And you are of God, little children. Turn to Genesis 14:18, and I’ll show you how to got there. Genesis 14:18 says, “And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine, and he was the priest of the most high God.”
Now look at the word was there. That’s in italics. It means somebody put that in it to read it smoothly, and you know, sometimes it’s not always great. So let’s read it without it.
“And he the priest…” Now take out of. “The most high God.” You’re going to catch that in a minute, and I’m going to prove it scripturally. “Possessor of heaven and earth” and let’s see. “Most high God, possessor of heaven and earth and bless the most high God which had delivered me from the enemies of my hand and gave him tithes of all.”
I’m going to tell you a quick story. It’s a story you probably already know, but I’m just going to walk you through a historical timeline. Abram comes. He’s from a lineage of people that do not know God, do not serve God.
They’re worshippers of pagan rituals. They don’t believe in God. They don’t serve Him. They don’t love Him. They don’t adhere to Him. They don’t recognize Him. Here’s a man that was not raised in church, not raised on Oral Roberts, not raised with a Bible, and not raised with any godly teaching. They were idol worshippers, and they were proud of it. And they were also afraid to do anything differently because if they did anything different, they would be killed, and they knew it. So they were too afraid not to serve anybody not serving God.
So they made it a course of a lifestyle of serving anybody who was an idol worshipper, anything that was idol worshipping because they were afraid to switch to the most high God. Why? They didn’t know who He was. They didn’t know what He could do. They didn’t know about His protection. They just were ignorant of the promise.
Now there’s a big difference between stupid and ignorant. Stupid knows better and still won’t do it. Ignorant just doesn’t know. And then they began to get a revelation of who God was, and they went from being ignorant to being stupid.
Because then when they knew who God was, they still didn’t serve Him. And so they made a big step into really scary territory. When you learn who God is, and you still won’t serve Him, you’re stupid! And that’s where they were. They were wandering and having all kinds of trouble.
Ankle-deep water, if your kids are afraid of the water, you put them in a little bit, a little dab on them, a little dab off of them, and if they get too frustrated you can take them right out of the water. Correct? And they’re not afraid because their head is above the water, right?
But slowly ankle-deep water is not fun anymore, and they want to go to knee deep. But knee deep is a little harder. It’s not quite as easy with all that resistance to kick and splash. And you still can get back to the shore, right? But it takes a little bit more effort. So you’re getting a little bit more Word and you’re getting a little deeper, a little deeper.
And God says, “No, I want you to go into shoulder length.” Now wait a minute. It was a whole lot of fun in ankle deep.” And you know what? You could control ankle deep. If you didn’t like the way the anointing was going in your church and you still wanted to have control, you could just pull back from that anointing, and no one would ever even notice that you were just gradually taking your congregation right out of the water. And you still maintained control. And you know what? You were still dignified. You weren’t all wet.
And yet God is calling us to get out of the ankle and go into the knee-deep water. And when you get into the knee-deep water, suddenly parts of you are in an area that’s unknown. You don’t know what’s under there. Sometimes it’s dark. Sometimes it’s murky. Sometimes it’s unknown.
Sometimes you could have the ability to be afraid. But, you know, as a pastor, you shouldn’t act afraid. So you do it anyway, but inside you something is welling up that you can’t control. So you try and cover it up with something that isn’t the Word of God so that nobody notices that you’re in a little bit deeper than you want to be in.
And the only way to sustain yourself is back in the Word, life in the Word. And so you get comfortable in the knee-deep water, and God calls you somewhere else. He calls you to get in where the shoulder length is. That’s still okay because your head is above water, right? And when your head is still above water, you’re still in control. And when you’re still in control, that’s the problem-you are still in control.
And He’s saying, “Honey, take the plunge.” Remember the Nestea iced tea commercial, where all of the sudden that person falls off and they take the plunge? And then everything is submerged. Take the plunge. Because when you take the plunge and you submerge everything, all of the sudden there’s no turning back. Yeah, it’s not so much fun anymore, and you’re not totally in control anymore.
But, you know, some of us need it more than others. And, you know, when you got dressed this morning and you got ready to come out of your house and you’re going as fast as you can and you brush your teeth-thank You, Jesus-and, you know, you started doing your hair-I am making improvement. Come on, no matter what anyone says, I am making some improvement. Slight as it may be, we’re working on it.
