Reality Seven – Obey and Experience

Discipleship with Christ means we follow him

Linn Winters
Mar 5, 2017    35m
Working out our discipleship brings us closer to God. we get to experience all he has planned for us. We need to be sensitive to the difference between what we want to do and what God wants us to do. Pastor Linn tells us how to do that. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.


Christian Living 

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Pastor Linn: 00:44 Hey Cornerstone, how you guys doin'?

Pastor Linn: 00:51 Hey, something super cool going on today. You may or may not know about this. Today is the first day that our Scottsdale campus is moving into their new building. So it's totally cool. Huge win for them up there. If you live anywhere near the Scottsdale area you just may want to go up there in the next couple weeks and just encourage them and just experience what it's like to do church at one of our other campuses. Who knows, you might even decide that's an easier way for you to do church is just hit there because it's closer to you. And then same thing with San Tan. If you live anywhere near the San Tan area just do a visit if nothing else just to pat those guys on the back but you might just decide man this is so much easier than driving all the way over to the Chandler campus and it might just end up being home for you. OK. Hey we're doing, we're wrapping up the whole conversation about experiencing God. And today is the day, I mean it's the day you didn't want to miss because interestingly enough if you go through everything that we've described so far and you don't get today you will not experience God in a new way.

Pastor Linn: 01:59 This is the day that turns the corner and suddenly you experience God in a way that's fresh and vibrant and new and exciting and if you can't get through the day then you just don't get there. So if you've been in the room you know we've talked about this idea that you hear from God and who knows how that happens. You could be in a sermon and all of a sudden you go, "Ooh, ouch that hurts a little bit," or you're reading your bible and all of a sudden you go, "Wow, that just pointing out an area of my life that's still not in compliance or in obedience to my lord." It could be a conversation with a friend and all of a sudden you go, "Wow, they're just living their life for Christ a totally different level than I am," and you suddenly feel challenged in the moment that God is saying, "Hey it's time for you to step up a little bit." So whatever that is where God speaks to you. But what we said is that the chances are the moment God begins to tug at your heart you're going to end up with what we called the crisis of belief because there is going to be that moment you go, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. To do that, I mean to make that step in my life, I mean that would mean sacrifice, that would mean criticism in my life. I mean that would be, that would be huge for me to do." And there's going to be a moment where sweat is going to begin to run and your eyes are going to get big and you're going to go, "Man, that, that looks pretty hard from here."

Pastor Linn: 03:15 And then we said if there's any way for you to move forward you're going to make some adjustments. You're going to shift some ways that you think. Can you remember last week we talked about three young men who when they encountered Jesus, Jesus said, "Look, if you're going to follow me you're gonna end up adjusting your life, it's not going to be all bed and roses and comfort and ease. You're going to have to be willing to realize that it may not turn out financially how you thought it was. You may get criticized if you follow me, and what you've got to decide is that following Jesus is more important than what I had planned. Following Jesus is more important than me being comfortable, following Jesus is more important than what my friends think about me. That's the adjustment, following Jesus is more important, fill in the blank. You know I think, I think mothers in some ways intuitively get the adjustment thing better than the rest of us because once they have children it suddenly becomes my children need so ... I get up in the middle of the night and take care of them. My children need and so all the sudden I'm making sure bottles are exactly the right temperature and all sorts of things they never did. And all of a sudden there is an adjustment. And guys that can go too far, right? You can get to a place of unhealthy but you understand the principle that suddenly as we encounter Jesus it demands that you and I adjust and it just simply says if it's between Jesus and if it's between what I thought I was doing. Jesus wins. That's the adjustment.

Pastor Linn: 04:50 Today we're going to talk about what comes next which is simply this. It's obedience. It's the moment you say OK I really am stepping off the cliff. I really am going to do the thing that I've been asked to do. And I'm just in faith, in obedience going to follow him. And here's what we're going to discover today. If you don't get anything else. Let me just run to the end. Here's, here's what you gotta get: it's in obedience that I experience God in a new way. It's in obedience that I discover him at a level and a depth that I never could have experienced. On the front side of obedience. It's only in obedience. And then here's the other thing I want to say is that today as we get ready to kind of wind down the sermon and we get to the end. I know, I know we all get up and we run out and we hit our cars as fast as we can so we can avoid the crowd in the parking lot. And we're doing that because we're trying to be good Christians because we know if we wait till the crowd gets out there we're going to be flipping people off and we just don't want to do that right. So we're trying to be Christ like. But here's the deal. The way we're landing today I really think it's going to be powerful and I think if you don't stay right through the end today you're going to regret not having been here. OK. All right. So grab your bibles. We're going to talk about this issue of obedience.

