Community Group Study Notes
- Failure, rejection, and comparison are some of the things that fuel our insecurity. Which of these has been most difficult for you personally?
- Who (or what) has the loudest voice in your life? How has that shaped who you are?
- What is one action step you can take with what you heard in Sunday’s message?
For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. (Psalm 86:10)
So, if you have a Bible, in just a moment I'm going to be giving some concentration in the book of Exodus, in chapter 20. That's the second book in the Bible. If you're not familiar with the Bible, or you're looking to grab one that's in a seat back in front of you, or any of those kinds of things, you can actually just look at the second book of the Bible; it goes Genesis, Exodus. And it's in chapter 20, where we're going to be in just a few minutes.
Now, I want to remind you that ... You guys, I already know you remember when God wrote on these tablets of stone these commandments, right? We call them the Ten Commandments; theologians call it the Decalogue, which is just kind of a big word for "ten." When God wrote those commandments, the very first commandment He wrote, He wrote for a reason. There was a reason that commandment number one was commandment number one. I want us to take a quick look at it. It's in verse number 5 of Exodus chapter ... Verse number 3 of Exodus chapter 20, and it says this: "You shall have no other gods before me." Some of your translations might say, "You shall have no other gods beside me." Equally good translations, so "You shall have no other gods before me" or "beside me."
Well, that makes perfect sense, right, when you think about Israel, who is leaving Egypt. They're coming from a place of captivity, and they are leaving Egypt, where Egypt had all of these other gods that they would pray to and worship, and those kinds of things. And God is saying to them, as they have left Egypt, He's saying, "You shall have no other gods beside me. You shall have no other gods before me." It also made really good sense because of where Israel was headed. Israel was headed into Canaan, to this Promised Land, and that land was inhabited by people who worshiped all different kinds of gods. And by the way, that land that would become Israel was surrounded by nations that worshiped all kinds of other gods.
And so, God is saying from the very outset, "You shall have no other gods beside me," or "You shall have no other gods before me." That makes perfect sense. But it's also a good reminder to us that the reason that the first commandment was the first was because it was a barricade for all of the other commandments. In other words, outside of this commandment, all of these other commandments kind of come off the rails, because it assumes the fact that God is going to be God alone for His people, and if that's not the case, then everything kind of comes off the tracks.
So, as I was thinking about this particular command of God, "You shall have no other gods before me," it got me to thinking about The Bachelor. That might feel a little bit like it was out of left field. You guys might think to yourself, "Did the dude sneak into King's World, and he's been sniffing magic markers and eating crayons again?" No, but let me ... You'll have to stay with me today. Today's message ... Listen to this. I want to say this to you, and I say it humbly and graciously, but I think Jesus may change your life today, if you'll pay attention. I think He may change your life if you'll pay attention. I can't tell you the number of people that I talked to after the first worship gathering who were saying, "Okay, that was like a truth bomb that detonated on my heart and has changed everything for me." So why don't you let Him change you today?
The reason ... You'll have to stay with me, in terms of how my mind is going to work today, and I'm going to ask you to kind of come along in this journey with me. You're going, "What are you talking about, The Bachelor? How did you get there?" Well, just stay with me. I don't know if you've watched the show. If you have, don't indicate that you have, because I'll begin to pray for you. But if you've watched The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, or whatever, right, this is a show that's come on, it's been in the top 10 shows for a very long time in American culture, and it's now beginning ... I think it's about to embark on its 23rd season. That doesn't mean 23 years, but it's just 23 TV seasons, right?
And you've got The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, you've got ... You know, I don't know what's next, right? Clowns? I have no idea what might be next, but you got The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, right? And so people know about the show, they know about kind of how the show works, and all of these women that are competing for this one guy, or all of these men that are competing for this one woman, and so you've got all of that, right?
Well, as I began to think about this show, I started thinking to myself, "Why do people watch it?" That's what I was really asking myself. Why do people watch it? And I started ... And I've actually, I've watched ... You know, I've seen an episode before. I've come by it before when I've been changing channels, and I've kind of watched, and I've just gone, "Why do people watch this?" And I've talked to people about it; I know people that watch the show. And again, I'm not throwing stones, by the way. And I'm like, "What is the ... So, tell me why. Why do you love watching this show?" And it's more men than women in terms of the demographic, but ... "Why do you love watching this show?"
