字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント We're focused this week on the word of salvation. When Jesus was dying on the cross, he said to a thief who was crucified with him… You, of course, would know that the crucifixion was not an anomaly. In Jesus' time it was a common form of capital punishment. Jesus died the death of a common criminal beside two common criminals. One of them mocked him and said, "If you were really who you say you are, you would get down off that cross, and you would get us down too. Save us." While one mocked him, the other one, who was on his right side, recognized the distinction of his divinity, or at least his innocence, and said, "We deserve this, and you don't. Sir, I'm not quite sure who you are, but when you come into your kingdom, remember me." Jesus said, "Today you will be with me in paradise." The word of salvation. I had the privilege this weekend to perform my brother's wedding ceremony. I don't do a lot of weddings. I'm good at them. I just am typically preaching on Saturday nights. Our campus pastors do such an excellent job with the wedding officiating. I was kind of nervous doing his ceremony. I don't want to mess up my man's wedding, because, hey, man, he has this girl here at the altar, and he might not get this chance again. She might change her mind, so we have to get this done. It's my little brother, but he's a lot taller than me. He serves in the United States Air Force. He's cool. He could beat me up, but I have mind game on him, so he doesn't know that. He asked me to do his wedding, and his fiancée… They asked me to come, and I was privileged to do it. Holly said I did a good job. In fact, she said exactly this. She said, "You did so good officiating that wedding, I kind of wish I could marry somebody else so you could do the wedding." I wasn't sure how to receive that compliment. I rebuked her. Kind of a twisted compliment. Anyway, I only bring it up because, truth be told, although I really love the opportunity to do the wedding, I kind of have a problem not with weddings… I'm not anti-marriage. Do not send me emails. Send them all to Jonathan Josephs, your Ballantyne Campus pastor. It's not that I'm against love. I have nothing against it. It's just that, can we all agree, especially those of us who have been married for more than 10 years, that marriage has very little to do with the flower arrangement you choose or how many layers of cake you can roll out that you're not going to eat anyway, because only the top one is real, and all the other stuff is just decoration… It doesn't matter how many shades of magenta your bridesmaids are standing there dressed in. What happens in marriage happens in the middle. That's my sermon today. It's in the middle that a marriage is made. It's in the middle that a Christian grows. It's in the middle that you find out what you're made of. This sermon is like a Tootsie Roll pop. What you bought it for is in the middle. I admire the thief, and I'm thankful that he was saved on the cross, but most of us don't get to be in paradise the day we get saved. The fact of the matter is we don't get raptured up to heaven the moment we make Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives. We are left here on this earth so we can bring heaven into our situations. It's in the middle. The way we typically focus on the moment… I believe God can save you in a moment. I really do. If you're here today and you're thinking you have to memorize some Bible verses or there are some certain habits you have to correct in your life… Are you all tired of hearing me preach? I've been preaching to y'all for 11 years now. For 11 years, I've been saying this same message. God can save you in a moment. If you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, you shall be saved. I know it, because that thief did not have to enroll in a theological school. He didn't have to go through a catechism class. He didn't have to prove the legitimacy of his faith by giving up certain things. Come as you are, but don't expect to stay that way. Jesus said, "Today you will be with me in paradise." Part of me thinks that would be kind of nice, if I could just be married and stay married without a process. I'm kind of a process preacher. I really am, because one of my core beliefs is that God is in the process. Don't get me wrong. He can move in a moment. Something can happen in your soul when the Word of God goes forth that is so strong the chains are broken and you are never the same. Why not today? The apostle Paul said, "Today is the day of salvation." He said that to the Corinthian church, backslidden. He said, "Now is the time of God's favor." Not when you get your act together. Not when people approve of you. Now is the hour. Today is the day. The privilege of my life is seeing someone in a moment make a decision to follow Christ, in a moment for the weight to be lifted, for the chains to be broken. In a moment. What about the middle? I know he could save me in a moment, and I know that when I die, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye… "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." I'm going to heaven when I die, and I'm glad about it, and I don't have to fry and burn. I know all that, and I'm really glad about it. One thing the thief and I did not have in common… We both deserved the cross Jesus died on, but I didn't get to go to paradise the moment I trusted Christ with my life. This message is not about paradise; this message is about process. This message is not about flower girls; this message is about the fight for faith in the middle. I want to present it to you in a way that hopefully can help you understand why it is that sometimes, even though you got saved, you don't feel saved, and what to do in the middle. Touch your neighbor and say, "I need to know what to do in the middle." When I die I'm dead. I'm gone. I'm in heaven. I'm there. But here and now I need God… The thing about me is I got saved, but I still need some saving. Maybe you don't, but I still… Look real good at the person next to you and see if they look like they still