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Keeping in Step with the Spirit, Part 1 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
October 6, 2020 8:00 am

Keeping in Step with the Spirit, Part 1 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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October 6, 2020 8:00 am

The importance of living by the power of the Holy Spirit; four practical insights regarding keeping in step with the Spirit.

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Don't wait to feel something to love God. Love God because He is God. Reverence God because He is God. Reverence Him because one day He will judge the living and the dead.

And I want to be found having responded to His love by loving Him in return. The attorney tried to tempt Jesus by asking, what is the greatest commandment in the law? The Lord's answer found in Matthew chapter 22 is as relevant today as it was then. Hello and welcome to Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. Well the answer Jesus gave was this, thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And then He gave the second greatest commandment for good measure, thou shalt love your neighbor as yourself. Today Pastor Paul reminds us that our most important calling is to love God and then to love others.

And believe it or not, it's not as difficult as you might think. Stay with us now, but remember you can always swing by pastorpaul.net to hear any recent Destined for Victory message on demand. That's pastorpaul.net.

And here is Pastor Paul with today's message, keeping in step with the Spirit. It's just nice to be nice. You know, being nice doesn't take a whole lot of work. If you have the right attitude it's just nice to be nice. It's nice to hold a door and say after you. You don't have to rush in and slam it behind you. The folk coming behind you, let them go. It's nice to let the person get in to your lane. Yes, they ran up on their exit a little too fast.

And now they're trying to do that exit where they're all the way over in the left lane and trying to get all the way over to the exit on the right side in one tenth of a mile. I understand that. But you don't have to make it your mission in life. Uh-uh, you ain't getting in front of me.

You could have changed it like I came. You don't have to do that. You could slow down and see that they're trying desperately to get over. And you can wave them on in. Now when you wave, make sure they see your whole hand. Make sure no finger is sticking out, just all of them.

Just come on in. Just nice to be nice sometimes. You know, you're in the grocery store and the person ahead of you is there with the cashier and what have you. And they're fumbling around and they don't understand that they need another dollar twenty cents and they're looking fiercely and they're thinking, oh, I guess I'm going to have to put something up here. And you've got God bless you and you've got some money in your pocket and what have you. You can just say, hey, no, don't bother running to your car. Here, here it is.

Dollar twenty, there you go. Got you covered. God bless you. Just nice to be nice. And when you're nice, don't expect God to send a heavenly marching band. You know, it's just nice to be nice.

You don't have to wait for it. You were nice. God gave you a chance to show some love, some kindness. Let brotherly love continue. That's a form of love.

And in relationships, that's great. It's great to be friends. We used to be friends. Oh, that's how we got together. We were just friends first. And what have you. Y'all got to just learn now the Bible calls you to be friends without benefits.

That's the only difference. You got to learn that. Because the world has come up with this term and you've got to understand, no, that's not according to scripture. Friends with benefits equals marriage. So get it straight.

Get your theology straight. But a lot of people say we're friends. You know, we're just friends. And when we got to, you know, just share with one another and we have great conversations and all that.

That's a great feature in a relationship that God would ordain. But it's a poor foundation because friendship, sometimes friends go through changes. I've seen friends break up. Do you have any ex-friends? People you used to be tight with. But some conflict went down.

You didn't like the way it got handled or the way you got treated or what have you. And they are no longer in your inner circle. So friendship is a nice feature, poor foundation. So when the Bible talks about the kind of love that would emulate the love God has, it talks about agape. It is a love that goes beyond feelings and goes beyond friendship. It is a love based on the heart of God for an individual. It is when you begin to see persons through the lens of God's love for them and you treat them accordingly.

It is a love that acts in the best interest of its object and it does not take into account what the object has done to earn or deserve it. God loved us when we were unlovable. When we were His enemies, Christ died for us. And so it is a love that is not just because of, it is a love that is in spite of sometimes.

