Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. When you know there's no condemnation, then I start to say, even these bad things, they are given to me by God ultimately for His good to be swallowed up in eternity. And I can have peace with them because I know that I am in and under the gracious provision of God.
And when you believe that, you will go from anger and bewilderment over the ways of God to peace and rest in the promises of God. Hey, welcome back for another week of teaching here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer of the Summit Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. If you recall last time on the program, Pastor J.D. covered the first two signs that you might be in a contract relationship with God. And today he's going to present three more in order to help us see that we must get rid of our contract mentality and embrace the goodness and grace of God. If you missed the beginning of this sermon, I just wanted to remind you that you can always hear previous broadcasts at our website, jdgreer.com. But right now let's return to our teaching titled 11th Hour Faith. Here's Pastor J.D. I was thinking this week in my own quiet time, there were two verses that God just sort of leapt off the page to me. Can I say this real quick?
I don't mean to be take a cheap shot. If you don't read the Bible every day, I don't know how you survive because these promises become life to me. They become the things that diffuse jealousy and resentment and anger and keep me away from temptation. And if you just go week by week and I'm the only kind of Bible that I'm giving you, there's no wonder that you're withering and dying spiritually. I need the word of God every single day because otherwise my wayward heart goes off into all kinds of places. So if you're not making it a daily routine where you're getting the promises of God into you, then of course you're consumed by bitterness and jealousy. Here was the verse. One of them, don't let your heart envy sinners. There is surely a hope for you and your hope will not be cut off. You see what is getting at there? Because I'm envious of other people. I'm like, well, how come I didn't get that?
I should get that. And God's like, just shut up. There's a hope for you, J.D. You don't deserve that hope by the way, but there's one for you and nobody's going to cut it off. So you can just quit complaining because I got some good stuff in store for you.
All right. Here was the other one. Psalm 37 25. I was young and now I'm old. Yet I've never seen the righteous forsaken.
I've never seen their children begging bread. I don't know everything that that verse means, but I can tell you that when I get worried and I start getting jealous, it's usually because, well, what happens if this doesn't happen or what if my kids aren't taken care of here? And God was like, just to stop. As long as anybody's ever lived, I have always taken care of my children and I'm a good master. And I didn't give you a contract. I just said, come with me and trust me. And don't you think that you can trust me? And the answer is yes. I'm just like these 11th hour guys.
And I'm like, I'll go, I'll go. I know I don't really deserve any of the goodnesses or the promises he's made me. So how can I complain? And how can I be resentful when God gives us somebody else, some kind of goodness after how much he's given to me? Tim Keller says it this way. If Jesus didn't complain when he received a life infinitely worse than he deserves, how can I complain when I experience a life infinitely better than I deserve?
Right? He goes on to say, he says he didn't deserve the death he got, but he did not begrudge it. We do not deserve the salvation that we received through his death, but he doesn't begrudge that either.
He doesn't look at us now from heaven going like, I went through all that torture and that wasn't fair. And look at them right now experiencing all that blessing. Why then do I begrudge some other blessing that's given to somebody? Listen, I'm going to tell you that realizing the blessings of your life are not owed to you. Realizing that they are gifts of grace will change how you look at them. It will transform a person of jealousy and resentment into a person of gratitude and generosity.
When you realize that they don't really from you and they're out of Jesus's grace. I read this story on, I think it was a blog a few years ago about a woman who said that she has young kids. And she says, I get one morning a week where I don't, my kids aren't with me. And she goes, that is like my time. And I just, it's my favorite day of the week.
And I look forward to it. I'm an introvert. She says, well, I go to my favorite coffee shop, which is in the food court at the mall, which I don't understand, but I go there and she says, right next to it is my favorite cookie store, which is Mrs. Fields cookies. And she says, my routine is I get a bag of cookies and I get a cup of coffee and I sit down in the food court and I just have some me time where I read my favorite magazine. She said, so I go on Tuesdays, which was my day to do that. And I sit down in this food court and I get my cookies and my coffee. And, and she said, it was really crowded that day.
So I had to share a table with a guy I'd never met an older man. And she said, he was reading the paper. And so I start reading my magazine. She says, and I put my, you know, my coffee there and everything.
