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Exodus: The Tabernacle - Do I Have a Role in God’s Work?

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August 8, 2021

Well, good morning village church. For those of you who don’t know me. My name is Alex Colepepper. I am the lead pastor of Alliance Bible church, which just so happens to be about five minutes in that direction. And so I get the joy of being able to pastor that church. I used to be on staff here at village church. I used to serve as the children’s pastor, and then I kind of moved on to Alliance, but I work together with Michael and then Craig, the lead pastor of village church east. And we kind of get to do sermon series together quite frequently. We’re preparing our sermons together. And so we’ve been doing Exodus all the way along as you guys have been going through Exodus. We’ve been going through Exodus as well. And just real quick, I know, I don’t know if they’re here in this service, but in the next service, but village church east is going to be joining us today.  

So if you’re here from village church east, thank you so much for joining us. We want to just be grateful for the fact that you guys get to be here with us this morning. So I want to ask you a question. Have you ever had the joy of successfully developing a person now? Right. So, so, okay. So there are moms in here who went well, I’d kind of spent nine months successfully developing a person, right? Yeah. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Okay. Have you ever had the joy of like pouring into a person of giving them tools and skills and abilities of training them to do certain things? And then from that point, being able to release them to actually accomplish those tasks, like to do the things that you’re equipping them to do, like sent them off to perform that task without you.  

I want to give you an example of this. My two year old daughter, she climbs on everything. Like there is no way that you can’t prevent her from being at a certain spot in his shoe. There’s a place to climb something. She will climb up that thing. We were at the zoo the other day, there was kind of like this stage area at the zoo. There wasn’t a show going on or anything. So we avoided some embarrassment on my part, but that’s okay. Like she was on this stage and there were railings on this stage. And so she just didn’t climb up on the stage. She climbed up on the railing and then she climbed up like on the next step of the railing and then the next step she’s got no support around her or anything like that. She is just kind of freely climbing around.  

Right. And so this is just a skill that she has an, and the responsible person for that is actually my brother-in-law. He is to blame for her climbing everywhere that she climbs because in his house they have, you know, kind of on their wall, this climbing wall that just goes from floor to ceiling. It’s not very high, but ever since she was like about one and a half, she would go and look at that wall and he would take her and he would show her, okay, you, one hand you look at where your hand is going to go next and you put your hands there and then you take your foot and see where it’s going to go next. And you put your foot there. And so, you know, before long, uh, you know, you were taking your hands off and she was climbing yourself, climbing herself.  

Well, you stand back there and then eventually, like, you don’t even have to worry about being around her because she’s just handling it herself. Right. So my brother-in-law Chris, his kind of work on her is always there. Every time she climbed something, right? Like this kind of imprint that he left on her, he trained her to do this thing. And then she just kind of does it so, so much to the point where we’re at the park and like we look away and then we look back and she’s like, halfway up some apparatus on the playground. Right? So, so this is what happens. He kind of trained this into her and she developed and then she just does it. Right? So have you had an experience like that, where you give somebody skills to develop them, to do a task and then they, they take those skills and they use it and then they get to the point where maybe even they’re better than you are at the thing that you train them to do.  

Like this is to a certain degree, the story of parenting, right? Like when, when you pour into your kids and you build them up and send them off, it’s the story of discipleship. Yeah. This is what Jesus did with his disciples. And that’s what the disciples did with their disciples after them. Right? So if you’ve had the experience of doing this of giving skills and training people, and if you have it, I just want you to put yourself in the shoes of the person who has for a second. I want to ask you a question.  

What do you feel when you see them accomplish the thing that you’ve built them to do? Like, what do you experience in your soul when you see them become this thing that you’ve trained them and you get like a sense of thrill, a sense of joy, a sense of maybe excitement, maybe even like pride, right? This is what, when parents say, I’m really proud of you, right? This is you see them doing the thing that you’ve built them to do.  

