So I’m so excited to be here with my family and share the word. So let’s jump right into it. Amen. If you have your Bibles turn to first Corinthians chapter two. Yeah. And you can check out the sermon notes in your worship guide, or if you have the YouVersion Bible app, there’s an event in there if you want to follow along. But the title of my message this morning is the crucial gospel, the crucial gospel. And you know, anytime that I speak anywhere, I never take it lightly. I always approach it with a lot of fear and trembling. A lot of parents study a little bit of a nervous breakdown at some point. And there’s some more parents study. Yabut this time around in our current societal climates, I’m approaching it even less lightly because there’s so many voices screaming at us right now. So many issues saying, look at me, get worked up about me when it comes to the best here at Mt. Carmel Church.
Be worried about me being fear about me, get angry about me and go fight about me. And I just don’t want to add to that noise. Right? I don’t know about you. Maybe your past five months have been really quiet and peaceful because you have perfect discernment and you know exactly what’s right. And exactly what’s wrong. Yeah. But me and my heart, we’ve been on a journey. Can we just get real at the beginning of service, anybody else’s heart and mind been on a spiritual, emotional, mental journey for five months. And I’ve just been crying out to God. And I’ve just been saying to him, Lord, like what’s going on? Because for me it’s been a little cyclical. I don’t know about you, but when the news finds me each day and it always finds me Mt. Carmel Church, even when I’m not looking for it, it just finds me.
And I immediately react with shock and awe like, I’m like, this is crazy. It can’t get any crazier. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that and had to eat my words that’s by months. And then it turns into anger because I am angry at what I see. And I’m even more angry when I see how people respond to it. And then that anger quickly turns to fear. You know why? Cause anger and fear are BFFs. They always accompany one another, right? Where there’s one, you can pretty much find the other. And it’s like, I get afraid of what I see happening. And I’m like, where is this headed? What is this going to mean for me? What does this mean for my nation? What does this mean for the world? Lord? What is going on? Who’s behind this Mt. Carmel Church. What’s the motives. And then I just kind of get confused. Cause I don’t know what to trust. I don’t know who to trust. And then finally I just kind of settle into a hopelessness where I throw up my hands and I go, I don’t know what to do. And, and I don’t know that anything that I did would even make a difference. And then some more news finds me and it’s back to shock and awe until I go tell coach Jesus,
Where are you?
You’re not the author of confusion. Lord. The enemy is the author of confusion and Lord, you’re not a God of hopelessness. You’re a God of hope. And you don’t lead with anger and you’ve not given me the spirit of fear, but you’ve given me the spirit of love and power and a sound mind. So obviously I am not seeing this issue through your eyes. Obviously. I don’t have your perspective right now. So Jesus, what is your perspective? Lord, do I look here? Do I look there? Where do you want me to focus? My energies? Lord, what is most crucial right now in this hour? And that word crucial. It means of the utmost importance or significance. It’s actually a Latin-based word. And the root word is the Latin word. Crux. Guess what it means? It’s on your screen. It means cross. Did you know that, that the word crucial comes from the word cross?
Why? Because it’s the point where things come together. The cross of Jesus, it’s the point where sin and redemption met. And so I’ve been crying out to the Lord and I’ve been saying, Jesus, what do we need to do about this issue over here? And he has repeatedly answered me in this same way for five months. He’s when I seek him earnestly. He said my gospel. And I’m like, that’s good, Jesus, cute. Like your gospel is great and all, and I know I’m supposed to Mt. Carmel Church, you know, like spread it and everything and, and share it with people. And it’s a really good, like starting point for people to get their, get their foot in the door and make sure that they have their name written in your book alive and all this stuff and be free from their sins. But Lord, you don’t understand this issue is really difficult. Like it needs the deep wisdom from heaven and he’s like, yep.
And I might not do. That’s so funny. But Laurie, this issue is so complex. It’s complicated. It’s nuanced. We need a complicated answer and no disrespect, but your gospel’s really simple.
