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Spiritual No-Man's Land

David Wright


David Wright

Lead/Senior Pastor, Hendersonville SDA Church


  • May 14, 2016
    11:30 AM
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You know there are times in life that it's all or nothing. Halfway is no good. Way doesn't cut it you're either all in or you're not in it all. I remember one such occasion when I went down to Billy's I'd already served as a student missionary I was craving the clear blue waters and I had a friend who also was a student missionary not where I was but in belief and he says we could go down there and he worked everything out and so that's what we did we spent 4 weeks because that's when our recent expired and we just worked at this dive shop and anytime we supposedly tutored their kids which we did some but their kids wouldn't stand for too much of it so really we just hung out the dive shop and when a boat wasn't full We jumped on board and got to do free diving now is that a good deal or what well that's what we did and one of the things that was the thing to do especially on one of these outer dives on one of the outer atolls called Lighthouse Reef there was one dive where it was kind of a sandy bottom to start out in some sea grass and some of these little worms that look like sea grass and they would anyway I'm getting distracted it was a beautiful dive but one of the things that they like to do is they take all the gear they let all the air out of the B.C. which is opposite of what you usually do you make sure it's weight enough and you just pitch it over the side and you watch it sink to the bottom and then you grab your mask and your fans and you dive down and you put your stuff on at the bottom Well I watched them do this a time or 2 we've been there a couple weeks I've been able to get a little bit better at free diving but I was no free diving expert and so on this particular day I thought I think I can do this. As I remember throwing all of my gear off the side of the boat who are. Now I had to make it look good you don't want to just lowered and you have to just you know with reckless abandon and that's what I did and it landed it splashed I remember looking and of course it kind of goes at a slant and I threw it as far away on this downward slant and the tide was up and I remember looking now with my mask and my flippers overtop thinking that is really far down there. It was probably from the top of the ceiling to the floor which doesn't seem deep into you're looking at it through goggles underwater and then the thought came to my mind I don't remember turning my air on but a lot of times they turn everybody's air on in advance of us getting there I wonder if it's on and I'm breathing in my snorkel. No condom. Right am I going to do this with my stuff down there at the bottom was the alternative I guess I could buddy breathe with somebody No I'm going to do this but I was quite certain I wouldn't have enough air to go down and they come back up and you don't want to try pushing too hard or use up all of your breath so you have to try and be relaxed and just you know slow mo and easy body mechanics I mean we're going down down down adjusting my ears the whole thing and I'm thinking why did I do this again. Down down down finally I'm running out of air I'm starting to panic a little bit and I find you know I already look at it from the top I find that regular I put in my mouth and. It was on thank goodness I was died I don't even know what for. But it was all or nothing. You can't go part way or most of the way or end up at the bottom and then at least for me in my lungs I couldn't go back and there are things like that in life it's all or nothing you have to go forward full on or don't bother either run with the big dogs or get off the porch they say here in the south and I'm reminded of our passage that Monroe is such a great job reading forces morning and Luke Chapter 9 versus 23 and 24 there we read then he said to them If anyone desires to come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross how often daily and follow me now the symbolism symbolism of a cross is that a good thing is that a happy thing is that a joyous thing quite the opposite if anyone desires to come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me for whoever desires to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it I believe the disciples took this rather literally whoever loses his life for my sake what does that mean. In 8044 King Herod ordered that James be thrust through by the sword he was the 1st of the apostles to be martyred Luke was hung by the neck in an olive tree doubting Thomas was pierced with a pine spear tortured with a red hot plates and then burned alive in India Philip was crucified by converting the wife of Harry Op Listen 854 it is said that he continued to preach while hanging on the cross. Matthew was stabbed in the back in Ethiopia Bartholomew was flogged to death in Armenia James was thrown off the southeast pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem $100.00 foot drop and when he survived he was clubbed to death by an angry mob Simon the Zealot was crucified by a governor in Syria in 8074 Judas Statius was beaten to death in Mesopotamia Matthias who replaced Judas Iscariot was stoned and then beheaded Peter