Pastor Linn: 06:12 It's John Chapter 10. And if you're not real familiar go to the back of your Bible work to the left. You're going to find this book of John, John Chapter 10. It's Verse 10. Isn't it true that the reason you and I hesitate to obey God is because we're not sure we trust what he's doing. I may just say that again. Isn't it true that the reason that you and I start pushing pause when we go, "Hey not right now," maybe it is because ultimately we're not sure he has our best interests at heart. And so we're waiting to decide that. See we don't, we don't doubt the idea that he is omniscient, that he's, he, he knows the beginning from the end. And so this isn't a matter that we go, "Oh well he's making a mistake you know, he's taking it on a wrong turn and that's, that's not what we're concerned about. We know he knows exactly where he's going. It's just we're not sure we want to go where he's going. We're not sure that if we get to that place we're going to end up fulfilled and happy and so we hesitate to obey and follow him because we may have another destination in mind. Because ultimately we're not sure we trust that he has our best interests at heart. And yet here's what Jesus said, it's John chapter ten verse 10. Jesus said, "The thief, Satan, comes only to steal kill and destroy." He says, "Look, look, the one who is trying to mess your life up, the one who's going to take joy away from you, the one who if you follow is ultimately going to end up and run and disappointment and regret and lack of fulfillment. It's if you follow him or you follow the ways of this world. I have come," he says, "that they may have life and have it to the fullest." He says, "Guys here's what you've got to believe, you've got to believe that what I am doing for you even though it may look strange, it may it may originally look like it's sacrificial or that you're giving something, but what you need to know is that my absolute desire for you is that you would experience life at such a fulfilling level that it's different than anybody else who does not obey and does not follow me can ever experience life. And you've got to decide if you really believe that about me."

Pastor Linn: 08:47 It's interesting I was sitting in the home of a family in our church just recently. And as we were having dinner together they said to me, "Hey, we've been coming for ten years and yet we're really not involved."

Pastor Linn: 09:00 "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, wait. You've been coming for 10 years. And you've only been at attender, you're not really involved?"

Pastor Linn: 09:08 And they said, "No we just, you know, we just haven't taken that step."

Pastor Linn: 09:10 To which I began to say to them, "Hey guys I'm just, I'm telling you that you are not experiencing church, you're not experiencing this thing in the vibrance and the wonder and the amazement it is when you're part of the body, when you actually get included and used by God." And then I went back and kind of explained Romans Chapter 12 to them where it says that God gave every one of us a function. Some of us are the heads, some of us the hands, some of us are the feet. But, but that God designed all of us, gave us gifts and abilities not so we can make a ton of money, so that we could fulfill our role in the church, in the body of Christ. And guys I'm just gonna tell you this, you will never feel fulfilled, at least not in a lasting way, using your gifts anywhere else whether that be employment or be with your friends. It just won't. It's when you discover why God put you on this earth. Which means you're going to be involved in doing what his plan is, and then all of a sudden your life just explodes I mean just the level of fulfillment ... you'll all of a sudden be sitting in rooms having conversations, you'll be serving in an area and you'll see lives changed because of what you do. And I'm just telling you it will fill you up. You will go, "I can't believe I wasted a single day not doing this"

Pastor Linn: 10:31 And as we talked I watched them and you could kind of see the scales going you know, they were kind of like this and it was kind of like they got to this 50/50 ... they were like, "OK I hear what you're saying but I'm just telling you I'd have to rearrange my time and I know I'd have to not do some of the things I'm doing in order to do it." And it was just right here.

Pastor Linn: 10:53 And so finally I just stopped. And said, "Look, look, look, here's what you're going to have to figure out. You're going to have to figure out why I'm telling you this. Am I encouraging you to get involved and serve and become connected in the church because we've got a hole somewhere, we just got a gap and I'm just trying to get any warm body I can to plug the hole? Is that my motive? And at that point I'm just tricking you right? Or am I saying what I'm saying to you because I absolutely care and I want you to experience something that you've never experienced before, and that my absolute heartfelt intent is to bless you?" And when you decide that it's going to make you a lot easier to decide whether or not to do it. Which guys wait, wait, wait, that's exactly how it is with Jesus. See somewhere, somewhere you're going to have to decide when God begins to say, "Hey, I need you to move from that relationship or you know what? I need you to make a stand and not work on Sundays so you can be in church, whatever that thing is, whatever it is God's wish in your life." Is God doing that to trick me, is God doing that to manipulate me or does God ultimately have my best in mind and his deepest desire is to bless me. Because when you answer that question it will change everything about obedience. And here's why that's critical. Because it's only on the other side of obedience that you will ever experience God.

