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Going Beyond Freedom

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2020 7:00 am

Going Beyond Freedom

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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December 1, 2020 7:00 am

Why some people receive the gift of salvation but never enjoy fulfillment in Christ; based on Numbers 13:17-33.

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Freedom is overrated.

What do you mean by that Pastor? Glad you asked. Indeed, freedom can be valuable. But freedom is only as valuable as what we use it for. The Gospel of John chapter 8 verse 36 tells us that if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed. But what is the purpose of this freedom?

Why did God save you in the first place? Hello and thanks for stopping by for this Tuesday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. You know, some people believe freedom means being able to do as they please, but that's not the way God defines it. Today Pastor Paul offers an inside look at what freedom in Christ is all about. Stay with us now, but remember you can always go to pastorpaul.net to hear any recent Destined for Victory message on demand.

That's pastorpaul.net. Right now here is Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, Going Beyond Freedom. I want to take advantage of what's going on in our world today, and I want to use it as a springboard to launch into a series of messages that I'm entitling The Journey Toward Fulfillment.

Now let me put a timestamp on this. I know that this message will be heard for months and years to come, so I need to put a timestamp on it. I am delivering this message in May of 2020 when the world is captivated and challenged by a pandemic known as COVID-19. It has devastated so many people. There are many, many people who have died worldwide because of this pandemic. Many, many more are suffering and trying to recover from COVID-19.

These are challenging days in our world and especially here in America. As I speak at this particular time, we have lost over 60,000 lives in America due to this pandemic just in the past few months, and we don't know where it's going to end. Our health care officials are doing all they can, medical scientists are doing all they can to come up with something that will get a hold of this virus, and we who are people of faith continue to pray that God will use it while at the same time deliver us from it.

But while we're dealing with this pandemic, if you, like me, are someone who believes God uses tragedies, even though He doesn't will them, He uses them, I want you to join me in prayer that God is going to use this to really speak to people about the need that they have to trust Him. So in this time of this pandemic, I wanted to point out the fact that we're having cries here in America. In May of 2020, we've been under what they call shelter in place rules in many states throughout America for the past several weeks. We've been sheltering in place, lots of businesses have shut down, malls have been closed, sporting games are not taking place. There's so much that has changed about our life and lifestyle just in the past few months.

Really, it is tough to remember what normal used to be because right now there are few traces of what we called normal. And there are cries around the country where people are saying, we need freedom. And the sad thing is many of these protests in the streets and at state capitol buildings and such, they're protesting wanting to go back to business as usual without having a real sensitivity to the fact that unless they're willing to practice the guidelines that we've been given, shelter in place, social distancing, things like that.

If we go back to business as usual and we don't maintain a sensitivity to those things and aren't willing to change our lifestyle to accommodate the need to prevent this virus's continued spread, all we're doing is inviting a fresh wave of the virus into our society and that's not going to help us at all. And as I've been watching the protesters and they've been using the term free Virginia, free Michigan, whatever state they're in, they want to be free. And as I've been thinking about this as a pastor, I'm always looking at spiritual lessons that can be learned even in natural events. And so when it comes to what we're dealing with in today's world, this whole business of freeing people and people crying out, demanding freedom, I thought, you know what, there is something the body of Christ needs to learn about this concept of freedom. So I want to share it with you as I open up this particular sermon series. Here's the first thing I want you to note. Freedom is overrated. What do you mean by that, pastor?

Glad you asked. Indeed, freedom can be valuable, but freedom is only as valuable as what we use it for. In other words, freedom is not an end to itself. Ideally, freedom is a means to an end.

What is the end? The end is that we find God's purpose for freedom. And I wanted to take advantage of this cry for freedom that's going on throughout the country these days to say to the body of Christ, let's take some time and examine why we as people of God need to be free. What does God give us freedom for? Why has God saved us, for instance? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, why did I get saved? Why did the Lord send his son to save me? Well, I think some folk would say because I need the Lord. I'm a sinner and I need to be saved.

Right. So he saved us from our sins. But to what end? What is the end result of being saved? For some people, it would be, well, so that I know the Lord personally.

So when I die one day, I won't be lost eternally. I will spend eternity in the presence of God. So in some people's minds, he saved me to take me to heaven.

Well, bless your heart. I want to say that heaven is a benefit of salvation. But heaven isn't the reason for salvation. God saved us not only so that we could go to heaven when we die, but so that we could live a life of purpose and fulfillment while we live here and now. So what I want to do is spend some time with you examining the purpose for your salvation in mind and examining why God has given us the gift we call freedom.