was crucified upside down upon his own request and John the Beloved was the only disciple to die of natural causes and it's not because they didn't try he survived his own execution of boiling oil as a result they sent him to Patmos God thought of work for him to do. So in light of all of that let me ask you How Was Your Week. I know many here have read Fox Book of Martyrs and by comparison I would submit that many of our risks seem rather tame our sacrifices can seem quite lame right If anyone desires to come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me is that something you're willing to do are you willing to sacrifice are you willing to give up because I tell you in this culture that we live you don't you're never called to sacrifice anything to give up anything it's always bigger and better another update another thing to improve your life but to sacrifice no no this is America we don't sacrifice. And what does it say in verse $25.00 for what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and him self is destroyed or lost what profit is it you can gain it all have it all but lose your own soul so if I read these passages correctly I'm starting to get this idea that if I want to live life to the fullest in the truest sense of what life is I give up my life I won't find myself until I lose myself for the cause of Jesus Christ I have to go all in it's all or nothing Jesus is not Lord of all or if Jesus is not Lord of all he's really not Lord at all it's all or nothing if you have your bible turn in the Matthew chapter 131 of the shortest parables that we have one verse long. Hopefully we can figure it out Matthew chapter 13 verse $44.00 and there we read again the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field why would you hide treasure in a field well in that day at that time there was so the economy and you had different people invading and raiding that there was really no safe place for your possessions for your things if you had wealth and so you would find a place in your field and you would bury it where nobody else knew but you remind me of a time I did treasure hunt for Elizabeth while I was out of the country in fact and I hid it under a rock so they couldn't even see that I dug it up and when I came back he says we could never feel think it what so I had to sure where it was same idea somebody is gone and hidden something in a field but then if somebody would the to pass away nobody knows and so here this hired hand is plowing in the field and he stumbles upon something. Like a treasure hidden in a field which a man found and hid and for joy over it goes and sells some of what he had all of what he had not just a little bit not just a portion he didn't just cash in his for a one K. he fit gave all of it in order to secure his piece of property and I'm sure all his friends that what are you doing this make any sense as not logical why are you buying this one piece of land he says trust me why because there's hidden treasure that he's willing to give all for I believe the field to be represented that represents the scriptures the treasure is the gospel and you might say it was this an idea of salvation by works not at all this is full surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we like to save your part but the Lord of my life. We like to mix it up a little bit have a little bit of both he can save me but to be Lord of my life to start personal maybe when I'm reading this is a willingness to sacrifice my worldly wealth and my status a willingness to give up the things that I love that I know aren't good for me and a willingness to allow him to tear down strongholds in my life a willingness to be transparent to him a willingness to obey the big and seemingly little things in my life it's just a small thing it doesn't matter you know it's outside of God's will do you know that's not what you should be doing then why are you doing it well that's a small thing maybe the thing is small but disobedience is ever small there's plenty of times I spend my kids it has nothing to do with the thing as do the disobedience but we want to both ways how much does he sell to obtain it all. We must be willing to surrender all not part not some not just Saturday mornings not just wins day nights not just our ties and offerings not just what is comfortable or convenient or what I can afford all how much of all is all but we want to go out on our terms don't we we live in a pick and choose society we want to look at the menu and say I have some of that and some of that and can you hold the mushrooms off of that it's cut and paste and in result I would submit to you is a false god that we've created in our own image to suit our own needs remember Exodus 32 The Golden Calf experience this wasn't a brand new God No they were still worshipping the same God that brought us out of Egypt we just want to worship them on our terms our way and this is the trend this is what's trending right now in church is to have a golden calf is what everybody else is doing it makes more sense we can see it it's visual it's helpful for us God says don't do it it's a small thing they weren't all in they wanted God on their own terms I was talking something just yesterday and they posted something on Facebook and it was simply a quote from the spirit prophecy and I had to do a lifestyle