Learn How God Lifts You Up When You Are Worn Down with Rick Warren


– Hello, Saddleback. Good to see you. You know, in hugging thousands
of you during Easter week, one of you generously gave me your three week respiratory virus. How generous. Thank you. I’d like to give it back now, and so if you’ll meet
me after the service, you know who you are ’cause
you’ve probably still got it. (laughs) You know, if you’ll take
out your message notes, life can really wear you down so that you’ve got nothing left to give, and I’m sure that every one of you at some point in your life could identify with this anonymous prayer
request that came in. I feel like I’m in a war zone. It’s just one battle after another. I argue with my wife. I clash with my kids over everything. I fight to keep my job. I struggle with our growing debt and I’m losing the battle with my weight, and then there’s the conflicts inside me. I fight my own fears and
I battle with my anxieties and my temper and I’m always
fighting off depression. Sometimes I’m just fighting
to keep my head above water and I’m just so tired. How does the goodness of God help you when you feel like that? When you’re in a battle
and you’re all beat up how does God lift you up
when you’re worn down? Not after the battle’s
over, I’m talking about in the middle of the battle. Where do you find the goodness of God? Now, we’ve been in this series for, now this our eighth week on
living in the goodness of God, and we’re looking at psalm
23, the most famous chapter in the entire Bible. It’s only six verses, but
it gives us 12 pictures, 12 expressions, 12 identifying factors of God’s goodness in your
life, how God is good to you whether you’re resting in green
pastures and by still waters or whether you’re in the
valley of the shadow of death or this week when you’re facing an enemy. When you’re in a battle,
a financial battle, a health battle, a relational battle, a battle for your own sanity, how does God show his goodness
in that kind of situation? Well, today we’re in verse
five and in verse five there are three more pictures
of how God is good to you. We’re only gonna look at one of them for the next three weeks. This is such a deep passage
and the metaphors are so full that we’re taking literally one phrase, not even one verse at a
time, one phrase at a time, and so we’re gonna look at the
first phrase in psalm five, excuse me, verse five, at
the top of your outline, and it says this. You prepare a banquet for
me in front of my enemies. Pretty simple statement,
you prepare a banquet for me in front of my enemies. What in the world does that mean? I mean, this was written
over 3,000 years ago. So, how can it help you
in the battles you have against your enemies this year? Well, we’re gonna tear it
apart first word by word and to understand this metaphor, you need to ask four questions. We’re gonna ask what
kind of banquet is it? We’re gonna ask who are the enemies? And then then we need to ask what does this banquet symbolize, and then we need to
ask what’s on the menu? So, let’s get right into it. First, what kind of banquet is this? Well again, let’s just
take it apart word by word. It starts off by saying you
prepare a banquet for me in front of my enemies. You, the word you means God. He’s talking about God,
so write this down. Five things we know, God is the host. God is the host of this banquet, so whatever we’re gonna look
at today, it’s God’s idea. He is the host, and can
you imagine the honor of getting invitation in
the mail where God says I’m inviting you to my banquet? You’d be on an A-list. You probably wouldn’t
even go to bed tonight. You’d stay up taking a couple of showers, getting hair cut, whatever you gotta do, find new clothes so you’d
be ready for a banquet that God has invited you
to because he’s the host. Then it says you’d prepare. What that means is this is well prepared. This is well planned. Write that down. This is not a spontaneous banquet. It’s not off the cuff. It’s not like, hey, let’s go
down to the beach right now. God has put forethought into this. This is planned. It is prepared. It’s not a spur of the moment decision. Now, I want to tell you
that the word banquet in a lot of the translations is actually, in Hebrew, the word table, and King James’ version says
you prepare a table for me, but it’s not just any table. The Hebrew word here is the word shulcan and shulcan literally
means the king’s table. When he says I prepare a
table for you, a banquet, he’s not talking about a TV dinner tray. He’s not talking about a
formica dinette in your kitchen. He’s not talking about a folding table. This is one of those
really long tables you see in a medieval castle that’s