And this is what God does with us. Right? He develops it. Yes. He trains us. He prepares us. He sends us out and puts us in places where we get to take those skills that he’s developed and use them For his good. So, so whatever you feel  When you develop somebody else, imagine what God feels. When you go and start taking the things that you’ve kind of had developed in you and start using them for his purposes, right. To accomplish things that he loves. So we’re going to take this concept and run with it as we go into our next sermon in the tabernacle series through Exodus. So if you’ve been with us, this is our last series in the book of Exodus, we kind of been walking through, this is the last big chunks that we’re going to look at. We’ve got a few more weeks where we look at what it means. God came to be present with his people. And today, specifically, we’re looking at the process of constructing the tabernacle, like the skills that went into that, the way that tasks got designated in that process, the kind of organization that had to be undergone to, to make that work.  

And we’re going to watch as God equips and moves his people to build this thing called the tabernacle. We’re going to observe what happens when, when God develops people to do the things that he loves now. So last week, pastor Mike introduced you to the tabernacle and really helped us to understand why it is important. That the tabernacle is kind of one piece of God’s story of coming to be present with humanity, right? So he walked you through scripture to kind of show you how the story develops. He took you from the tabernacle to Jesus, who is God with us, right? And then he talked to you about the indwelling, holy spirit. So I just want to give you one big takeaway from that sermon. One big thing to sit with as we move forward this morning, here’s that big idea God’s is to dwell where people are.  

You want to just carry a big idea all the way through this sermon series with you. It is, this God’s work is to dwell where people are. That is the thing that he is up to in the world. That is the thing that he is constantly working to do. He’s coming to dwell where people are. So if you look through the story of scripture, you see that this kind of remains to be true. So all the way back in the garden, God dwelled with people, right? But then people sinned and then they were cast out of the garden, out of God’s presence. And so God doesn’t stop though, working to dwell with people. So he starts by making a people called Israel. And what does he say to that? People often kind of the most frequent promise of God, his people all the way through scripture is  

I am with you. Okay? Right. I’m I’m coming To dwell. I am with you. I’m walking beside you as you go through this. So, so he gives promises to Abraham and then you go through the Exodus. All of his people are there in Egypt and God draws them out. And we get to the scene where he’s going to make a tabernacle, right? He tells us people, I’m going to go among you. I’m going to take up residence in that tabernacle. And we follow it from there. We look at Jesus, he’s God with us. He comes and dies for sin. And then when he dies, the veil over the tabernacle is ripped into symbolizing. The God’s presence is now moving out from the tabernacle because sin has been paid for. Sin has been covered and God can come and be with people. So what happens next? The holy spirit comes and fills his people, equips his people. He is present he and dwells believers. And this is where pastor Mike sat with last week.  

The reality that we get God with us, like living in us, to make us the people that he wants us to be, to shape and transform us. And that story is all heading towards the new heavens and the new earth where the promise is the significance of the new heavens and the new earth is this behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear away from their eyes. Death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning or crying or pain for the former things have passed away. This is the story of God’s work through scripture. He’s a God who works to dwell where people are.  

So what’s crazy is that he like, just doesn’t do this himself. He, for some reason, chooses to bring human beings into the process of his work, of coming to dwell with people, right? Like this is the thing that God is all about. This is what God has kind of said. As I relate to people, this is what’s most important. And for some reason, God has chosen to take this most important work that he is doing and bring people into that process of accomplishing his work. He calls and equips and empowers people to build his dwelling place. So we’re going to look this morning and how he does this with the tabernacle and what it means for us. So we are in Exodus 31, Exodus 31 this morning, we’re working our way through the story. You might notice as we get in these back parts of Exodus, that we’re kind of jumping back and forth because you remember that, uh, with the tabernacle, there came a set of instructions before the incident of the golden calf, but then the golden calf incident happened.  