Pastor Linn: 12:30 Grab your bibles real quick, go with me to Exodus. If you're not familiar go right to the front of your Bible. Second book of the Bible Genesis, Exodus. Exodus Chapter 6. Thinking about this. So God goes to Moses. And he says to Moses, "Hey look, I'm going to send you back to Pharoah's court, the very place that you're wanted for murder. The very place that you had to flee from, you're going to stop being a shepherd and you're going to go be a leader." And as Moses goes back to Pharaoh's court thinking about this for a minute, he stands in the presence of Pharaoh being used of God to perform unspeakable miracles. Right? The Nile turns to blood, the place gets filled up with locusts, there's a bunch of flies that come, the cattle die, first born. I mean, miracle upon miracle upon miracle. Does Moses experience God in a new way because he's in Egypt? And the answer is yes. Moses the shepherd would have never experienced that part of God, his power his wonder, his all. The only reason that now Moses has experience and knows God in a completely different way is because he went back to Egypt in obedience. And guys understandd, bottom line is if you and I stay where we are you will never experience God like you would if you obeyed. Because it's on the other side of obedience that we experience him.

Pastor Linn: 14:19 So here's a here's a remarkable verse. It's Exodus Chapter 6. Starting in verse 1. Watch this. It's kind of midway through this journey and things are not going exactly how everyone planned. And this is some words that that God says to Moses to reassure his heart. It's Exodus Chapter 6 starting verse 1: Then the Lord said to Moses, are you ready? Now you will see. No, no I get it MOSES It's been hard up until now. I get people are complaining. No, no, no, just hang on because you've obeyed me now you're going to see, OK? Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh because of my mighty hand. He will let them go because of my mighty hand. He will drive them out of this country and then watch Verse 2, you ready? God also said to Moses I am the Lord. And the word there, the name there that God uses when he says that is El Shaddai. I Am El Shaddai, God Almighty. That's who I am. I am God Almighty, I appeared to Abraham to Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty but my name, The Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. Let me read that again. But by my name, the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. So at the moment I get what God said to Moses.

Pastor Linn: 15:53 My name is El Shaddai, my name is God Almighty. But here's what you need to know, in Abraham's day, in Isaac's day, in Jacob's day as they followed him daily they still have not tested the limits of that name. They still do not fully comprehend what it means for me to be God Almighty because they have not experienced all that that means. They have not fully. Understood my name.

Pastor Linn: 16:22 And it's as if in this moment what he's saying to Moses is, "Moses, if you'll do this, if you'll follow me you're going to understand El Shaddai at a level that Abraham never did, that Isaac never experienced. Because I'm going to take you into waters that are more dangerous. I'm going to ask you to do things that I never asked them. And if you obey me you're going to understand who I am. You're going to experience me on a level that they didn't. You'll know, you'll know what it means for me to be El Shaddai. You will have experienced El Shaddai in your life. So let's do a little comparison. Maybe this will help a little bit. So Abraham in his life as he experiences God, he's living in Ur of the Chaldees. God comes to him and says, "Hey Abraham, I'm going to move you to a new land." By obedience he heads to the new land and the new land is better than where he came from.

Pastor Linn: 17:24 And Abraham would be able to say to you, "Hey, here's what I know about God, about El Shaddai. I know he is a God who takes me to good places." You remember in the life of Abraham that God promises that he will have a son even though he's too old to have a son, and then God turns around and waits twenty five years to actually give him a son. He's a hundred, Sarah's 90 and God gives him Isaac. And based on his faith and waiting on the Lord Abraham would be able to say to you, "Hey he's the God who provides." Or maybe he would say he's the God who keeps his promises. Abraham, there was a moment his nephew Lot was living in Sodom and Gomorrah, two towns just full of wickedness and God says, "Look, I'm going to wipe those two towns out.

Pastor Linn: 18:17 And Abraham begins this bargaining thing with God because his fear in his heart is if you destroy Sodom and Gomorrah my nephew will die along with them. So he says, "Hey God, if there's 50 righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah would you spare the towns for the sake of the fifty righteous?

Pastor Linn: 18:34 And God says, "Well yeah, I would do that."