And I get somewhere along the line of a similar answer, they don't say it exactly the same way, but it kind of circles the same answer, and it's something like this: "It's just the ... It's the fairytale part of it that we love. It's kind of like a ... It's like a fairytale part of it." Of course, in my mind, I'm going, "Yeah, let me translate 'fairytale' into English: 'not real.'" That's what that means, right? Not real.
So, I know that a lot of people say, "Well, that may be my reason for watching it, I just like the fairytale kind of idea of what's there, and all that stuff." And that may be true in part. I actually think that some of the reasons are a little more sinister, because I'm kind of that guy. I think they're maybe a little more sinister. In fact, here's one of the reasons that I think people like watching this show. I think they like watching this show because it gives them the feels, because either A, they're in a dead relationship and they need some feels, they're in an emotionally dead relationship, or they're not in a relationship, and are just looking for some supplementary emotional feels for it.
So that's one reason that I think that's the case, but let me give you another one, and this is me kind of plowing the depths a little bit, and you'll have to stay with me, because I'm going somewhere. I think another reason that people watch this show, and it's a top 10 show annually here in our culture, is because regular people like watching seemingly perfect people have to deal with their own insecurities too. We all know we've got insecurities, but when all of these dudes start getting out of the limo, or all these ladies start getting out of the limo, right, and they all look like a genetic experiment in perfection, right? They've all got perfect teeth, and they all got great hair, and they're all physically fit, right? You just don't see some dude who comes lumbering out with a Hawaiian shirt on and a medallion on his big huge beer gut and go, "What's going on? How are you guys doing?" He has no teeth, right? You just don't see that, right?
So, when I look at this show, I'm thinking to myself, regular people like watching seemingly perfect people have to deal with their own insecurities, because we know we're already insecure about a million different things, and we feel better when really perfect people have to deal with their insecurities. Now, it's a reality TV show, which translated means "not real," but the people are real that are on it, and they do feel real emotions while they're on it, but, you know, the editors and the producers, they cut it up, and they make it look certain ways, and they do all of those kinds of things, right, because it's a TV show.
But these people are feeling real things, they're feeling real emotions, and can you imagine the level of insecurity that all of these women feel going after this one guy? Can you imagine the levels of insecurity that they must be feeling? I was reading about one guy, I kind of went through and read some about some of the seasons and that kind of stuff, because I haven't been a watcher of the show season by season. But I read about one guy who actually said ... Listen to this. He said to four different women, there was kind of like four of them left, I don't know if you ... I guess you cut it down until you get to the final group or whatever. And there's like four different women, and he's visiting them in their hometowns, and doing all that stuff. He tells every one of them that each one of them has a piece of his heart.
Can you imagine the level of insecurity? Ladies, how will you feel if a man said, "Listen, you have got a full 25%"? "Listen, I mean, you've made an impression on me. I've cut a sliver off of my heart, and this quarter is yours." You know how insecure that makes you feel, right? Because you're going, "Yeah, there's 75% that's unaccounted for, and I'm just imagining where that might be dispersed to," right? And so all of these ladies are just like, "What?"
And then I read about multiple guys, apparently, have gotten to the very end, down to two women, and they make it a big deal, right? And they're next to some beach, and they got flowers, and then the guy ends up rejecting one, and then most of the time, proposing to the other one. Like, "Will you marry me?" And then everybody cries, and it's all awesome, and then they have the aftershow, and everybody cries, and all the people in the audience, "..." That's what goes on. I'm like, "Get a grip. Golly, people."
But imagine, listen to this, here's what I read about some of these dudes. More than one of these dudes that's gotten to the end asked a woman to marry him, and then they did all the interviews, and they did all the stuff, and they did the aftershow, and then like a month later, he dumps her for the one he dumped on the show. That's happened multiple times. Can you imagine the level of insecurity that these women are feeling? Both of them, by the way, because you were the dumped, and then you get ... He comes back, and you're thinking to him, "Is he just going to change his mind again," right? "Because, you know, I do have 25% of his heart at this point." Right? It's a mess.
