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Towers of Disappointment, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 12, 2021 9:00 am

Towers of Disappointment, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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August 12, 2021 9:00 am

When you picture “the good life,” what comes to mind? Pastor J.D. describes the only source of security and significance as he continues his series called, The Whole Story.


Today on Summit Life with JD Greer. What are the broken towers that God has left? Where have you really tasted disappointment? Was it in a broken relationship? Maybe a failed marriage?

Is it in drug addiction? What if you learn to think about the disappointments in your life, the broken towers? Not as God's harsh judgment on you, but as God's mercy towards you.

So you can't pursue that. It'll only disappoint. I'm the only one that satisfies you. When you picture the good life, what comes to mind? Financial security, a happy marriage, a successful career, vacationing at the beach three times a year?

Thankfully, none of those things are wrong on their own. But today on Summit Life, Pastor JD Greer explains that they'll never truly satisfy us fully. He titled today's message Towers of Disappointment, and it's part of our new teaching series called The Whole Story.

If you'd like to hear any of the previous messages, they're available free of charge at Right now, here's Pastor JD describing the only real source of security and significance. Let's get started. Genesis 11, verse 1.

Let me walk you through it here. Now the whole earth had one language at the time and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plane in the land of Shinar and they settled there. And they said to one another, come let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. Now what is it specifically that they want? They want a city.

Think of a city as a home or a place to belong. They want a tower whose top reaches to the heavens. Think of that as significance. They want to do something that matters. They want some level of permanence in their lives, like they're doing something that is going to endure.

A great name. They want to be connected to greatness. Having rejected God, they feel this void, this vacuum, where they're created for these things that they don't have them.

Sin is an attempt to find in something or someone else something that you should have found in God. They're trying to get back what they'd once had in God. They're going to call this tower Babel.

Babel which means literally the gate of God. So there's your first point. Number one, sin attempts to build towers to heaven. Their desires for belonging, for security, for greatness. Those desires are not wrong. It's where they're choosing to look for them is where it's wrong. Now here we are several thousand years later.

People haven't changed that much. We still desire these same things, do we not? We want a city. We want a group that we really feel like we belong to where we're cherished and loved and respected. We want security. We want something that guarantees our safety. We want our lives to matter.

It's why some people stress out so much over their careers or the lack of progress in their career. We want to be connected to greatness. We want to be connected. I don't care who you are.

That's why you name drop whenever you've met somebody famous or you're in the same room with somebody famous. Now there's nothing wrong with the desires for security and for belonging and significance and greatness. It's where we chose to look for them primarily that became wrong. Sin attempts to build towers to heaven. That's number one.

Let's keep moving. Verse five, so the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men have built. The Lord said, behold there are one people and they all have one language and this is only the beginning of what they will do and nothing that they propose to do now will be impossible for them. What he's saying is from this, from this heart that is expressed in the building of this tower is going to come every kind of corruption, every kind of wickedness, every kind of wickedness, every kind of evil is going to grow out of this.

So there's your second point there. Number two, sin's root. All sins the root is by my will and my strength for my glory. Sin's root is by my will and my strength for my glory. And again what they're looking for, security, significance and greatness is not wrong. It's just that they were supposed to get those things through depending on God. But now instead of depending on God for these things, they want to do it for themselves in their own way by their own strength and so they get the glory.

Let us build a tower for ourselves for the glory of our name. And it is from that attitude that all sinful corruptions are going to emanate. Sin's wickedness begins not with the immorality of the act but with the heart of pride behind the act. That's why God says this tower is going to become the source of immeasurable amounts of sin.

All sin goes back to this posture of pride. By the way, Satan himself. How did Satan become Satan?

Satan became Satan because he said I want to do it by my will, in my strength, for my glory. So let me just ask you for a minute. What's in the core of your heart? Whose will are you living by? Yours or God's? Whose strength do you attempt to meet each day with? Do you attempt to meet each day with your strength or God's strength? Whose glory are you more concerned about? Is it your glory or God's?