long, holds 50, 100 people. It’s the king’s table,
it’s the queen’s table. This word in the Bible
is used almost always to refer to a king’s
table or it is referred to the table of show bread in the temple, so it’s a special, it’s a sacred table that you’re being invited
to and it is well planned. It’s all laid out. It’s big, heavy, and it’s
got the king’s feast on it. He says you prepare a banquet. The next phrase is for me. Here’s what you need to write down. You’re the guest of
honor, so write this down. I am the guest of honor. This is not a banquet for somebody else that you’re being invited to attend. This is a banquet that
is really just for you. It’s you and the king. You’re the guest of honor. You’re the big cheese. You’re the big deal, and so it is for you. I am the guest of honor. You prepare a banquet for
me and it says in front of, here’s the next phrase, it’s
a public banquet, not private. People are gonna watch
you eat with the king. People are gonna watch you. It is public. It’s not in secret. God wants to see you honored and God wants everyone
to see you being honored, so this banquet we’re gonna
look at today is for you and it’s to be in public. It’s not a secret event, it’s in front of, and then the last phrase,
which is the catch, in front of my enemies. Well now, that’s a twist. I might think God would say,
“I’m gonna prepare a banquet for you and your friends.” Now, he says, “I’m gonna
prepare a banquet just for you, but all of your enemies are
gonna watch us eat together.” What in the world does that mean? It means that it’s on a battlefield. Write this down. The banquet is on a battlefield. This is a banquet not just when good times are going in your life, it’s when you’re under attack. The king says, “During
the battle, I’m gonna come “and throw a banquet for
you and all of your enemies “are gonna watch me honor you, bless you, “and have peace with you.” So, that’s what the banquet is. Now, second question is who’s the enemy? I could go into this. This could be a whole sermon. We’ve talked about it before. I’m just gonna give you the fill ins. I’ve written some verses there. I’m not gonna even teach on these ’cause I don’t want spend
most of the time on it, but the Bible says you have three enemies. They are the world, the
flesh, and the devil. You might write these down. The first enemy you have
is the world around me, the world around me, and I’ve given you some
Bible verses there to look. The world is in opposition to God because it worships itself, not God, and the world around you
is always coming after you, always criticizing you,
always not understanding you. If you’ve ever been picked
on, if you’ve been put down, if you’ve ever had injustice
or bias or racialism or prejudice or overlooked
because of your gender, that’s the world around you. The second enemy you have
is Satan is against me. The world is around me and the second is Satan is against me, and again, I don’t have
time to go into all of this but God says that Satan is real and that he wants to defeat you. God loves you and has a
wonderful plan for your life. Satan hates you and has a
terrible plan for your life, and the Bible says that
Satan wants to kill you. Satan wants to destroy you. Satan wants to defeat you. Why? Well, he didn’t care about you. The only reason Satan hates
you is because God loves you. That’s why you’re the enemy of Satan, because God loves you
and Satan hates anything and anyone God loves. Because God loves you
greatly, Satan hates you. Satan wants to hurt you and destroy you because he thinks that’ll hurt God. If you wanted to get at
me, get at my children or my grandchildren, you would
hurt me the most that way, so you got the world around
you, you got Satan against you, but then the third enemy, and
this is the biggest one of all is my old nature inside me. That’s your third enemy,
your old nature inside you, and the older you get the
more you’re gonna learn that your biggest enemy is you, and you don’t always do the right things that you intend to do. You have good intentions. Paul wrote an entire chapter
about this in Roman seven. He says the things I want
to do I end up not doing, and the things I know are
bad for me I end up doing. I’m in this battle constantly and that’s the third enemy against you. Now, he says in the presence
of my enemies I do a banquet. What does this banquet symbolize? Well, it symbolizes two things. In the Bible, a banquet almost
always represents two things. Write these down. First, God wants and
welcomes fellowship with me. That’s the first thing
that this banquet says, that God wants to hang out with you. He wants and he welcomes