and things that we shouldn't do in that type of thing and just simply let the prophet speak for herself and then there was a list of all these comments and I said So how did they come and they said well all of my non Adventist friends said wow that's really insightful that's really good they appreciated it but all of his avenues friends they said come on what is that who cares party pooper and one said where's the grace. Where's the grace friends I'm afraid that phrase Where's the grapes has become the code word for why can't i do whatever I want to do why can't i do whatever I want to do as long as I'm in church as long as I'm reading my Bible as long as I'm trying let me live how I want to live let me worship God in the way I choose to worship God where is the gray. My question simply is she a prophet from God or not is she is the word Tatum or is she not is God's word authoritative or is it not because soon as I started picking and choosing and pieces and cut and paste I put together something that really doesn't resemble God much at all and we have people all over the planet now that are following pastors and teachers and going to churches pastors that cut and paste parts of the Gospel that they feel comfortable with that Susan that makes them feel good but doesn't step on toes don't tell me the things I can't do let's talk about the mission experience is talking about helping the poor Yes let's talk about those things but if God puts it in here any part of it I need to pay attention to if I'm sold out if I'm all in if I'm surrendered if he's the Lord of my life if he's not don't bother but if he is that will impact everything else we have a lot of people where God is a priority but he's not the priority and let me tell you there's a huge difference there's a huge difference between giving some and giving all and I'll tell you that's a pretty miserable place to be I've been there before it's a miserable place to be too Christian to enjoy sin but to sinful to enjoy Christ so it's a spiritual no man's land. You don't feel connected with God You don't really feel like you're connected with the world you're just kind of wandering out there and you're feeling guilty and terrible all the time you not seen the power of God working in your life you're not in full you enjoying everything the world has to offer you're in spiritual no man's land well why don't you try God why have tried on this not working no you haven't tried god you try to piece you've taken a portion and God wants you to give him all so he can bless you now be the 1st to admit that that's scary to do that's hard to do and really it's only by God's grace that we can do that right Lord take my will I can't give it make me yours I can do it but if we're not careful we can be informed but not transformed we have a lot of people walking around that are informed but not transformed the reality is we can't have everything God has to offer unless we're willing to give up everything else and it is it's counterintuitive it's scary it's difficult it's hard if you want to save your life you lose it doesn't make any sense but if you give your entire life to Christ you'll save it there's another parable here that falls in Matthew chapter 13 verse 45 again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls who when he found one Pearl of Great Price win and sold some of his hobby toys and when bought it all there it is again he sold everything Honey dear what are you doing Trust me it's worth it it's worth it and he found it he sold it all the ironic part is we think we're giving up so much the reality is we're gaining so much. And God doesn't want to save us in our sin he want to save us from our sin doesn't he that's what the promises are there for I mean the age of the church in Revelation you have a phrase that repeats over and over and over to him that overcome it and who helps us overcome God does by his grace by his power Revelation $321.00 to him that overcome of Christ declares will I grant to sit with me in my throne even Also as I overcame and sat down with my father in his throne we've been studying Christ object lessons in prayer Mino Winston knights and we're still doing that and this comes out of that beautiful book she writes There are some who seem to be always seeking for the heavenly Pearl where is God where is God Where can I find it is it hears it under there is this book is it that book where is it but they do not make an entire surrender of their wrong habits why is he going to give you more to add to your plate if you can't even do what's already there in front of you Why am I going to put more food on my child's plate when they haven't finished what they have they don't give an entire surrender of the wrong have you not die to self that Christ may live in them they have not overcome unholy ambition and their love for worldly attractions and then she says this almost Christians is not interesting 2 words almost Christians we got a lot of almost Christians I myself can too often be an almost Christian. Yet not fully Christians they see near the kingdom of heaven but they cannot enter there almost but not wholly saved means to be almost by the holy laws I almost gave them everything but too costly too much. Can't help but think of Matthew 633 Seek 1st the Kingdom of God and here is righteousness and all these things