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Dealing with Labels

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
January 19, 2022 7:00 am

Dealing with Labels

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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January 19, 2022 7:00 am

Refusing to be limited by the negative labels imposed by others; based on Mark 10:46-52 and other Biblical passages.

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Yes, every now and then people will put a good positive label on you, but for the most part, just look around your life. Most of the labeling we see going on when it comes to other people is negative. And we need to get out of the negative labeling business because we serve a Savior who said, I didn't come to condemn you, I came so that you would be saved.

We tend to put labels on everything, clothing and canned goods, cars and computers. We even put labels on people. Hello and welcome to this edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. You know, the labels we put on people tend to be negative, like he's not just a man, he's an angry man.

She's not just a woman, she's an alcoholic woman. Today, Pastor Paul encourages us to guard our hearts against feelings of judgment and condemnation and instead focus on the Savior that comes to show all of us a better way to live. Stay with us here or visit pastorpaul.net to listen to this or any recent message on demand. With today's Destined for Victory message, Dealing with Labels, here's Pastor Paul. Mark's Gospel Chapter 10, I'll begin reading at verse 46.

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, which means son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.

Many rebuked him, told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, son of David, have mercy on me. Jesus stopped and said, call him. So they called the blind man, cheer up on your feet, he's calling you. Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. What do you want me to do for you, Jesus asked him. The blind man said, Rabbi, I want to see. Go, said Jesus, your faith has healed you.

Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. It's not uncommon for us as human beings to focus our attention on negative things. That's one of the sad features of being human. The tendency of many of us is to sort of default to negative things.

Not everyone defaults there, but so many do. We live in a fallen world, we live among fallen people, we are fighting a spiritual warfare against a fallen enemy, and so since there's so much fallenness around us, it is not uncommon and it is not difficult for people to kind of navigate toward things that are negative. But I want to suggest that we need to intentionally overcome that people flaw, that tendency to focus on people's flaws, their physical defects and infirmities, their emotional defects and infirmities, psychological ones, as well as their behavioral problems, their sins and their faults and their failures. We need to learn as people of God to get out of the negative business and to get onto the other side where we do what Paul said, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are just. And yes, we have to deal with negative things, but deal with them in a redemptive way. Deal with them in a way that allows you to focus on what does God want to do.

Okay, something's negative, something's not right. What does God want to do about that? And we will find that if we'll get on the other side, we'll be more like our savior. It amazes me that there are a lot of Christians who are so worried about being holy and they haven't stopped to realize that they're not much like Jesus at all. And I want to suggest to you that if all you're concerned about is your behavior and your quote unquote holiness, but you're not concerned about love and joy and peace and taking good care of people, then I don't know what kind of holiness you think you got, but you need the kind that Jesus had, which was not all that concerned about telling people they were going to hell. Jesus was concerned about telling people, you don't have to go, I got a better way for you.

And you and I have to learn to live the Jesus way. And so if we'll do that, we'll get away from the negativity. Now, why am I bringing up negativity? Because labels are almost always negative in this fallen world.

Yes, every now and then people will put a good positive label on you, but for the most part, just look around your life. Most of the labeling we see going on when it comes to other people is negative. And we need to get out of the negative labeling business because we serve a savior who said, I didn't come to condemn you, I came so that you would be saved.

And so we're going to have to get away from it. Because think about it, even in the Bible, you see negative labels that are just put on people as the penman of the scriptures. The scriptures are divinely inspired, but they are human in penmanship. And what that means is sometimes you see the humanity of the penman who were used of God to give us divine truth, but you still see the humanity come through. And for instance, even when Bible societies put together the scriptures, when you go to Mark 10, chances are in a lot of Bibles, when you get to verse 46, the heading will be blind Bartimaeus. It's just the way people tend to think. Why don't we just say Bartimaeus? No, no, blind Bartimaeus.

We tend to get fixated on labels. Rahab the harlot. She didn't stay a harlot. She did a little harlot work for a while, but the Lord got a hold of her. That woman is in the hall of fame in Hebrews 11. So what you talking about?

Excuse me, here we are in 2021. Rahab the harlot. She didn't do that her whole life. She did it for a while. And in fact, God used her slickness to keep the spies safe when they went over to Jericho. Because when the men of the town said, we heard that the spies from Israel came here and she said, nah, they were here, but they left. You need to get out there and try to catch them. And they ran away and she had them hiding upstairs.

But the fact of the matter is we're comfortable with that. Rahab the harlot. Who else? Naaman the leper. Yes, he was a leper for a while. And not only did the Lord eventually heal him, but even before he got his healing, watch this. The Bible starts out the first time you hear about Naaman. Look at 2 Kings 5, 1.

I'll just mention this real quick if you don't have your Bible with you. Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. Next sentence.

He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. And then here we go. Next sentence. He was a valiant soldier, comma, but he had leprosy. Why we have to throw that in?

But that's just our tendency. The Lord did heal him, thank God, but he was a great commander even if he had never gotten healed. Look at what he did with leprosy.