And I look, she goes, I start to look at my magazine. She says, and I look up and this older man reaches across the table into my bag of cookies. And he pulls out one of my cookies and he just eats it. She said, I just glowered at him. I just looked at him. I didn't have the nerve to say anything, but I reached my hand in the bag and just locked eyes with him and took the cookie and ate it right in front of him.
So he just kind of smiled and nodded and was super friendly. And she said, a couple of minutes passed by. He did it again. Took out another cookie out of that bag. She says, this happened five times. There was one, he had like one back and forth eating these cookies. She said, you'll get to the end. There was one cookie left in the bag.
He had the audacity to reach into that bag, pull out that last cookie, break it in half and hand me half of it. She says, I stood up. I grabbed my stuff. I grabbed my purse. I started walking the other direction.
She says, I get about 20, 30 yards away. I looked down at my purse and there's my bag of cookies, completely uneaten and untouched. She says, and in that moment, in that moment, all that resentment that I felt for him turned into just admiration and generosity that this man had just freely shared with me his cookies. And he didn't seem to care.
He didn't seem to care. Now watch, here's the turn. Here's the turn. When you realize that all the cookies in your life were purchased by Jesus, not by you, then it's going to change your attitude toward how you use them with other people.
All right. See, a lot of you got a problem with generosity, right? And you got a problem with using all your talents and all your treasures and all your time for you, because you still have this foolish idea that all these things originate from you and they come from you and you think you deserve them.
And that's why you can't share them with other people. But when you see that Jesus died to get every single cookie you have in your life, suddenly you're not going to hold us tightly to them. And you're going to say, God gave me these cookies freely. I have received freely, freely. I give.
All right. So jealousy is your second one. When you go, when you realize this jealousy and resentment turns into gratitude and generosity. Here's the third sign that you have a contract relationship with God. Anger.
Anger. Do I get angry when God doesn't answer my prayers the way that I think that he should. When you assume that God owes us all these things, you get angry when he doesn't answer a prayer the way that you think he should answer it. And you basically say, but God, I did this or I did that, or God, I'm a good girl. And God, I've always obeyed your rules. And I go to church and God, I've always been a good parent to my kids. And I did everything that you told me to do.
I took them to a one and I had to memorize verses and I've been a good parent and I've been a faithful husband and I've made all these rules and you let this happen. I want what I deserve, but thank God God. His goodness in your life is not in proportion to what you deserve. If he marked iniquities, not a one of us could stand because all of us deserve condemnation and death and everything we experience as a gift of grace. And because of that, I know that when I go through pain, it's not a punishment for bad living because Jesus absorbed all the punishment for my sin and my place, which means there is literally no punishment left for me at all. It means that God is never paying me back for something when something bad happens in my life.
You know, if you don't memorize scripture, you should, but if you don't have any verses memorized, this is the first one I've memorized right here. Romans 8 one, there is therefore no condemnation for those who were in Christ Jesus. How much condemnation is there if you're in Christ Jesus?
None. You know what that means? There is not a single thing that has ever happened to you if you are in Christ where God was paying you back for something bad that you did. And I know you want to nod your head and say you believe that, but how many times when you go through something bad are you saying, well, how come God didn't give me something better?
Is there something that I did? And you still think that maybe He's paying you back? Or ask yourself this, when you pray and you ask God for good things in your life, on what basis are you asking Him to give you those good things? Is it based on all the good that you've done?
That's foolish. R.A. Torrey, who was a 19th century pastor, read a story where he was talking about a man who had written to him complaining that God had not answered his prayers, even though he had served God faithfully for 30 years. And R.A. Torrey said, he said, well, if you're asking God to do something for you because you've served Him faithfully for 30 years, then you're not really praying in Jesus' name anymore. You're praying in your own name, right? You know what it means to pray? You know what we say in Jesus' name at the end of the prayer?