will be added to you we really don't give up anything we gain everything we put all in but as our culture says it says to enjoy indulge if you're worth it you deserve it you work hard enough but the improper problem with indulgence is enough is never enough the more we get the more we want because it doesn't satisfy it doesn't fill the void it doesn't suit the pain and the emptiness that I feel so I can have everything but have nothing but inversely I can have nothing but have everything you go to some of these countries and you meet some of these people that literally have nothing but they live with such happiness and joy and smiles on their faces as if they have everything and we come from North America from the United States with this gloomy frown on our face how can you be happy living in such circumstances but they are they are true joy peace fulfillment hope assurance those don't come from indulgence but in sacrificing self and giving our all to Jesus Christ seek 1st the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things we have to sell all we have to be sold out with all that's the problem with the latest see in church they're not hot they're not cold they're just kind of in spiritual no man's land I wish you were one of the other they sing songs like surrender some. Surrender so. Now that one get your hands on that one I'm going to keep down forever but. What does that Jesus is some of the world to me what. King Jesus is par just a tiny part what that's not how the song goes he's all or he's not any at all tis so sweet to trust in me just to take him half at his word Jesus which is what we are on fire and hot for him is another story in Matthew if you're there still through Matthew Chapter 19 said portion of scripture Matthew Chapter 19 verse 16 and there we read now behold one came and said to him good teacher what good thing shall I do that I mean that I may have eternal life and so he said to him why you call me good no one is good but one that is God testing to see do you think I'm God But if you want to enter the kingdom keep the commandments verse 18 he said to him which ones and Jesus says you shall not murder you should not commit adultery you should not steal usually not bear false witness on your father and your mother you shall love your neighbor as yourself and the young man said to him all these things I have kept from my youth What do I still lack he knew he had avoided a verse 21 Jesus said to him if you want to be perfect go sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me come be my disciple give all now he's young he's rich he's smart he's intelligent everything is going well for him he is running this huge company or whatever it is and he thinks oh that's just too much but when the young man verse 22 heard that saying he went away sorrow for sorrow full for that he had great possessions friends if we hold out on will miss out on everything that God wants to do in us and for us and through us I haven't met many people that are possessed by a demon but I've met a lot of people possessed by their possessions. Do we own things or things own US the rich young ruler had it all yet in his heart he knew you still missing something he was following the rules but he really wasn't following Jesus by definition righteousness is doing something right but sometimes we've reduced it to not doing something wrong not like it when my kids don't do something wrong but I like it even better when they do something right don't you and this young man has so much potential so much wealth that he could use for the cause so much intellect so many things that he could turn over and surrendered to the Lord but doesn't do it he thought he'd find greater happiness greater for film and in his worldly stuff and when it came down to this stuff or Jesus he said too much and I don't know how he lived after that maybe he tried to balance out both Maybe continue to live in spiritual no man's land but I promise you till the day he died he was miserable thinking it is mine over and over and over Follow me follow me follow me. God you're asking too much I would submit to you that when we think something in God's word is wrong when we think something in the spirit of prophecy is wrong is really revealing something is wrong in mean friends our greatest assets become our greatest liabilities if we don't use it for God's purposes and so he walked away desire major says this he wanted the heavenly treasure but he wanted Also he wanted the heavenly treasure but he wanted also the temporal advantages his riches would bring him he desired eternal life but he was not willing to make the sacrifice he didn't want to put all in his claim that he had kept alive God was a deception he showed that riches were his idol he loved the gifts of God more than the than he love the giver. The Savior was not so much to him as his own name among men or his possessions and then she says thousands are passing through this ordeal when Christ against the world and many choose the world is just too costly How sad is that how sad is that she continues only those who will become Co-workers with Christ only those who will say Lord all I have and all I am is done will be acknowledged as sons and daughters of God we have put in all the Ruler said no I can't give you all do we do the same often we focus on what Jesus