And then after that, there’s the implementation of the instructions. And so, so in Exodus 31, this is prior to the golden calf incident, but these are the instructions regarding the building of the tabernacle. So Exodus 31 verse one, it says the Lord said to Moses, see, I have called by name. Bezalel the son of early son of her, of the tribe of Judah says here called by name in Hebrew. This is really simply a way of saying, God is saying, I have appointed Bezalel to a specific task. I have a job for him to do so what is that job? Verse three, I have filled him with the spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship. So, so if you read this real quick, if you read this verse, you might be inclined to see that God has given Bezalel five different things, right?  

Because it’s kind of like a list. I filled them with my spirit. I’ve given them and intelligence and knowledge and craftsmanship. But, but what I want you to see is that it’s actually just one thing. It’s actually just one thing that he’s given Bezalel. He says, I have filled him with my spirit and this is what that means. He has ability, intelligence, and knowledge for what it’s worth ability, intelligence, and knowledge are in the Hebrew three words. That all mean kind of the same thing. And so it’s kind of like he’s repeating himself to make a point, all these words together articulate the significance of how this guy named Bezalel was equipped like that he had skills. Yes. And, and beyond that, like his skills gave him greater ability. And then he really under knew and understood the subject matter. And I it’s interesting, these words here are very similar to the use of wisdom and the Bible. In fact, the word ability is the word wisdom in other places in the Bible and all of these together, trying to say he was really particularly equipped to do something and all of that culminates in that very last word, craftsmanship, right? 

So God equipped him, gave him skills and knowledge and ability to be a really good craftsman. So I want you to think of this guy, like a really skilled general contractor, right? Like he, he has this kind of knowledge and understanding of architecture and design. He knows how to divvy up labor between people, right? He’s led projects before he is kind of a structural engineer. He can work with the tools and the, and he knows how to build the structures, but he also knows how to make the plan and make adjustments plan. And so, so get this, these are not just skills that the guy has, but it says that he is filled with the spirit, which tells us that the spirit has not only given him skills, but is coming behind those skills and empowering those skills.  

So, so he’s not just like really creative with design he’s particularly creative because the spirit is fueling his creativity. So imagine does all his life for just a second with me walk through it with me, where did he grow up? He grew up in Egypt. He grew up as a slave in Egypt, which means that once he got to a certain age, he was working with the other builders. Right. But what was different? Imagine him watching with intent and interest as the Egyptian craftsmen kind of put together plans for the structures that they would build. Imagine the experiences that he would go through, where he wouldn’t just make bricks. Now, all of the Hebrew people may bricks, but Bezalel would not just make bricks. He would look at how those bricks fit together into a wall and how that wall held together into a structure. He was really interested, not just in the thing that he did, but in the bigger picture of how it all fit together. Imagine him having the opportunity to chisel zone, to chisel stone and kind of create designs. Imagine his fascination with kind of the complicated designs that went together in the Egyptian architecture.  

So yeah, he’s, he’s living through forced labor  

And that’s hard, but, but in the midst of it, he has this unique interest and understanding that’s helping him grow into the person that he’s becoming and he works and he asks questions about plans and how those plans are put together. And he grasped the details of what goes into the projects. And his creativity grows with each project, as he understands how this functions and all of this has been sovereignly arranged by God, all of these circumstances that he would have this interest and be placed in this various times to grow into this kind of person. And then at a particular point, God says, well, this is because I have appointed him. I’ve called him by name and filled him with my spirit. So what do we make of this filling of the spirit for what it’s worth? This can get confusing. If we kind of read the new Testament back into the old Testament, because in the new Testament, when we talk about the spirit of God, it is the indwelling spirit, right?  

The spirit who comes to take up residence inside of us permanently once and for all, because of what Jesus accomplished. But in this context, that is something slightly different, right? This is not God coming to take up residence inside of Bezalel permanently, but it’s him equipping him for a particular task. So these words filled with the spirit in the old Testament, we can think of like this, a person is equipped and empowered to do or say exactly what God wants to do or say now in the new Testament, if you’re filled with the spirit, it is at least that, but it’s more than that. But here in the old Testament, this is, this is what it means. Uh, a person is equipped and empowered to do or say exactly what God wants to do or say. So what does this mean for Bezalel when he is filled with the spirit? Well, it means two things. It means that God is showing Bezalel the various experiences of his life, his skills, his understanding, his knowledge and how all of those things have equipped him, how actually those things can be drawn together to accomplish a really specific purpose for what God is seeking to do. So Bezalel is able to look at the history of his life and understand all of these things have led to this moment, to this opera.  