And so, you know, you think, Okay, Lindsay’s getting better. And I’m more appropriately dressed for the job at hand, correct? And when you say, “Avoid the appearance of evil,? and God himself looks down from the walls of heaven-I am sweating like a dog up here-and God looks down in heaven. You can’t help me with that one. And He sees us, and He thinks of I Thessalonians that says, “Avoid the appearance of evil,? is He worried about my hair? (No) Is He worried about my makeup? Is He worried about whether or not I am pressed and dressed? Oh, I don’t have any hairspray. Suck up.
Or when He said that we are to be an example of what He’s called us to be and to be appropriately dressed for the job at hand, is He asking about my red slippers, or is He talking to me about the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness and the belt of truth?
You know why I wore two belts? In case one of them fell off. Oh, my gosh, it’s evil under here. But, you know, here we sit thinking that according to the world we’re getting so dressed for the occasion, and we get out-thank you two-will you hold that?-to Mack and Brenda Timberlake for sending me these shoes. And we’re so worried about what we’ve got on and what we look like and what we’re doing. And He said to put on the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness and the belt of truth and the whole armor, and we’re to be clothed in righteousness.
And yet even as the body of Christ, sometimes we pay more attention to whether or not we’ve got green slippers or whether or not somebody else has green slippers or the green bathrobe or making sure our hair is perfectly coiffured and making sure that our nails are painted and our toes are polished. But we wonder why in the world we go out dressed for war, get our guts beat up, and we’re still dressed and we’re still pressed and we’re still polished. And God looks down from the halls of heaven and said, “I told you to avoid the very appearance of evil.”
And we’re not properly dressed because we didn’t spend time in the Word. How many of you honestly spent time in the Word this morning? I don’t care that it was a nine o?clock service and Kenneth preached till the cows came home last night, did you get up this morning and did you getappropriately dressed?
How many of you felt like you’ve been hammered by satan’s tools? How many of you feel like satan is just cutting your wires off, you have nothing to connect to? How many of you feel like he threw a wrench in all of your plans? This one, we won’t even discuss?
Now the Bible says that we have one weapon, and there it is. We’ve got lots of weapons. God’s given us weapons, like the armor of God, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness. You know, the Bible says that the shield of faith is able to quench every fiery dart of the wicked one? And you know what? If I said, “Lindsay said put that down,” it didn’t do a thing.
But I’m to be like Jesus, the Bible says. And if I say, “It is written,” right there … all of them, all of them. Lock it up. Now that’s not good enough because, you see, I’ve let him just stand there. (Applause)
But the Bible also says, II Corinthians 10:4,5. Rick, can you help me again? Second Corinthians 10:4,5 says, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.” They are not in your mind. (Yelling) “But they are mighty to the pulling” … excuse me, right there … “down of strongholds.” The only way you’re going to get him down is to use the Word of God. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.
If you’re fighting the devil with your mind, with your carnal imaginations, you’re losing. But if you will fight the devil with the Word of God, it says, “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that has the nerve to exalt itself” … (Yelling) … down … “against the knowledge of God.”
Now listen to this. It says, “Bringing into captivity.” We let satan talk, we let him walk. We take a tool away every now and then, but do we bring him into captivity? Tie him to the chair. “Bringing into captivity every thought that has the audacity to acknowledge itself above the Word of God.”
What is acknowledging itself in your life above the Word of God? Is satan using the tool of fear? Is he using the tool of finances? Is he using the tool of depression, distraction, destruction? Whatever it is, you know what? Satan is not going to put it down because you say “boo.” But when you begin to stir up the faith, and faith comes by hearing and hearing what? … the Word of God … you stir up the Word of God inside you, you stir up the Word of God around you, you tell the people who are the negative naysayers to get out. Oh, yes, he does.
He not only goes around as a roaring lion … he talks. If you don’t believe it, Jesus said He had to answer the fig tree. Do another one. Let’s make sure. Now I want you to notice something. This is an “as a lion.” This is a big one. No more wimpy stuff. Give me the good stuff. This is an “as an lion,” like an “as a dog.” Do you know that an as a dog cannot bite you? An as a lion cannot harm you. His eyes … oh, no, I can’t do that to him. Here, by faith.