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Follow Me and Multiply

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2020 9:00 am

Follow Me and Multiply

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 1, 2020 9:00 am

Pastor J.D. looks at the life of Abraham, a man who gives us a picture of how God wants to use all of us in the world. Abraham believed God for the impossible, and as a result, God multiplied his life.


Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. God does not come to give us suggestions and then recalculate based on your response. He comes for total surrender. And we always want to know the what, the where, and the how of God's will. And God says all you need to know is the who. You're asking what and where and how and God says I'm not going to tell you that. I just want you to follow because I'm God. So just close your eyes and take my hand. Welcome to Summit Life. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Before we get started today, I want to invite you to listen to the very end today as we have a special Giving Tuesday message from Pastor J.D.

that you don't want to miss. But first, in a brand new teaching series starting today, Pastor J.D. looks at the life of Abraham, a man who gives us a picture of how God wants to use all of us. Abraham believed God for the impossible. And as a result, God multiplied his life. God wants to do the same thing in our lives, too. But that journey begins by taking our hands off of everything that we own and love and trust in and venturing into the unknown.

Let's listen to the message, Follow Me and Multiply. Personally, I love the story of Abraham because Abraham is a guy that life did not just happen to him. Abraham happened to life. He didn't just go with the flow. He stood against family and society and culture and literally redefined the future for all of us.

I like people like that. Abraham was a man who multiplied his life and so do we. He gives us a picture of how God wants to multiply us and use each of us in the world. But when Abraham's story begins, he's got nothing. There's a little tragic irony, in fact, in how the writer sets up the life of Abraham. Abraham's name literally means father, but he's 75 years old and he doesn't have any kids. Later on, he's going to lengthen his name to Abraham, which means the father of many.

In other words, Abram means daddy, Abraham means big daddy, but he ain't got no kids. His life is like a cruel joke. He seems to have this destiny written into him, but he's nearing the end of his life and he's got nothing.

It's almost like life is mocking him. I want to convince many of you that you're in the same spot as Abraham. God has destined your life to have eternal significance. And maybe it's not written into the name that people call you, but it's in your heart. You know that God has created you to have an eternal, significantly impact, but many of you look around and you don't see it happening yet. Abraham is going to have to walk a path towards significance and multiplication, and it is the same path that you're going to have to walk also, whether you're young or middle-aged or old. I know that many of you yearn for this. You want your life to make a difference.

You don't want to just go through life and feel like it just amounted to nothing. Over the years, one of my favorite stories that really kind of captures this is the account of the crazy flight of a guy named Larry Walters, who lived in California and went out to the Army Navy Surplus Store and bought 75 used Army weather balloons so that he could, in his own words in this article, so that he could observe the neighborhood from a slightly different perspective. And so on the fateful day, he gets into the lawn chair, he, with the help of a few friends, unties the rope so he can kind of go up to the altitude where he can see the neighborhood. He takes with him a six-pack of beer, a BB gun, and a peanut butter sandwich. Two and a half hours later, the Los Angeles International Airport reported an unidentified flying object at 12,547 feet, 300 miles from where he began his journey, Larry Walters, the pilot of the 737 who radioed in what he saw. He says, well, I'm not quite sure how to report this, but I see what looks like a perfectly steel figure lying in, is it a lawn chair? I'm not sure. I think he might be dead.

You probably need to send somebody up here and take care of this. By the way, he has a rifle. What his friends tell us he had intended on doing was he thought that when he untied the rope, that he would sort of lazily saunter up to a nice altitude, at which point he would take the BB gun, and he would shoot the balloons to keep him at the proper altitude, eat his peanut butter sandwich, drink his beer, have a great afternoon, then pop the other balloons so that he could lower back down and land back down on the ground.

What could possibly go wrong with that plan? His friends say that he didn't lazily saunter up to a nice altitude. They said that when he untied the rope, it looked like he'd been shot out of a cannon. At that point, he was so afraid, he didn't want to shoot the balloons because he thought he'd turned himself over, so he did the only thing he knew how to do in a stressful situation, and that is drink beer.

