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Wonderful Counselor, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 21, 2022 9:00 am

Wonderful Counselor, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 21, 2022 9:00 am

Pastor J.D. continues today in Isaiah 9 to show us how to approach the Wonderful Counselor, who knows our sin but instead of condemnation offers us the righteousness of Christ.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Sometimes the way that God helps us in our problems is simply by allowing us to see how wonderful He is. His wonderful promise that He is weaving all things together for good in our lives in His wonderful way and that His wonderful presence will never leave us even in the worst days of our suffering. And that wonderful presence is more valuable than any solution to our problems. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. And as always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Christmas is a time where we think a lot about gifts, and our new teaching series that we began yesterday is all about God's greatest gift to us. Today, Pastor J.D. continues in Isaiah 9 to show us how to approach the wonderful counselor who knows our sin, but instead of condemnation, he offers us the righteousness of Christ.

Remember, if you ever miss a program, you can always catch up online at JDCreer.com. Right now, let's rejoin Pastor J.D. in the book of Isaiah. We come knowing that He has taken away our sin.

Here's the other thing about it. It says that we come because He can sympathize. You see, I know that there is literally nothing that I ever go through.

No poverty, no rejection, no pain, no condemnation, that He Himself has not felt the sting of that, and now He can guide me through it because He's walked that same path. A couple of months ago, I was over in Eastern Europe visiting some of our church planters, and I had to cross the border into one of the former Soviet republics, and you know that customer service and the Soviet republics are not really that high of a premium, and they don't make it easy for you to cross the border. In America, it makes you kind of nervous because here I am with just my passport and a winning smile.

That's all that I have, and I'm very nervous because there's guys with AK-47s all around there, and you know, I'm just standing there. But my friend, our church planter over there, has done this literally hundreds of times, and I would just look at him, and I would just get the sense of confidence. He's like, don't worry about it.

I got it. He would tell me where to go, who to talk to, who to slip money to. He would tell me, you know, don't make eye contact with this guy just a whole bit because he has walked that path before. Jesus is saying that there is no path of pain. There is no pain that goes with loneliness, no pain that goes with temptation that I have not endured, and so I can reliably show you the way through that. Aren't you glad that when you pray, you're not praying to a God who simply rules over pain. You're praying to a God who has walked through pain and who sympathizes and understands and says, I can guide you through this. He is the wonderful counselor. Some of you right now, if you were honest, you would say, I'm in a real time of need. The good news is that there is somebody here to help.

He is the Pele Yahweh. He is the most wonderful counselor. You see, what I love about that name, wonderful counselor, is this. It means that Jesus came for people with problems. Problems.

Many of you have a lot of problems. In fact, can I give you a brilliant insight I've had into the gospels? You ready? This is going to blow you away. I'm being facetious. Every one of the miracles that Jesus did, you know what they all had in common? You ready?

This is deep. Every one of the miracles that Jesus did all started with a problem. Not one of the miracles that I can find did Jesus just do a magic trick. You know, like, hey, let me prove that I'm the Messiah and turn Peter into a gopher and send him flying around the Sea of Galilee.

That would have been awesome. But that's not what Jesus did. He started with a problem, a problem like hunger, a problem like disease, or a problem like death, and Jesus entered into that problem and he used his miraculous power to transform it. You know what the good news in that is? It means if you walked in here this morning with a problem, you are a candidate for a miracle.

Now, the flip side of that is also true. You ain't got no problems this morning. You ain't getting no miracles. No problem, no miracle. No miracles, no problem.

This is the way it works. In fact, some of you came in, you just carefree this morning. You got a smile on your face.

You drove in your nice car and you smile and gleam, popped out of your teeth. And you're just like awesome and just bless you, brother. And you ain't got no problems at the end of this service.

You need to come up here. And one of our trained professional prayer counselors will lay their hands on you and pray in faith that God will give you a bunch of problems before you get home. Because if you have problems and you could experience the miraculous power of Jesus, Jesus came for people with problems. He came for people whose lives were dysfunctional and messed up, who had gotten their lives in a bad way. He said, I didn't come for the righteous. I came for the unhealthy and the sinner and the sick. I'm the great physician, not the great rewarder. I came for people as the wonderful counselor. And so if you got problems, that name is given specifically for you. And because I know that I'm dealing with a lot of people who got a lot of problems, let me give you the three kind of ground rules that Jesus gives us for how we are supposed to approach the wonderful counselor.