fellowship with you. This is one of the most
amazing truths in the universe, that God, who created the whole thing, wants to know me, wants to know you. God wants to be your friend. God wants you to be his friend. God wants a fellowship. He wants to eat together. Let’s go get something to eat. That is an amazing
truth, that in the Bible, a banquet almost always
represents fellowship. You know that. When you want a fellowship
with somebody today you say, “Let’s go get something to eat.” You have somebody over to
your house, that’s fellowship. When God throws a banquet
for you, he’s saying I want to hang out with you. I want you to understand
how much I love you, and he wants to show how
you are welcomed by him, how you are wanted by him,
and he wants to do it, listen, when you’re under attack to encourage you, in the presence of you’re enemies. When everybody else is
coming against you, God says, “I want to throw a party for you. “I want to have a banquet for you.” Psalm chapter five verse 11 says this. You welcome us with open
arms, talking about God, when we run for cover to You. In other words, you’re in a battle and you need a little
protection, and you run to God, God says, “I welcome you with open arms.” I love the message paraphrase, Psalm 5:11. You welcome us with open arms
when we run for cover to you. Let the party last all night. Stand guard over our celebration. God says, “I know you’re in the heat “of the battle right now.” You’re fighting for your job. You’re fighting for your health. You’re fighting for your sanity. You’re fighting for your dignity. While the battle’s going on, hang on, I want to throw a banquet for you, just a little encouragement here. Now, it’s a party in a combat zone. It’s a banquet in a battlefield. Now, I want you to use your imaginations to imagine this scene. Go back to Robin Hood days of nights and vassals and kings and courts and imagine a giant medieval battle, and there’s two mountains,
and this team A over here and team B over here. You’re on the good side. This is the bad side. These are the evil people
and the enemies have come out and the soldiers have come
out to fight this battle, and just imagine that you are a soldier on the frontline in a medieval battle, and you’re out there
and you’re fighting hard and you’re working hard and the
enemies come in against you. It’s heated battle and you’re
tired, and you’re sweaty. You probably got some blood on you and you’re scared and you’re hungry, and all of a sudden, word
comes up without explanation and a superior officer pulls
you off the front line. You’re going, “I don’t
know what’s going on “but I’m glad to get off the front line “’cause this is a hot and heavy battle.” And the superior officer
pulls you out of the battle and you start walking back
and about 1,000 yards back off the front of the battle, you see this giant banquet
tent has been erected with all the turrets and the flags and it looks like a
circus tent, a big tent, and you go, “What’s going on?” And as you start walking
towards that banquet tent you realize, and there’s
a full feast there, you realize that the king has showed up. The king of the empire has shown up and when you walk into that tent, there is the king’s table and
it’s 75 feet or 50 feet long and it’s heavy and wood. Somehow they figured out a way
to get it out of the castle and transport it directly
to the battlefield, and this is the king’s table. Only the fancy people, the noble men, get to eat at this table
and you walk in there and the table is decked out with all your favorite
foods, comfort foods. Now, when you’re in
the middle of a battle, nothing tastes as good as
coming home to some comfort food and you walk in there
and this table’s covered and it’s just you and the king, just the two of you, that’s
it, and all this food, and around the tent have been stationed about 500, maybe 700 guards. So, there’s no way the
enemy’s getting in here, but the tent flaps are up and everybody can see what’s going on. It’s not hidden. It’s public. Everybody sees that the king
has called you out of battle, brought you back to this
giant banquet and tent, put on the feast of your favorite food and it’s just you and the
king, and everybody sees it, and then the king says
to you in a loving voice, “This is all for you. “I made this for you. “I planned it for you. “I just wanted to hang out with you. “I love you, I miss you, and
I want to affirm you publicly “in front of both of these armies, “and I want you to eat all you want. “You’re unhurried, unworried. “You’re protected here. “There’s no way the enemy can get to you, “and I just want to affirm you “and have some fellowship with you.” You think you’re in a dream world. How does the king even know me? I’m just a servant. I’m just a soldier. And then, so everybody