And he says, promise, my gospel may be simple to understand. And it may be simple to explain, but it is anything but simple in his power and it is anything but simple in its application. You see, I am convinced that the gospel is actually the most powerful message on the face of the planet to change hearts, to change minds, to change lives, to change the entire world. That is the most important movement for all of human history past present and future
I believe that actually, if there was something of more importance that when God sent Jesus to earth, he would have been about that thing. I man, but as it stands, Jesus came to earth for one purpose and one purpose only to die on a cross for the sins of mankind. Why to reconcile us to the father, why to redeem humanity redemption means to save someone from sin to save them from evil, to save them for air from error. That is the heart of the gospel Mt. Carmel Church. That is God’s movement. That is God’s message. And it’s the most crucial one on the face of the planet. Now. Promise are you saying that other movements and issues and positions and points of view are not important? I’m absolutely not saying that actually we have some issues going on in our culture right now that we absolutely need to stand for, but you know what?
I can’t afford to stand for it without God’s perspective on it. I can’t afford to have it out in front of the gospel. I have to filter everything that I’m about everything that I stand for every message that I want to preach. I got to filter it through the gospel. How do I know if the thing that I’m pushing and promoting that it actually stands through the gospel? Well, one way there’s maybe a lot of ways, but one way is what is my goal? Because God’s goal is redemption of human souls, reconciliation to the father and my motivated out of redemption for human beings to be about this thing. Is that my motivation Mt. Carmel Church? If not, I don’t know what spirit I’m that I’m not of the Holy spirit. Let me bring it home. Can I just bring it home? I’m just in the intro. Y’all can I just bring it home already? Let me give an example then maybe you can relate to abortion. It’s an important issue, right? The mass genocide of the unborn. I think God has an opinion about it. We need to know what it is, but if my positioning on it does not allow for a redemptive answer for someone who has had an abortion.
If my positioning on any issue is such that I cannot have a redemptive answer for some other injustice in the world. If all the time, when somebody brings up an injustice, I gotta be like, what about this?
Yes. It’s just the intro. Y’all
Okay. Okay. Are you at first Corinthians? All right. Good. First Corinthians chapter two. Let me set the scene for us. God’s purpose is redemption of people. That’s his movement. First Corinthians chapter two. What we have going on is we had the apostle Paul and he is writing a letter to the church at Corinth. Now this is why you got to know about Corinth. Corinth was a really wealthy city. It was strategically placed between the Aegean and the Mediterranean sea. So it was a point of for Europe and Asia. So what you had going on this is going to sound familiar is that you had in the same city Mt. Carmel Church, people from all over the world, living together, different ethnicities, different nationalities, different races, different languages, different religions, all coming together in the same place, American church, does this sound familiar to you? And then beyond that, culturally, what they had going on is they had worship of different gods and goddesses in their primary goddess that they worshiped in that town was Aphrodite.
And contrary to what you may have been taught in high school. She’s not the Greek goddess of love. She’s the Greek goddess of sex. Okay? Eeros not phileo, not a GAAP Bay Eros sexual love. So there was a celebration and a focus on sexuality so much. So that worship to her included temple prostitution. So it was considered worship to go and buy a prostitute and spend time with her or him a focus on sex and sexuality. Does this sound familiar culturally? And also there were other gods and goddesses who stick was that they were all about human wisdom. What we would call right now, humanism man’s effort to innovate and to do things on his own. Does this sound familiar? And what you had smack dab in the middle of this culture is a church. And these believers who knew the gospel, who had experienced it for themselves, they believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God that he came to earth.
He lived a perfect life. He didn’t sin. He went to the cross, he took all of the sins of mankind, all of our iniquities, all of our transgressions, which is when we were bell and do the thing that we know we’re not supposed to do, or we don’t do the thing that we are supposed to do. All of our sickness, all of our disease, all of our shame on the cross Mt. Carmel Church. And then he died and he took it to the grave and he left it there. He got up again. And now when I believe in him and I make him the Lord of my life, that actually my sins died with him. I am dead to sin. I am alive in Jesus. I’m a new creation. My life is not my own. I’ve been bought with a price
And they’re trying to figure out how to live this out in the middle of this carnal culture. Does that sound familiar? And we have the apostle Paul, and here’s what you need to know about Paul. He was a very learned man. He knew the Torah backwards, forwards upside down, inside out from the time that he was a boy, we would say that he has like three PhDs in theology. He knew all these deep things about the Lord. And he was sure that he was sure that he was sure that he had God’s heart. He knew God hated Christians. That what they stood for was an affront to his God. And he was so zealous to prove his devotion to the Lord that he went out and he murdered Christians just to prove it until one day. And so one day he’s on the road and the Lord meets him and he experiences the gospel firsthand for the first time.