And so he passed out because of the blood alcohol level, all that deal, and so that's how he got in the situation he is. Well, with a rescue stunt that would have made Chuck Norris proud, the Los Angeles International Airport police sent up a couple helicopters, somehow managed to lasso Larry and get him into one of the helicopters, get him back down on the tarmac, revive him. The first people to confront Larry were not the reporters who wrote this story, but the police who issued Larry a ticket for the obstruction of airport traffic to the tune of $4,000.

He would later get it plea bargained reduced to $1,500, but that's still awesome. The second group of people to get to Larry were the reporters, and they asked Larry three questions. Question number one is, Larry, were you scared? And Larry said, yes, I was very afraid. Question number two, Larry, would you do it again? And Larry said, no, I would not do it again. That's how we know, by the way, he wasn't from North Carolina.

I ain't scared. I'd do that again. That's exactly what one of our boys would have said. Question number three, they asked Larry, is, Larry, why did you do it?

Why did you do it? And Larry said, I just got tired of always sitting around. Now, undoubtedly, there are some of the details of that story that have probably grown with internet legend, but the core of the story is true.

I know, I read it in an article on the internet. But I've always thought that what Larry said there captures how many people feel in their lives. They're just tired of sitting around, and they just don't want to get to the end of their life and feel like their life just accounted for paying bills and just kind of recycling everything, and that's the end of all that they did. That's the end of all that they did. You want your life to eternally count.

I know that because that's how I feel. And so Abraham's going to give you a path that shows you what that looks like. Genesis 12, this is where people always start Abraham's stories. Genesis 12, but it really begins back in Genesis 11.

So scroll back up just a couple verses and look at Genesis 11. This is the story of the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel was a project that symbolized humanity's rejection of God. The building of the tower was their declaration of independence from God, and it represented humanity's wholesale worship of idols.

In other words, spiritually, this was a very dark age. There is one family line that belongs to God, only one, the descendants of Shem. But by the end of chapter 11, they live in a place of idolatry called Ur, and they're just consumed by it.

They've compromised to it. The final guy in this line, Terah, has one son, Abram, and Abram is childless. In other words, this looks like the end. Terah's name in Hebrew means literally moon, which was a Hebrew metaphor for the end.

It's like us saying the caboose. Furthermore, in Ur, where they live, people worship the moon, so the fact that Terah is named moon means that his family had succumbed to the idolatrous climate, and they've become idolaters themselves. So as Genesis 11 ends, the last candle seems to be flickering out. The only godly family on earth has capitulated to idolatry, and they aren't having any more kids.

The darkness is about to completely swallow up the light, and there's no hope. Chapter 12, verse 1. Now the Lord said to Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you, and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and you will become a blessing. And in you, Abraham, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

In the midst of this great darkness, God calls a man who barely even knows who God is and one who is childless to boot and tells him that he's going to make from him a great nation of people who will worship and follow God and bless the whole earth with the knowledge of God. That is a promise that you and I inherited because, you see, to make a long story really short, one of Abraham's descendants was Jesus Christ. In fact, you can make the whole Old Testament really short in one sentence, and that is one of Abraham's descendants would be Jesus Christ, and in Christ, God was going to offer salvation to the whole world, and we who are in Christ are now commissioned to bless the world by taking the news about Jesus to all the families of the world.

You see, it's really interesting. In Matthew's Gospel, the first Gospel in our New Testament, it's where we get the clearest expression of the Great Commission, which is the commission of the church to preach the Gospel in all nations. Matthew opens up that Gospel by tracing the family line from Abraham to Jesus. In other words, the Great Commission is an extension of the promise given to Abraham. So Abraham's promise becomes our promise, his command becomes our command, and how he responded to that promise and command serves as a model for how you and I respond to God's promise in our lives.

So Abraham's experience is going to ask you three questions that you need to ask about your own life. Here's question number one, am I really following God? Am I really following God? This is a question about who is really in charge of your life. Are you in charge that you let God be an influence in your life, and He influences you to do good, not bad?