And we're going to get these just by watching him interact with people in the gospels. Here they are, number one. Number one, you got problems? You've got to be completely honest with him. If you want help with your problems from the wonderful counselor, you got to be completely honest with him. Every counselor I know will tell you that until you are completely honest about your problems, you can't really get help with them. You see, there's a tendency to want to keep the real truth about our problems concealed, even from the counselor. And maybe that's because you feel shame admitting the full extent of the issue. Maybe you don't even like to acknowledge it to yourself. But until you're fully open and honest about the problem, you cannot get help.

Here's why that's true. Getting help from Jesus is not like taking your dirty car to the car wash and throwing the keys to a kid and saying, hey, clean her up and you go run some errands and come back in 30 minutes. Getting help from Jesus with your problems is where he walks you through how you were supposed to change them.

You've got to be very active in the details of the change. And so if you're not honest about the details of the problem, you can't really fix them. Until you acknowledge that your marriage has a cancer in it, you're not really going to be able to get help from him because you're never going to deal with the right issue. The problem is not your spouse's annoying attitude.

The problem is not their selfishness. There's a problem in you that you got to deal with. Until you're honest about these things, you're never going to get his help.

For example, I knew a guy one time. He was seeing a counselor because he was really stressed out at work and his relationships at home were strained. He was having trouble sleeping. His health was suffering. He was a very driven man. And so he would just work, work, work, work all the time.

And he would tell his counselor was asking these probing questions and he would say things like, well, yeah, but you know, it's just what my job requires. And if I don't put this time in, I'll never be able to get ahead. And I'm doing it for my family.

And this is my work is really important and it affects other people's lives. And the counselor finally interrupted him and said, you got to stop saying all that and stop making excuses and just admit to yourself that you are an addict. Other people are addicted to drugs and to pornography, but you're addicted to the pride that comes from success. You're addicted to adrenaline.

You're addicted to the praise of other people. And until you acknowledge that you are a genuine addict, you're never really going to change because you're willing to sacrifice whatever you need to to get those things. You'll sacrifice your family, your health, your integrity. You'll sacrifice whatever to get to this level of success. And until you admit that about yourself, you're never going to change.

You got to be honest. God is not going to change your circumstances without changing you. Of course, our fear and being honest with him is that when the full extent of our problems is revealed, the question we ask is, what if God and everybody else just walks away from us? What if they really see how messed up we are? What if they see what if we put it on display and then they see the ugly truth?

Are they just going to walk away? Well, see, that's where you're just going to have to trust the promises of the wonderful counselor. Jesus was once talking with a woman, John Chapter four, who was really messed up. She'd had a string of broken marriages, five to be exact. And she was in the midst when Jesus was talking to her, she was in the midst of an adulterous relationship and she was deeply unhappy. Well, she kept trying to hide all that from Jesus because surely she thought if he found all that out about her, he'd walk away. So she, you know, she let him know that he was she was unhappy, but she wouldn't reveal the full extent of the problem.

And finally, John Chapter four, Jesus interrupts her and says, look, I know I know you've had five husbands. And I know the guy you're living with now is not your husband. And I know you're still really unhappy. I knew that when I started this conversation and I chose to pursue you anyway. You need to understand that Jesus knows everything about you and the fact that you're here this morning is not accidental. He knew how messed up you were when he started to pursue you. And he said, I came for you because you were messed up. It kind of reminds me of what my, one of my daughters, Allie, said. We were having a discussion around the dinner table about grace.

I was trying to show what grace meant in the Christian life. And Allie says, hey, because we were also at the time as a family watching that show, The Voice. You know, the voice where you got the judges and you got the people that sing and if they like you, they hit the button. And the chair flips around and says, I want you. You know what I'm talking about?

Says, I want you on it. And Allie said, Dad, it's like this. She goes, grace is like, it's like God hits his button and swings his chair around and says, I want you before we even start singing.

