it takes years sometimes for people to internalize these truths, but what I was trying to lead him was to see himself that a lot of what he was experiencing and a lot of what he was struggling with came from the inside. It wasn’t that people are evil, or that people are cynical, or that people hate him, or that life is unjust.

I mean, we know that, all these things to a certain degree are true, but his inner space, his inner outlook and the way he framed life and the color of his sky filtered all his experiences and predisposed him to conflict, to disappointment, betrayal. He becomes a self fulfilling prophesy, what he expects because of what he has inside comes to him because we are prophetic people, we can be negatively prophetic or positively prophetic.

So, it is so important, how do I frame life? What is my outlook? What is the essential platform from which I approach life and from which I let life approach me? What is the filter through which I see life? And so much of the task of being happy, fulfilled human beings is about this, the inside, resolving the inside, dealing with the inside, letting God’s perspective filter through us so that then we can approach life, because what may destroy a person, may serve to bring the greatness out of another one, all depending on how they approach an experience.

People speak about the holocaust for example, and how many people came out of the holocaust totally bitter, and dark of their understanding of the human condition. Others came greatly transformed and became great, great men and women who have blessed society in many great ways. Some never emerged, they died right at the concentration camps.

There’s a great psychiatrist, I don’t remember his name right now, who wrote a book which I read years ago, saying that the attitude of people, when they were inside the concentration camps often determined whether they succumbed to the ravishes of the concentration camps or whether they were able to survive physically strong enough to emerge. Those who were selfish and grasping, and survival-oriented at the expense of others often succumbed and died. Now, those who were loving and who had strong faith and who gave to others, often somehow were able to survive and come through that ravishing experience.

It’s attitude, it’s posture, it’s outlook, it is how the filter through which we see life and so we have to ask God, ‘God, what is your perspective? How can I see life? What inner transformations do I need to experience in order that I may then relate to the world appropriately and grow and become stronger, anything that the world throws at me I will be able to recycle and turn into material for greater greatness and greater depth.

And so, when I see Paul, I see a man who has an attitude that enables him not only to survive, but thrive in the midst of great suffering and as we try to see how he parsed life, how he conjugated the experiences of life, we may perhaps be able to do the same thing in our own life.

So, let’s… with that long introduction, let’s go to verse12 here and listen to the Apostle and in how he relates to his chains and how he explains it, we may get behind his words and see the structure behind him and see what the attitude that he’s portraying through his words are. He says:

“….Now I want you to know brothers that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel….”

Look where his perspective is, he could have said a whole lot of different things about his chains and about his imprisonment, but look where his emphasis is and what attracts him and what he is using to relate to his people about his experience.

So, it’s really served to advance the gospel, he’s all enthused about it, it’s like, ‘boy, I’m glad I’m here!’

“…. As a result it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Chirst. Because of my chains most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly….”

What is he giving emphasis to? What are the things that are bringing encouragement to him? And what are the things that seem to be redeeming his harrowing experience? What does that reveal about the things that really mattered to him and the kind of transformation that has taken place in his mind from the normal human way of looking at reality to that God inspired, God founded way of looking at the human condition?

“… it is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry but others out of good will, the latter do so in love knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel, the former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains..”

A little bit of Paul’s edginess comes out in that thought there.

“…. But what does it matter, the important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached and because of this I rejoice….”

What is giving him the foundation, the cause for rejoicing?

“….yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed but will have sufficient courage, so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body whether by life or by death, for to me….”

Here’s one of the most beautiful passages I think in all of scripture, one of the most transforming passages, and I think the foundation of Paul’s resiliency is power to bounce back out of any situation. This is what I seek about the outlook, attitude, framework of experience that enables us then to take whatever the devil throws at us and can just bat it out of the whole park with a homerun.