Or is God the one who owns your life? Last week, we talked about it as offering a blank check to God, a blank check, which means no restrictions, no limitations. All I am, all I have, all I ever hope to be, I offer without reservation now and forever to you, God, to do whatever you want with it. One of the ways we say it around here is you put your yes on the table and you let God put it on the map. You see, God's command to Abraham, listen to this, was intentionally open-ended.

Go to the land that I will show you later. And Abraham says, where are we going? And God says, don't ask that, I'll tell you that later. And Abraham says to God, will you tell me I'm going to have a kid? How's that going to work?

Because I'm 75, my wife is 60. And God says, I'm not going to answer that either. I love how John Calvin summarized Abraham's interaction with God. He says, God says back to Abraham, just close your eyes and take my hand. I love that statement, just close your eyes and take my hand. But God, what about this and how's this going to work? And he says, just close your eyes and take my hand. I see so many people who are unwilling to do this because when God starts to work in their lives, as he does in many of your lives, and God begins to call them, they got all these questions.

They would say, well, God, if I surrender everything to you, where are you going to make me go? Am I going to have to become a missionary? Do I have to change careers?

Am I going to have to break up with my boyfriend? What if you tell me to change some part of my life that I don't know how to change or don't want to change yet? God, am I going to become one of those annoying people who puts bumper stickers on their car and tells everybody to have a blessed day and who self-righteously corrects people at Christmas time when they say happy holidays?

And I say, no, it's Merry Christmas. Am I going to become one of those people? God, I don't want to be one of those people. I used to try to answer those questions for people when they would ask me and I realized that it was usually just people wanting to know where God was going to take them before they agreed to follow him. In other words, they wanted to follow God without relinquishing the driver's seat in their life, and that's an impossibility. God doesn't come to you to say, hey, let me be a good influence and then you can decide in a minute if you want to follow this. He says you come and you agree to follow or you don't come at all. He doesn't come to you to serve as an onboard navigation system whose suggestions you can take or leave as you choose.

He comes as the new car owner. Shortly after we got married, my wife and I had an argument in our car. It was one of our first marriage fights, and after a few moments of awkward silence because she disagreed with something that I thought we should do, and after a few moments of awkward silence, I thought of something. I thought, well, this will be cute.

This will relieve the tension. I said, you know, I think our marriage will go a lot better if you'll become like my other favorite woman in the world. She said, who is that? I said, the little British lady that lives in my dashboard. It's our navigation system because when she makes a suggestion to me and I don't take her suggestion, she doesn't get mad. She just kind of sighs and says, recalculating. I was like, if you would do that with me, you would give me a suggestion. If I don't take it, don't get mad. Just recalculate. That was not the greatest thing to say in your marriage.

I would not suggest it. God does not come to give us suggestions and then recalculate based on your response. He comes for total surrender, and we always want to know the what, the where, and the how of God's will, and God says, all you need to know is the who. You're asking what and where and how, and God says, I'm not going to tell you that. I just want you to follow because I'm God.

Just close your eyes and take my hand. Now, let me point out one other thing before I go on to number two because I'd never seen it before in this passage, and I found it this week, and I wanted to think it really furthers what we're talking about. This is a decision you've got to make personally.

Here's why I say that. You go to the end of chapter 11, and what you find, watch this, is that Terah, Abram's father, actually began the journey. He brought the family out from Ur and brought them toward Canaan where Abram was going to go, but he stopped at Haran. It was like the halfway point, and so when Genesis 12 opens, Abraham and God are in conversation, and God is saying, I want you to go, and Abram says, but, you know, we've already come halfway. None of the family wants to go.

They like Haran. We want to stay here, and so literally what God says in Genesis 12, if you transliterate from the Hebrew, what it literally says is, then go yourself out. In other words, get out yourself is basically what God says to Abraham. The point is, listen to this, at some point you've got to make your own decision to follow God. It's not enough to be in a Christian family. It's not enough to be attached to a Christian movement. Here at the Summit Church, we're trying to do a lot in God's mission.

My question for you is, are you personally engaged in it? You see, we did a church survey recently that revealed something really encouraging about our church. The majority of you, the vast majority, are really excited about what we're doing as a church and where we're going, right?