And what in this world can take a man willing to murder Christians, to prove his zeal, to God, to a man who was willing to be beaten, imprisoned risk his own life. Be completely rejected by his people. For the sake of that same gospel, only the gospel of Jesus Christ can do that. Nothing can change a heart or a life like that. Come on. See, I am convinced that the gospel is the most powerful movement on the face of the planet. This is what he said to them in first Corinthians to encourage them verse one, he said, and I brethren, when I came to you, I did not come with excellence of speech or wisdom declaring to you Mt. Carmel Church. The testimonies of God. I didn’t come with all that deep stuff because it’s not what you need right now.
He said for, I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified the pure and simple gospel. That’s what you need in this hour. I was with you in weakness and fear and much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power. Why so that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God, the Lord has been challenging me this with this for five months, he’s been saying to me, promise, where is your faith? Is your faith in the wisdom of men? Or is it in the power of God? Is your faith in a politician, in a political party, in a sound soundbite, in a movement? Where is your faith promise? Do you believe me over what you are seeing and hearing?
Do you believe my word? You see Paul knew the power of the gospel in Romans one. He told the church, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes for the Jew first and also for the Greek. If I don’t believe that the gospel is the most powerful ideology on the face of the planet, that I feel like I am missing, what it even means to be a follower of Christ. There is no ideology on earth that offers more freedom Mt. Carmel Church, more righteousness, more justice, more stability. There’s no movement on earth of greater value to the human race than that, of the gospel. I just want you, if you’re a Christian, I just want you to think back to that moment for yourself. You know, when you encountered your first love, when you saw your sins on that cross and you were immediately struck with grief at what Jesus had done for you.
And it was followed immediately by great joy. When you realize that he didn’t stay in that grave, but he got back up and now his victory is mine. Is there, has there been anything ever that has done more for you in your life to change you, to impact your life, then that moment you see, we have the answer folks, the gospel’s not simple in its application, either Christ is the hope of the nations, or he’s not either Jesus is the savior of the world or he’s not. And you see, I’ve just been really concerned because of what I see happening, what I see happening is everybody’s taken their corners out of fear, right? And anger. And it’s like, we’re forming into little teams and like we’re congregating around our ideas and our ideologies. And it’s a lot of it’s centered around language. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this. There’s a big push to control language. You say it this way and we can play nice. If you don’t say it this way, we’re enemies. If your shirt has a slogan on it that I don’t like, you’re my enemy. I can’t talk to you. I can’t love you.
And we need uniformity. If you’re going to come over here and be a part of this, that I’m a part of, you have to be exactly. You have to, everything has to be uniform. And if you do it exactly, and you don’t have any divergent thought or anything, then we can be friends and we can build something together Mt. Carmel Church. We can build something great together, a better society. And it all got me to thinking about the tower of Babel. You see, the Lord has been talking to me about the tower of Babel for about a year and a half. And I haven’t understood it. Let’s go there. Let’s read it. Genesis 11, verse one, it says at one time, all the people of the world spoke the same language and they use the same words.
Skip on down to verse four. Then they said, come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches to heaven. This will make us famous. And this will keep us from being scattered all over the world. In other words, this is our answer. We all come together and do this and build this thing together. And we all get on board. Then it’s our answer. Everything’s going to work out if we can do this. But the Lord came down verse five, to look at the city and the tower, the people were building. Look, he said, the people are United and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out do will be impossible for them. Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other. And I’ve always scratched my head about this.