And think about the men. Do you think the men have insecurities? I guarantee it. The bachelor, he's got insecurities too, because he's asked this woman to marry him, and it's been all awesome, but here's what's going on in his head: "Once this show is over, and once the interviews stop, and I don't have the cash that the producers are giving me to go on these unbelievable destination dates where I've got my own private maitre d' in my own outdoor setting with a perfectly prepared meal, and at just the right time, when we click the champagne glasses, I have a personalized fireworks show that goes off in the perfectly lit sky ... What's going to happen when I take her to Chuck E. Cheese?" You know in his mind, he's like, "When the money dries up, and I can't take her on these dates, I wonder if she's going to be like, 'Um, why are we going to Applebee's? This is not what I'm used to.'" Right? He's got to have some of that going on too, right?
See, the reason that I point this out is not just to get some laughs. I'm pointing it out for a reason, because what this is is a cultural indicator. See, this TV show is like a lens to look into our culture, and here's what I know about our culture. Listen real carefully. Insecurity is the norm. Insecurity for people is the norm. And you see, what I'm scared about and what I'm concerned about is that this kind of normative state in our culture of insecurity, it leaks into our faith culture, because what ... Listen, what we see all around us, we then project to God. And what we see all around us is we see half-heartedness — "I'll give you a sliver, I'll give you 25%" — and you live in this place of deep-seated insecurity where you don't know what to do with it, and then you start projecting that on your faith relationship.
So, for our purposes today, I want to define insecurity for you kind of in that world. Here's how I'll define it for our purposes today: Insecurity is the spiritual concern that we don't get God's whole heart. Insecurity is the spiritual concern that we just don't get God's whole heart. You see, if we could peel this back for just a second and ask the question, what is it that drives all of our insecurity? That would be a good question to ask, right? What drives all of our insecurity?
Let me give you just a handful of things that maybe we could think about, and you could probably add to this list, I'm sure, but let me give you a handful. Here's the first one that I would point out to you: failure. It drives insecurity. What am I talking about? Well, maybe some of you are parents who are a little bit older now, and looking back on your life, you're not real happy with how your kids turned out, and as a result, you feel like you failed as a parent, and you feel like now, in your relationship with God, that He's holding that over your head. Or maybe you got fired from your job, because you ... Maybe you didn't do that job particularly well, whatever happened, and you got fired, and you feel like a failure, and you feel like God views you as a failure. Or maybe you didn't get into the college that you wanted to get into. Maybe you didn't get into college at all, and you feel like a failure as a result, and you feel like God views you as a failure.
Maybe you couldn't keep that relationship intact. You did everything you could, whether it was a friendship or a dating relationship, you tried to keep it intact, but you weren't able to do it, and you feel like a failure relationally, and you feel like God views you that way. Maybe you wanted to be married, and you haven't been married yet, and you've kind of pushed that down, but inside, it feels like you've failed, and you feel like God views you that way. Or maybe you're married and you haven't had kids, and you want to, but you haven't been able to have them yet, and you look at it as a failure, and you feel like God's looking at you that way.
It can be a million different things, right, in how we view this idea of failure, because what happens is, the reason I think that we have so much failure that leads to insecurity, this idea of failure that leads to insecurity is because we've been told, particularly in the younger generations, that we're perfect, that we ... That now, we think we are perfect, and that we have to be perfect, and whenever we're not, we're in a culture that has winners and losers. Winners do this, and losers do this. And so now, now we're in a place where we can't seem to ever win, because we keep on failing against this standard of perfection that we've been told we are, and that we're supposed to ascribe to.
Now, I don't know if you saw this, but ... Because I didn't, initially, until it made its way around on the Internet. But the MTV Awards give an award, apparently, every year called the Generation Award. This year, they gave it ... And they give it to an actor or something; I don't even know what the award is specifically about. But they gave it to Chris Pratt. You may remember him, he was in Parks and Rec, he's star of Guardians of the Galaxy the movie, or Jurassic World. Like, he's been in a ton of movies, right? Big-time actor guy.
And when he came up to receive the award, he basically said, "You know, I will take my responsibility as an elder to speak to all of this young generation." And what he did is he said, "I'm going to give you nine rules for life." And that was his speech, nine rules for life. Interestingly enough, now, if you listened to the whole thing, some of it is really funny, like goofy funny; some of it is really serious and extraordinarily insightful. And then, by the time he gets to the very end, on the ninth life lesson, I want you to see and hear what he said. Take a look.
