Let Go and Let God
Sunday Evening English Worship
September 2, 2018 - 5:00 pm
Messenger: Don Frank
Bible Passage: Psalm 46:10 (NLT)
Introduction: As my summer vacation has been going along, I've been enjoying resting more from my work. It's given me more time to think about God's Word and I've really been enjoying one verse in particular, Psalm 46:10 (NLT) ~ Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. And as I've been thinking about that verse, I've really enjoyed getting to know it better. And I believe that it has a lot to do with the well-known Christian phrase "Let go and let God."
Now, there are 2 basic reactions to this phrase, the wrong way and the right way. For example, the wrong way might be like thinking, "I need to keep working hard all the time so that God will be pleased with me. The ball is in my court now and I have to do my best!" This way is definitely not connected with the Bible or anything to do with Christian life! Then there's a second reaction, which I believe to be the right one. For example, to let go of all the negative things in our lives and let God do his perfect work in us. I believe this to be totally biblical and just the thing that we need to bring us closer to God, moment by moment, every day.
Now to share this with you tonight, I'd like to have you join me in looking at 2 real characters that Jesus met in his lifetime from the book of Luke. The first one is the rich young ruler and the second one is Zacchaeus.
1. The Rich Young Ruler - The wrong way to do it. Luke 18:18-27 (NLT)
Let’s begin by reading the Bible passage. Luke 18:18-27 - 18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. 20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’” 21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich. 24 When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 26 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” 27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
On the surface, this young man looks like a very serious and dedicated kind of a guy. We see these kinds of people all the time in our daily lives. Maybe their motto is, “My work is my life.“ They give 100% to their jobs, often working late many nights of the week. Maybe that’s what this young man did to become rich.
And sorry to say, we often see Christians doing the same thing. Maybe they are thinking, “God did so much for me, now I have to try and pay Him back by working hard.“ Or maybe their focus is more messed up, “The only way I can make God happy and to somehow pay for my salvation is to keep working hard every day.“ What a mistake!
Somehow, though I can’t imagine how he did it, the rich young ruler was able to keep all of the 10 Commandments! But Jesus could see into his heart and he knew that the young man’s motivation in life was just making money.
So when Jesus told him that he only needed to do one more thing by selling everything he had, the young man became really sad and walked away. Jesus wanted so much for the young man to let go and let God take care of him, but like many people today, he just couldn’t do it. Then Jesus concluded by saying, “what is impossible for people is possible with God.“ And that leads us to our second character.
2. Zacchaeus - And the right way! Luke 19:1-10 (NLT)
Now, for an example of the right way to do it, we move over to Luke chapter 19 and encounter another rich man named Zacchaeus. Let’s look at Luke 19:1-10. Luke 19:1-10 - 1 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” 6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. 8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” 9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Now, this man’s reaction was exactly the opposite. He was definitely ready to let go and let God take control of his life! Just like the previous character, Zacchaeus was quite a rich man too. He had spent his working life getting rich by collecting extra taxes from his fellow Jews. I’m sure he was quite satisfied having the position of chief tax collector of the city. He had both money and status.
And just like the rich young ruler, he was very curious about this fellow named Jesus who went around teaching in doing miracles. But Zacchaeus was a very short little guy, so in order to see Jesus, he had to climb up in a tree to catch a glimpse of him. And also just like the rich young ruler, Jesus wanted to spend time with Zacchaeus, so He invited Zacchaeus to come down and they would go together to his home. And the Bible passage tells us that he was really excited and filled with joy to spend time with Jesus.
Now, the turning point comes when Zacchaeus stands up in front of Jesus and truly let’s go of his old lifestyle! He said he would give half of this money to the poor and if he cheated anyone, he would pay back four times as much! Right here before our eyes, we can see Zacchaeus letting God have control of his life. He gave up his position, his sins, his pride, everything! From here on out in his life God would be doing great work through this truly changed man!
Conclusion: Now, you’re probably thinking, “Well Don, that’s a great story. Thanks a lot. But what has that got to do with me? I'm already a Christian and I don’t have very much money to give up like he did. So, what do I need to let go of and let God take control of? Let me share one more Bible passage with you that may give you the answer. 1 John 2:16 says this, “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world." I believe these are the things we can work on every day. 1. Stop searching for just the pleasures that this world offers. 2. Give up wanting all the passing things that we see all around us. 3. And let go of pride in our own stuff and let God give us pride in Him and our relationship to Him!
Closing Prayer: Let's finish this evening by taking our last Bible passage and reading it together.
1 John 2:16 (NLT)
For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
Now let's look at our closing prayer and pray it together:
Dear Lord, thank You for opening Your Word to us and for opening our hearts by the power of Your Spirit. Help us, like Zacchaeus, to let go of all the things of this world. We let You have control of our lives. Help us to keep our eyes on You. Guide our hearts to be satisfied in You alone. And from our hearts, thank You for seeking us and saving us as You did Zacchaeus. Right now, we let go of everything in our lives and let You be our God, our Savior and our Best Friend, for all of eternity. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.