knows what’s going on the king orders erected
a giant banner outside with your name on it, and
then banner says this. I love and it has your
name, signed, the king. So, everybody knows what’s going on. This is a personal recognition,
a personal act of love. I love you, your name,
and I am proud of them. What I just described to you is exactly what God is
talking about doing for you. You prepare a banquet for me
in the presence of my enemies. I’m the guest of honor. You’re the guest of honor. It’s not for anybody else. It’s not like you get to look on. It’s not like you’re a wedding crasher and you just came in to get some food. No, this banquet is in your honor and the banner clearly says because it’s got your name on it. This is what God wants to do for you in the battle of your life. Look at this verse up here on the screen. Song of Solomon says this. He brings me to His banquet table and His banner over me is love. You may have never thought
that God was proud of you but if you’re a child of God, your heavenly Father is
proud of you and he loves you and he brings you to his banqueting table and his banner over you is love. He wants your whole
enemies to know how much he, the king, loves you. Now, go back to this picture. The enemy are fighting
and they see this going on and all of a sudden they
just stop the battle and both sides are looking
at this event taking place up here on the hill because it’s public. It’s not secret, and the
enemy is absolutely dumbstruck by this scene. They all stop fighting and they just stare and they go, “Are you kidding me?” The king picked that one
guy and brought him out and they just stare. You know, I have learned personally that when God wants to bless your life there is nothing that
critics can do about it. When God wants to bless your
life they may spite you, they may slander you, they may ignore you, they may ridicule you, they may libel you, they may say all kinds
of mean things about you but they can’t stop God’s
blessing on your life. They just can’t do it,
and that person at work who wants your job and is
trying to push you aside, if God wants you to have that job, doesn’t matter what they want to do, and if they are having a tough time with you getting over here in this area and they’re trying to stop you, stop you, when God’s blessing is on your life and God’s banner over you
is love, it doesn’t matter. They cannot stop what God
wants to do in your life. They are powerless against the king and your enemies are dumbfounded. God loves to show the
blessing of his people in front of the enemy. Now, today let’s talk about you. In your battle, in the
middle of your battle, God is inviting you to a banquet. I’m gonna explain it in just
a minute what that banquet is, but he’s inviting you to a banquet. Job chapter 36, verse 16 says this. God is gently calling you
from the jaws of distress, what a picturesque phrase,
from the jaws of distress, to an open place of freedom
where He has set your table full of the best food, the same metaphor. Job’s saying the exact same
thing David says in Psalm 23. It says God, while you’re in the middle of the battles you’re in
right now, God is saying, “Hey, come over here, come over here. “I’ve got a banquet for you.” He is gently calling you. He’s wooing you like a lover. He’s coaxing you. This is all done in love. Right now, God is tenderly
calling you to his banquet. I highly recommend you
accept the invitation once you understand what it means. It says God is calling you
from the jaws of distress. Anybody remember the moving jaws? Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun. I love this, the jaws of distress. Let me ask you, what’s
chewing on you right now? What’s eating you up right now? What is it that’s got you
worried, anxious, fearful, and it’s just gnawing, gnawing, gnawing? You’re stressed out about it. You are in the jaws of distress. God says, “Hey, come on,
you deserve a break today. “Come over, I got a banquet for you.” God is gently calling you
from the jaws of distress to an open place of freedom
where He has set your table with the best food. As I said, others may
criticize you, attack you, demean you, dismiss you, disregard you, but God wants to hang out with you. That’s the first thing this metaphor, I prepare a banquet for you, means. God wants fellowship with you
and God wants to feed you, to give you some new strength so you can get it back in that battle. You’re tired and you’re about to fall over and you need God’s strength
and you need sustenance and you need nourishment