Here was what was less than encouraging. Not nearly as many of you are personally engaged in what we are doing. People love to watch our videos or hear me talk, and they're like, woo-hoo, I love to hear stories about people coming to know Jesus. Yeah, orphan care, prison ministry, mission trips, volunteering.

Man, I sure hope other people will keep doing that so we can keep these stories coming. God does not reward you for associating with the right group. You can't piggyback on our engagement in the mission.

You have to do it yourself. Movements, by definition, move. And if you're not moving personally, you're not part of the movement even if you sit here every week. Are you engaged in the mission because the choice to multiply your life is a personal choice that you have to make and act on? Number two, second question presented to Abraham is what is your security?

Where is my security? You see, God was not calling Abraham to make God a part of his life or to add a few tweaks to his morality. He was calling him to a whole new basis of security in life. You can see that in what he asked Abraham to leave. In those days, your family connections and your land, that was everything. It'd be the equivalent of God asking us to renounce our education, walk away from our career, and walk away from our extended family.

The question that it presents to you is are you willing to put everything on the table, even those most precious things to you? Our former missions pastor was a guy named Kurt Allen. He and his wife, Hillary, rewind the clock about 10 years ago.

They sat here as a, this is called a normal triangle family. They had two kids and they were, he had a great job in a large company with a lot of room to continue to grow. He was an executive. He was making a lot of money. When God began to do the unthinkable with him here at our church, began to put on his heart all these unreached people groups around the world that had never heard the gospel. And he said, this sounded crazy.

You might as well have told me that I needed to raise billy goats in my backyard or that's probably not that much of a stretch for some of you, but I had to raise wild elephants in my backyard. He said, it just sounded crazy to me. He said, so my wife and I are wrestling with this and Hillary, his wife, would later write a book called Scent that it all came to a head. She said, in one sermon at the Summit Church. And she says, our pastor, she was talking about me, was preaching. And he did some at the end of the sermon that I thought was really cheesy, which offended me that she said that, but it just transformed our lives. She said, at the end of the service, he said he had the whole church, I had the whole church take their hands and extend them like this. And in their mind, put in their hands that thing which was most precious and most important to him, which they held onto for security, to put it in their mind into their hands. And she said, for me, I knew it was my husband and my children. That was my whole life. You know, for Kurt, for her husband, he's putting his career in there.

It's not that he doesn't love his wife and kids, but for him, his ability to take care of his family, that's kind of what was most important. And he said, I asked them to take their hands and to clasp them around that object, symbolic of how tightly they hold onto it because of how important it is. She said, now, then I said, imagine Jesus coming to you and asking you to unclasp your hands and your control on that thing. And she said that when I said that, she said, I couldn't unclasp my hands. I just started to squeeze tighter because I couldn't imagine ever letting go. And she said, I must have squeezed it tight that there was no more blood left in my hands. She said, and right then at the very end, I just forced myself and said, okay, God, you can control this. And even this is on the table. Everything I am, everything I have, everything I hope to be, I'm gonna put under your full and complete discretion.

And Kurt did that with his career. And she said, that's when God began to just dramatically change our lives to take us into people who begin to bless the world through what we were doing and following him. Have you ever opened your hands on everything in your life? Have you given God surrender of those things that you hold onto for security?

Here's how you know what you hold onto for security. It's that area that you won't obey God in. It's that area where you say, no, God, you're not allowed to talk about that.

No, God, don't give me suggestions here. No, God, you can't say anything there because I've got this and I'm not going to let you touch it. Is he the basis of your security and do you show that by your obedience? Number three, have I offered my blessing back to God to be multiplied for his kingdom? Have you offered your blessings back to God to be multiplied for his kingdom?

Because you see, becoming a Christ follower means viewing everything in your life as something given to you by God to be multiplied for his kingdom. There's a key passage we're gonna go in and out of for the next several weeks, 2 Corinthians 9, verse 10, where the apostle Paul says, the one who supplies seed to the sower, God, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing. Question, listen, according to that verse, why has God multiplied and increased your seed?