When I was in Sunday school, I was taught it this way. In every heart, there's a throne and a cross. If you're on the throne, Jesus is going to have to be on the cross.

But if Jesus is going to be on the throne, you're going to be on the cross. Let's keep moving. Let's keep reading. Verse 7. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they may not understand one another's speech.

I mean, imagine when this happened. What chaos? Verse 8. The Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth and they left off building the city.

Number 3. Sin leaves rotting towers of disappointment in your life. It's interesting to me that God does not tear down their tower. That's what I would have done.

I'd have torn it down. But God leaves it there decaying, falling apart, rotting as a message. This deal here where He scatters them and leaves their towers to decay. Is that judgment or is that mercy?

Both. It's judgment, but it's a ounce of judgment with a pound of mercy. Because what God is doing is trying to wake them up before they make decisions that they can never come back from and that are eternally too late. You understand that every judgment before the ultimate judgment is actually mercy.

Because what God is trying to do is wake you up off of a path to get you to come back from it before you can't. That would change how you saw a lot of what happened in your life if you started to see that the towers of disappointment in your life were left there by God as monuments to tell you, don't go down that path. So with that, let me ask you, what are the rotting towers of disappointment in your life?

What are the broken towers that God has left? Where have you really tasted disappointment? Was it in a broken relationship? Maybe a failed marriage? Is it in drug addiction? Maybe it's some kind of humiliation you've gone through recently, a lost job.

Maybe you got caught cheating and you got kicked out of school. Again, an absolutely revolutionary thought. What if you learn to think about the disappointments in your life, the broken towers, not as God's harsh judgment on you, but as God's mercy towards you. Say, you can't pursue that. It'll only disappoint.

I'm the only one that satisfies you. Recently, when that Ashley Madison scandal broke, you remember that thing? Ashley Madison was the website where facilitated adulterous relationships. And when the leak came out and all these email addresses got exposed, there were a number of Christian leaders who got exposed in that kind of thing. And it was very disturbing and tragic.

And there was one nationally known Christian leader whose email address was part of the database. And he said, I signed up for the website in a moment of weakness. And he said, it was a dark time in my life. He said, but I never acted on it. I just signed up and had the account. He said, I never even filled out the profile.

So I never pursued a relationship. He said, and when these addresses came out, I looked at that like God was harshly judging me for my sin because the board came to me and said, you can't, you know, be the leader of this ministry since he said, I thought it was the harsh judgment of God. He said, but I'll tell you what, in the last couple of months, I've come to see that it was actually the sweet mercy of God toward me, because if I had gotten away from it, I would have just glossed over it. And God cared about me so much that he was willing to publicly expose me so that he could deal with this part of my heart that had not learned to depend on and trust him in.

What if you started to look at some of these humiliating broken towers in your life as God's message to you that you don't want to go down that path? I'm trying to, I'm not trying to pay you back. I'm trying to bring you back.

I'm trying to wake you up. Tim Keller says that when you face the inevitable disappointment of a broken tower or his word, he would say an idol. Whenever you face the inevitable disappointment of an idol, he says, you'll have one of four reactions.

He said, number one, you can blame the idol itself. Oh, I chose the wrong thing. Next time I'll make a better choice. We were so young when we got married. We didn't know what we were doing.

We were naive and stupid. That's why we chose the wrong person. And that's why we're so unhappy. So we're going to get divorced. But now we're older and we're wiser. And this time I'll choose better because I know that out there, there's a soulmate who is just going to fit me perfectly and going to make all my romantic dreams come true.

Sure. That's right. She's standing right over there and right over there next to the unicorn and a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.

That's where you should look for her. You can blame the idol itself and just think I got to choose better. He said, the second option is you can blame yourself. That's what a lot of people do. I'll be like, well, I'm the problem. I didn't work hard enough.

I'll do better next time. So you turn over a new leaf. That doesn't work either, does it? Does it New Year's resolutions, people?

Does it? Whatever made you fail the first time ends up reappearing. With every failure you go through, you feel more like giving up. So option number three, blame the idol, blame yourself. Option number three is you blame the world.

