TV Transcripts

“Tested Stones” Part One
Broadcast #1622
November 5, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1622 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Phil: I’ve had some thoughts this week and I believe they’re related to things the Lord has said lately. And I’m sure I’ll say a lot of things that will be repeated in a sense, but again, I sense a certain emphasis in my spirit this week.

Last week we spent a lot of time talking about God’s kingdom, God’s purpose, the purpose He can see before the foundation of the world. And He has included every one of His own in that purpose. He has a particular place and a purpose for your life and for mine. We’re not just numbers on a list. We absolutely have a particular place, a plan for our lives that God is working out.

And, you know, as I thought back to that principle, and as this week unfolded, some of you will remember Joel on Wednesday evening asking us how our battles had gone. How many of you had battles since last week? Yeah.

Well, I thought of a scripture. As you know, certainly the enemy worked on me as he does on everyone, but I thought of a scripture that goes back to the ultimate example of the fulfilling of God’s purpose in a particular human life and that obviously is Jesus. He came to be the linchpin, the center of God’s heart and God’s purpose, the one that we honor here today, the one without whom we have no reason to be here today.

His name alone is the one that needs to be lifted up. Not us, not ours, or anything but him, and we praise him, but I thought of a scripture that had to do with his purpose being fulfilled on earth. And, actually, one of them that came to me was in Isaiah 28. And it was a prophecy of what God was going to do. And it was in the context of a people who were going the wrong way and headed for destruction and didn’t know it, but God had a plan that was going to be fulfilled in a people.

And so, he says in verse 16, “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says. See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation. The one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic, never have a cause to fear.” And the part that jumped out to me was this, a tested stone.

You know, we tend to think of the Son of God coming like it was no big deal, it was no problem. He could just do whatever. The devil didn’t have a chance. And I think that God’s grace was made manifest in his heart and his life, but he was absolutely not just a stone, but a tested stone.

Now, what do you think the implications for us would be based upon that simple principle? Do you think God’s just going to dump his power and his blessing on an individual life and not actually test us and prepare us and work in us? Yeah, absolutely. And so, I feel like we need to see that, but I’ll just look at some familiar scriptures that we know about.

Obviously, well, let’s just look at Ephesian, I’m sorry, Hebrews, And just skim through some scriptures here that have to do with who Jesus is because the writer of Hebrews is showing the superiority of what God is doing in this era, and on into eternity through his Son as compared to living under the law of Moses, but He’s lifting up Jesus in respect to God’s purpose for you and for me that has to do with eternity.

He put everything under — chapter two — He put everything under the feet of Adam, didn’t he? That was His intention in the beginning to have a creation ruled over by creatures who had been created in his image and would rule with His Spirit, okay? And we know what happened with that, but here we don’t see that fulfilled, but what we do see is Jesus in verse nine who was made lower than the angels for a little while now crowned with glory and honor.

Why? Because he suffered death so that, this is a particular interesting phrase, it doesn’t [just] say he suffered death so that he might taste death for everyone, but it drops into the phrase in there, doesn’t it? So that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Did I give you a clue as to how he did what he did? There was divine power from his Father that rested upon him that made it possible for him to do what he did. Is there a little bit of a lesson in that for you and for me? Yeah. Do we need him? Absolutely, we are nothing without him.

And Jesus came right down and did all that. It said, “in bringing many sons and daughters to glory it was fitting,” it was the right thing that is, “that God for whom and through whom everything exists should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”

If there’s somebody here this morning is feeling bad about yourself, and your performance and who you are, and the devil’s really beating you up, do you know that Jesus is not ashamed to call you his brother or sister? Get your eyes off of all these other issues and get them back on him because he wants you to know that he loves you and he’s not ashamed of you if you have truly from your heart put your trust in him, his saving power.

I know there are many ups and downs, many hills and valleys, many twists and turns on the way that we’re here, that we go through, but Jesus Christ is the one by whom we will one day stand there, righteous, holy, pure, all that God has purposed that we should be. To him be the glory, praise God! And he’s not ashamed.

And, of course, it goes on to talk about, verse 14: “Since the children,” that’s us, “have flesh and blood he too shared in their humanity,” okay, so why was that? “so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death that is the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

And, of course, it goes on to talk about it’s not angels he helps but Abraham’s descendants. “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God. And that he might make atonement for the sins of the people because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Anybody been tempted around here? Yeah. That’s kind of how this week got started for me. And I had to stop and think, what’s going on here? I don’t understand. And yet if we are going to be what God has designed us to be do you think that’s gonna happen without us going through stuff and being tempted and tested?