Because let me tell you something, just like people were saying, we want to be free to go back to business as usual, and many of them are not prepared to follow the guidelines that will keep us protected as we go back to trying to enjoy freedoms we had gotten used to. In the same way, some of us who are saved really aren't taking advantage of why God saved us in the first place. And I trust you're going to be challenged as I go through this theme with you in the Word of God. To begin to answer the question, why does God want us to be free? I want to take you back to the days of Moses. You who are Bible readers, you know very well that the second book in your Bible, the book of Exodus, is a book that begins to discuss with us the fact that God's people were in captivity for hundreds of years in Egypt. And God, in the fullness of time, raised up a man named Moses, called him and said, I'm going to send you to Pharaoh, and I want you to tell Pharaoh to let my people go.

And so you know, who are Bible readers, that Moses was faithful. He went to Pharaoh and he declared, you are to free God's people. And then Pharaoh, of course, had a hard heart.

In fact, God made sure that he constantly hardened his heart because God wanted to show his people the extent to which he was willing to go in order to set us free from any bondage in our lives. And so, after many words from Moses, eventually you know that Pharaoh loosed his grip and he allowed the slaves of Israel to leave Egypt. Moses led them out of town, led them to the banks of the Red Sea, and then after Pharaoh had a change of heart and said, you know what, I can't let all this free labor go.

I'm going to go recapture these folks. And attempted to do so, it took the Lord to keep him from getting to them. But while they were in pursuit and with mountains on either side, Israel was stuck in a place where all they could do is trust God. How do we get past this Red Sea? How is God going to work this out?

Some of us have lived a Red Sea experience where you have something on either side and something behind you and you don't know which way to go. Some of us testify when there was no way, God made a way out of no way. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. To listen to any of Pastor Paul's recent broadcasts, be sure to stop by pastorpaul.net any time to listen on demand.

That's pastorpaul.net where you can contact us for prayer or make a safe and secure donation to the ministry online. Well, Pastor Paul joins me in the studio right after today's message, but right now let's join him for the rest of the message, Going Beyond Freedom. And that's what happened to Moses. God used him to part the Red Sea. He and these people.

Now, we're not talking about just a mere company of folks. We're talking about approximately two million people who left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea on dry land. As God parted the waters, they crossed on dry land.

It was only after they got to the other side of the Red Sea that the water caved in again and destroyed Pharaoh's army. What was all of that about? God was showing his people. When I have fulfillment for you, when I have purpose for you, when I have destiny for you, there is no one and nothing that can prevent you from experiencing it. Watch this.

Except you. Nothing else can keep you from reaching your place of fulfillment but you. And so I want you to think about what happened when they got on the other side. They're now free from Pharaoh. Pharaoh's army has drowned. Egypt is a memory now. They are at a place where Israel can move toward fulfillment. Now, what was fulfillment for them? Fulfillment for them was God had promised them hundreds of years earlier through Abraham that he was going to take his people to a place he had promised them.

We call it the promised land. So what was the exodus from Egypt about? It was about freeing people to the end that they will experience the promised land. God didn't just free them from Egypt so that they could hang out in another place.

He promised to free them so that he could deliver them into a place of promise and fulfillment. Now, brothers and sisters, here's what I want to say to you as I open up this series. I am not giving you this series so we can talk exclusively about history, namely the history of the Exodus. I want to talk to you about how the Exodus of Israel from Egypt is a shift of your thinking so that you can apply the lessons learned there to your own life. The Bible says things written beforehand were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope.

So I want you to think about these people. They've come through the Red Sea miraculously. Some of you, God saved you miraculously. God brought you out of some stuff miraculously.

Some of you all have testimonies. Boy, if you had seen me before I got saved, you would never believe I'm sitting up here in a Zoom service or watching Pastor Paul preach today. You would never think I would be a child of God. You would never think I would go to church.

You would never think that I was interested in the things of God. But God brought me a mighty long way and I am free by the grace of God. Well, thank God that you're free, but my question is, why did God free you? Now that you're free, now that you're saved, is there anything else for you?

And the answer is absolutely yes. And so I want to walk through Israel's experience with you and I want to plug in your life and you're going to learn a lot of things. Now, these people were successful in getting through the Red Sea. God parted the water and brought them through. But you know what happened, when they got on the other side, you immediately saw that they had no understanding of why God brought them out, nor did they have an understanding of what it would take to get to the place of fulfillment. Soon as they got onto the other side, they began to murmur, they began to complain, they began to rebel, they began to practice unbelief. They said, where is the water over here? And there was bitter water and they complained and murmured, instead of saying, wait a minute, God didn't bring me this far to let me die of thirst.

Instead of that, they declared, see, I knew I shouldn't have followed Moses because the water over here isn't something you can drink. When your heart is not aimed toward where God's taking you, it's easy for you to find fault with where you are. Some of us right now are spending our days, even in this crisis that we're facing here in May of 2020, many of us are spending our days complaining, just like the protesters, without saying, Lord, what are the opportunities? What are the things you want to do in my life for me, through me, with me, even during this time of shelter in place, even during this time of COVID-19, even during this time when it's not clear where we're going to go as a society, how life is going to change, we need to be saying, Lord, tell you what, you lead us and we'll follow you. Our life has changed as we've known it, but it doesn't matter.