I’ve said, Lord, I don’t understand don’t you want people to unify don’t you want us to be in unity and build something great. But what I’ve come to realize is that the Lord never intended for us to unify around ideologies. He never intended for us to unify around words, but to unify around the word Jesus, that actually no ma amount of human effort Mt. Carmel Church, can we come together and build a better society? We can’t build anything. Apart from the gospel, we can’t build a tower to heaven because there’s one way to heaven. And his name is Jesus. And Proverbs 18, 10 says the name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run to it and are safe.
You see a lot of powerful things happen when we make the gospel central in our life. It allows for unity. You know why? Because the Lord does want unity, but he doesn’t want uniformity. The body of Christ is one body with many members. He doesn’t want oneness. He, he doesn’t want sameness. He wants oneness. Amen. Actually, our diversity makes us better. It makes us stronger. It makes us more beautiful. It makes the body glorious. And what the gospel does is it brings unity Mt. Carmel Church. You know how, because the gospel gives every single one of us, a new identity. You know what that identity is, son or daughter of God, that’s it? That doesn’t mean that he does away with any of our other identities. You understand? We all have different identities that we clean to our gender, our nationality, our race, maybe it’s our job title.
Maybe it’s our role in a family. Maybe it’s even like our denomination or our political affiliation are things that we draw an identity from. Our sexuality is an identity. And what happens when I make the gospel central, my primary identity has to be son or daughter. And I take all these other identities and I submit them to that identity. And actually what happens is through his refining fire, some of those get rearranged and he deals with that. But actually what happens is he gives value to every other identity that we have. And this is how it unifies us because now when I come to the table, I don’t come as an American Christian. I come as a Christian who happens to be American.
And now I’m a son or daughter at this table. And guess what? You’re a son or daughter at this table. We’re all family. It’s like all of garden. When you’re here, you’re family. And all of a sudden I can love you. And all of a sudden, it doesn’t matter what differences we have. We can communicate. And it doesn’t matter if you speak a different language, we can still communicate. You know what? And it actually gives value to whatever other identities you’re bringing to the table. And now we can get out of our corners and we can listen to one another. We can listen to one, another church, be slow to speak and quick to listen Mt. Carmel Church. Amen. Because biblical unity looks like this. It doesn’t, it doesn’t look like the tower of Babel. It doesn’t look like building a tower to heaven. It looks like the upper room where every, the Bible says they were in one accord.
How, because they were looking to Jesus. Every one of them in that room were looking to Jesus. And they were awaiting his promises. When we all look to Jesus and his agenda, then we can be in unity Mt. Carmel Church. And guess what he did in that moment, he gave a new language and it wasn’t the same language. The Bible says divided tongues. And every man heard his own language. It was diversity. It was beautiful. Did you know that that, that day of Pentecost was the redemption of the tower of Babel. Redemption is his goal. Every time isn’t my goal.
See a lot of powerful things happen when we make the gospel central, it’s not simple. And it’s application it’s complex. I probably can’t even go through all the things that happen when we make the gospel central. But I’m going to try to highlight a few things that I think are of importance. In this hour. Number one, I gained a pure revelation of righteousness and justice through the gospel. I understand that righteousness and justice come from Jesus, no other source Psalm 89 verse 14 says righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Truth and mercy go before his face, see through the gospel. I understand that righteousness. It’s the quality of being right? You know, it’s the thing that everybody thinks they have going on right now. Everybody thinks they’re right. Every pundit, every person online, every person you speak to thinks they have it. Right? And with the gospel, I recognize that my best attempt to be right is filthy rags. My righteousness is filthy rags before the Lord. Then my only hope to have any shred of righteousness is in him. And it’s his righteousness that in him, we are the righteousness of God in Christ. We understand justice to be morality fairness. And we understand that God is a God of justice. He hates injustice. He hates sin. He punishes it. Vengeance is the Lord’s Mt. Carmel Church.