You see what I'm saying? He commanded an army, he led the people into victory. If he never got healed, the man didn't need to be labeled by the worst condition he experienced. I'm preaching better than you saying amen at home.

The fact of the matter is we got to learn to get out of this negative labeling business. And think of just a few more, then I'll get into this text. What word comes to your mind when you think of Thomas in the New Testament? Doubting Thomas. He doubted for a moment, a moment when he heard that Jesus was resurrected and he said, I won't believe that he's alive until I see him.

I can touch the wounds because I know he was crucified so there would be wounds on his body unless I can touch him, unless I can see him and talk to him, I will not believe he is alive. And so out of that moment when he was just being frank about where he was, here we go for all these centuries doubting Thomas. He doubted one time, but what was he before he doubted? He had spent like the other disciples, he had spent years with Jesus. He was a follower. He was an apostle, but we don't say the apostle Thomas, that great man of God, Thomas. No, we doubting Thomas.

Something wrong with us and we need to dig ourselves. 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. Remember you can always listen to the broadcast on demand at pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net where you'll also find a host of great resources at our online store. And stay with us after today's message when pastor Paul joins me from his studio in California.

But first let's join him for the second half of today's teaching, Dealing with Labels. When you think of Ananias in the early church, what other word or words come to mind? For some of you, you're saying, and Sapphira. Yeah, that wasn't Ananias whose wife was Sapphira and both of them cheated with their giving in the early church. You know the story Acts chapter five and both of them got caught on the carpet by the Holy Spirit himself through Peter and said, y'all aren't giving the way the other saints are giving and you wanted to be stingy but you wanted to hold on to your money and you wanted to try to make other people think that you were not doing what you were and it offends God. You got to remember your giving is a spiritual matter.

God looks at your giving and you can offend heaven by the way you give on earth. That's what happened with Ananias and Sapphira and the result is that he dropped dead and his wife was not at home when he dropped dead when Peter confronted him because of him trying to deceive people on spiritual matters. She came home with her Macy's and Nordstrom bags and it's right there in Acts chapter five.

You see a Macy's and Nordstrom and sacks and so she came in with all those bags and they said the same pallbearers that just buried your husband coming back to get you and she dropped dead. You know what? The fact of the matter is we think of Ananias and Sapphira but there's another Ananias in scripture, the one that God sent Saul to just after Saul got saved. When Saul got saved on the Damascus road, the Holy Spirit told him go to straight street and you'll find a man named Ananias and he's going to minister to you from there and you know the story that Ananias helped him receive his sight, got him healed from the temporary blindness of his conversion experience and that Ananias is used of God to help establish a brand new believer who became one of the greatest apostles in the history of the church. All that to say our tendency to focus on the wrong thing is a problem we need to intentionally correct. We need to get into the business of thinking differently because that's the way you're going to live the hallelujah anyhow life if you don't allow negative thoughts and negative labels and negative fixation to limit what God wants to do in your life and so I want to let you know that sadly church folk are often to blame for being the most negative people in today's world and we need to change that. We need to quit pointing out what's wrong with people rather than pointing them to the grace and goodness of our Lord. Our job ought to be good news dispensers and instead we tend to be bad news people. We tend to be going to hell. The whole world is going to hell and we fight and we bring up people's sins. Sinners are supposed to sin. That's what they do.

Why are you busy talking about, well you know what they are. Well you know how they live. Well you know what they do and church folk just constantly bellyaching about what's wrong with folk. Why don't you point people to the savior and help them understand there is a better way. So we've got to get our thinking renewed so that God can use us in this world. If you want to believe that you're so spiritual, you churchy folk, you holy folk, got big Bible and all that, you want to believe you're so spiritual, why don't you ask yourself questions like do I see people as Jesus saw them? Do I love people as Jesus loved them? Do I help people as Jesus helped them?

If your answer to any of those is no, you got some spiritual growing into oh you think you're spiritual when you compare yourself to other folk and you dress holy and you act holy but no, no, if you want to truly be spiritual, you need to be more like Jesus who loved sinners, who loved labeled people. When somebody was labeled in Jesus' time, if he got anywhere near them, when he touched their life, he touched it for the better. He didn't condemn people. They dragged that woman out, caught in the act of adultery and first of all, before he started ministering to her, he said let me get rid of some of this company we got around and he said those of you, you all want a stoning? Those of you who are without sin, go ahead and start the stoning.

Meanwhile, he started writing in the dirt. We don't know what he wrote but whatever he wrote, he cleared out that whole group of Pharisees and people with a pharisaical attitude, better than you attitude. When he got rid of all them, he said to the woman, where are your condemners? And she said, no one condemns me. And he said, neither do I condemn you. Then he said, go and sin no more.

And we need to get into that business. So I just want to encourage you that we need to ourselves, if you are a person who has labored under some label of some sort, God wants to free you from the limits of the label. Whoever gave you the label didn't speak for God. Even if they're speaking truth about your condition, such as blind Bartimaeus, the blindness has not got to be the focus. We have got to learn to focus where our Lord focuses.