Pastor Linn: 18:40 And they said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa God wait, what if there's forty. Would you destroy a town over a lack of ten and an Abraham ends up bargaining God all the way down to ten people. He says, "God if there's ten people in Sodom and Gomorrah who still worship you would you destroy the city?"

Pastor Linn: 18:53 And God says, "No I won't destroy the city even if there's ten." Turns out, you ready for this? Because Lot had not impacted any lives. He hadn't changed anybody else. The only people who are righteous in all of southern Gomorra, and even in their case limited righteousness, are Lott and his wife and his two daughters.

Pastor Linn: 19:10 Abraham's terrified. It means my nephew is going to die. And yet god sends angels to take Lot, his wife and two daughters out and God surprises Abraham and Abraham goes, "Oh. He's the God who rescues the righteous. So Abraham experienced a part of El Shaddai, in other words that's what he would say, "I know that to be true because I've experienced that in my life."

Pastor Linn: 19:37 Compare that, ready? Compare that to the experience Moses has. Moses goes in front of the most powerful king in the entire world, he goes before Pharaoh, and before God is done Pharaoh is acquiescing to God and releasing the children of Israel to which now Moses is going to be able to say, "Look, here's what I know about God. Abraham didn't know this because he never experienced this. But here's what I know. I know that God is stronger than any king. He is stronger than any government because I've experienced that in my life." As Moses stands at the Red Sea and the armies of of Egypt come to wipe out the Israelites, and God says, "Hey, hold up your rod. The waters part, Israel walks across on dry ground. The armies of Egypt come into the Red Sea. He lowers the rod. Then his enemies are crushed and here's what Moses knows: God is deliverer. God cares for his people. God destroys their enemies and he knows that in a way that Abraham or Isaac or Jacob don't know it because he's experienced it because he obeyed and he is not still in a shepherds field. Does that make sense?

Pastor Linn: 21:03 Let me see if I can help because you're looking at me very confused. OK. In obedience, in obedience I experience God in a deeper way. And in a way that I would have never experienced if I hadn't obeyed. How many of you guys remember a story that I read you back when we were doing the 90 day tithing challenge? And I read you the story of a little gal who talked about how she tithed even though she didn't have any money. Anybody remember that story? Oh good, about nine of us. OK that's great. This will be really helpful for you right? So knowing that might be true I brought back the letter that she wrote to me that I read to you back then. Here it is, it's Tanya and this is her letters she wrote to me she says, ready? "I did it, and when she says I did it, if you were here you remember we said, "Hey, what if you just obeyed God, what if you tested God and for 90 days gave your tithe. What if you did that and just see if God would show up.

Pastor Linn: 22:01 She says, "I did it. I took the ultimate test today. I gave my first. Even though I paid it last I cannot tell you of all the anguish in my spirit the last four days, the anxiety and the fear that's been overwhelming. Painful counting every penny in my head and not sleeping. I listened to every word you spoke today and all that the spirit whispered to me. I cried a whole bunch. I went up for a prayer afterwards for courage and faith to walk to the kiosk on my way out. Mary was a godsend and helped me so much. I don't have money to pay my rent, my utilities, my gas, or groceries but I gave the lord his money back relying completely on his provision. I'm feeling drained but at peace. Please pray for myself and for my children. Thank you so much."

Pastor Linn: 22:57 And if you remember we read that and here's the answer: none of us knew right? I mean none of us, none of us can say Tanya here's how it's going to happen. Here's how it's going to work out. Here's the other part of her story.

Pastor Linn: 22:57 -- Video plays --

Pastor Linn: 25:52 So let me ask you a question. Has Tanya experienced God? Would Tanya have known God the way she knows him now, experience the way she's experienced him now if she hadn't gone to the kiosk? And suddenly it hits, I experience God in the other side of obedience. That's where God gets real, that's where God shows up. That's where all of a sudden God does what only God can do and I suddenly experience him in a new way. And is it possible, is it possible for some of us in the room to go, "Man, I just been so long. God doesn't say near and I haven't ..." Is it because we're not moving into obedience? That there's something we've left undone and God says if you would come here with me I would walk with you and you would meet with him. It would change our relationship. Here's something really interesting. Before it's said and done Moses actually gives God another name. Isn't that interesting?