But what does his punishment for my sin look like? It looks like Jesus on a cross. What about my enemy sin? What does it look like? It looks like Jesus on a cross. See the gospel is a great equalizer now. Promise. Are you saying we should turn a blind eye to injustice as a society? Absolutely not Mt. Carmel Church. Because actually when we stand up against injustice, we are worshiping Jesus. We’re worshiping him because he is a God of justice, but we better have redemption as the goal behind it. Amen. And I’m talking about the quality of our hearts, the position of our hearts toward another human being that Jesus died for because the gospel empowers me to forgive my enemies. Let’s read it. Paul said this to the church at Ephesus first or Ephesians chapter four, verse 29. He said, let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth or your keyboard.
That’s the promise Bradley version. But what is good and necessary for edification that it may impart grace to the hearers, grace, to the hearers, grace, to the hearers, and do not grieve the Holy spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, all wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking Mt. Carmel Church. Be put away from you with all malice and be kind to one another tenderhearted forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you, how can I forgive? Because I’ve been forgiven. If the gospel is central, I’m living in that reality every day. That if, if not for the grace of God, where would I be? So I can love people and forgive them. Now, listen, I know this personally, there are some wrongs that are so grievous. So heinous. I’m talking about things like murder. I’m talking about things like child abuse.
I’m talking about things like sexual abuse. I’m talking about things like human trafficking, slavery, violence, genocide that are so horrible. They’re so heinous that no amount of retribution could ever make up for. What’s been done. No amount of violence, no amount of bloodshed, nothing could make up for things. No amount of somebody’s begging forgiveness could make up for them. And yet the blood of Jesus satisfies it. Doesn’t just satisfy some sin Mt. Carmel Church. It satisfies all sin. Does that mean we justify those things? Absolutely not, but we, we stand against them, but we stop allowing them an influence in our lives to make us victims because it’s actually not legal in the kingdom of heaven to be a victim. Did you know that we may have been victimized, but we are not victims. He doesn’t share his vengeance with me, but he shares his victory with me. Hallelujah. The word of God says for your sake, we are killed all day long. We’re considered as sheep for the slaughter. And yet we count it all joy. Why? Because we’re more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. Nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus. Not family, not sword, nothing. We are not victims. We cannot afford to, to partner with a victim spirit in this hour. It’s not the gospel.
The gospel empowers me, not just to forgive my enemies, but to go a step further and pray for my enemies. Jesus said this. He said it in Matthew five, verse 43, check it out. He said, you’ve heard it. That it was said, you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Everybody saying this right now, love your neighbor, the person who thinks like you and tweets like you and looks like you and talks like you and believes like you and hate everybody else. Right? But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Why? So that you may be sons of your father, who is in heaven. There’s so much in Mitzi right now in our culture, but I, and I, and you may have like people in your heart and I’m just praying that God would reveal all of this to us Mt. Carmel Church.
He wants to, he wants to refine us today. He wants to come with his passion and his fire because guys, he has a work to do in the earth. And he’s coming back for appearance spotless bride. He’s refining our hearts today. This is not a message of condemnation. This is a, an invitation to let that happen. And we may have people in our heart that come up in our mind, who we consider our enemies. Maybe they’re even somebody we don’t know. Maybe there’s some public persona. There’s some politician who we disagree with, who we feel like stands against everything that we believe. But can I tell you this? If I truly believe the scripture says I do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities the powers of this dark age. If I truly believe that, then I should have no issue. Praying for someone who I think is my enemy. Why? Because my goal, all of a sudden is redemption. I want to see that person set free from that evil influence in their life. I should have no problem praying that that person has the wisdom of God. Why? Because honestly, if they have the wisdom of God and supposedly I have the wisdom of God, then we’re going to think the same thing by the end. And we’re not going to be enemies anymore. Amen. The goal has to be redemption of human beings Mt. Carmel Church.
You see the gospel,
The gospel’s gonna mess with every single religious and political spirit that we have operating in our lives. I’m convinced that a religious spirit and a political spirit are pretty much the same thing. There might be some nuances between them, but I I’m pretty sure that they’re very similar because they both want to control. They want to control behavior and they want to control speech. But the gospel is not about control. It’s about freedom. And the gospel is about redemption. And when Jesus came on the scene, there were people who knew that they knew that they knew where Jesus would fall on certain political and religious points of view and issues. The Pharisees. They knew that they knew that they had him when they said Mt. Carmel Church, Jesus, what do you think about taxes? Aren’t taxes, horrible. Isn’t it horrible that the tree that Rome is taxing us.