and you need refreshment. He says it’s all there. It’s all laid out on the King’s table and I’ve transported it right here to the battlefield for you. He says, “I put a lot of
preparation in planning this “and I want to honor you.” So, God wants to welcome
and fellowship with you. Now, here’s the second
thing the banquet means. Write this down. It also has another
picture and it means this. God wants to bless me to
show the world his goodness. God wants to bless me so he can
show the world his goodness. You are a trophy of God’s grace. I am a trophy of God’s grace. I don’t deserve the blessing on my life but I don’t deserve anything. It’s all by God’s grace. You don’t deserve this
banquet, but God says, “I just want to do it because I love you.” You are exhibit A of God’s grace. You are God’s goodness on display. Look at this next verse, Psalm 31:19. Your goodness is so great. Remember, we’re studying
the goodness of God. Your goodness is so great. You have stored up great
blessing for those who honor you and you have done so much for those who come to you for protection when you’re in the middle of a battle, blessing them before the watching world in the presence of mine enemies. God says, “I want to bless your life “so all the people can look at you and go, “wow, that girl is blessed. “That guy is blessed. “I want that.” How are they blessed so much? How are they blessed so much? Well, they have a good God. They know God. And he says, “Those
who honor me,” he says, “I have stored up great blessings
for those who honor me.” Now, I want you to circle
those two words, stored up. It says God has stored up great blessings for those who honor you. Stored up indicates advanced planning. It means that God plans
what he’s gonna do for you before it actually happens in your life. It’s stored up. It’s planned in advance. It’s not just spur of the moment, I just thought it up right now. God prepares a banquet,
prepares in advance a banquet for you in the
presence of your enemy when you’re in the battle. OK, let’s apply this right now. You know that battle you’re
going through right now, the tough one you’re
going through right now, and it’s a white knuckle,
bare hands thing, you’re holding on like on a
roller coaster for dear life and you don’t know if you’re
gonna win this battle or not, financial battle, physical
battle, relational battle, dignity battle, moral battle, whatever the conflict’s
going on in your life, those jaws of distress, that battle, God says, “I prepare a banquet for you “in the presence of your enemies,” he has stored up the blessing. It means that battle
you’re fighting right now, which is very intense,
before it even started, before you even got in that battle, God had already prepared
the victory celebration. God has already prepared the banquet. God has already prepared
the celebration party for the problem you’re in right now ’cause he knows how it’s gonna come out. You store up in advance
great blessing for those who, you just keep honoring God with your life, with your body, with your business. You keep honoring God
with the way you think, with the way you act,
with the way you talk, and even though everybody’s
coming against you you just keep honoring God. God goes, “I already
got the banquet planned. “It’s already stored up, “’cause you’re gonna get
through this with my help.” God loves to throw victory
celebrations for his children. Psalm 35, look here on
the screen, verse 27. How great is the Lord? He is pleased with the
success of His servant. I love that verse. How great is the Lord? He is pleased with the
success of his servant. God loves to honor you and He
is pleased with the success when you succeed, when you are a servant. That’s what God wants to do in your life, so my last question then
is what’s on the menu? What’s on the menu of God’s banquet? I want you to write this down. Everything God has promised
in his word is on the menu. Everything that God has promised
in his word is on the menu. The menu are the promises
of God in his word. Now, by many counts, one estimate is that there are about 5,500 promises
in this book from God to you. Have you eaten any of ’em? Have you eaten any of the
5,000 plus 500 promises of God to you? The banquet is sitting right there. Your banquet is in your Bible. Everything God has
promised to do in your life is in this book. If you’re not reading this
book, you don’t know squat about what’s on the menu. All of those 5,500 promises are there. This book is full of fruit and bread and all kinds of meat, and
milk, and drinks, and wine, and sweets, and lots and lots of desserts. God calls the Bible the word of God. It calls it the bread of life. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds
out of the mouth of God. The Bible calls itself
the meat of the word, the bread of the word,
the milk of the word. The Bible says it tastes
sweeter than honey. The Bible says it is fruit. The Bible says it is fulfilling. The Bible says it is
tasty, and over and over, all of those banquet terms
describe the Bible itself, and you can have a feast
anywhere you got one of these. You can be sitting in a bus
stop and pull out a Bible and start having a feast right there of all the things God has
promised to do in your life and your anger goes down
and your fear goes down and your anxiety goes down. The reason why your anxiety is up is ’cause you’re not in this book. You don’t know what God’s
promised to do in this book. Now, if God has provided a
feast, a banquet in this book, why would you ever go
eat internet granola bar (laughter) when there’s a feast laid out for you and you’re reading a newspaper more than you’re reading this. You’re reading magazines more than this. You’re reading social
media far more than this, and that’s starving you while
this would be feeding you, what God has laid out and promised you. The Bible says this in
Psalm 119, verse 103. The promises of Your
Word taste sweet to me. They taste sweeter than honey in my mouth. You got a bad taste in your mouth? How much time are you
spending in this book? If you’re not spending
any time in this Bible you got nothing in your mouth but gravel. This is the feeding. Are you fasting or are you
feasting on the word of God? Are you fasting or are you
feasting on God’s banquet that he’s laid out for you? All the stuff He’s promised
to do in your life, you can’t do them if you don’t know them. God never shuts his blessings
until you shut this book. When you open this book, every day you need to be
feeding and eating from it, from the banquet of God. Now, how much time are you
literally spending in this book? Not very much. Well, I go to church once a week. How would you do if you
ate one meal a week? I’m feeding you the word of God right now, but if you ate one meal a
week and it was a banquet and then you fasted the
rest, you’d be anorexic. You wouldn’t be very healthy. What I’m teaching you is not enough. You gotta feed and feast on
the word of God every day. This is where you get your
strength for the battle and if you’re not getting your strength for the battle from this book, you are failing in your battle ’cause you don’t simply have
enough strength on your own to face all the crises you’re gonna have. I’m telling you as your
pastor who loves you you’ve got to get in this book every single day of your life. It’s the banquet and if you don’t have it then you’re not growing,
you’re not being healthy, you’re not being
strengthened for the battle. What you need to do is go
get a modern translation. Don’t read one of those
books with the thees and the thous and Elizabethan English. There are tons of modern translations. You go, “Oh, that’s what that means.” We got ’em out at our bookstore. We can help you choose one and then go take class
201 again, which I wrote, which teaches you how to
have a daily feast with God. You’ve been through that class and you’ve forgotten what it’s all about. Go take is again. Take class 201 again so you learn how to feast on the word of God. Psalm 34 verse 8 says this. Learn to savor how good the lord is. Do you do that? When you read the Bible do
you savor the word of God? No, no I don’t. I just kinda do it as I ought to do it. OK, listen very closely. Your view of this book,
what you think it is, will determine how much you enjoy it. If you think that this is a textbook, like this is God’s textbook, does anybody ever enjoy
reading a textbook? Not unless you’re a nerd. (laughter) No, I hate reading textbooks and if you think that this is
a textbook, you’re gonna go I don’t want to read that any more than I want to
do any other homework. It’s not a textbook. If you think it’s a history book, well, it’s got some stories in there, history of Israel and history
of Jesus and all that history. Do you enjoy reading a history book? Not many people do. It’s not a history book. If you think this in an insurance policy, it’s your fire insurance
policy, keep you out of hell, (laughter) this is my fire insurance
policy, I better read that, or if you think the Bible
is a life insurance policy, how you get eternal life,
how you get to heaven, have you ever read an insurance policy? No you have not. Why? ‘Cause they’re boring
and dry as all get out. Yeah, just show me where to sign. So, if it’s a textbook,
if it’s a history book, if it’s an insurance policy,