And that's what we're called to do. And it's commanded, thou shalt love the Lord. You first love God. How is it that we love God? 1 John says we love Him because He first loved us. The only way I get to experience the love of God is I experience it from Him first. He loves me. And now that I am the beneficiary of the love of God, He now commands me to love Him in return. And so it's a command. Get used to it. Get comfortable. God commands us to love Him. You say, man, that's cold.

No, no. He commands it because He first loved you. And His plan for your life is based on your responding to Him by loving Him in return.

In other words, He can love you all He wants, but until you love Him back, there are some things He cannot do in your life. That's why there are certain scriptures that talk about the benefits of loving God. When we quote Romans 8 28, we often don't think what it really means. It says, and we know that all things work together for good, not to everyone. What does it say? To those who love the Lord.

See, if you don't love God, if He's not first in your life, you can't claim Romans 8 28. And you know, I hear a lot of people saying, you know, they've just made it sort of a catchphrase in the world. They just have this sort of philosophy. I don't know where they got it from. Sometimes they don't know where they got it from. But you hear people who don't even know the Lord. Well, you know, everything works for good. What makes you think that?

No, no, no, no. All things work for good to them who love the Lord. If you don't love Him, your stuff is just working. But for those who love Him, who have put our trust in Him and then set our affection upon Him, the Bible says He responds by making sure everything works together for good because you love Him and are called according to His purpose, His purpose. And so the Bible commands us to love God. You say, well, in practical terms, what does that mean and how do I pull that off?

Well, it's not as difficult as you think. First of all, it is a response to His love for you. When somebody loves you as well as God has loved us, loved us so much that He's canceled all of our sin.

He could have condemned us eternally, but He has canceled our sin as we put our trust in Christ. It's easy to love somebody who loves you that well. And we're commanded to do so. You say, but in practical terms, I'm not used to being commanded. I never let anybody walk up to me and say, I command you to love me. Okay, but you got to understand the concept.

So think of it this way. Many of us who like sports, we have teams that are our favorite teams. Why is that your team? Because one day you set your affection on that team.

You chose to love them. You chose to say that's my team. It could be based on your hometown. It could be based on where you presently live and the college team or the sports team in your area.

It could be based on anything you choose. Some people, their favorite teams are in cities they've never been to. But one day they decided they would love that team.

Maybe it was people who played on it years ago and they set their affection in those years and they never took it away even after those people retired, whatever it is. I grew up in Philadelphia, so I grew up in terms of professional football being an Eagles fan. And now I pastor in Northern California in 49ers country.

I have 49ers who come to this church. So I had to become a 49ers fan. So when I got out here, I was both an Eagles fan and a 49ers fan rooting for both of them.

When they played against each other, I didn't know what to do. You set your affection on teams. And of course, you know, my philosophy, I set my affection on several teams each season at the start of each season. People said, pastor, you are so not loyal. Some of my 49ers said, man, I'm praying for you, man. You are not loyal.

No, no, you don't understand. I like to have something to be excited about every week of the season. So if my first two teams aren't doing too well, I can't put all my hope and trust there. So I tell my 49ers, I love y'all, I'm with y'all. But when y'all fall off, I got to have somebody to still be excited about. And so I pick several teams and when they drop off one by one, I always try to make it as far as I can. And then ultimately, I just if all my teams drop off before you get to the Super Bowl, then I just pick one of those teams so I can be excited. And I hate those years where I don't care who wins. That is such a messed up Super Bowl day. When you don't care who wins, just give me a sandwich.

This is pitiful. Because we love to love. We love to be into people. We love to be into things. And so you just set your affection. College teams, your alma mater or whoever it is, you set your affection.

Some of you all love teams that are bad and not going to get good anytime soon. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd. To listen to any of Pastor Paul's recent broadcasts, be sure to stop by pastorpaul.net anytime to listen on demand. Again, that's pastorpaul.net where you can contact us for prayer or make a safe and secure donation to the ministry there online.

Pastor Paul joins me in the studio after today's message, but first let's join him for the rest of this message, Keeping in Step with the Spirit. I have teams not only that I love that I set my affection on, they're teams that I hate. As a matter of principle, I hate them.