And the second thing that this means is that that God is actually coming behind those skills. God is putting his power behind those skills and making him more creative, making him more skilled, making him more knowledgeable so that Bezalel can lead this construction of a place that will give God residence with his people. Right? So let’s take that concept and move it to today. This is our main point. This morning church, God wants to extend his presence through you. God wants to extend his presence through you.  

God wants to use the various experiences and understandings and skills and gifts that he has given you. And he wants you to kind of stand back and evaluate those things and see how they come together for the opportunity of him coming to dwell with people. So let’s get specific about this. Some of you have radical skills  

And gifts of hospitality. Like you know how to make a person, not just feel like they have everything they need and not just feel comfortable, but you know how to make space for a person to just be themselves. You know how to draw that person out and help them to feel welcome, right? God extends his presence through you using those skills. Some of you have gifts of mercy and compassion. You know how to listen. Well, you know how to respond to moments of crisis and be stable and steady. You know how to simply be present with people. And you know what, when you use those gifts, God extends his presence to people. He comes to dwell with people through those gifts. Some of you are skilled with words like, you know how to encourage a person really well, or you’re skillful teachers, right? You know how to share the truth of God’s word with various people, right? God extends his Presence. When you use those gifts,  

Some of you work with your hands, you fix things. Actually like if we just look at this specific passage today, this is all about people who work with their hands so that God can come to dwell somewhere through their work. Right? Some of you build, some of you fit, some of you serve. And you know what, when you use those in the context of the body of Christ and the context of what God is doing, God extends his presence. When you use those gifts, some of you are really skilled with technology. Let me tell you right now, technology is one of the most effective ways that God is extending his presence, right? So every person, every single person, which means if you’re listening to me and you think I’m talking to somebody else, I’m not, I’m talking to you. Every single person is a convergence of skills and gifts and experience. And then when we trust in Jesus, the holy spirit comes and empowers those gifts. 

And not only that, but gives us additional gifts so that we can use those things to be those who would extend God’s presence. God wants to take all of it and use it to come and dwell with people. So let’s go back to Bezalel then, because he doesn’t just do this by himself, right? He has help. So exit is 31 6. It says this. It says behold, I have appointed with him a holy app, the son of his, a Mac of the tribe of Dan. So, so God has kind of taken, not just Bezalel, but he’s given Bezalel this guy named a holy app. Now a holy app functions as kind of a right hand, man for Bezalel right. He helps him carry out the work that needs to be done.  

He helps him lead and administer everything that’s going on. And the two of these people together, they are not just doers of the work. That’s really important. They’re not just people who build things, but they actually are equippers of the people. They have the, the kind of ability to pass on their skills and their knowledge and their understanding. So Exodus 35 34 says this about the two of these folks and 34. It says he has inspired him to teach that as Bezalel that he’s talking about there, he’s inspired him to teach both him and to wholly have the son of a, his iMac of the tribe of Dan. So it’s important to recognize God has not just gifted these guys to do, but he’s given them the ability to pass on their skills. I got establishes leaders who equip people. I Bezalel, doesn’t just like do amazing work, but he trains people to do the work like he does the work.  

And this is God’s pattern with building the tabernacle. This is for what it’s worth. Also God’s pattern of extending his presence in the world now through the church, right? Listen to Paul instructions to Timothy. Second Timothy two, two. And what you have heard from me and the presence of many witnesses in trust to faithful men, he’s saying you Timothy are going to teach it and hand it off to faithful men who will be able to teach others also, right? You carry it on, you pass it on there. There are people who need to teach this. In fact, one of the qualifications of an elder is that they would be apt to teach able to pass things on to those who would come after them. Uh, Jesus, literally like he calls his disciples to make other disciples. What is a disciple? A disciple is a person who learns a person who is taught, which is why the disciples called Jesus rabbi. He told, they called him their teacher. This is why like staff at village church staff don’t just do work like staff at village church, build teams, right? They equip people to accomplish certain tasks.  