He says: “…. For to me that for, -in other words, the reason why I can say all of this that whether by life or by death Christ will be exalted in my body-…. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain…”

Now, I know I cannot say that in all sincerity, I’m striving for that and I hope that some day I will achieve it, but right now it’s just a distant goal and I want to aim towards it. That’s the attitude that I want to maintain in my life. I want to adopt that. I can say that with a certain amount of intellectual recognition, but I haven’t totally integrated it into my soul, into my being, but if I were able to, boy, we would be freed, I would be freed from a lot of fears and a lot of struggles and so on and so forth.

“…for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, that will mean fruitful labor for me, yet what shall I choose? I do not know, I am torn between the two, I desire to depart and be with Christ which is better by far….”

How many of us can say that?

“…. But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body, convinced of this, I know that I will remain and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith so that through my being with you again, your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me….”

Self, is not really, or love of self or self preservation really doesn’t dominate too much in the Apostle’s outlook. His eyes are set on other things and his source of energy and hope is other things. It’s not survival, it’s not self preservation. Somehow, to a degree that any human being can do with, the Apostle has resolved that problem and he is a man convinced that really this world is not all that it is built up to be.

Now, he had one huge benefit, he speaks in I think it’s Second Corinthians, of an experience where he was taken up to heaven and he says, “… whether in the body I don’t know, whether out of the body, I’m not sure…’ but he says, I was allowed to hear things, to experience things that were so sublime and so unique that I wasn’t even given freedom to speak of them freely, because probably they would shatter some of that veil of secrecy that God keeps about certain things that are eternal.

That’s a very powerful thing that I’m saying here. You know, sometimes, I like you, I wonder ‘God, why don’t you make things a little clearer for us? Come on, why don’t you make things a little easier? Show us at least the wings of an angel, come on, don’t be so stingy’. You know, but I think God there are certain things that God keeps veiled so that it will always be a journey of faith. He could resolve all the arguments of the atheists and all the opposition of the world by just giving us a couple of quick, clear signs of his presence and reality, and yet somehow he holds back certain things that the journey will always be a journey of faith, and that our intellect will always have to be humbled.

But anyway, Paul saw great things, he heard great things. He was taken up to heaven. He had visions of Christ. I mean, his introduction into the gospel was a confrontation with the living Christ, he heard Christ’s word. His initiation into the gospel was a prophet comes to the house where he’s staying and there he’s blind because of his encounter with Christ and he says, ‘Saul, brother Saul, God has sent me so that you might see and that you might be baptized through the Holy Spirit’.

Boy, I mean, some of us would like that kind of VIP reception in the kingdom. And Paul was privy to a lot of things that he saw and experienced great miracles and so on, and so he had that great introduction into heaven. He is speaking from all of this, he knows what lies on the other side, he was privileged enough to be given an access. I think partially it was a favor that God did to the man who was going to write 2/3 of the New Testament and who was going to set the doctrinal foundation, the theological foundation for the church for thousands of years. And I think he needed to introduce him into certain things, and Paul often spoke of the fact the gospel that he had received, he didn’t receive it from men, he received it directly from God. It wasn’t that he went to a seminary, praise God for the seminaries, he had the privilege of being instructed by the Holy Spirit himself by Jesus Christ himself.

And so, he’s writing as a man who knows what he’s speaking about. He knows about death, he knows about life, he knows about what awaits you after death and so on and so we can be a little more confident in hearing from him and saying ‘I can afford to look through his eyes and try to adopt his perspective on life and on death’.

This is what he’s doing here. He’s showing that to him things are not as they seem to the normal human being. Now, let’s take that perspective and let’s break it down into several things. What are those things that we see here that enable Paul to have that positive perspective.

Well, as I said before, one of the things is that he lives not for self, but for God and his kingdom. In one passage he says, I no longer live but Christ lives in me. Paul has at this point shelved this idea, ‘I live for myself, what I want to get, what I own’. In one passage he says, you know, I have considered it all just rubbish and everything… I’m just counting the time here, and nothing really enamors, nothing really holds me, I don’t grasp anything.

If you look for example, at Philippians chapter 3, verses 7 and 8, he says, “… but whatever was to my prophet now I consider laws for the sake of Christ. what is more I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ….”