asked him to give up but think about what he was giving him think about what he was giving him think about what he truly gave up when he walked away Washington D.C. is the interne ship capital of the world every summer about this time of year people are jockeying to find that right in turn ship that will be the key to unlock that door open this door this pathway to success in life with the right person friends who could have been offered a better internship than the rich young ruler follow me Jesus says this is an internship with the creator of the heavens and the earth so if you going to feel bad for rich don't feel bad for what he was asked to give up feel bad for the opportunity that he passed by and it's the same opportunity you and I pass by all too often. Money can't do anything compared to the worthless or the value and the worth of the priceless experience you could have hand in following Jesus what good is it to gain the whole world and forfeit your soul. And certainly is speaking of heaven or hell but I think even today in the here and the now you can have it all but your soul can be heard and withered today right now with everything with everything so what is keeping you from this priceless experience you think of the disciples in a day and age where they rarely traveled outside of a 30 mile radius where they grew up or where they work how was it that was their world he had Jesus in them to the ends of the earth they could have stayed and fished in Galilee their whole life and they could have died with some fairly good fishing stories but instead they traveled all of the ancient world and turned it upside down for God Did they have purpose you better believe they had purpose do they have peace Do they have assurance do they have all those things that only God can give that if we could mark it and put in a drug you couldn't keep it on the shelf Yes they died a horrible death but God promises them eternal life when they'll be able to walk through heaven and say I remember you I remember talking to you and they're not going to regret anything oh I wish I would have worked a little harder got a few more fish caught that bass boat I always wanted that's not the conversation they're going to have they were poor material possessions but they were rich in experiences as they watch God's hand move seeing God do the impossible as a witness lives change it doesn't get any better than that friends but we've sold out there's going to be part because I'm afraid if I put all in if I put everything on the table but can we trust God in that way more than any buddy else Stanley Tam was born in 1915 you watch his parents go through the depression he says it's not going to be me and so you set out to make money to not find himself in a financial problem. Now we start his own business but it was floundering and God continue to work on his heart and said Give me the business give me the business finally he was going door to door and old farmer's wife said OK can I give you my pitch now and she talked to him all about the Gospel and gave him the Gospel brazen days and he was a Christian but but this really stirred him and this in some other situations is life if I said OK God's your business I'm really giving you nothing but it's your business because it's OK to start to grow the business he felt convicted again you need to turn over half the company to me OK Over half of all the profits go to you have all the stocks will be you and he did that until eventually he was convinced I had to give the entire business to God All of it and I'm going to become an employee of God and his business as you know continued to grow and to boom his friends estimate that he has given away more than $120000000.00 Is that easy to do to put it all in to give it all up to lose your life in hopes that you will say. No it's very counterintuitive if you will very unnatural but friends and we do that when we put it all on the line for Jesus Christ the reward far outweighs anything we could ever possibly give up Seek 1st the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to use one of those things what areas will finances for one time management for another your entertainment choices verses time as word or prayer time earning verses time volunteering time complaining verses time ministry in your career you going to glorify self or glorify God the use of the gifts and talents he's given you to glorify self or glorify God diet lifestyle choices the list goes on and on are you going to give all. Are you going to give some Let's pray Dear Heavenly Father Lord we believe help our unbelief we desire to serve you we desire to glorify you and for many here they are wandering around in a spiritual wasteland no man's land they've tried you in part the Lord this morning in the quietness of our hearts we want to say Lord we want to try you fool we want to give you all we want to surrender not part not some we want to surrender all and we want to see the ways in which you long to use us to work through us to turn this world upside down. Because we recognize it's not about us it's about you. Lord help us to do that and to make that decision today we pray in Jesus name a name in this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more service lead to visit W W W audio verse or.


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