So remember, God wants to extend his presence through you. So this morning you may look at me and say, okay, Alex, God may want to use me, but I don’t really know where to start. I don’t know what next step to take. I don’t know how to understand the things that God is bringing together. Well, here’s the good news. He hasn’t just equipped you. He hasn’t just filled you with his spirit. He hasn’t just arranged the circumstances of your life, but he has given you wise and godly leaders who have kind of one really specific job. Their job job is to equip you to do the things that he is calling you to do. Which means that these leaders can help you understand how God is bringing all of these things together and what that would mean for the next step that you might take and extending his presence, right?  

So you have ministry directors here at village church, but not just that, like you have staff here, you have pastors here at village church. There are elders here. They’re also community group leaders here. Like there are a multiplicity of people within this body that you could get connected to that would, I guarantee you would be willing to sit down with you and help you understand how God is kind of arranging the various circumstances and skills and gifts and equipping of your life to step in to the next thing that he wants to do through you. So let’s kind of bring all of this, the other real quick and get really clear. I want you to know that you have all, you need to participate in God’s work. You have everything you need, right? You have, uh, the life and the knowledge and the interests and the skills and experience that God has kind of brought together inside your person, right?  

You have all of that. God sovereignly arranged these various circumstances. And then on top of that, you have wise and God local church leaders who thrive on helping equip people to take steps into how God wants to use them. And then finally you have the indwelling, holy spirit, which is different even than what Bezalel had. You actually have more than what Bezalel had, because Bezalel only had it at a particular point in time for a particular task. And you have it always until the end of the age, right? You have him, the holy spirit empowering you and guiding you always to the end of the day, age, giving you gifts, empowering. You get being in constant relationship with you so that you can understand the heart of God being kind of in this conversation. And so, so as you relate to God, and as he forms his heart into you, you have eyes to see opportunity and need that arise.  

And then he happens to give you insight, to know how your skills meet that need. And then you get a heart regenerated by the holy spirit where your desires start to come into alignment with God’s desires and a call to be one with, through whom God extends his presence to others. All of this comes together so that God can use you to dwell where people are. So the guy kind of just want to tell you, like, if not stepping in, you don’t really have any excuse, right? God has given you everything. You need to be one who would extend his presence to others. Now, does this mean that there are from time to time, like seasons to step back and reevaluate what God is doing? Absolutely. But that, that, that doesn’t mean that you just don’t have an excuse to step in, right? Like there’s no excuse to just not step in.  

So I’ve gotta be honest. When we look at this, I say all of this, because in the work that God is doing in the world, there is no lack of opportunity, right? There is always opportunity for him to do something else, right? So he’s just waiting for people who will make themselves available to accomplish his work and will actually watch how this is displayed in the building of the tabernacle. So exit 35, 10, it’s not just Bezalel, it’s not just a holy app, but now the people are going to be called. And in verse 10, it says this, every, every skillful craftsman among whom you come, uh, sorry, let every skillful craftsman among you come and make all the Lord has commanded. So after Bezalel in a holy Alber appointed and the people are called to participate, and I’m not going to put this up on the screen, but I’m going to read for you.  

I just want you to listen to the various sets of skills that are going to be at play as the tabernacle is built and developed. So in verses 11 through 13, it says the tabernacle it’s tent and it’s covering its hooks and it’s frames. It’s bars, it’s pillars. It’s bases the arc with its poles, the mercy seat, the veil of the screen, the table with its poles and all its utensils in the bread of the presence. So like, what does it take to make all of those things? Well, you need some builders. You need some woodworkers. You need people who are able to engrave you. You need a baker, right? You need somebody who can make the bread. Verse 14. It says the lampstand also for the light and its utensils and its lamps and the oil for the light and the altar of incense with its palsy, anointing oil and the fragrant, and says like, what do you need for this?  