whether it’s for hell or heaven or whatever,
you’re not gonna read it. You know what this book is? This book is God’s love letter to you. It’s a love letter. His banner over me is love. When Kay and I got engaged
many, many years ago, we did something really dumb. We got engaged and both moved to opposite sides of the world. We lived in California. She moved to Birmingham, Alabama to work in an inner city
African American church and I moved to Nagasaki,
Japan to plan a church, and we were separated almost
our entire engagement. Now, in those days we
didn’t have cell phones and it cost 15 bucks a
minute on a regular phone to call Japan in those days. It was very expensive
and we were dirt poor, so we only had one
alternative, write letters. Now, I wrote a letter every day. She wrote a letter every day and the way they would
stack up, I’d get her letter before she got my response
to the next letter and my letter was talking about something. She didn’t get it until the next one and we’re always having out of
sync because of the letters, but that was the highlight of
my day when I lived in Japan. When I got a love letter,
someone would say, “Hey Rick, you got
another letter from Kay.” I said, “Well, put it there. “I’ll read it in a couple days.” Are you kidding me? The moment that love letter
arrived I would tear it open and I would read it and I would re-read it and I’d try to read between the lines. (laughter) And I’d underline and I’d want
to memorize portions of it and I’m trying to gather
every drop of love from this woman for me out of this letter, and I’d read it and
reread it and reread it. This is God’s love letter to you. The Bible is not for everybody. The Bible is written for God’s children and that’s why when somebody
who doesn’t believe in God tries to read it, doesn’t make any sense. Well, that’s what you get for
reading somebody else’s mail. (laughter and applause) It wasn’t written for you. This is God’s love letter to his children. If you only do one thing, you start reading the
Bible every single day. I’ll tell you what, start with
the Book of Luke this week. Start with the Book of Luke. It just tells about Jesus. Start reading through that. Your view, if you’re not
in this book every day, you are forgetting how much God loves you and you’re forgetting
what’s on the banquet table and as a result you’re stressed out ’cause you think it all depends on you. You don’t know what’s
covered in the policy. You don’t know what God’s
already promised to do. The banquet is in the Bible. Now, one more thing. This promise, you prepare for me a banquet in the presence of my enemies, both a now and later verse in the Bible, because right now while
you’re in the battle, you can have a banquet
any day you open this book and it’ll give you strength
for the enemies in your life, but there’s one day going to be a literal banquet for you in heaven. It’s called the marriage
supper of the lamb, and let me read it to you. Isaiah, chapter 25 says this. Here’s how it’s gonna happen one day. History is moving towards
a climax in heaven and one day there’s gonna
be a party in heaven, a giant banquet for all of God’s people who honored him and trusted him. It says this, Isaiah 25, six to nine. The Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of the finest food for all peoples. Now, doesn’t matter
what your background is, doesn’t matter what color your skin is, doesn’t matter what cultural background, doesn’t matter what religion you are. If you have put your faith in his Son, if you have trusted God, if God has accepted you into His family, he says this is for everybody, no matter what your background is. The Lord will prepare a feast of the finest food for all people, a banquet of the best of
meats and finest wines, and on this mountain, God
will destroy the shroud that enfolds all people, and the sheet that covers all nations. What’s a shroud and what’s a sheet? A shroud literally is what
they put over dead people. It’s a covering. Like for a mummy, they would
wrap a dead body in a shroud. It’s a covering of death and the shroud this is talking about is the gloom that’s
spread all over the earth because we all know we’re all gonna die. We’re all gonna die, and
that brings our attitude, no, we’re not gonna live forever on earth and that’s the gloom that
hangs over everybody. Everybody knows they’re gonna die one day. God says he’s gonna destroy that shroud of death that enfolds people, and the sheets that cover all nations. What’s the sheets? That’s the cloud of grief
that we’re all under. Things don’t work right. Everything’s broken on this planet. God says one day, at this banquet, I’m gonna destroy that last enemy. I told you you had the enemy of the world, the flesh, and the devil,