I said, absolutely. God knew how awful my voice was and didn't even want to hear me sing. So God just hit that thing and he spun it around and said, I want you don't sing because I want to put a new beautiful voice in you. And it's going to be beautiful.

And I'm going to do it as a testimony to my glory and not your ability. God wants to transform your life. He knows about the problems.

He knew about it before he started the conversation. There is nothing about you that is going to be revealed that will surprise him. There is nothing about you that will be revealed that his blood has not already covered. Nothing painful about you that he cannot transform with the power of resurrection. So it is time for you to start getting the miraculous change help from him and to quit lying.

Number two, number two, you got to want to change. You got to want to be healed. In John chapter five, Jesus comes upon a lame man right after the story that we just looked at in John four. Jesus comes on a lame man who's been paralyzed for 38 years.

And he asked him what is many people think is the most bizarre question in all the gospels. He asked a guy who's been lame for 38 years, do you really want to be healed? And that question puzzles Bible students because they're like, well, of course he wants to be healed. Who doesn't want to be healed after 38 years?

But here's what Jesus was getting at. While many people want to experience the benefits of healing, they don't want to go through the painful choices that must accompany healing. In other words, we want God to clean up the mess of our lives without dealing with the choices and the patterns that got us into that mess in the first place. In fact, we often have mixed feelings about the changes that we're asking God to make in our lives. We like the concept of change, but we're not really sure we want to do the hard work of change.

I think of Saint Augustine who prayed, God, give me purity. Just don't give it to me now. Give it to me later.

Give it to me one day. I like the idea of change, but I'm not sure I really want to go through what's necessary in order to actually be changed. Here is my question. Do you really want God to change your life? Do you really want God to form you into the person he wants you to be? Do you want him to transform your family?

Really? Because if so, it's going to require some things that you're going to have to deal with. Let me tell you, listen, Jesus can heal you. He can. He can heal you where you are this morning. Do you really want him to? We'll return to our teaching on Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer in just a moment. But I wanted to first tell you a little bit about our gospel partner family. Did you know that we have gospel partners in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Japan, Romania and 43 other U.S. states? Gospel partners are monthly contributors who are an integral part of our team. They help us proclaim the gospel through radio ministry and online and print resources.

We recently heard this from one of our international partners. The podcast teaching and monthly gifts are Bible based, practical and deep enough to strengthen my Christian walk. Having benefited so much, I knew I wanted to support the ministry as a gospel partner so that others could also be edified.

OK, first of all, we are so encouraged to hear stories like that. And then second, if you'd like to join our gospel partner family with a regular monthly gift, please give us a call at 866-335-5220. Or you can sign up online at J.D. Greer dot com. Now, let's return for the final moments of today's program on Summit Life. Here's Pastor J.D.

Greer. Number three, you've got to do whatever he says. You've got to do whatever he says. As I read the gospels, one of the things that stands out is how often Jesus asked people to do truly crazy things when they wanted healing.

Right? I mean, John again, John chapter nine, John seems to be fixated on this question of how you get healing from Jesus. You've got a blind man who wants to be healed by Jesus. And so Jesus comes up to the blind man. And what does Jesus do? Well, I would expect him to touch the eyes, you know, be healed, you know, say something. No. What he does is he spits on the ground, makes mud pies like a seventh grader, takes mud paste and wipes it on the blind guy's eyes.

Y'all, in any other context, this would be deeply insulting. And then he tells this guy to walk, not down the street, across town to a pool named Siloam and there to wash his spit off of his eyes and then he'll be healed. Why?

Why not just snap the fingers? Or Peter has a financial need. And so he comes to Jesus and says, hey, I've got a financial need. Jesus said, go down to the lake, catch a fish, open its mouth. There'll be a gold coin in the mouth.

The gold coin will be exactly the amount that you need for the financial need. That's pretty awesome. Why not just pull it out of his pocket? Why not just create it out of thin air? There's only one explanation that I can come up with for why Jesus had people do all these crazy things. Jesus is demonstrating to us that sometimes obedience is not going to make sense to us. He is trying to demonstrate to you that quite often, obedience is not going to make sense to you. So he tells you to extend the forgiveness. And you're like, but if I don't, if I extend the forgiveness, who's going to take care of me?