need saving. See if they look like there are still some times in their lives that they still need saving. It's a seven-mile journey, and the miracle is in the middle. Did you notice that? We've been studying from this Emmaus Road, where Jesus just shows up beside these two disciples. Jesus just shows up right in the middle of their conversation. It's a man named Cleopas and, some scholars suggest, perhaps his wife. He and his companion were not expecting the presence of Christ to show up, but he showed up in the middle of their disappointment. He showed up in the middle of their disillusionment. He showed up in the middle of their "We thought so." He showed up in the middle of the "What now?" He showed up in the middle. God will meet you in the middle. It's in the middle. They walk, the Bible says, seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and when they got there… Check this out in Luke 24:28. When they approached the village that, in their mind, was their destination, the village called Emmaus… "When they got to the place they thought they were going, Jesus continued on…" I love the next two words. "…as if he were going farther." Like he's a man on a mission. He has people to see and things to do and only 39 and a half days before he is ascended to the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. So he acts as if he were going farther. Sometimes it feels as if God is leaving you. I would suggest that some of the moments when it feels as if he's walking away from you, he is creating a desire within you, so that if you draw near to him, he will draw near to you. God is trying to set your faith free from the need to feel it to have it. The next time the Devil tries to tell you God has left you, that God has abandoned you, look him right in the eye and say, with your hand on your hip in your best "white girl" teenager voice, "As if. As if he would leave me. He said he would never leave me, never forsake me, never abandon me. He won't stop what he started. I am his and he is mine, and he's with me in the middle." "As if he were going farther." They asked him to come in and stay with them. Now professional pointer. Be careful when you ask Jesus to come in, because if he comes in, he's going to take over. God is not going to settle for a shout-out. He's not going to make himself a cot in the foyer of your heart. He's coming in the kitchen. I feel God on that, and I don't know why. Touch somebody and say, "He's coming in your kitchen." He wants to get into the ingredients. Watch what Jesus does. This is verse 30. He walks in, sits down at the table, and takes their bread. Remember, it's Cleo's house, but Jesus reaches right across the table, takes Cleo's bread, and just starts doing stuff. See, I need you to know that God is not going to come into your life and stay on standby so that when you kind of, sort of need him and maybe can fit him into your schedule… "Maybe I can get a little Jesus juice when my boyfriend isn't calling me back." When he comes into your life… I feel the Spirit of God. It is all up in me right now. God said, "I'm taking over. Today is the day of salvation. I'm taking over your thoughts. I'm taking over your imagination. I'm taking over your desires." Salvation is total surrender. This is how I used to preach when I was 23, man. This is how I used to preach to people who thought God could be a part of their life. If God gets in your life, he's going to get all up in the middle of it. God is going to change who you have listed in the contacts of your iPhone. God is going to change who you "friend" on Facebook. God is going to change what you do at 11:30 on Friday night. God isn't just going to wait for you to get to church on Sunday morning and bless you with a goose bump. "Is it okay?" Jesus doesn't ask any permission. He sits down at Cleo's kitchen table, takes Cleo's bread, blesses Cleo's bread, breaks the bread, and gives the bread, and when he gives the bread that he broke, which is also the bread he blessed, which is also the bread he took… When he takes over your life, he blesses your life. The same hands that blessed your life are the same hands that must be trusted when your life is broken. I mean, when your heart is in a million pieces. I need to preach this, because sometimes we think when we get saved everything is going to be sanitized and everything is going to be safe. See, this is the kind of preaching that will help you. When life is doing its best to tear you apart, you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt… Somebody shout, "I'm still saved!" I'm saved when I'm happy; I'm saved when I'm sad. I'm saved when they're with me; I'm saved when they walk away. I'm saved when I'm up; I'm saved when I'm down. I'm saved when I'm blessed; I'm saved when I'm broken. I'm saved in the palace; I'm saved in the pit. God is with me in the middle. There are three things I want to give you about the middle. I was saved. It happened. I will be saved. I'm going to be with him forever. But I need him to be with me in the middle. This is not a moment-to-moment contractual arrangement with God. We kind of think his grace will save you, and his grace will get you to heaven, but you're on your own in between. I want to declare that the same grace that will get you there (wherever your there is) is with you here. If you will believe the words coming out of this country preacher's mouth today… God is in the process, and the gift is in the middle. They sat down to eat with Jesus, but they didn't even do what they sat down to do, because while he was breaking the bread, the process of the way he broke the bread revealed his presence to them. God is in the process, and the gift is in the middle. "Today you will be with me in paradise." What an awesome promise to that thief, but I have a better one for you. That's pretty good. Right? I mean, come on. You're a dying thief, and you're trying to slip in before the door closes. You're trying to get on Noah's ark, and it's already halfway out in the water. With your drowning, dying breath, you half-heartedly make a request, just in case it works. That guy got in.