A message to the young people of Elmdale inspired by a sermon by Damon Thompson.
Fathers and Sons
Luke 12:48 (NIV)
But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
On Father's day God has sent me here today with a message for you. Today I'm here to give you something that much will be required of you after you hear it. To some of you it will not require much cage but to others it will require a total rethink of your life. We need to lay a foundation for what the real message tonight is. We'll begin to lay that foundation by first understanding what it means to be a father and to be a son.
Let's look at Abraham. Abraham had a son, Isaac. Isaac had a son, Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons that became the nation of Israel. The prophet gave birth to sons that gave birth to a nation. That is where all of you are now. You are becoming the sons that will give birth to a nation. I am here to show you what you need to know for you to become those spiritual sons that will be able to raise up nations and change the world. The first thing that you have to have to be a son is a father. Today when I talk about being a father and son I am not using anatomical terms. They are positional terms. They have nothing to do with your gender. They are about where you are not about what you are.
The first thing we need to understand is who the spiritual fathers are in this church are. They are those adults that are around you right now that get it. I hope to become one as well. Chris is more than just your pastor, Corey is more than just a helper. You don't realize the amount of people that have you on their hearts and prayer lists. Many of us see ourselves as your spiritual Daddy's and that is regardless if we are male or female. Every one of you need to become spiritual sons. You need to be spiritual sons because the sons are the only ones that can lay claim to the inheritance. This inheritance is the most important thing that you will ever be given.
What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba,Father." 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
In today's world we think about receiving our inheritance when our parents die. The principal of inheritance in the Old Testament was a little different. The father would give the son the authority to govern the father's affairs once the son was deemed to be mature enough to handle the responsibility. That was the son's inheritance. Your role right now is to prove that you are mature enough to handle it. You have to prove that you are ready to move from the role of a child to the role of a son. I've seen this happening in this group for some time now.
The church is full of children. Some of them are 6. Some are 16 and some are 60. When I use the term child it has zero to do with your physical age. It is all about your spiritual age. God is looking for children that are willing to become sons and mature to the place that the fathers can trust them to steward over their affairs in the earth. In other words, you have to become mature enough to inherit the kingdom.
We talk about the kingdom all the time but very seldom do we actually go into what the kingdom really is. Webster's dictionary says a kingdom is a major territorial unit having a monarchical form of government headed by a king. It is a word made from the 2 words King and dominion. The kingdom is the dominion of a king. In our case it is the kingdom of God. The kingdom is a society with a set of values that was built on the earth by God to develop you to a state of maturity so you can have this inheritance that we are talking about. The church is not the kingdom. The church is just a part of the kingdom. The church just provides structure to the kingdom. The church provides a system designed to grow you into those mature sons that can inherit the kingdom. Jesus never preached about the attributes of the church. He preached about the attributes of the kingdom. Christians as a whole have fallen into the trap of being church people instead of being kingdom people.
The church is full of spiritual children instead of being full of sons. Why? The problem is that too many of us have chosen to be children instead of sons. Children will only grow to maturity and become sons if they are willing to be corrected. Children will only grow to maturity if they are willing to be disciplined, but we don't want that. We want to be entertained instead of being corrected. We don't want to go to church to learn about order or authority, we go to church to learn about the next social function. We don't want to know about kingdom things we just want to know about church things. Church people will never do a thing that will affect the world. That takes kingdom people.
The reason that the church has had such a hard time making the shift to the kingdom is it requires very little of you to be a member of the church. Being a member of the kingdom requires much more. Unfortunately we have a bunch of immature people running around the church and not many heirs. To be able to see why you need to mature into sons and receive the inheritance you have got to first understand what you are in line to receive. The inheritance that I'm talking about is worth so much more than any amount of money. The kingdom that we are talking about is not like any other. It is the kingdom of the Almighty God.
Itís easy to be a child. You don't have to be responsible for anything. Someone else will feed you. Someone else will clothe you. Someone else will change your diaper. Everything is taken care of for you. What I'm talking about doing here is not an easy thing to do. You are going to have to decide whether you are just going to go along being a childish church member or an heir to the kingdom. I'm not saying there is anything wrong at all with just being a church member as long as you don't want to produce anything.
It's not even biblical to be a member of a church the way we think of being a member of a church. Church membership is a clerical issue not a spiritual one. There was no such thing as "the church" in the bible only the body of Christ. It is biblical for you to be a member of a body not a member of a church. It is so important for all of you to understand this. If I'm just a church member, I can stop being a member of the church by simply finding a different church. It takes a more serious act to stop being a member of a body. To stop being a member of a body you have to be cut off from the blood supply. The act of removing a member of a body will kill whatever is cut off and has the potential to kill the entire body. My arm is a member of my body. If it wants to leave the body it will take something pretty serious to separate it from the rest of the body. Making sense?
The bottom line is that you are spiritual sons on the verge of being given the inheritance. The Kingdom of God. You are in line to inherit so much. Most of you probably have no clue how big it really is. It is the power to heal the sick. It is the power to make the blind see. It is the power to make the lame walk. It is the power to know the will of God and to carry it out on the earth. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That is what the kingdom is all about. It can happen. It is happening around you right now. I'm serious. Kingdom people are standing close enough to God to reflect Him in such a powerful way that all these signs and wonders that we have read about in the bible are coming to pass. That's why we have to embrace the concept of the kingdom. This time is the point in history that I believe God is pouring out the kingdom on those that are mature enough to handle it. He is pouring out the kingdom on those that are willing to pay the price. He is pouring out the kingdom on those that are willing to do what it takes to be the one's that will carry out His will on the earth.