As long as we know we're following you, we're going to be all right. I want to speak to some of you right now because right now you're showing more that you are like that generation that Moses led out of Egypt than you want to admit. But this word comes not to condemn you, but it does come to convict you. Some of us have been spending our time complaining. Some of us have been spending our time murmuring.

Some of us have been spending our time saying this doesn't make sense and I don't understand why this or that is happening. Instead of cursing the circumstances as they are, we should be thanking God, knowing that God, we don't know where you're going to take us, but you already know we're going to follow you as you lead us. And those of us who are willing to do that are going to see that freedom is good, but it's only as valuable as what we allow it to take us to.

So, brothers and sisters, first of all, I want you to understand freedom is overrated. God didn't free you just so you could try to figure out how to create something in your life. He knows why he saved you. He knows what he's doing in your life.

He even knows why he's allowing us to go through COVID-19. And so you and I need to make up in our minds, tell you what, since the Bible said all along we're supposed to walk by faith and not by sight. Let me get my eyes off of the circumstances and let me put my eyes on the one who led me this far and promised to take me all the way to fulfillment.

These people murmured and complained. As a result, you know what happened to that first generation that Moses led? They came out of bondage, but they never went in to fulfillment. So thank God you and I are saved. We've come out of sin. We've come out of spiritual bondage. But my question is, but where are you going from here?

I don't know about you, my brothers, my sisters. My answer is I'm not satisfied with just having come out. I want to go in. I want to go in to things I've never seen before. I want to go in to spiritual fulfillment. I want to go in to the purposes of God for my life. As I bring this message, I'm in my early 60s, but I've decided that until the Lord calls me home, and I'm hoping that that won't be any time in the next 25 years or so, until the Lord calls me home, I got some stuff I want to go into. I want to go into fulfillment. I don't know how you feel about it, but I'm not prepared to live the rest of my life in mediocrity.

I want to experience God's best for my life. These people were okay to be mediocre. Let me show you how okay they were. After they complained about the water and God blessed Moses to give them clean water, then they just found another thing to complain about. Where's the food over here? And God said, all right, I'm going to feed them from heaven. And you know the story, how they woke up in the morning and found manna on the ground.

Manna means what is it? I don't know if you've ever been through it. Sometimes God will let you go through a what is it phase.

You don't know how you're making it, but you're just making it. You don't know how things are going well and you haven't collapsed altogether, but God is sustaining you in ways you don't fully understand. I'm sure some of us could testify that just in this time when life has changed so much around us, somehow or another we're still doing just fine. That's because our God is the God of manna. Sometimes he blesses you and you don't even quite understand how he's blessing you.

He's just giving you what you need to make it through. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message, Going Beyond Freedom. As promised, Pastor Paul has joined me from his studio in California. Well, I don't need to tell you that the holiday season is upon us, Pastor, and although this year will certainly be a bit different than others, there will be plenty of things that we vine for our attention this year. This is always a very important time for ministries like Destined for Victory, but especially this year with all that we've experienced. We have a great thank you gift for all those who can make their very best gift this month. It's a great and timely message from you.

It's on DVD. It's called Refocus. Tell us a bit about this message. Until recently, I was going to present a very different message for our year-end gift, and it was going to be a good one. But as the year began to wrap up, I was experiencing some things, and I went to the Lord and said, Lord, I need you to help me get my focus back in order.

And as I processed and prayed and the Holy Spirit spoke to me, I ended up thinking, you know what, this isn't just for my benefit. I need to share this with my audience. And as a result, I have recently decided to change that message, and I'm presenting a message entitled Refocus that is going to help people work through the challenges that have been borne out of this pandemic and some of the frustrations we've all experienced.

And I'm giving three very practical steps as to how we need to address these matters. You know, I'm learning in my life these days that emotional health is every bit as important as physical and spiritual health. And so this message is going to help, I think, a lot of people, and I trust that donors this month will not only be a blessing to us through their generous gifts, but they will be blessed by hearing me unpack this theme and help us all get ourselves refocused as we look ahead to the year to come. That is a great reminder, Pastor Paul.

And now is the best time for all of us to begin thinking that way as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ and get ready for a brand new year. For your best gift right now to Destined for Victory, we'd love to send you a DVD copy of Pastor Paul's message, Refocus. That's Refocus, a DVD from Pastor Paul, and our gift to you by request for your best gift to Destined for Victory in December. Call 855-339-5500 to give over the phone, or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online.

You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. Let me tell you, my brother, my sister, if you want to journey toward fulfillment in your life, you're going to have to get your butt out of the way. I don't mean your B-U-T-T, don't charge me with being vulgar while I'm preaching. No, I just mean your B-U-T, your negative conjunction, your negative perspective on what God wants to do in your life. That's next time in Pastor Paul's message, Going Beyond Freedom. 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 / 2024-01-20 12:58:06 / 2024-01-20 13:07:21 / 9

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