Who's going to avenge me? He tells you to end the relationship, but you think if I end the relationship, I'm going to be all alone. He tells you to give sacrificially, but you say, well, if I give sacrificially, how am I going to afford it?

He tells you to make the move, but you're very comfortable where you are. And in that moment, you have to decide, do you really trust Jesus enough to do whatever he says? You see, here's a question I often feel confronted by when I come to God to ask for help.

Do I really trust that God can handle this? James 1, where it talks about asking for wisdom. There's a stipulation that's given. This is so free and easy, but there's a stipulation. But let him ask in faith with no doubting for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that's driven and tossed by the wind.

That person should not suppose that he will receive anything at all from the Lord. Why that stipulation? That stipulation is there because let me just tell you what it means. What it means is that you have got to be pre surrendered to do whatever Jesus tells you to do before you even ask the question, or he's never going to give you the answer. Some of you want the answer and then you'll consider whether or not you'll do it. And God says, I won't give wisdom that way. You've got to lay your yes on the table and be ready to do whatever I say before you ask the question or you're never getting an answer. In fact, if you're writing stuff down, write it down that way.

In order to get help from the wonderful counselor, you've got to put your yes on the table before you even ask the question. Otherwise, let not that person think you will receive anything from the Lord. You know, this is very difficult because there is no other area of your life where I would ever encourage you to operate this way. I would never say, Oh yeah, sign the contract, read the terms later.

Oh yeah, pass the bill. Then we read what's in it. That's just a terrible idea. You would never tell somebody to do that. But in this one area, God says that is the only rule you have to pre surrender.

And if you don't pre surrender, I'll never give you the answer. Around here, we often compare it to giving God a blank check. In the days when we use checks back in the Dark Ages, you would fill out this check and you would sometimes leave it blank. If you were giving it to a friend and they were going to buy something for you because you didn't know how much money you needed to give them.

The danger in it was they could literally clean out your entire bank account by writing in whatever amount they wanted to. When we come to God, we've got to give him a blank check that says, I don't know what you're going to ask, but the answer is yes. I've told you what we prefer to give to God is a gift card. When I give a friend a gift card, if the gift card is for $100, when they spend it at $100, I got no more obligation to them. We want to give God a really generous gift card and God says, I don't take gift cards.

I take blank checks or I don't take anything at all. Are you ready to lay down all your prerogative to choose and say, Jesus, I'm ready to follow you anywhere because that moment is your moment of truth. I'll give you one more story really quickly on this. The Gospel of Matthew describes a rich young ruler who came to Jesus seeking the way of salvation. And Jesus said something to him that was basically a blank check and it sounded crazy to him.

Jesus said, go and sell everything you have and come and follow me. And the guy just couldn't do it. It was just too crazy.

It was too risky. And so he walks away and as far as we know, he never came back. He never got eternal life. The text tells us that Jesus loved him. Jesus wanted this guy to have eternal life, but he wouldn't lay it all down to follow Jesus.

We have people here who are very interested in Jesus, who you really want Jesus to help you out with something. You've got a situation in your marriage, your family, your life, you want eternal life. But there is some conviction, some opinion, you won't let Jesus change. You're like, I don't care what Jesus or the Bible says about that.

I ain't changing that because that's just what I believe. Or you got some area of your life that you want to let him touch, some area that is off limits that you will not let him control. Let me tell you as humbly but as directly as I can, you will never experience the help of the wonderful counselor. The only deal that Jesus makes is he will give you all of himself. He will give you all of heaven, all of God, but he'll do it in response to full surrender of you. Those are the three questions that are being asked of you as you approach the wonderful counselor. Are you willing and ready to be completely honest with him? Do you really want to be healed?

And are you ready to do whatever he says? Let me close this weekend with one kind of final thought. It might be the most important thing I think about this name is understanding what wonderful really applies to. Wonderful is not the name that Isaiah gave to the solutions that the counselor gives us. Wonderful is the name that Isaiah gives to the counselor himself.