You blame the world. You just give up on being happy. You become a mean, cynical old person who mocks all those naive young people. Or you just get numb. You get numb to it all and you medicate through, whether it's alcohol or drugs or shopping or some hobby that you consume yourself with men, or you quit the world altogether. You can blame yourself.

You can blame the idol, blame yourself, blame the world. So the fourth option is you can realize you were created for a different world. That's the right option. Again, C.S. Lewis, if I find in myself a desire, which nothing on earth can satisfy, the only possible explanation is that I must have been created for another world. You want to be safe. You want to belong. You want to have a home. You want beauty and significance. You want to be connected to greatness.

There's nothing wrong with those desires. It's where you're looking for them. It's what's wrong. These things are all in God. Reminded me this week of one of my favorite songs, Psalm 139.

Listen to this. Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sat down, when I rise up, you discern my thoughts from afar. You searched out my path, my lying down. You're acquainted with all my ways, even before a word forms on my tongue. Behold, oh Lord, you know it all together.

You hem me in behind and before. You lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge seems too wonderful for me.

It's so high, I feel like I can't attain it. Where could I go from your spirit? Where could I flee from your presence? If I ascended into heaven, you'd be there, of course.

But if I made my bed in hell, you'd be there. If I took the wings of the morning and dwelt in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there, your hand should lead me and your right hand would hold me up. If I say in despair, surely the darkness shall cover me and the light about me is turned into night. Even the darkness is not dark to you.

The night for you is as bright as the noon day, for darkness is as light with you. You formed me in my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother's womb before I had a name. When they just called me a fetus, you knew who I was and you knew what I was going to become. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works. My soul knows it very well. Your eyes saw my unformed substance. When I was just a fetus. In your book, all my days were written. Every single one of them.

The days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them and my mom didn't know she was pregnant yet. How precious to me are your thoughts, oh God. How vast is the sum of those thoughts.

If I could count them, they would be more than the sand of the seashore. And then I wake up and I think, surely that's a dream that's too good to be true. But when I awake, I'm still with you. Do you know how much and how often God thinks about you? Oh my goodness, he saw you in the womb before your mom even knew that she was pregnant. God knew your name. He had designed you. He knew all the days he had planned for you.

He chose every one of them. And he assigned his angels to watch over you in good times and bad when it felt to you like darkness was going to overcome you. God's like, that was the light of day for me. I saw everything that was happening and I never lost control. Before the word even formed on your mouth, whether it was in prayer or whatever to express on me, I knew what it was.

Not one hair fell from your head without me knowing about it. And when I made my bed in hell, he said, and that's not poetry, that's literal. You and I had made our bed in hell. And God said, I'll go to hell for you. And so God came down into hell and took the bed that I'd made for myself. And he absorbed hell into himself when he died on a cross and was forsaken by God for me so that he could buy me back out of hell so I wouldn't have to stay there. And David said, I couldn't even run from you in hell. You cared about me too much that you chased me to hell and endured hell in my place. It is no wonder that David said, how precious are these thoughts to me. How vast are the sum of them if I could count them.

They'd be like the sand of the seashore. And then I wake up and I think it's too good to be true, but it's not too good to be true. It's happening. It's a dream I never wake up from. You want to be known. You want to be valued. You want to be approved of.

You are. And the love and the approval that he gives you is richer and deeper and lasts longer than the love of any man or woman. He just can't stop thinking about you. You trying to be special to somebody, you're special to him. You trying to matter in life, you matter to him. The arms you've been searching for in romance are actually his arms. The security that you were working for in your life is going to be found in his promise.

The beauty that you craved in pornography is found in his presence. The fullness you yearn for in all your pursuits is going to be found when you walk with him, which leads to the last point, verse nine. Therefore its name was called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. One more play on words. Babel, you can just react in it in Hebrew and Babel becomes Bilal, which means confused.

So there they call the place confused because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. Now chapter 11 ends and guess what comes after chapter 11? Chapter 12. Boom.