Well, you need some people who are able to, to farm the oil, right? To get the oil made so that it can be used. You need some basic servants who are able to kind of accomplish some of these tasks. You need people who can shape metal, right? Who can form metal and work with that in verses 16 through 18, the altar of burnt offering is going to be built with its grading of bronze its poles and all its utensils, the hangings of the court, its pillars in its basis, the screen for the gate, the pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court. There are courts like you need stonemasons. You need weavers. You need people who are artistic to design some of these. Like these are not just kind of where we’re going to make a sheet and hang it over the tabernacle right now, these are intricately designed things, right? You need very creative people. Verse 19, the finally worked garments for ministering and the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron and the priests and the garments of his sons for the service as priests, You need tailors, you need jewelers, right?  

The point of all of this is to say that there is a place for people of all different skillsets and all different affinities to have a role in building God’s dwelling place. But then I want you to observe something because yes, there’s all of this opportunity. But then there are specific people who actually go to work. Let’s look at who those people are. Verse 36 2. It says Moses called Bezalel and to holy AB and every craftsmen in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work, right? The people who are compelled to do God’s work are the people who do God’s work. What did they see? Well, they see the value of the vision that God is trying to accomplish. They see how important it is that God would actually go with them as they make their way through the desert.  

They’ve impact been impacted by God’s mercy, right? Because yes, God has justice at the end of the golden calf incident. But after that, he hadn’t mercy, right? He offered forgiveness. He said, I will go with you. They were impacted by that. They believe that there is no better task for which they could use their skills than this, right? The living God, the God who created everything is coming to rest and reside and dwell among them. This is a really significant thing. And they are stirred up in their hearts and because they are stirred up in their hearts, they decide to take steps to doing what God wants to do. So I’ve talked a lot this morning about discovering and finding your role because when God’s people use their skills and abilities and really specific ways, I actually believe. And we believe together though, that when God’s people use those skills, like the living God, the God who created everything comes to dwell in the places and spaces that we do.  

Like. So some of you use your skills in the foyer to welcome people, to make coffee, right? To be hospitable. God is meeting and dwelling with people when you are meeting and being kind and shaking hands and saying, hi, it’s so good to see you. I got is using skills in kids ministry, right? God is meeting and dwelling with parents who have the ability to let their kids go safely. It’s a kid’s ministry. While they’re able to come in here and hear the word and grow and develop. God is meeting those kids and dwelling with them. As they hear the gospel and their hearts are tuned to what God wants. God is using skills. And this worship space, God is meeting people in dwelling with them. As people engage with the technology and the sound and eliminate distraction and use their musical abilities and use their communication gifts.  

God, God Is present. When you use your listening skills in a small group, and you’re able to help somebody understand that it’s like, you see what they’re going through. You hear them you’re for them. God uses skills and teaching in a Bible study and then meets and dwells with people.  

Right? You know what all of this means that no role  

Is just a role, right? No role that you play in this context, in the context of God’s church is just a role like the person who made brass rings that go on the pole around the tabernacle, right? Imagine how kind of mundane a job that is like, you just make the brass rings, right? You just do that so that the curtain can hang on the tabernacle so that it can go around the tuber tabernacle. Right? But that brass ring maker understood because he was stirred up in his heart that he was not just a brass ring maker, right. He was helping contribute to this place where God was going to be present with his people, right? The person who advanced the slides in the back is not just a pusher of a button. Right? But they, they are contributing to this bigger thing of where God is kind of meeting and dwelling with us in this place.  

No role is just a role. Like if you actually believe that God is meeting people and dwelling people, when you engage in faithful service, right, then your heart will be stirred to faithfully continue in that service. So maybe if you’ve not found a role, like the question that you need to ask could be a question about where your heart is. Why is my heart not stirred up to do the thing that God is wanting to do? Are you cold and indifferent to the fact that God wants to extend his presence through you? Is it simply kind of lower on your list of priorities so that other priorities might rise to the top? Because in my mind, like if you actually believe this, you actually believe that God meets people. When you use the skills and gifts and abilities that he’s giving you, right? Like if you believe that, then you would waste no time figuring out how you can constantly use those gifts so that God can take what he’s given you and use it to extend his presence through you.  