And I love rooting against them. I look at the schedule to see who they're playing so I can root for that team that week. That's just the way it works with some of us.

We set our affection some places, we determine to hate some things. It's just I have to be wise because I'm now on the radio around the country and I do these listener appreciation events in these various cities to meet the listeners and what have you. And I made the mistake, I went to one city where there is a team I hate. And the first time I did a radio service in that city, I wasn't thinking clearly. And I got up the first time, I've now been back several times, they love me and most of the people weren't there the first time, it was all good. But that first time I had an audience of maybe 1,200 people and I got up and they were so excited.

This is the pastor Paul, we lived on the radio and he's here and we meet them and what have you. And I got up, I said, I'm so glad to be here. Thank you all for coming out tonight. We're going to have a wonderful time and I love you all and I love this city. And then I said, I love everything about this city except your football team.

I know it was stupid, I know. I just wasn't thinking clearly in that moment, I got too excited. And it was like I sucked the air out of the room.

You know, when I first went there, they didn't have that Southwest commercial that I've seen since, but it would have been apropos. Want to get away? I was standing at a room just went silent.

Because this is a city that lives and dies by its football team. And so, one man how about Pastor Paul, we love you, but that could change. And I got the message. I went on, conducted my service. We had a good time. I've been there several times since and what have you.

And so I said, Lord, help me to never do that again. And we just set our affection where we wanted to be. You can stand by a pitiful team. The people buy season tickets, they know what the season is going to be like. They buy them anyway, they just go out there and they grill their little stuff, you know, and then they go in there and they just root for anything good. Got a first down?

Yes! You set your affection. Well, the Bible says, set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth. I love God because He first loved me and I choose to respond to His love by setting my affection on Him. He gives me the grace to love Him.

And I respond by saying, Lord, I love you. Don't wait to feel something to love God. Love God because He is God. Reverence God because He is God. Reverence Him because one day He will judge the living and the dead. And I want to be found having responded to His love by loving Him in return.

And so we set our affection on Him. That's the great commandment. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. And then it says, and love your neighbor like you love yourself. Now that's where we need some help in prayer. Because there's a brand of Christianity that wants to love God and hate people.

And the fact of the matter is you can't do that. The great commandment goes on and says, love your neighbor as you love yourself. And when you say, well, who's my neighbor? Well, Jesus answered that question one day when He gave us the story of the Good Samaritan. Your neighbor is whoever needs your love. Your neighbor is anyone who needs, who deserves to be loved because they're loved by God. If God loves you, how dare I hate you?

That's what you got to understand. If God loves them, and remember God loves us when we're out of His will. It is His love that compels us. It is His love that draws us to Calvary.

It was love that won me over. And so you got to come to understand people whose life is out of sync with God's plan deserve love. They don't deserve condemnation.

If anybody was going to condemn them, it would be God. But He is long suffering, the reason why Christ has not yet returned. The Bible states it clearly.

He is long suffering, not being willing that any should perish. So the Lord is giving us opportunities. And how are people who are right now outside of God's will ever going to get in His will? They're going to have to know His love for them and His plan of redemption. Well, how are they going to know His love?

They got to know it through us. So we have to learn to love better. As people of God, as believers, we have to learn to love better. We have to learn to love one another better. Christians have to quit fighting Christians.

What army fights itself? It makes no sense, the division that is in God's church. You don't fight other believers. You can have debates. We're a family. You can have debates and what have you, but ultimately there must be unity. Jesus prayed in John chapter 17, Lord make them one, just like we are one. We got to have unity. Quit fighting believers.

Train your attention on your real problem. We're not wrestling against one another. We're wrestling against principalities and powers.

Spiritual darkness, we've got to get it straight. So we must learn to love one another better. Give your brothers and sisters a break.

When they let you down, when they disappoint you, there's a scripture that says love covers a multitude of folks. And you've got to give them a break. Give them a pass. Quit throwing folk up against the wall every time they do something you don't like. You don't have to be confrontational about everything. Learn to pick your battles.