Watch this. Now the Lord said to Abram, go, go out of your country. You got out of your kindred, your father's house, to the city, to the land. I'll show you. I'll make you a great nation. And I will bless you and make your name great so that you'll become a blessing. I'll bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you, I will curse. And in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Here's your fourth point. God is building a better tower. Man's attempts to build a tower back to God to regain what he lost in God have failed. So in Genesis 12, God starts to build his own tower, but he starts in a really odd place.

He chooses a sterile, frail old man. And he says to this sterile, frail old man named Abram, I'll give you a home Abram, and it'd be better and more secure than any home that they can build on the tower of Babel, on the plane of Babel. I'll give you significance, Abraham, greater than any tower you can build. You'll have a role in blessing the whole world.

I'll make your name great, Abram, because I'll tie the greatness of your name to the greatness of my name. And one day, Abram, all these scattered families of the earth with their new languages are going to be reunited around the tower that I build because of what I do through you. And so we fast forward through the whole Bible to the very last book of the Bible, Revelation 7, and we see this incredible scene where John, the writer of Revelation says, after this, I look and behold, a great multitude that nobody could number. From every nation, all the tribes and peoples and languages that were scattered at Babel, all of them, are now back together standing before the tower that God built, the throne, and before the lamb. And they were all crying out with a loud voice, salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the lamb. And so you have what was dispersed in Genesis 11 brought back together, but this time they're not standing around a tower that they built proclaiming their awesomeness. This time they are standing around a throne that God has built and they are worshiping, saying salvation is not about how awesome we were, salvation belongs to our God.

And they are united not in praise of their strength, they are united in adoration of the grace that God has extended to them. And so the message of the whole Bible is God's going to build this tower. You're going to get a little you're going to get little glimpses of it throughout the Bible. For example, in the very middle Acts chapter 2, when the Holy Spirit falls, Holy Spirit falls on the on the earth. The first time the Holy Spirit comes, the first thing that happens is all these people start to speak in other languages. You're like, what's going on there? Is that like a magic trick?

No. God is basically this big flashing neon sign saying, I'm reversing Babel. All the stuff they couldn't accomplish in Babel, I'm going to accomplish through my spirit. So then you go back to Abram's life and you realize that he's not able to get his wife pregnant. So God puts his spirit in Abraham and then through the spirit, he's able to do it. What you're going to see throughout the Bible is that what man can't do, God does in his place and gives him as a gift. So man can't live the life that's pleasing to God. So Jesus lives it in our place. Man can't die the death that we are condemned to die. So Jesus dies in our place. Man certainly can't resurrect himself from the dead. So God by his spirit brings out Jesus's dead body and says, I will now live in you.

I give you that as a gift. The whole Bible cover to cover screams one thing, salvation belongs to our God. And one day around the throne, we're not going to be proclaiming how awesome we are and what we accomplished.

We're not going to be bemoaning our failures. We're going to declare the glory of the God who built this thing through us, which is no wonder why in Revelation, John points out that Revelation 22 four and God will write a name on our foreheads. And that name that he writes is going to be his name. It's going to say Jesus. What it means is that the most important name that I have attached to me is Jesus, because I'm going to do what I do.

I'm going to become what I become, not because I have the internal strength, but because God has determined that he is going to do it through me. Summit church, this is what God has been doing through the whole Bible. It's what he's been doing in every age of the church.

He will accomplish it as surely as Sarah Abrams wife got pregnant. And as surely as Jesus walked out of the grave, he has driven the church forward by the power of his spirit in every age. And he's the one driving this church forward in this day. He's building this church. He's what is doing something amazing through your life.

He's the one that's determined. He's going to make your life a blessing and not a cursing. He doesn't need us to build the church. He doesn't need you to do something amazing. He doesn't need you to overcome addiction. He doesn't need you to be an awesome parent. He doesn't need you to, to be a perfect spouse. He just wants you to yield yourself to him, to let him do something amazing through you.