[Chris Pratt video clip]
And finally, number nine: Nobody is perfect. People are going to tell you you're perfect just the way you are. You're not. You are imperfect; you always will be. But there is a powerful force that designed you that way, and if you're willing to accept that, you will have grace, and grace is a gift. And like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else's blood. Do not forget it. Don't take it for granted.
I watched that and I was like, "Okay, Chris. Okay." I don't know him, I don't really know much about him, but I thought to myself, "True that." Right? "What you said was true." But that's the problem, right? Because we've been told we are perfect, and that therefore, we have this idea that we have to strive for perfection, and anything short of that is a loss and a failure, and when we continue to fail, we just feel insecure.
There's a second thing, though, because if failure doesn't get at us, I promise you that rejection is ready to. If failure doesn't get to us to make us insecure, rejection is glad to help out. I'm guessing that everybody has sensed, in some way, rejection. There's some people who were abandoned by a parent or parents when they were little, and as a result, it's a struggle to trust and to love moving forward, and it feels hard, because you felt that sense of abandonment. Or maybe you had an unexpected breakup. You didn't see it coming, but all of a sudden, it was just like they said no to you, and just dropped you. Maybe you walked into the office one day, and you came and talked to your boss because you had a great idea for the company, and your boss thought it was a ridiculous idea, and so you felt a deep sense of rejection. Maybe you have an adult child that doesn't talk to you anymore for whatever reason, and you felt some sense of rejection as a result of it.
We've all faced this on a number of fronts, I'm guessing. I mean, I was ... I can't remember exactly, I think it was seventh grade. In seventh grade, there was this girl, and, you know, I'm ... Name her, it's not like you're going to know her, so we'll call her Cheryl, because that's her name, because you don't know her. And we were in seventh grade, and you remember back when, for those ... I'm dating myself here, but back in the day when we had big textbooks, we had to cover those textbooks, but we had to do it ourself, and we got brown grocery bags, and we cut those bad boys up, and then we covered the textbook and taped it up. You know, now you can just buy these little sleeves and stuff, it's all.., right? We had to walk 70 miles in the snow uphill both ways, right? I'm doing one of those, I'm pulling that stuff on you.
So, we cut that thing out, and you put it on there, and then you could decorate it any way you want to. You could put stickers on there, you could use magic marker, if you're an artist, you could draw or whatever. Cheryl, on this one book cover she had, I'm promising you, I mean, it must have been in the thousands of times she wrote one sentence: "I love Jerry." I'm talking about, it's on there like this big, like an entire book, on the inside flyleaf, on the back cover. It had to be thousands of times she wrote "I love Jerry" in there.
So people started coming up to me, and they were like, "Hey, have you seen Cheryl's textbook?" And I was like, "Have I seen Cheryl's textbook? Seen Cheryl's textbook ... Yeah, I've seen it." "What do you think?" "I think she's smart, that's what I think." Right? And so everybody, and then all my ... You know, all these people that we know, mutual friends are coming up, you know, and they're like, "Oh," and we're out at PE, and they're like, "Hey, Cheryl's over there," and she's getting red-faced, and I'm over there just kind of like, "Wassup?" Actually, I was more like this: "Wassup?" Because I was in seventh grade, I was very small, no hair on my face, voice hadn't changed, whatever.
And so I'm thinking I'm big man on middle school campus, it's incredible. Until I find out that this Jerry is not me, it's another Jerry at another school, and everyone was in on the joke except for this guy. I actually like you people better than the 9:00, because you have some Christ-given compassion. They just started laughing, "Hahahahahaha," and I literally reverted back ... I didn't even preach the rest of the message, I just went ... I went and I got a warm bottle, and I called my mommy, and I sat in a corner and cried.
So, after many years of counseling that I just finished ... Yeah, but you know what that can do? That can really hurt. Like, you think about your little sixth or seventh grade heart, and feeling what you felt like was this sense of rejection, right? It can hurt, and you know what it does? It leads you to insecurity, because now you can't ... You feel like you can't trust the relationship, you feel like you can't trust the people that you're talking to, if they really extend love to you.