That's not like a sign to God that we're almost done. We say in Jesus' name because we're saying, I expect you to answer this prayer, not on the basis of the prayer, not on the basis of how I've lived. You're going to answer this prayer based on how Jesus has lived. And because you're going to answer this prayer based on how Jesus has lived, there's no more condemnation. And you're going to respond to me like I was Jesus because I only deserve good things because Jesus has earned them in my place. And when you realize that God only responds to you now based on what Jesus deserves, then you'll start to trust that even the bad things in your lives, even when God doesn't answer prayer the way you think He should, you'll start to realize that they are for a good purpose because there's nothing penal.
There's nothing that's a penalty in what God ever gives to you. And it'll give you the ability to believe Romans 8 28, all things work together for good. We know all things work together for good to them who love God or are called according to His purpose. Some of you know that verse, but you don't really believe it.
Listen, and the reason you don't believe it is because you don't believe this verse right here. If you don't believe that there is no condemnation left for you, then you always assume that something bad happening is because God's either punishing you or because God has forgotten you. But when you know there's no condemnation, then I start to say, even these bad things, they are given to me by God ultimately for His good to be swallowed up in eternity. And I can have peace with them because I know that I am in and under the gracious provision of God. And when you believe that you will go from anger and bewilderment over the ways of God to peace and rest in the promises of God, which leads me to sign number four, that you are in a contract relationship with God, insecurity.
Here's your question. Do I feel uncertain about where I stand with God or do I feel insecure about the future? See, if you've got a contract mentality with God and you assume that what God gives you is in direct response to what you deserve, you will live in a constant state of insecurity.
How could you not? Because you'll constantly be asking, have I been good enough to earn His blessing? And every time something bad happens to you, you're going to be asking, am I being paid back for something? You know, in America, a lot of hipsters talk about how much comfort Zen Buddhism brings them. Most people who say that only mean that they like to get quiet, do some stretching and drink hot tea.
And I like all that stuff too, okay? But true Zen Buddhism, when you really get into the philosophy of it, is the complete opposite of rest because it is built on the idea of karma. And karma is, if you do bad, it's going to be returned to you.
And if you do good, that's going to be returned to you. So when you start to experience something bad, you have to wonder, what did I do that is causing this? And sometimes you can't even remember what bad thing you did. And then when you add reincarnation to it, that means you might've done bad in some life you can't even remember anymore.
And your only hope is to be good enough that maybe in the next life, you can get absorbed into that great nothingness where you will have no more consciousness. I would humbly say to you that the gospel offers a vastly superior piece and on an entirely different basis. Jesus, the master in this story, tells us to trust his goodness and grace, and just to believe that he's removed all the threat of punishment from your life, that he's turning every bad thing in your life for good, that he will take care of you and supply all your needs just like he has promised, that there's no condemnation left for you, that surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life, and that my God will supply all your need. And I promise you that will give you a rest that clearing your mind and listening to Enya cannot provide you.
In fact, I think if you're going to sit around and meditate, I mean, Enya is fine and nature sounds are great. I like those things too, but it's more important that you understand words of songs like these, tis so sweet to trust in Jesus just to take him at his word, just to rest upon his promise, just to know, thus says the Lord, or one of my favorites, the soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose. I will not, I will not desert to his foes. Lean for repose means you're resting the weight of your life on him.
And he says, when you do that, I'll never, I'll never desert you to your foes. Again, I say this humbly, I'm not trying to pick a fight or be a jerk, but believing that promise is better than clearing your mind and doing downward dog. I love stretching a hot tea, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with doing yoga, but I'll take the word of God and the promises of Jesus any day.
You can start your day with yoga if you want. I'd prefer to start mine on my knees at the feet of my heavenly father with his word open, believing every promise that he has given me. We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to take a moment and remind you about our featured resource this month. As we walk through several of Jesus's parables here on the program, you can also walk through them yourself in a 10 day devotional called Listen Up. Take the time to personalize these teachings that you're hearing on the program with application questions and prayer prompts.
It comes with your gift to the ministry right now, so give us a call at 866-335-5220 or you can give and request the book online at jdgrier.com. Now let's get back to the conclusion of today's teaching. Here's Pastor JD. Now one quick question here, because I know some of you are going to ask it. You say, well how do I know that Jesus is on my side? Maybe you're even familiar enough with the Bible that you read stories like the one in Matthew 7 where Jesus says, you know on the last day many are going to say, Lord, Lord, didn't we know you? And he's going to say, depart from me, I never knew you. And you're like, well what if that's going to be me?