So he has lost all things. How has he lost all things? Well, he has lost them in actuality and he has lost them in his heart and in his mind. He gave up his pharisaic training and his position as a man of the cloth in a way and a man of great importance in his Judaic background, he gave up his pedigree as a Jew of Jews. He had to give up his position, his family just to serve the Lord and so he has lost everything for the sake of the gospel.

He lives no longer for himself. He is a servant, you remember we said, he identifies as Paul slave of Christ, as a servant of Jesus. Is the word really slave, dulos. He no longer lives for himself and aren’t we suppose to adopt that same kind of outlook in our life? Aren’t we supposed to somehow preemptively give up everything and abandon everything and to live as if we did not have anything? I mean, we’re like ghosts enjoying things that really do not belong to us. We are looking at them and touching from another dimension. That is truly the way we Christians should live, so that we have but we really do not have, we have signed away everything and we have had to go hopefully to this process of giving up everything, giving up family, giving up money, giving up educational pedigree, home, possessions of all sorts, the pride of life. We should exercise that process and see ourselves every once in a while as buried with Christ.

In another passage he says, ‘… our life is hidden in Christ’. We are dead in Christ. There are so many Christians yet who haven’t gone through that process of dieing preemptively and we’re still very much alive, the flesh is still very much alive. We cling to things and those things cling to us and they own us many times. But a true believer, a mature believer is a believer who has dealt with that tendency to believe that I own something, that I live for myself. We live for Christ.

In another passage, in Romans, chapter 12, verse 1 he says that we should be like a living sacrifice which should not conform to this world but yield our body as a living sacrifice on to the Lord. And the true, profound, the true believer is one who has given up self, no longer you live for yourself.

And you see this here, you know, Paul is content because it doesn’t matter to him that he’s suffering, of course it matters to a certain degree, but he is so concerned about the fact that his life should be more an instrument for the advancement of the gospel. So, since his life is fulfilling that role he’s happy. He says, ‘I’m glad that I’m here because I am being of use to you, I’m being an instrument to advance the Kingdom of God’. And he rejoices to the fact that his chains are bringing renown to the gospel, that people are knowing about the gospel, that the praetorian guards that are holding him hostage and keeping watch over him, and this elite chore of soldiers that are there to guard the emperor are learning about the gospel because they’re forced to be with him every day.

Imagine being chained to the Apostle Paul, 8 or 12 hours a day, what kind of evangelism you’re going to experience. And so he sees himself just as… he is an instrument of the kingdom and so if he’s being used by the kingdom, then he is happy, no matter what the situation is. He doesn’t live for himself, he lives for God and I do pray that God will help me and help you to go through that process of seeing that we no longer live for ourselves, but we live for him.

I’m reminded also what he says in Romans, chapter 14, verses 7 and 8, regarding that whole issue. He says, ‘….for none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone, if we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord…”

You live your life that way? Do we live our lives knowing that I am here as an instrument, what justifies my life is that fact, because this life has become, relatively speaking, so small because now we see it in the light of eternity and eternity looms large over this relatively short existence that we experience here on earth.

So, I don’t belong to myself. All that I live is for the Kingdom of God, for eternity. And I think that would be another thing you know, Paul doesn’t live only in time and space, spiritually, mentally he lives in eternity. Eternity has become so powerful to him, so present, so prevalent that it’s not just what happens in this earth. And you know, we need to remember that we are children of eternity and we need to drink of that medicine every day of our lives. Eternity is real and eternity should be very much a dimension that we live in as believers because when we live in the light of eternity, then all the things that loom so large and seem so magnificently pinging on our lives, all of a sudden they decrease and they become part of that perspective that I’m speaking about. As I see them small I can tackle them more easily, I can tolerate them more easily, I can digest them more easily because eternity is so important.

Paul knew what eternity was all about, he lived for eternity. He lived in the light of eternity, so that time and space seemed very small. So he lives not for self, he lives for eternity.