Learn to pick them. Just decide, you know, I'm going to let that go. And when you let it go, really let it go. Don't say I'm going to let that go and then have your little pad. I'm going to write it down.

So the next time I do that same thing, you whip it out and say, you know, and this is not the first time, but I got one, two, three, four, five, six. Don't do that to people. First Corinthians 13, Paul said, love doesn't keep a record of wrongs. Are you tracking how wronged you've been by people in your life? Then you're not walking in love. Now, don't get under false condemnation. There are times you have to create boundaries because there are people who will mistreat you repeatedly.

The Bible doesn't ever call you to put yourself deliberately in harm's way, which means if a person has mistreated you and disrespected you repeatedly and done emotional, physical, whatever harm to you, you're not proving that you love them by continuing to insert yourself in that same position where they can do that to you over and over again. You can have reasonable boundaries. You can let people know this is not acceptable, but you can speak the truth in love and you have the boundaries. When a person shows you who they are, believe them. Don't be in denial. If they show you they can't handle friendship, that they can't handle a trust, they can't keep a secret, don't share any with them.

Well, I love you, so I better tell you the worst things about me. You better not. Not with a person who has proven they are distrustful because it will be in the newspaper in the morning. They just can't keep it. Three preachers met together in a little group fellowship, decided we passed in the same city, we're going to get together and build a relationship and they did that. So one day they were feeling comfortable enough with one another. They said, let's pray for each other and why don't you just share something really that you need to pray about. One preacher said, well, I trust you guys and I want to let you know that I need you all to pray because I'm stealing the money from the church.

And I just, I know it's wrong, but I just, you know, when the offering comes in and what have you, I get to it before they count it and put it in and I take what I need. I want you all to pray for me. And the second guy said, well, y'all need to pray for me. I can't take these pretty women in my church. And I tell you, I'm having relationships with several of them and I just, I'm really, really having a struggle there and I need you to pray for me. And they asked the third guy, what's your deepest problem?

He said, my problem is I can't keep any secrets. He said, let's hurry up and pray now because I can't wait to get out of here. Pastor Paul Shepherd wants to encourage you today.

Set your feelings aside, set your fears aside, and in faith, determine for yourself that you will love God. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message, keeping in step with the spirit. As promised, Pastor Paul has joined me from his studio in California. Pastor 2020 has certainly been a challenging time.

I don't think any of us really thought back in March that we would still be dealing with the COVID-19 issues, but here we are. I know you really believe that every challenge provides greater opportunity to trust the Lord. What would you say to those who are still dealing with feelings of fear and uncertainty? We've just got to relax and trust God, not just go along for a ride like a windsurfing.

You don't know where you're going to go. Trusting God, we don't know where he's taking us, but he knows where he's taking us and how he's going to get us through it. And the thing I always say about the challenges we face in life, I remember back after 9-11 happened and I preached at my church the following Sunday, I said this wasn't God's will per se, as though God sent this to curse us, but it was God's opportunity to speak to us in the midst of trouble.

And this pandemic is serving the same purpose. God's using it to teach us the things we have to learn about trusting him. And I believe that if we'll listen, God will speak to us in a fresh way during these times. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path. Great words from King Solomon in Proverbs 3, 5 and 6. Well, at a time when there's so much pain and uncertainty in the world, the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ remains a source of hope for all who embrace it.

And now more than ever, many are searching for that hope. So this is why your prayers and financial support of Destined for Victory is so critical. As our way of saying thanks for your generous donation, we'd like to send you a booklet called Little Is Much When God Is In It. Written by Pastor Paul, this is a great reminder that God can use you to impact those around you and he can do it despite what you lack. That's Little Is Much When God Is In It and it's our gift to you today by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Call us at 855-339-5500 to give over the phone or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online.

And you can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. No one is ever going to be justified before God as a result of their own efforts to observe the law. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. We've got to learn to keep in step with the Spirit. That's next time in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Keeping in Step with the Spirit. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are Destined for Victory. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-05 15:08:52 / 2024-02-05 15:18:26 / 10

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