You know, the word that’s often used about tempting, being tempted, has really two meanings that you run into in the New Testament. One of them is temptation, as in someone’s tempting you to do the wrong thing, trying to induce you to do the wrong thing. The other one is tested in the sense of putting someone to the test, not so that you hope they will do the wrong thing, but so that they will stand up under it. And so, God tests, the devil tempts. We know that temptation to do what is wrong does not come from God, but God allows the testing part because we are going to have a tested people.

Folks, the entire planet is under a test from God. Did you know that? Every single human being is under a test from God to see what they will do and what they will do with God, what they will do with truth, what they will do with Christ. And, folks, there are two destinies being established. Absolutely. God is bringing the things down toward the end of the line.

But Jesus himself went through everything. That’s why with the scripture that we refer to so many times in chapter four where we have a place to go when we’re in that place. How many of you were there and you went to him for help? Or did you just wallow? Or you wallowed for a while and then you said, wait a minute, I know what I’m supposed to do here. Well, you know, we’re all in the same boat and I think Lord wants to encourage us, don’t you?

But anyway, the scripture we use so much, therefore, in verse 14 of chapter four: “Therefore, since we have a high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” Now do you see what’s going on there? It’s one thing to profess something and say, oh, I believe that. It’s another thing when the test comes to hold firmly to that, not to give up on that, not to say, whoops, that sounded good, but it’s not working out.

What we have and who we’re going to be has to work out in the arena of real life. And God wants us to be, and to understand that, of course, and to be encouraged when it happens. How many of you had a test this week, and boy, it just encouraged you. It doesn’t tend to cause us to feel that does it? But, you know, if we could see things from God’s point of view, it would make a difference, wouldn’t it? Okay?

“So let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” Why? “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize” — it says in this translation, or sympathize — “with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet he did not sin.”

How did he do that? By the grace of God. God gave him the strength and the power. That’s where I need power. And when God puts me in that place that’s what he wants me to find out. He wants to remind me that I can’t do this, I need Him, but He’s more than willing to help me. Praise God!

All right? “Yet he did not sin.” So as a result of that, he says, “let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy,” mercy first, means we don’t deserve it for sure and “find grace.” That’s the strength that I need to help us in our time of need. We use that so many times, and it’s so important to understand.

It’s interesting how he goes on here because he’s illustrating this principle of having somebody who represents us before God who experiences what we do, understands it. And he looks back to the Old Testament. He says, every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

“Now he is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray,” Why? “since he himself is subject to weakness.” See, the priest wasn’t somebody who was “way up here. And what’s the matter with you? You’re back here again to offer another sacrifice. Straighten up, fly right.” He had to do it for himself. He understood weakness. Okay?

This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins. Thank God that wasn’t true of Jesus, but as well as for the sins of the people and so on. No one takes this honor to himself, but anyway, down to verse seven, the scripture that we have often read. “During the days of Jesus life on earth he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death. And he was heard because of his reverent submission.”

Man, that’s what I wanna do, and just say, Lord, I know who you are and I bow, I’m yours. I submit to your plan and your will. I want you, oh God. “Son, though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered. And once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” That’s amazing when you stop and think about, what do you mean he wasn’t perfect?

Of course, the word, perfect, means complete. It means God had a purpose for his life, but part of that purpose was to come down here and experience our weaknesses, but learn how to actually handle them in real life. He couldn’t just say, oh yeah, that’s no problem, no problem. It was a problem. He had real battles.

And for God to make him complete, to be able to fulfill the purpose that God sent him to earth to fulfill, he had to go through that. He wasn’t everything God designed him to be until he had actually faced real issues in life and overcome them by God’s strength. Then he was able, not just to talk about all this in theory, but to say, I’ve been there. I know my Heavenly Father is faithful. I know that He will give you the strength to stand in this.

But I also know that this is relevant to what we’ve been talking about because if God has called you and me and He has, to a place in His kingdom, do not these principles apply to us as well? You know, Peter talks about, he refers to that very scripture, the cornerstone, how he’s the cornerstone. Let’s go ahead and turn over there.

And that’s in 1 Peter, chapter two, I believe. And this is where he’s encouraging the people like newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word, but then in verse four, he says, “As you come to him the living stone, rejected by humans, but chosen by God and precious to him,” — Now it’s not just about him, is it? — “you also,” — Now he’s talking to us. You also, what? — “Like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

And then he quotes the very scripture we just read in Isaiah 28. He’s the cornerstone, but that means every one of us is a stone too. Do you think that God’s going to cause him to be a tested stone and we’re not? You know the answer to that. You just don’t like it, but the reality is God is going to take every stone, every one. That’s just one illustration.