Pastor Linn: 26:55 Grab your Bibles with me. Go with me to Exodus Chapter 17. Again if you close your bible, front of your Bible, Exodus Chapter 17, second book of the Bible. Exodus Chapter 17. Let me set up the story. So the Israelites, they've left Egypt, they've now gotten to the edge of the promised land. They find a nation there called the Amalekites and the Amalekites instantly see Israel as a threat and so they attack Israel and they are a warring clan. Israel remember left Egypt with no swords, no, no spears, nothing. So they're greatly outclassed, greatly outnumbered and now they catch themselves in the midst of battle. And as the battle is raging if Moses holds up his arms with the staff in his hand it is as if the staff represents the presence of God. If he holds that up then Israel wins. The moment he puts his hands down Israel begins to lose. So they come up with a plan and they set Moses down on a rock and then Aaron and Hur stand on either side and for the next just hours and hours and hours of the battle they hold Moses's hands up and the armies of Israel prevail and win the day but which by all accounts they shouldn't have stood a chance. And when they get done here's what Moses says, it's exodus Chapter 17 Verse 15. Moses built an altar and he called it the Lord is my banner. Though the word is actually Jehovah Nissi, The Lord is my banner. He said because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation. Think of the moment. It's almost as if Moses at this moment says, "I've experienced El Shaddai, I've experienced the God of all power, the Almighty God. But something happened today that just even feels outside of that name and that name doesn't feel enough to express them as if God revealed himself completely to me as El Shaddai. But now it's Jehovah Nissi. He's my banner. He's the God I follow. He's the team I want to be on. He's he's the God I would lay my life down for. He's the god I'm proud to serve. He is Jehovah Nissi to me. You want to hear something interesting? By the time it's all said and done Moses actually comes up with three new names for God. It's as if Moses says, "Man, I have experienced God in so many powerful ways and I've got to figure out a name that expresses what I've experienced of God in my life and God Almighty simply is too simple to tell you what God's done for me."

Pastor Linn: 29:45 So here's what I thought we would do today just for ourselves. When you came in, inside of your Weekly or someone probably handed you something that looks like this. Okay, if you do not have one you want one. So if you don't have one raise your hand real quick and we've got ushers will come to give you one real quick and I'm going explain to you what we're going to do. On the back it says my past. And in that top section there I'm going to ask you to take a moment and just think about times when you know that God has showed up in your life, moments when you go, "Man, I know God was with me. I experienced God. I know that God was faithful to me in that moment." And I'm going to ask you to write a name for God that reflects what you experienced and now know about God. So it'd be like God is my... and then you're going to write down whatever you would put in the blank, God is my... So here's some things I would put down. I would of course put down God is my savior. That one's pretty given. I would put down God is my provider. Because as we came to plant Cornerstone and we had to go raise funds like a mission, I had to go to friends and family and say, "Will you support me?" And I cannot tell you the fear that gripped my heart, that I would ask a whole bunch of people and they just wouldn't see the vision or understand the plan and that I would be trying to serve God and I wouldn't have the resource to follow God. And yet God provided.

Pastor Linn: 31:20 Just enough to support us those first three years and I would say God is provider. See I know something about God because I walked with God. I would, I would say God is a restorer because there was a season in my son's life when he had moved out and he was kind of living on his own and I knew he wasn't living for Christ the way he ought to and I became a dad of prayer. Man, I prayed my heart out for my son. And I remember getting the phone call and on the phone, my son was in Hollywood and living in ways that he probably shouldn't. And I remember him calling us and saying, "Dad I'm coming home." And I know that God is a restorer because on that day he didn't just come home to his physical home he came back to his walk with Christ. And now he's on staff at a church, got married to an amazing Christian girl. He gave me my first grandson. God is a restorer. So I ask him when you think about the moments when God has showed up in your life. What's his name? What's the name that describes what you've experienced and who he is in your life.

Pastor Linn: 32:34 So I'm just going to give you a couple of moments. You're going to write those down under... at the top part of the card there. God is... I know it because I've experienced it. I know it because I've watched it. I know it because I obeyed him. And he showed up. God is for me. He's my hope. My hope is you didn't have enough room at the top your card to write all the names I've got for you. And do you want to hear the cool part? The bottom part that we didn't fill out, that's where God has yet to show up. That's all that you and I are still looking to experience with him as we obey.

Pastor Linn: 34:27 Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, we simply come to you. And suddenly it occurs that you have shown up in the most powerful ways. You have made yourself the most known in the moments of our obedience, in the moments where we risked to follow you and in the moments when we sacrificed you were there. And you provided and you restored and you saved and you delighted. And God, the desperate prayer of her heart is let us fill in the bottom of the card. Let, let us experience you in ways that we still haven't because we choose to obey and follow you in ways that we still haven't. And this we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286