That's it. Christian life is not about ability. It's about availability and letting God build that tower. There are one of two towers that are being built in your life. One of two. You're either in Genesis 11, building the pretty impressive tower by your will in your strength for your glory, or you've yielded yourself fully and completely without restriction to let Jesus build his tower of grace in you.

So which of those two are you building? Whose will are you living according to? Yours or God's? I'm not asking you how religious you are. Just be quiet with that. Who cares?

Nobody cares. I'm not asking you how moral you are. I'm asking, have you ever given Jesus a blank check and just said, it's all yours, everything? Do you see what you have now? Your time, your treasure, and your talents? Do you see those things as belonging to you that you give God some of, or do you see them as belonging to him?

That is one of the hugest difference I see happening in people. You come and you think like, okay, I'm going to be generous and give God some of my money and some of my time. And then at some point, some of you have woken up to this, you're like, wait a minute, it's not my money or my time to begin with.

That makes a big difference, doesn't it? If you have $10 in your pocket and I'm like, can I have some of the $10? Then you think, well, how much can I spare? And, you know, I'm not going to give some to JD. But if you got my wallet in your pocket with $10 and I say, I want $10, it's not how much do I want to give JD, it's does he want to leave any of it with me?

You start to see that every second you live, every breath you take, every penny you have is actually his. And you start to say, Jesus, what do you want me to do with this money? What do you want me to do with this time?

What do you want me to do with these talents? Do you see what you have as belonging to you or him? Whose strength do you get up and face each day with? Don't tell me it's God's if you don't have a daily time that you meet with God and pray. That just shows me it's totally off your radar.

Everything's about your strength. Whose glory are you concerned about? Is it yours or God's?

Whose mission? Are you pursuing your kingdom or his mission? Don't tell me I'm pursuing God's if all you do is come to this church on the weekend and sit in the audience. To be involved in God's mission means you're involved in God's body.

God didn't put you here so you come here with religious pep talk once a week from me. This is a church. It's an organization of ministry that we extend the kingdom of God through. Whose kingdom?

Whose tower? You build it. By your will and your strength for your glory. Or not my will but thine be done. Not by might or by power but by my spirit, says the Lord. And thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen. Which tower will you work on today? The one where you live out God's mission and build his kingdom?

Or your own? For some of us, it might be time to grab the sledgehammer and knock down a few bricks we've been piling up. For sure, a challenging message from Pastor J.D. Greer here on Summit Life. If you've missed any of the previous messages in this series, you can listen again online free of charge.

Or you can download the unedited message transcripts at Did you know that today you can be one of the first to get Pastor J.D. 's newest book titled Just Ask? In Scripture, Jesus promises, You have not because you ask not. And whatever you ask in my name, I will give it. Or consider God's word to Jeremiah, Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.

It's an invitation. It seems like the entire thrust of the Bible is, God is here, just ask. In this book, Pastor J.D. shows us how prayer was a non-negotiable daily staple in Jesus' life, more essential to Him than eating or sleeping, and therefore is why we need to pray as well.

He shows us how we can enjoy the same source of power as our Lord and the early church when we learn to just ask and depend on our Heavenly Father as they did. Giving specific practical tips for growing in prayer every day, this book leaves readers wanting to pray rather than just feeling that they ought to. We'd love to get you a copy of this powerful resource, and it comes with our thanks when you donate to support this ministry. Request Just Ask by Pastor J.D. Greer when you donate today by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or if it's easier, you can give and request the book online at If you'd rather mail your donation, our address is J.D. Greer Ministries, P.O.

Box 122-93, Durham, North Carolina, 277-09. Before we close, let me remind you that if you aren't yet signed up for our email list, you'll want to do that today. It is the best way to stay up to date with Pastor J.D. 's latest blog posts, and we'll also make sure that you never miss a new resource or series.

It's quick and easy to sign up at I'm Molly Vidovitch, inviting you to join us again tomorrow when we're looking at the story of Jacob and Rachel discovering the key to true lasting joy. Listen Friday to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-17 20:10:15 / 2023-08-17 20:21:36 / 11

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