But if failure and rejection may be the two that leave the deepest scars, let me tell you the one that constantly nags and is all over us, that leads to insecurity: comparison. Comparison. That's the one that absolutely eats our lunch. Listen, ladies, you go to a social function, and it almost seems like the default move to look around at what the other women are wearing, to ask questions in your own mind that you don't verbalize about how she got that figure when you're struggling to lose a couple. These are the things that are going on inside of the heart and the mind of a woman. Not that I'm an expert, but I'm married to one that I know, and that I know having talked to so many over and over.
Or you see those pictures of your friend, and she's like ... You're a homeschool mom, and she's a homeschool mom, and you see the pictures of her homeschool room in her house, and it's all tricked out, right? It is all tricked out. You've got, like, a couple of Legos that you throw at them, you're like, "Do some math," and she's got, like, you know, marker boards, and cool stuff set up, and a desk and everything, and you're just like, "..."
Or you look at your girlfriend's Instagram, right, and you see that her and her family are on a vacation to Bora Bora, and every shot is just like..., right? And you just didn't have the guts to put up anything from your staycation when you went to see Incredibles 2 and play KanJam at the park, right? You couldn't get your kids to stand next to the Frisbee and the garbage can for a shot, right? "..." Which, by the way, I like KanJam. Not taking a shot at KanJam, love it. But you compare, and you're like, "I can't compare with Bora Bora when I'm doing KanJam," right? And all that goes on in your mind.
Men, same thing happens. We compare ourselves based on our accomplishments. We compare ourselves based on "What's that guy driving? Where is that guy in life compared to me? Is he smarter than I am, is he more physically fit than I am? How do I measure up when I'm standing next to him?" All of those things still run through the mind of a man as well, and by the way, comparison will absolutely ... It will detonate your soul, because either way ... Listen, either way it goes, it leads to insecurity. Listen carefully. The danger of comparison and why it's such toxin to our soul is because it either ends in feeling inferior or superior, and both of those are dangerous for our soul, because both of them lead to insecurity.
Let me show you. When you feel inferior, and you don't feel like you measure up, there's this overwhelming sense of insecurity, right? But when you feel superior, you realize this is only short-term, because I'm only superior to the people that I'm measuring myself against right now, and I know that there exist other people who are far better than I am in the places that I'm measuring myself against these people, and so now I start to feel insecure all over again, either way you slice it.
And don't you know that the Scripture reminds us that comparison is lethal? Listen to what Paul says in two different places. In 2 Corinthians 10, he says, "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." Listen to what he says in Galatians chapter 6: "If anyone thinks they're something when they're not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load."
You see, I'm trying to help us understand a little bit about the dangers of what insecurity comes from, and I don't want you to miss it. Listen to this. Failure and rejection and comparison is what lies behind insecurity. But listen, but if we really want to peel this back, what is it that lies behind failure and rejection and comparison? I'm about to tell you: idolatry. Idolatry. This is why I began by pointing out that the first commandment that God wrote to His people is there for a reason. "You shall have no other gods before me."
Maybe jot this down. It's a little bit of a load of a sentence, but jot this down. Whoever has the loudest voice and greatest power to determine who you are and what you're worth, that's your god. Whoever has the loudest voice and the greatest power to determine who you are and what you're worth, that is your god. You see, we live in a culture that is driven by other gods. It is driven by the god of self, it is driven by the god of relationship, it is driven by the god of money, it is driven by the god of success, it is driven by the god of fame, it is driven by the god of power, and all of those things are idols that are fueled by the enemy, who doesn't care about you in the least. Not in the least.
And we give our attention, and we give influence to the voices in our lives that are lesser gods. That's what happens to us. No wonder we feel insecure. No wonder, because lying behind all of this is idolatry. Now, here's the thing. Success and money and self and fame and power and all of those things, they actually do provide temporary distraction, they do provide temporary relief, but listen to this. It's half-hearted. It's just a sliver. You're not getting the full deal. It's just temporary. That's why it is imperative for us to make sure that we have no other gods beside God, because every one of these lesser gods is being fueled by the enemy of our soul, who wants to kill and steal and destroy, and doesn't care about you, but will give you a little sliver of temporary satisfaction so that you'll keep coming back for more.