OK, letís start to put what we learned about these fathers and sons into practice. Every son begins with a seed. We don't need a biology lesson do we? Are we all comfortable that every son begins with a seed? OK. Let's talk about that seed for a bit. Let's look at an example of what we have to do to get to this maturity and be an heir to this kingdom that we learned about.
I love to garden. I love to grow all kinds of things. One thing that you have to know before you plant anything is what climate zone you are in so you plant seed that grows well in the environment where you live. Let's say that I didn't pay any attention to the zone charts and I decided that I wanted to grow some oranges in my garden. I get good orange seeds and plant them in my garden which has really good soil. The orange trees sprout and they grow but before they can bear any fruit it turns to winter here and they all die. Why is it then that we can't grow oranges in Arkansas? I already said we had good orange seed. I already said that we have good soil. I know that all of you have read the parable of the sower in Matthew.
Matthew 13:8 says that good seed sowed into good ground will produce good fruit. So what is the problem? There is another factor involved. The environment. We don't have the right environment in Arkansas to grow oranges. It has to be hot to grow oranges. It's not that it doesn't get hot enough here. It's that it doesn't stay hot enough here. The only way that I could ever grow oranges to maturity in Arkansas is for the environment to change. How do we change the environment? How do we go about making it hotter around here? We build a fire.
1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.
2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife.
I needed to say all these other things so you would understand what this was all about. If I just show you the fire it means nothing. If you can take the fire with you, you can change the world. If you take the fire with you, you can change the environment. Now is the time to make something burn.
Abraham had what it took to start the fire but Isaac carried the wood. Abraham had the flame and the knife but what Isaac carried was going to enable the fire to become hot enough that the sacrifice would reach God. When the fire gets hot enough, the environment changes. When the fire gets hot enough around here all those seeds that we have been talking about will start to germinate and to grow. All those old people that you see sitting around here like they are dead aren't really dead. Their seed is just dormant. The seed never dies. The seed can never go bad. The seed is incorruptible.
1 Peter 1:23
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever
The people in the church are not dead. The seed is just dormant. They are waiting on the environment to change. They are waiting on you to change it. They just don't realize that they are waiting on you. If you'd start fasting and praying. If you'd start worshipping like no one is watching. If you'd start caring more about what God thinks than what people think. If you'd start carrying the wood, you could change the environment around here. You can change the world but you gotta start carrying the wood. The flame is already here. It may not be bright and it may not be big enough to do much of anything right now but if you'd carry the wood and throw it on that flame soon the fire would grow bigger an bigger until it consumed this church. It would grow bigger and bigger until it consumed this city. Soon it would grow bigger and bigger until it consumed this country!!!
All those dormant seeds would begin to pop. Don't get me wrong here, most of those people with the dormant seed really don't want them to germinate. They are too comfortable just holding down a pew and some if them won't like the feeling that they are actually going to have to do something. Some of them will wonder what happened to this church. Some of them will say that this used to be their church. It used to be quiet and calm and now all there is this bunch of kids running around and dancing and praising God and we certainly don't need any of that going on around here. They are praising and worshipping God in ways that might actually make God want to be here. Some of the old people will not be very happy about all this seed germinating going on around here. That is why I said you have to care more about what God thinks than what man thinks.
You don't have to run the show. You don't have to do everything yourself. You don't even have to start the flame. You just have to carry the wood. As the fire grows it becomes that all consuming flame and it starts to consume this thing we call religion. It starts to consume the rituals that we call church. It starts to consume our schedules and our plans. It starts to consume old mind sets. Just don't let the fire go out. Don't stop carrying the wood.
To carry the wood you will need to do something differently that you are doing them now. You need to start coming in here before you meet and pray over every seat. You need to come to church early and pray over every pew and every chair in the sanctuary with the Holy Spirit. You need to call a prayer meeting. You need to ask the pastor if you can lay hands on him and pray for him before he preaches. You have to pray like you have never prayed before and listen to what God is telling you to do and then just do it. Don't question. Don't hesitate, just do it. This is what I believe is happening right here and right now.
28 ď And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
30 ď And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
This is what revival is all about. When young men start to have visions, the old men will start to dream dreams. I see you beginning to have visions. I see the Holy Spirit begin to be poured out on this church. The old people will start to dream dreams. They will remember all those seeds that have been sown by God throughout their lives. Their seed is not dead. It's just dormant. Their seed it just hanging around waiting for the environment to get a little hotter. Their seed is just waiting for some one to carry some wood to the flame. Will you carry the wood? Who will carry the wood for Jesus? Is it you? Is it you?
In Matt 3:11 John the Baptist said this...
11"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
This is all about Jesus. The flame is in every one of us because the Holy Spirit is in every one of us. The seed is in every one of us because the Holy Spirit is in every one of us. It is your job to make it hot and to keep it hot. My job is to carry the flame and the knife. I promise you that as long as God leaves me here I will never stop carrying the knife and the flame if you won't stop carrying the wood. I'm sure your other spiritual fathers will say the same. Carrying the wood is not glamorous. Carrying the wood will not make you famous. Carrying the wood is a dirty job. No one may know your name. No one may care who you are but that's OK. This is not about any person. It is not about me and it's not about any of you.
It's about a generation being mature enough to be sold out to Jesus. I believe you are that generation that is coming into maturity right now. I believe that you are a generation that is willing to lay aside being famous for just carrying the wood. The one thing that has killed nearly every revival in the past is pride. Every one of us has to be nameless and faceless and I'm talking to the fathers as well as the sons right now. This can never get to be about us. This is about God getting what God deserves. If He is not who He says He is then this is all a waste of time, but if He is who He says He is then we can never do enough. That is what I want to leave you with today. He is who He says He is and nothing that we can ever do will be enough. Will someone carry some wood for Him today?