And let me tell you why that is really important. Because sometimes the way that God helps us in our problems is simply by allowing us to see how wonderful he is. He doesn't take away our problems sometimes, but he reveals to us his wonderful promise that he is weaving all things together for good in our lives in his wonderful way. And that his wonderful presence will never leave us, even in the worst days of our suffering.

And that wonderful presence is more valuable than any solution to our problems. You see, a lot of times people come into church wondering if God can make their lives better. And maybe that is you this morning, something's happened in your life that's driven you to come back to church. And you're here this weekend wondering, you're like, well, can God help my family? Can God fix my struggling marriage? Can a relationship with God help focus my career? Can it help me restore balance? Can it make me happy? Yes, he can do all those things. But see, asking that is a little bit like the little kid who says to the scientist, hey, if that nuclear bomb goes off next to me, will I get hot?

You're like, yeah, you'll get hot, but if a nuclear bomb goes off next to you, your personal temperature becomes rather irrelevant. You see, when you come to know God, yes, he can help you with your problems, but he gives you something far greater than the answers to those problems. He gives you himself. Life's greatest discovery is knowing him, knowing he loves you, knowing his promise to be ever present in your life, knowing that he promises to work all things out according to a plan that is bathed in love and executed in power, that is what is too wonderful for words. That doesn't take away all your problems, but see, it does completely change how you go through them. Y'all, I may not be wealthy, but in Christ, I have a promise that I will always be taken care of because I'm a beloved son of God, and I have an eternal inheritance that can never be taken away, that Paul says eye has not seen or ear heard or even entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for me. I may not get immediate victory over every temptation in my life, but in Christ, I have the righteousness of God to my account, and I have the promise that one day I'm going to be as pure as Jesus himself is. Paul says in Christ, I may be hard-pressed on every side, but I'm never crushed. I may be perplexed, but I'm never in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed. In Christ, I can live every day with the assurance that the wonderful counselor is my shepherd.

Therefore, I shall not want. He will lead me beside still waters. The wonderful counselor makes me lie down in green pastures. The wonderful counselor restores my soul. Yes, even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I don't have to be afraid of evil because the wonderful counselor stands with me. His rod and his wonderful staff, they overshadow me.

My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life because the wonderful counselor will never leave or forsake me, and I will dwell in his house, the house of the wonderful counselor forever, and he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that is what is wonderful. Here's the question. Do you know the wonderful counselor?

You came in looking for a solution, and God's got something better for you. It's a relationship with him, the wonderful counselor. As we look ahead to a new year, a lot of people are setting goals for themselves, you know, whether that's a financial goal, a health goal, whatever it may be. So, J.D., do you have any thoughts for our listeners as they're kind of looking ahead and making these types of plans? You know, I once heard a wise man say that no matter what you do or how much you own, you cannot add a single second to your day.

It doesn't matter if you are the poorest person on earth or the richest person. You get the same amount of seconds. So what you have to do is learn to make the most of those seconds and those minutes, those hours, and that takes planning, something that would help assist us in establishing priorities, in what some people call the big rocks in place so that you can organize your day around that. I want to give you a tool that I have used throughout my life that really makes me more productive. It helps me keep the main things, the main things.

It's this planner. It has a daily Bible reading plan built into it that's going to align with what we're teaching here at Summit Life in 2023. It's a great resource.

I think you'll find it helpful on multiple levels. It would be a great way to start a relationship with you if you become one of our gospel partners or just go to jdweir.com and it'll explain the different ways that you can partner with us and us with you and this would be a great thank you gift we could give to you. Thank you so much, JD. Your support right now is critical in helping us continue this ministry in the coming months and we'd love to have you partner with us. As our way of saying thanks for your generous support, we'll get you a copy of the 2023 Summit Life Planner.

We're even including a year-long Bible reading plan to help you grow deeper in your understanding of the gospel. Ask for a copy of the 2023 Summit Life Planner when you give a generous year-end gift of $35 or more. Call 866-335-5220.

That's 866-335-5220 or give online at jdweir.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Join us Thursday when Pastor JD identifies four types of father wounds and shows us how Jesus came to heal those wounds. See you Thursday here on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-21 15:26:00 / 2022-12-21 15:37:26 / 11

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