I think also, another thing is that he knows that all things work out for good. Again, this is part of that whole attitude that I’m talking about, all of these things that I’m mentioning are mental things, things of outlook, things of the spirit, things of interpretation. That’s all it is. And he knows that all things work out for good.

So, here he is, in a Roman jail, preventive from exercising totally freely his ministry and yet he knows that somehow some good is coming out of that, and that some good will come out of it as well in the future.

Do you remember what he says in Romans, chapter 8? That wonderful passage of assurance that just everywhere full of optimism. In Romans, chapter 8, verse 28 he says:

“… and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose….”

So he knows that somehow in this jail that he finds himself in, something good is going to come out of it. This is so important for us, you know, when we’re going through deep pain and deep suffering we have to remember that. That’s a verse that we should all memorize, because sometimes there are harrowing things that happen to believers and sometimes we will go through situations that we will ask ourselves, how could this happen to me? I mean, what good can there be in this thing? And we see others sometimes suffering in an unmerited fashion and we says, how could this happen? How can God be glorified in that?

Many times we will never find the answer in this world. Many times we have served God, we have made all kinds of efforts on behalf of the Kingdom of God and yet somehow we’re lead into sufferings like Job was, and we have no answer. And yet we have to exercise a faith that says, no, somehow I know that out of this some good will come. Many times if we stay patiently within the experience, blessing the Lord, glorifying him, we are allowed then to see what good God had for it. Sometimes we may not until we come to his presence.

But how many times I have be able to look at experiences that I’ve gone through in my life and now I see clearly what God wanted to do with my life. One of the things that pain accomplishes is it breaks us, breaks the pride, it breaks the self sufficiency, the carnal self confidence that we have. God cannot deal with that. He cannot work through your life when the grain of wheat is whole and completely unbroken, God needs to break the crust, needs to break the outer covering so that the life within us can sprout forth and the life of God can penetrate into us. God can never penetrate through a crust of self sufficiency and of self assurance.

Sometimes he needs to break us. Jesus says ‘if the grain of wheat does not fall to the ground and die, it stays alone, but if it falls and dies it will bear much fruit.’ So there’s always something good in your life that God is working through. We must take it as an article of faith as we’re going through the pain and the suffering and the brokenness, ‘God, I know that there is something there that you have for me and I will see it and I bless you’, and sometimes we’ll have to say that blessing with tears coming out down our eyes, and we have to just force the words out of our mouth. And you know, God is glorified in that, because the devil is always telling God that we’re a selfish creature, that only serve him because we are interested somehow.

Isn’t that what he said to God about Job, ‘oh, he serves you, of course, you made him rich, you’ve given him lots of children, you’ve given him lots of properties. He has great prestige, hey, anybody would serve you that way.’ And God says to him, ‘ah, you’re sure about that’.

You know because there’s a controversy between God and Satan and there’s a controversy raging I think within God’s heart, put it that way, which is, God desperately wants the love of his creature, God is not the self sufficient, solipsistic being out there that the philosophers have presented many times, a sort of totally impervious to anything. No, I think God, somehow mysteriously, is affected by his relationship with his creature. We see that through scripture many times.

And one thing that really God wants, like any father or mother is know is that we are loved for what we are. We’re not loved because we give our children money, or home, or anything, we want to be affirmed that we are loved in ourselves, that we’re doing a good job and that our children honor us. I think we get that from God really.

So, Satan loves to kind of squeeze in God’s face this idea, ‘this creature that you’ve created is totally indifferent to you’, and God is involved in a cosmic controversy to prove that this is not so, that he created a creature that is capable somehow with the program that he put into it, to go beyond the fall and this is what we’re resolving here in history.

By the way, this is what the church brings, it’s that glory to God, that we are select group from that race that is really serving the Lord. So, God wants to be glorified. So God tells Satan, ‘ok, go ahead, take out this, take out that…’ He takes out all the scaffolding surrounding Job’s life and leaves him just hanging in the abyss and the question is, can Job bless him?