God is gonna take everyone that He has called according to His purpose. And He will, as He said in Romans 8:28, work all things together for good to the fulfilling of that purpose. And that those things have to happen in our lives. We have got to be tested, and we have got to be able to say, I have been there and experienced that, and, therefore, I can be what God has called me to be.

Of course, you remember how Jesus was anointed in such a dramatic fashion. When he was baptized a dove settled upon his head and there was a voice from heaven. This is my Son, whom I’m well pleased, but what was the first order of business, at least very early? What was the first order of business for him? Go out and save the world? No, he went into the wilderness.

Now, why did he do that? The Spirit told him to go into the wilderness. And not only that, he didn’t eat anything for 40 days. Obviously, he drank water, but I mean he didn’t eat any food for 40 days. And what was the purpose for which he was sent out there? Just to have a nice time alone with the Lord and pray? No, it was to be tempted, to be tempted by the devil. God deliberately put him in a place. He said, all right, devil, do your best.

Why would He do that? Why would the Lord do such a thing? We know the Lord doesn’t tempt people, but He certainly allows the devil to do it, doesn’t He? But was that not a big part of that tested stone that He’s talking about? Yeah. No one could say, you don’t know what I’m going through because you’re just the Son of God. You can do anything. He said, no, I came here in weakness, in need.

And not only that, the Lord took me out into the wilderness and it was Satan himself that came. It wasn’t just one of his little minions. This was Satan himself coming and questioning if you’re the Son of God, you’re hungry. This doesn’t make any sense. If you’re the Son of God, come on, command these stones to be made bread, make some food here.

And he answered him with the Word of God. Man shall not live by bread only, just earthly provision, whatever it is. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds, present tense, out of the mouth of God. See, God had told him to do what he was doing. He was obeying God and standing up and putting God first over his flesh. He didn’t suffer God. I mean, he didn’t lose out by doing that.

God took him to a place of great weakness. You think you could go 40 days and then feel strong? Yeah, I can do this. God allowed him to get to that place of weakness, and yet to find the grace to say, devil, you have your wisdom, you have your direction as to what you think I ought to do, but here’s what God says, and that’s what I’m going by.

Anybody been with that kind of a choice sometime this week? You were feeling bad, you were feeling oppressed, you were feeling tempted, and you had to start making choices, but the devil just doesn’t tempt you. He’ll explain it. He’ll tell you all about why you’re where you’re at. God’s forgotten you. God doesn’t care about you.

I’ll tell you one thing that comes up, and all of us at one time or another, all of a sudden the temptation you’ll be in a weak place. All of a sudden the temptation will land. You say, wait a minute. I thought that was all behind me. Anybody been there? Now it’s kind of quiet. I thought that was behind me. I was victorious over that. And now all of a sudden, there it is again. What’s going on? I don’t understand. Why would God put me in this place?

Why indeed? Do you think there’s a godly wise purpose in God doing that? Do you think He’s just not in control? Do you think what the devil’s telling you about that is the truth — or is God testing stones? Is this part of God taking us to that place?

Or do we suddenly come into this grand truth about, oh, this is what we’re supposed to be. All I need is this or that, and I will just fly like an eagle flying over everything, or do we like Jesus many times, have to go into dark and difficult places where the Lord pulls His hand back and says, devil, do what you’re gonna do. This is my child, but they’re gonna have to learn. If they’re gonna be all that I have designed them to be they’re gonna have to learn to stand in a broken world.

You know, we know from scripture everyone who’s ever served God and accomplished anything in this world has had to do it in the face of adversity. And we think of adversity many times as, you know, just difficult circumstances. I’m sick or I’ve suffered loss, or something of that nature, but what is the ultimate source of that adversity? What are we wrestling against? Circumstances, natural difficulties in the world?

No, we are wrestling not against flesh and blood, but powers and principalities. There is a government over this world that you cannot see with natural eyes, but it’s real. There is a world system over which Satan rules and he rules because mankind handed him the reins. God put all of this under Adam’s control and he promptly handed it over to the devil.

And the devil has ruled over humanity by appealing to his natural instincts to serve himself, to live a selfish, rebellious life against God. This is what God is calling us out of. And, folks, if we’re gonna be His people in this kind of a world, we’re gonna have to swim against the current, against the tide as it were.

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