That's a very real question. The best answer I've ever heard of that question came from Charles Spurgeon, 19th century British pastor, who said to his congregation, he read that passage and said, for some of you this bothers you because you think you're going to be in that number. He said, for some of you, you probably are. He said, however, Jesus could never say that to me. And he says, I know you hear that. You think that that must mean that I think I'm super spiritual and that I'm kind of arrogant.
He said, that's not true at all. He says, let me tell you why Jesus could never say that to me, because I would say never knew me, Lord. When I was hopelessly condemned with guilt, I looked to you to be my righteousness. And when I felt weak and I had fallen again and again into sin, I looked at you and said, you've got to be my strength. And when I felt lost, I said, you've got to be my way.
And when I felt dead, I said, you've got to be my life. And the soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, he will never, never desert to his foes, not even the foes of sin and death. So Jesus could never say that he never knew me because I leaned on him for everything. That's what Jesus is saying in this parable. If you trust yourself just to the grace of the master, it doesn't matter how much or how little you've worked.
It doesn't matter if you got hired at the last minute of the last day. And the only thing you bring into eternity is 30 seconds of the workday. God will give you out of his grace because the abundance of Jesus's grace is so vast and so great, no man could ever count it.
It is the best and the safest place in all of the universe. Fifth sign that you're in a contract relationship with God, indifference. Indifference toward the suffering of others. Am I moved to action by the suffering of others? When you believe that the good things that you're experiencing now are the sole result of your hard work, see, then you tend to be callous toward those who have less, right? Because you look at them, you say, well, you're just getting what you deserve. If you worked harder, you'd have good stuff like me too.
Isn't that what we see in this story? I mean, these first workers are like, well, these guys are lazy. They're lazy.
They didn't work. They don't really seem to recognize these guys have families. All they're thinking is you didn't work like I did so you don't deserve the good things like I do.
Jesus's story challenges their mindset in a very subtle but very fundamental way. Notice when the landowner says to the 11th hour guys, verse seven if you still got your Bible open, when he says to the 11th hour guys, why aren't you working? Their answer was, well, nobody hired us. I used to think that this last group represented really lazy people, like a group of millennials who had played Fortnite all night the night before, and they'd woken up at noon. They'd sauntered out around four to see if there was any work, and then they complained like there are no jobs in this town, right? The other guy was like, not unless you want to work 40 hours a week or whatever, but nothing in Jesus's story indicates that these 11th hour guys are lazy.
In fact, they seem just as eager to work as the first guys. They'd just never been given the opportunity. See, I've pointed this out before that most of the blessings that I am experiencing, whether you're talking about financial blessings or the position that I've achieved or spiritual blessings in my life, almost every one of those can be traced back to graces in my life that I had absolutely nothing to do with, right? I mean, what did I do to deserve parents that taught me the gospel and taught me the value of hard work and lived it out in front of me? Did I do something as a baby that made me worthy of growing up in a church where I would have access to the gospel? Did I do something as an infant that would make me worthy of being in a good supportive community or even to grow up in the United States where I had access to privilege and opportunity? Was there something that I did as an embryo that God saw and rewarded me with the talents that I've used to become and do what I do?
Is there something special about? No, none of those things I had control of. I didn't experience them because I was worthier than others. God in His grace gave me opportunities and privileges. I was hired early.
So were you. The fact that you're here, the fact that you're hearing this means that God hired you early. And that puts me under obligation to those without these same privileges. I am responsible to use any position of privilege I have to empower others. You got to understand how the Bible defines justice. Because for most of us, we think of justice as just not cheating people. But according to the Bible, justice is more than just not cheating. Justice is leveraging your position of strength, which you don't deserve, for the empowerment of other people. Justice in our mindset means pulling down the oppressor. Justice in the Bible means helping to lift up the oppressed.