Now, Job struggles but he doesn’t end up blessing God and glorifying God. Once that is resolved, God says, ‘all right, Job, have it all back, even more so’, because that’s the thing. That’s what God wants to know, if I take it all away, can you still trust in me? Are you able to live so in the light of eternal spiritual things that if every material thing is wiped from you, you can still glorify me. When we do that, then God receives great, great joy and the devil is chained.

This is why, I mean, that drama God has been playing it out throughout all history. He calls Abraham, promises him a son at the age of 75, gives him the son at the age of 100, 25 years after he’s been stewing in that hope of getting that son. Finally gives it to him, allows him to fall in love with that son for a few years, and then says, ‘now, kill him for me’. And he wipes out all image of God’s goodness, coherence, integrity, everything in one fell swoop and he says, ‘now, you kill him for me’, and God is secretly hoping that Abraham will be able to do that and still glorify him. And Abraham passes the test, and just as Abraham is ready to plunge the knife into Abraham’s bosom the angel calls out and says ‘Abraham, Abraham, stop. You’ve passed the test, I just wanted to know whether you would honor me’.

And you know, many times this is what pain brings into our life, and suffering, it is that question of God, can you honor me? Can you bless me in the deepest, deepest depth of pain and suffering? Can you still bring glory to me?

You know, the thing was that God was able to give his absolute utmost to us and Jesus was able to divest himself of everything that was precious. Paul will speak about it later on in chapter 2, he didn’t cling to anything, he gave it all to serve the Lord, to honor his father and he says, ‘let there be that same spirit in you’.

So, the scripture calls us to that tonight. Let there be that same spirit in you that was in Jesus Christ. I’m going to leave it here because there’s few more things, what I’ll do rather than complicate matters too much, I will continue next time that I’m with you.

But just remember that, and there’s a lot more in Paul’s perspective that can be of a great blessing on to us. ‘Live not for self but for God and his kingdom’. Please adopt that, let us all make a vow to seek the glory of his kingdom, not our own.

Let us admit to ourselves, let us internalize this essential principle of the Christian life that to us who are founded in God’s goodwill and good purposes all things will work out for good. God is the great recycler of pain and suffering and failure and he is committed to making sure that there is no loss in your life, even the pains and the sufferings before you knew Christ, God pre-redeemed. So there’s no loss, it’s not like he became aware of you when you receive Jesus, your Savior, he knew you as he formed you in the womb of your mother. So there’s no loss for you in the light of God’s good intentions and then also live in the light of eternity, let’s live in the light of eternity, let’s cultivate the presence of eternity in our lives and live for the kingdom, live to serve him, live to honor him, live for the advancement of his glory. You are simply an instrument in God’s hands and as you become that lonely instrument, paradoxically, ironically you’ll be lifted to the very greatest heights, just like Jesus was. Your life will be redeemed as you debase it, you will gain as you lose it, it will become extremely valuable as you count it all for loss.

Let us stand and let us receive that call of the Holy Spirit of God, let’s adjust our perspective tonight, people. Let’s adjust our perspective, let’s acquire new filters to which to look at reality, the life that we’re experiencing. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit, do a work in my mind, do a work in the framework of my existence. Help me to lose it all, help me to divest myself of it all, help me to become a lonely instrument in your hands, a pawn in your hands, help me to live in the light of eternity, Father, not in this treacherous now that seeks to dominate my entire perspective, but let me dilute it in the light of eternity.

So, Father, do a work in me, do a work in us tonight. Change our perspective, change our outlook, we lay it all down before you, in the name of Jesus Christ, help us as we declare this desire to lay it all at your feet and to lose our life that we might gain it. help us to integrate that and to make that an operating principle in our life, that we might live dead to the world but living to you. dead to time and space but alive to eternity, weakened here but powerful in the spirit able to be used in great things that you want to accomplish through us, because now we are in your hands, we have lost it all and now you can work in us and through us.

Thank you, Father, we receive your teaching tonight in the mighty name of Jesus we pray. Amen and amen.


Sermon delivered by Dr. Roberto Miranda taped September 8, 2007 at Congregation Lion of Judah Listen | View (100K) | View (400K)

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