So let me just walk you back through this text and I'll be done. I want you to know that this label of blindness plagued him. We don't know if it was all of his life. There are many people in scripture that were blind all their life.

There are some people, both today and in the world then, who started out sighted and eventually were blind. But one way or the other, I want you to see this man was not content to be limited by the label. So let me give you this statement. Write this down. Bartimaeus didn't have sight, but he maximized what he had.

I want you to jot that down. Bartimaeus didn't have sight, but he maximized what he had. See, if you are a person who is labored under some label, I need you to know the label may legitimately express something about you, whether it's physical or emotional or psychological or whatever it is.

The label might have some truth to it, but it doesn't have the final word if you will maximize what you have. Let me just give you the first of several points I want to make here. The first thing that Bartimaeus maximized was his hearing. He maximized his hearing. What do you mean, Bartimaeus?

Look at verse 47. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth. He heard. He's blind. He's on the side of the road begging.

He doing what some folk call the blind man rock. Oh, but he heard something. See, you got to learn to not focus on what you don't have.

You got to maximize what you do have. His hearing was intact. So rather than beat himself up because he couldn't see, man, I can't even see Jesus. Everybody else looking at him, I go, no, no. He heard him. He heard him. So that begs the question, what are you listening to?

What you listening to? He heard Jesus. Some of you could get better if you listen to the right things. If you listen to the right people, what you need to shut out is the wrong things and the wrong people. But you need to listen. I can't see Bartimaeus said, but I can hear.

And I hear that Jesus is on his way through town. And once you get that word, see it all, it all depends on what you maximize. He had hearing.

If one sense is gone, then maximize the other ones and you'll be all right. When I was a young preacher, just starting out preaching in my twenties, I had a friend. It's been a lot of years since we've connected. John Smith, Dr. John Smith. He is now born blind and he and I were preaching and that that same error, both young men preaching together. John never saw physically has never seen physically, but he could preach the gospel and get people saved and get people blessed and all of that. And John said, one day, he said, you know what? I'm excited because the first thing I'm ever going to see is Jesus. And he said, I look forward to that day. When he comes back, he said, the first thing I'm going to lay my eyes on is the one who died for me, who gave me life everlasting. It depends on what you focus on.

If you lose some aspect of your senses, then just develop and maximize the others. Such a great word for all of us today from Pastor Paul Sheppard. If we want people to do right, we don't need to point out all the things they've done wrong. Instead, let's point them to Jesus, a savior who can show them a better way to live. Well, Pastor Paul, I know your heart is encouraged by so many of our friends who are listening and letting us know that Destined for Victory is having an impact on their lives. Tell us and remind me, why are you so committed to using media as such a big part of this ministry?

Well, Wayne, I'll tell you, I'm sold on the fact that if we're going to fulfill the Great Commission and of course, that's our job as the body of Christ to go into the world to make disciples, to baptize people and teach them to observe all things that Christ commanded. If we're going to do that, I am more convinced than ever, it demands that we take a strong, fresh look at how to use technology and every other resource to that end. In other words, we've got to realize we who are boomers, I'm a baby boomer, born between 46 and 64. That's our generation.

And I realized that we were the last generation in American history that was typically raised in church or in some religious training. And we've got three full generations under us. And now there's an emerging fourth generation. They're still being developed. They're known as Generation Alpha.

My first grandchild is an alpha baby. And so I realized that with these three, four generations we've got to preach the gospel to, they're not inclined to come to church and hear the gospel, if you will. But the vast majority of them are probably going to have to be reached where they are before we can get them into the life of a church. So technology is very important to the end that we can reach them with the good news of Jesus Christ. And that is what it's all about, Pastor, reaching as many people as we can with the gospel. You know, media can often go where missionaries cannot, into the homes of elderly shut-ins or those who have no way of getting to church.

It can also travel into remote areas of the world that are often hostile to the Christian faith. Just one more reason why your gifts to Destin for Victory are so critical to the cause of Christ. And for your generous gift to Destin for Victory today, we'd like to send you, by request, Pastor Paul Shepherd's DVD message, Influencers for Christ.

Did you know that less than half of all Americans identify themselves as members of a church, a synagogue, or mosque, or any other religious organization? That may sound discouraging, but Pastor Paul believes it should actually excite us. He'll tell you why in his DVD message, Influencers for Christ, our gift to you for your generous donation to Destin for Victory. So please call us at 855-339-5500 or visit PastorPaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destin for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Again, the address is Destin for Victory, Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. Some of you all are voiceless. Some of you all are suffering in silence, and that's no good. If you're in a good, healthy church and you're hurting, somebody needs to know you're hurting so they can join you in prayer and walking in faith. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul Shepherd continues to share his message dealing with labels. 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 / 2023-06-22 02:04:49 / 2023-06-22 02:13:38 / 9

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