Shouldn’t we rebel against that. And what did Jesus say? Give to Caesar what Caesar’s no, he didn’t wrong answer, but it wasn’t just the Pharisees. His own disciples thought that they knew where he fell on certain political issues. They thought he was going to come and establish an earthly throne and rule over everything like that. And James and John said, Jesus, can we come and be on your left and right hand side, can we set beside you? When you come into your throne? And Jesus said, do you even know what you’re asking? Do you even know what I have to go through to get this throne? I have to go and suffer and die. Can you drink from that cup? And they thought leadership. They thought Jesus thought leadership looked like you’re above everybody. And all of your followers have to kowtow to you and bow down before you and Jesus showed them what real leadership looks like. It looks like being on your hands and knees, washing dirty feet. And Paul and religiously, the Pharisees were like, Oh, we got him. Now. We got this guy. And they brought a woman caught in the act of adultery. And they threw him at her at her, threw her at his feet. And they said, Jesus, what should we do about this Mt. Carmel Church? Because the law of says to stone,
Her it’s in the Bible, yo right there in black and white. You can’t argue with that. I know we got you now. And what did Jesus say? He said, he who is without sin cast the first stone. Why redemption is why? That is his goal. That is his motivation every time. And it should be ours. He wants us to be stone catchers, not stone throwers, but it wasn’t just the Pharisees that had it wrong. His disciples who heard his words with their own ears, who saw him with their own eyes who broke bread with him, they had it wrong. Is it possible that sometimes we might have it wrong? Is it possible that sometimes we might not have God’s heart on an issue? Have we even asked him because the disciples, they were walking through a Samaritan town and that Samaritan town didn’t receive Jesus. And his disciples were like, Jesus, you want us to rain, fire and brimstone down on him. Alijah did it. It’s in the Bible Mt. Carmel Church.
What Jesus said, this is so powerful. This has been wracking me, Luke nine, verse 55. He said, it says, but he turned and rebuked them. And he said, you do not know what manner of spirit you are up for. The son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them, do I know what spirit I’m of right now? There’s has been asking me that I’m asking myself that I’m asking Jesus, that I invite you to ask him that today he’s here with his refiner’s fire Mt. Carmel Church. And what if we took all of these things and we put them on the alter, all of our positionings, all of our points of view, all of our best rehearse speeches, all of our identities that we’re fronting with. What if we put it all on the altar? And we said, Lord, you’re consuming fire. All these things that we’ve been consumed with.
We lay them on your alter and let you come and consume what you want to consume with the fire of your passion. Jesus. And if you burn it up, so be it, let it go, CYA Nara. But if you don’t and you want to give it back to me, just like you gave Abraham Isaac back. When he put him on the altar, then Lord I’ll take it and I’ll run with it. But I’m going to run with it with your gospel in the front. I’m going to run with the thing with redemption, as my goal redemption of what human beings made in the image of God. Would you bow your head with me today?
There’s such a weightiness to his presence today. It’s been all day long. There’s been a joy and a victory, but there’s a weightiness. The refiner is here with his fire and Lord Mt. Carmel Church, we’re just going to surrender some things to you right now. I say, encourage you to lay it all. Let it all down. If Abraham can put his own son on that altar, we can put our ideas and our points of view on that altar. And the Lord is coming with fire and Jesus, I pray right now that you would consume everything. That’s not a view. Everything. That’s not of the Holy spirit. Lord. We only want your spirit, God to lead us and Jesus, whatever you give us back, we’ll run with. But Lord, we want it to be for the sake of your gospel. Jesus, what if you determined right now, church to know nothing but Christ and Christ crucified and let that be the filter of everything else in your life. Come on. That’s what he’s asking for today. The gospel is the most powerful movement on the face of the planet to change the world. If you want to change the world, get on board with his gospel Mt. Carmel Church.
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