And it means that the fact that I was hired early means that I look with compassion on those who haven't been hired yet. And I say, how can I leverage what I have as a blessing to them so that they can experience the blessings that I have been blessed with? I think most importantly, the most important dimension of this is spiritual obligation, gospel obligation. You start to think about the gospel itself. Listen to me, the way that the apostle Paul thought about it. When the apostle Paul started to talk about the gospel and Romans, he said, I consider myself a debtor to the Greek and to the barbarian, to people in every nation around the world who haven't heard. The word debtor that he used, I've pointed out to you, is a very interesting word because it literally means it literally means financial obligation. It was like Paul was saying, I'm under financial, I'm under obligation, all these people, but he never met any of these people.
How was Paul a debtor to a bunch of people he'd never even met? And the answer from the book of Romans is, I didn't deserve to hear the gospel. And the people out there in other nations who don't know Jesus, they're no less worthy than I was. It's not fair that I heard the gospel.
It was grace. And what's really not fair is for me to receive that grace and not do everything I can to get it to them so they can hear it. So I consider the rest of my life as being under obligation. Listen, I'm not free. I'm not free to do whatever I want to with my talents. I'm not free to do whatever I want to with my money. I'm not free to do whatever I want to with my time because I am the recipient of a grace that I could never deserve. And it's not fair. It's not fair for me to receive that grace and then not do everything necessary to get it to other people that God wants to bring into his kingdom.
I'd say that many of you are not engaged in the mission of God and it is a sign that you've never really understood the grace of God. You've never understood that you don't really belong to you and every dollar you have, every talent you have, every second of every day that you have is a gift of grace you don't deserve. And when you see that, you'll start to say, Lord, I'm under obligation to the nations. Tell me what we want to do with my money. You tell me what to do with my talents. You tell me what to do with my time. Because I'm under obligation. The whole point of this parable, get rid of your contract with God.
That's not a place you want to be. And just trust the master and thank him for his grace and go with him. And when you do that, I promise you, I promise you, I promise you when you do that, bitterness is going to get replaced by gratitude. Jealousy is going to get replaced by contentment. Anger is going to get replaced by peace. Insecurity is going to get flooded out by assurance and indifference.
It's going to get overwhelmed with compassion. You're going to become a different person. And it's not because you put these on a to-do list.
You can never accomplish them through a to-do list. It's going to be because you dealt with the problem at its root. And the problem at its root was you were so proud and unbelieving that you never really believed the gospel down deep in your soul. Because the fruit of the gospel is these things. These are just synonyms for the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit are those things and the fruit of the spirit grows out of the root of the gospel. So see, get rid of your contract with God and embrace the grace of God.
And it's going to produce in you a change that you can never understand. Let me end with one final really quick thing for you that are already believers. We give you a cross stick in prayer. We say pray, you know, here's a way to pray.
You can remember it as acts. In your prayer time, start with adoration. Then go to confession and confess your sins. Then thanksgiving, t, thanksgiving, thank God for things.
And then s is supplication, which is just a fancy word for ask. What I want you to do is I want you to pray that. Why don't you pray that this week through the lens of what I've just given you, okay?
A, adoration. I want you to say, God, thank you for being a gracious God who doesn't give me what I deserve. Then why don't you confess? Why don't you confess all those places you know that you don't deserve the grace of God and confess your sins?
Then why don't you offer God thanksgiving for specific blessings in your life? And how about after every single one of them you say, and God, I know I don't deserve that. God, thank you for my marriage. God, I know people. I'm in a church. God, I know the gospel.
I own a Bible. Thank you for grace upon grace. And then you start to supplicate. You start to pray for people in response to the grace you've been given.
You'll become a whole different person. We are praying this study will help you feel more confident and more joyful in reading the Bible and applying it to your life right away. When you give $35 or more today, we'll send you a copy of Listen Up as our way of saying thanks for your generous support. You can also request the study when you make your first donation as a gospel partner. Gospel partners commit to regular monthly giving. They're the real backbone of this ministry.
So if you've been growing through this program, join this special family today. Give us a call at 866-335-5220. And remember to ask for the resource by Pastor JD titled Listen Up. That number again is 866-335-5220.
Or you can give and request the book online at jdegrear.com. I'm Molly Bittovitch inviting you to join us tomorrow as we continue this teaching series called Listen right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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