But what we fail to remember is this: Only the true God has given us His whole heart, and He has done this by giving us His Son. Only the true God has given us His whole heart, and He has done this by giving us His Son. Listen to what I'm telling you here, listen to what I'm telling you. Jesus is the heart of God, and here's what we know Jesus did: He went all the way for us. He went to a cross, He died in our sinful place, He took upon Himself the wrath of God. He went all the way, risen from the dead, now interceding before us at the right hand of God. He went all the way. Jesus is the heart of God. Do you know why we know? Listen to this. When we come into the family of God, do you know why we know that we have God's whole heart? Because we have Jesus. We've got His whole heart. God doesn't give His heart in pieces. He gave everything for us.
So, when will we start letting Jesus' voice be the loudest, and Jesus' influence be the most powerful in determining who we are and what we're worth? Because when we have all of these other voices, you see what happens. I'll tell you what happens: insecurity. That's what happens. When we let idolatry enter in, we become unbearably insecure. Here's what I want to do. I want us to pause here for a moment, because I want us to think about what Jesus has done, that He's given us everything. And I can't think of a better way to do that than for us to share in the Lord's Supper together, to pause to remember what Jesus has done.
And so, once our ushers are in place ... You can go ahead, gentlemen, and come down and get a feel for where you're going to be. And in a moment, I'm going to give them instruction to start passing the elements out, right where you're seated. Here's what I'm going to ask you to do. I'm going to ask you to receive the elements and hold on to them, because we're going to receive them all together in just a moment, as we think about what Jesus has done.
You see, but what I want us to remember, while we're pausing to meditate on what God has done for us, is that we're reminded of the security that we have in God because of what Jesus has done. And do you know why? Because God doesn't give His heart in pieces. He gives us His whole heart, and we have seen that in the gift of His Son. Jesus is the heart of God. We get His whole heart. So, as these are being passed out ... And you can go ahead and start distributing those. As these are being passed out, I want you just to meditate and let this song be sung over you as you think about what God has done in giving us love that is whole and not in pieces.
Yeah. I want you to take out the bread. Even though we're just taking a small piece of unleavened bread, I don't want you to be confused by this. This is a symbol, it's representative of something, but it's not representative that we only get a piece of the heart of God, because we get His whole heart. What this represent, this represents the whole heart of God in Jesus' body that was given for us. So when we take and eat, that's what we remember when we do. The Body of Christ.
If you'll open the cup as well. I say to us most of the time that we take the cup, I remind us of how the security of what God has done in Jesus Christ is such a beautiful thing for us. The world that is consistently insecure, this culture that we live in that is consistently insecure, this world drinks to forget. But as believers, we actually drink to remember. We drink to remember what Jesus has done, who Jesus is, who Jesus says we are because of what He's done. And so, as we drink, we remember.
Now, I want to finish by showing you something. I want you to see this, I want you to stay with me here. Insecurity is an invitation to find security in Jesus. Insecurity is an invitation to find security in Jesus. See, insecurity, on one hand, is a warning, right? It's a warning that there are other gods vying for our attention. They're trying to speak into our lives, they're trying to have the loudest voice and have the greatest influence. So insecurity should be a warning to us that we are not listening to the voice of the one true God who has given His whole heart for us, but we're listening to lesser gods, who are giving us half-hearted temporary solutions.
But it's also an invitation, while being a warning, and the invitation is that we can find security in Jesus. So what I want us to do for just a moment, I just want to pour on top of you the Word of God. I just want it to roll over you, and to be washed in it for just a moment, because I'm imagining that everybody has felt rejected. It could have been in one of the scenarios that I mentioned before, and that rejection has led to feeling insecure. But I want to remind you what the Scripture says about that. Listen to the Psalmist in two different places. Psalm 27 says, "Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." Listen to the Psalm chapter 94, it says, "For the Lord will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance."
Listen to how Isaiah said it, the prophet. He said ... This is the Lord speaking to Isaiah: "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." And then listen to what Paul says about rejection. In 2 Corinthians 4, he says, "We are hard pressed on every side, but we're not crushed. We're perplexed, but not in despair. We're persecuted, but we are not abandoned."
Why? Because we're not rejected. You can't be rejected by the God who loves you, and who's rescued you, and who's saved you in Jesus because He's offered you His whole heart. He's not rejecting you when He offers His whole heart, because we are found complete and satisfied in Jesus, and God will never reject Jesus in that sense. We are healed and whole and found and satisfied and complete and secure in Jesus. We're not rejected.