Okay. So, so number one village church is a church that builds churches. I had to go to your website to figure this out village churches, a church that builds churches. Uh, we build churches and disciples who go grow and overcome. Now you may have forgotten about this church’s part, but there is an COVID has been what it is, right? But one of the goals of village church is not just to build one thing here in one place, but to build churches, to equip churches, to send out churches. So I want to tell you something, number one, gospel preaching, churches extend God’s presence, right? Because they take the, the, the presence of God, the people of God, and plant them in a community, in a space where people could be foreign to what God wants and needs. And in that place, people can come and meet the living God and be drawn to them and hear the message of the gospel and believe in Jesus, and then become those who would again, participate in the extending of his presence, gospel, preaching, churches, extend God’s presence.  

And you know what village church does village church wants to plant and equip gospel, preaching churches. And so then number two, you know what, the planting of churches like it has not disappeared. I know this, I’ve not talked with Michael about church planting and like over a year and a half, right since before COVID right. But I know that village church has not taken his eyes off of the reality of wanting to plant new churches. And you know, what new churches have a complex variety of needs right now, churches have plenty of opportunity for people to step in and help with the work. So if you’re here from village church, east, I just want to encourage you this morning because you know what you did like five, six years ago, you stepped out with a body and show to extend God’s presence into a particular place. And because you chose to do that, people have been coming to Jesus. People have been meeting God, God has been present in that place. Right. 

So, uh, tell a story real quick. Uh, village church east did not have a drummer. And there used to be a drummer here at village church, a Bartlett. His name is mark loose. And, uh, yeah, you guys know mark. So,  

Uh, so mark, he, uh, he,  You know, did not like playing an electric drum kit for what it’s worth like this, this really bothered him. Right. He didn’t want to do it. And that was all that east hat. But, but you know what he saw, he saw that wouldn’t have a drummer if he didn’t go with them and play drums. Right. So, so the Lord kind of stirred him and his heart to take a step and, and go, and actually do this thing, fill this need, even though he didn’t like it. And he didn’t really want to play the electric drum kit and whatever. So, so that’s like ease, just being able to establish a consistent presence, have musical skills and right. Well, let’s talk about mark now because mark is a deacon at village church east, right? Like the Lord has taken him and developed him and used him to be a part of this thing that God is doing in the middle of fountain view right now.  

Right. 

So, so here’s what I know, God wants every single person in this room to have a role and extending his presence. And that would likely be through you participate and the starting of a new church or the helping of a struggling church, right? Like, so sometimes I would say, you know what? Some of you need to do, you need to start praying. Or sometimes I would say, you know what? You kind of, a lot of you need to do. I’m going to actually tell you this morning. Do you know what most of you need to start doing right now? You need to start praying about whether or not that person who goes out with the next church plant is going to be you. You need to do it. You need to pray about it. You need to start asking God what skills and gifts and abilities has God given me because God wants to extend his presence through his people. And nobody has told me to say this. I’m just telling you this because I know it’s how the Bible works. Right? I know it’s how God’s spirit works. He moves people out. He extends his presence into new places. And every church plan is a huge opportunity for his presence to reside in a place and an impact people.  

So number two,  

Everyone faces seasons to step back. Just Don’t stay there.  

All right. So, so If you’re in a season where you have to step back for a little bit, like, I want you to be constantly looking for the right time to step back in, right? Because this is primarily the work that God is doing in the world. So I want you, as you’re stepping back, as you are burnt out, as you are, uh, you know, trying to heal from something, I want you in the midst of that to still be praying, still be discovering what it is that God is bringing together inside of you. I want you to still be talking to somebody to process what that next step might be. And I want you to be in a place where you are preparing for where you’re going to go when God tells you to step back. Yeah. Number three, Jesus followers are conduits of a never emptying reservoir of God’s presence.  