but you have a fourth enemy. The Bible calls the fourth enemy death and the Bible says in scripture death is the last enemy to be defeated and it will be defeated on this day and there will be no more death. The Bible says this. He will swallow up death forever. No more death, nobody dies after this. The Sovereign Lord will wipe
away the tears from all faces and He will remove the
disgrace of His people from all the Earth. What’s that talking about? The disgrace of His people
is all the put downs you’ve had for being a believer, when people put you down
for standing for truth, when people have put you down
for doing the right thing, when people have put you down for claiming to be a
follower of Jesus Christ, that’s the disgrace. He says he’s gonna remove all
the disgrace of his people. by having a banquet in
front of all the enemies. He says I love these people. They put up with all kinds
of stuff at the office and at work and at home,
but they love me more than they loved you. And he says he will wipe away their tears. He’ll remove the disgrace of
the people from all the Earth and in that day, they,
that’s us, will say, “Surely this is our god. “We trusted Him and He saved us. “Yes, this is the Lord. “We trusted in Him. “So, let us rejoice and
be glad in His salvation.” And the eternal party will begin. Let’s bow our heads. Have you met Jesus? Have you accepted His salvation? Or are you still trying
to fight all your battles on your own power? How’s that going for you? How’s that working out? A little frustrating. God has planned a party for
you if you’ll just trust him. He’s planned a banquet in
the middle of your battle no matter what it is. I’m gonna pray a very simple prayer and I invite you to pray it again with me, maybe for the 5,000th time, some of you it’ll be
for the very first time. Just say this. Thank you, God. Thank you for your goodness to me, even the stuff I don’t
recognize and don’t even notice. Thank you that even in the
middle of all my battles you want to give me a banquet. You want to make me the guest of honor. That’s not in secret. It’s public. It’s on the battlefield and even my enemies have
to watch you honor me and they can’t do anything about it. Lord, I’m not doing too good
in my battles right now. The world’s around me,
with all of the pressure, stress, expectations,
and Satan’s against me and he’s always suggesting
me to do the wrong things, trying to trip me up, and then
my old nature inside of me is at war with myself. You know, Lord, I often do stuff that I don’t really want to do and I don’t do the things
that I know are good and healthy and right, and
I’m tired in the battle. Thank you, that you want me and thank you that you
welcome me into fellowship. Lord, it’s hard to believe that you, God, would want to hang out with me, that you would love me that much, that you’d go to all expense
of preparing a banquet for me when I run for cover to you. Lord, I read that verse today that said you’re gently calling me
from the jaws of distress. I’m coming. I’m coming right now. I’m running straight to you, Lord, to that open place of freedom
where you’ve set a table full of the very best food. Thank you for loving me, and Lord, thank you for
wanting to bless me, to show the world your goodness. You’ve already done so much for me. The air I breathe is a gift. That you want to bless me
before the watching world and I want to be bless-able. I want to put my trust
in you, Jesus Christ. I don’t understand it all. Forgive me for going days without looking at your word, the Bible. Everything you promised is there. The banquet is in the Bible and I want to commit to
not going to bed at night without feasting a little
bit on the banquet, all of those 5,500
promises that you’ve made. And so, I’m stepping out
of the battle right now. I’m walking into your tent and
in the one on one fellowship I want to receive your love and I want to learn to love you back. I humbly ask you to accept
me into your family. In your name I pray, Amen. – Thanks for checking out this
week’s message on YouTube. We would love to get you connected with our online community. There’s three easy ways
to get you involved. First, learn about
belonging to a church family but taking class 101 online. Second, you can join an online small group or a local home group in your area, and third, check out our Facebook group to engage with our online
community throughout the week. To take these next steps,
visit saddleback.com/online or shoot me an email at
[email protected] I hope to hear from you soon. (upbeat music)

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