You felt like a failure maybe before. Let me remind you about what God says to His own about that. It's in Romans 8: "We know that in all things" — failure, mistake — "God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.
"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all — how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" Or failure?
"As it is written, 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
That is not spoken of over failures. It is spoken of over the success of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and when we find ourselves in Him, we are more than overcomers. You say, "Well, yeah, this is helping." Maybe you've felt weak and inadequate. "I feel insecure because I'm so weak." Paul will speak to you there. This is what God said to Paul: "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Or maybe you've just felt insignificant. "What does God really think of me?" Please listen to what Paul and Peter say to us. Paul in Ephesians 1 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us ..." "He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will — to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One he loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us." That is not said of someone who's insignificant.
Listen to what Peter said of us: "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." You see, what I'm trying to help us to understand, ladies and gentlemen, is that insecurity, while it is a warning that we are listening to false gods, it is an invitation to find security in Jesus by not letting other gods have the loudest voice and the greatest power to determine who we are and what we're worth. And why can we trust that? Because God's given us His whole heart in Jesus. He's given us His whole heart in Jesus, and you never have to doubt the sincerity or the security that God gives to us.
This is what we need in the world that we live in. We don't need a bunch of people of faith who run around insecure, because they think that when they fail, that God will now treat them solely as a failure. Because when someone rejects them, that they think that now God has rejected them. That through our comparison, we keep listening to other gods get our attention instead of the one true God. But instead, we need to put our faces, faces down in the Word of God, as we worship Him and begin to know what He said He is, and what He said we are in Him.
This is what changes everything for us, because some of you have been dealing with insecurity for so long, and it's been tucked away beneath the surface, and it has rendered you ... Listen to this. It has rendered you paralyzed to move forward in faith. You know why? Because you're listening to lesser gods. That is why God told us from the outset, "You shall have no other gods before me."
Let's bow our heads together. Just prior to being dismissed, which we will be here in just a moment. If you're here and you've never before surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, turn from your sin and put your faith and trust in Him. And I don't have to tell you that you aren't the savior of your own life; you should know that in the deepest parts of your heart. You should know deep down inside that you're a terrible god, and that you don't have the power to forgive your own sin, and you don't have the power to lead yourself into the Kingdom. You don't have the power to do any of those things, and you know that. You know that in these moments, but you get really distracted. You listen to other voices. You pick yourself up by your own bootstraps, and you're the captain of your own soul. You've got to let go of all that, because that pride and that insecurity will keep you from the greatest security you could ever know, and that is what God has done in Christ for all of us who have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
And if you want to know what it means to enter into relationship with God through His son Jesus, to have your sins forgiven, to have your life changed, to live in security, then I encourage you, when we dismiss in just a moment, you'll just come by the Fireside Room. We'd love to talk to you for just a few moments about what that looks like in your life. Maybe you're here, and you already know Jesus, but you know you've allowed some other voices into your life that are not consistent with what God says, and it's turned you upside down. I'm going to pray for you, pray for us, and if you need somebody in addition to pray for you, maybe a little more extended time, you can go by the Fireside Room as well, and somebody would be glad to pray with you there.
Father, you've heard everything we've said and sung and done. You know every rumination of our... our heart. You know full well what we're dealing with, what we're walking through, what we're experiencing, and I pray that you would use your own Word to literally bathe us in the truth of who you are and what you say. I pray you'd help us to remember that when we're experiencing insecurity, that it is a warning to us that we are listening to other gods, but it's an invitation for us to find our security in Jesus.
Lord, we repent when we have listened to lesser gods that are no gods at all, that offer us half-hearted solutions, temporary reprieves, instead of turning our attention to the true God, who has given us His whole heart in Jesus. God, we repent for those moments where we simply haven't done that, and we pray that you'll help us to be a people who, now that we can diagnose where our insecurity comes from, that we can just bring it to you and let you help us, because you want to, because you love us, and you've proven it, Lord Jesus, by going all the way in your death and resurrection. We love you, God. We thank you for the change you make in us, and we pray you'd continue to do that so that the world would see more of Jesus in us, and less of us. We pray in Christ's name, amen.