So in lake Mead out in Nevada, it is this massive reservoir. It sits at the top of a water table. And from lake Mead, there are all of these little tiny pipes that run all out into the desert, right? There’s these little tiny pipes they’re conduits of the water. And so lake bead will, uh, you know, occasionally it’ll start to drain down, but then, you know, it’ll eventually fill back up. But that, that reservoir keeps supplying water to the surrounding area and it keeps going and it keeps going and it keeps going. Here’s the thing lake made could potentially in theory, run out God’s presence does not run out. And we are all those conduits. We are all those pipes of God’s presence. He is extending his presence through us. He is doing his work. He is extending life, right? So you hear these words from John 37 through 39, part of what it means for God to extend his presence through us, as that the people who are thirsty, that people who are longing to know God in a deeper way would actually come to know him.  

So in John 7 37, it says on the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out. Jesus is looking at all these people at the feast. And he is sensing this Angus in himself because he knows that these people are longing to know something deeper of God. He recognizes it inside of them. So this is what he says. He cries out. So this is not just like Jesus is eating dinner and he stands up and he starts to talk and says, if anyone thirst, no, he is like, so stirred up in his soul as he is eating that he stands up. And I imagine him even like standing up on top of a table and saying, if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drank. Whoever believes in me as the scripture said, well, not just have their thirst satisfied, but out of that, person’s heart will flow rivers of living water. Now this, he said about the spirit whom those who believed in him were to receive. So if you believe in Jesus this morning, you have received. So go and find the work that God is doing and work together with him to extend his presence. Would you pray with me, please,  

Father, thank you for that. Being one who would consider us and using us in this work that you’re doing in the world, thank you for giving us the opportunity to walk alongside you because you didn’t need to use us, but you chose to use it. Let us be those conduits. Okay? Your spirit who carry your presence with us, that you might accomplish the work that you seek to accomplish in the places and spaces that we go. Holy spirit. Thank you for being the very presence of the living creator of the God with us. Jesus. This morning, as we continue in worship, would you be glorified? And would you make us particularly aware of your presence in this place? Pray all of this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.  

We’re going to transition now into a time of communion. As we move into communion, I want to tell you that Jesus died to give us access. Like Jesus  

Died so that we could become participants in this work, right? And until the death of Jesus, the place where God was the place where God’s lived, the place where God dwelled was restricted from us. Why? Well, because of the power of sin, and this is displayed through that veil that hangs around the tabernacle, right? This barrier that restricts us from entry. So then Jesus, God with us gave up his life. I love the wrath of God to be poured out on his body and his soul, right? So then in the doing of that, and then rising from death, he accomplishes what could not be accomplished before he opens up access. The veil gets torn into and God’s presence comes to reside with people. So if you’ve never trusted Jesus this morning, I want to tell you that you can know what it means to actually have God with you.  

You can start participating in the work that he’s doing in the world of extending his presence. You can this morning decide to place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. We’re going to take communion together as a reminder of what Jesus did in his death and resurrection. If you’re not a believer in Jesus, we’re really glad that you’re here. What I’m going to ask is, um, this morning, as we partake together, that you would not partake or glad that you’re here. But what we know is that this action is a proclamation, a proclamation that what Jesus did is the sole thing that grounds our identity and our purpose, right? So if you are a believer and you’re here this morning, or you’re visiting from another church, this is a proclamation of amazing things that he has accomplished. And so I wouldn’t invite you to eat and drink with us.  

We’re going to, uh, just now take a moment of silence, to be grateful and reflect on what he has done. And then we’re going to sing together. If you did not receive communion cups on your way in, uh, during the song that we sing together at the corners of the room, and then also in the middle, at the back of the room, you can go and get a communion cup to be able to partake with us. So after we take this moment of silence, we’ll sing together and then we’ll eat and drink together. Would you be silent with me please? 

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On This Episode:

Alex Culpepper

Lead Pastor, Alliance Bible Church

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