There's one reason, what is it? It is for sowing, that's right. Why does God increase your capacity?

It is to give you a larger reach to be able to impact and bless the world with the blessing of Abraham, that's why. You see, there's two things you can do with a seed. Most seeds, most seeds you can grind up for food. Think grain, that's how you make bread. You take the seed and you grind it up and you produce bread. Or you can take that seed and you can plant it in the ground and it produces more bread. Why does God increase the seed that he gives you?

Is it so that you can just create more bread? No, it is so that you can multiply what he's given you so that it can feed the world with the blessing of salvation. God is a rich giver. God loves for you to benefit from what he gives you. But listen to this, God has not blessed you and increased you so that you could increase your standard of living. He's blessed and increased you so that you could increase your standard of giving. That's exactly what Paul says there. Now, I know some of you are like, wait a minute, JD, I'm not really blessed financially. I'm really struggling and my life is filled with all kinds of difficulty.

I don't care who you are. God has put things in your life that he intends for you to multiply. The woman that Jesus told the story about who has only had two mites to her name, two mites means two eighths of a penny. She brings that to God and she says, God, here it is, you're gonna multiply it. And Jesus said she gave more than all the rich people combined because she'd just taken what she had and said, God, it all belongs to you.

How do you wanna multiply it? If God has put pain in your life, God intends for you to multiply the blessing that comes through that pain by turning it into testimony of God's goodness and his faithfulness in the time of trial. You see, what it means to be a Christ follower is you say, God, if you give me prosperity, I'll leverage that prosperity for the advance of your kingdom and if you give me pain, then I'll turn my pain into a testimony of your goodness and faithfulness in the worst situations in life.

In the Christian life, nothing is wasted. Everything that God gives to you can be multiplied for his kingdom. And Paul says that's what God is doing in your life and when you do that, when you begin to multiply it, it will increase the harvest, he says, of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be, say the word together, generous in every way, which through us is going to produce thanksgiving to God. Because you give yourself to be multiplied, listen to this, other people will start to thank and worship God because of what you did. God, multiply me. I'm ready to follow. The one calling you to follow is the one who left everything for you.

You're listening to Summit Life with J.E. Greer and today is Giving Tuesday. We have an amazing opportunity here at Summit Life to raise funds for the Rudolph family living as church planners in Germany. What's special about this Giving Tuesday is that every gift today will be matched up to $10,000. Yeah, and all funds are going to be given to, first of all, build a sports field for some after-school outreach programs that they have, an outreach to refugees, and some of the summer camps, which are a key part of how they reach and disciple teenagers there in Germany. If we meet that first goal, we've got a stretch goal today that's going to fund a German church planting apprentice that will allow us to train somebody who's put their yes on the table and said, God, here I am, I'm ready to lead in bringing my countrymen to faith in Christ. We want to help sponsor that. If you would like to invest in what God is doing in a very under-reached part of the world, invest in what God is doing globally, I want you to go right now to, and I want you to consider making a gift. Don't wait, because what you're doing now can have a direct impact on real ministry happening every single day to change lives in Europe. And if you do it on Tuesday, it's going to be matched.

It's going to be matched. We're going to do it up to $10,000 to double the impact of what you're going to give on what God is doing. We don't keep any of this, any of this.

We don't keep anything that's raised on this day, Giving Tuesday, to support what's going on at Summit Life. A hundred percent of all we receive on that day goes to the work of the Rudolph family in Germany. What an exciting opportunity to invest in the global mission of God. If you would like to partner with us in building the church in southwest Germany, give today and only today at or call us at 866-335-5220.

That's 866-335-5220. Remember, every gift given today goes towards this special opportunity, so don't miss out. And if you're new to Summit Life and you'd like to get to know us a little bit better, sign up for our email list. You'll receive Pastor J.D. 's devotional blog posts as well as the popular Wisdom for Your Weekend posts. Subscribe right now when you go to I'm Molly Vitevich inviting you to join us Wednesday when we'll learn more about what it means to trust God and multiply on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-15 20:28:58 / 2023-08-15 20:41:01 / 12

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