Where is the perfect justice we are longing for? Guest speaker Jeff Louie helps us answer this question.
It’s always good to be here. I think I was here two months ago and I was preaching on a Psalm too. I’m going to be here one more time in December. I always like to update what’s happening in my life. A lot of things have happened in two months. I’ve been here 12 to 15 years and running. Sometimes I update you on my weight gain or loss. Since the last time, I’ve decided that I need to lower my blood pressure. It was in the 130s and 90s. I decided I would do the insane thing as someone who’s elderly. I would do sprint intervals like I’m a track star in preparation for the Olympics.
I’d run for one minute until I’m heating up. I Rest until my heart goes down and then run until I’m heating up again and then stop. I do this eight times. In six weeks, my blood pressure went down in the teens, 110s. My lower blood pressure number is under 80. It is incredible. Now, I almost die every time I do it. It’s like being at the precipice of death. It’s a good thing. This past week, I had some car problems. My wife and I each have a car. Those two cars have close to 300,000 miles combined on them. When you have vintage old stuff, it matches the drivers. My wife’s car had a leak in the power steering fluid. It leaked all over the place on the driveway. My car had this slow leak in the tire where you put air in it. You pump it up and then a week later, it is low again.
It’s the most frustrating thing. However, those things are in our control. I Brought the car to the garage and I patched up the tire. I put the tire in water and saw bubbles. It’s an old-school way of diagnosis and saving myself whatever $20 in plugging a tire. You get the kit for 4.99 at the AutoZone or something like that. Those things are in your control, those things happen, but they’re in your control. What has occurred this week are things that, as pastor Terry shared, happen when things spin out of control. Take for instance this week. It was just a few days ago I talked to a couple whose young son got himself in a bind through an app called Tinder. He met a girl for a hookup. She got pregnant, he doesn’t love the girl, and she gave birth. He doesn’t want anything to do with the baby. On top of that, he has seizures. He’s taking some pretty harsh drugs as well.
I was talking to this couple on the phone and they’re telling me they don’t really know what to do. He made a bad mistake on Tinder. He’s hanging around certain people that are not a good influence. So what do you do? The bottom’s dropping and It’s not like a patch on a tire. You can’t bring it to your auto dealership like your tire place and for $20 we can fix you and it is good as new. Or we just replaced that power steering high-pressure hose for you. No, this type of thing is going to have ramifications, for the rest of his life. I was talking to my wife about it. Is this person who we know spinning out of control? What do you do? Where is God? If you are a parent, it might be your children, it might be yourself, maybe not to this degree, but something you have done spun out of control. As pastor Terry said, sometimes we don’t live perfect lives. Where is God? What do we do?
The second thing that is out of control in this world. It’s society. Earlier this week, it was Charlotte Bill. That’s a terrible mess. Then this weekend in the great city of San Francisco, the planning of a Patriot’s Prayer. Then the demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. The whole thing about the police. Ten they backed out of the Patriots Prayer. It caused a lot of havoc around Crissy Field and the Civic Center. There are marches around Mission Street and all around the United States now. I don’t know if you know, I’m from New York City and I’m always interested in news in New York City. I go to my favorite newspaper, the New York Post and the New York Daily News. This is for the common people, I do not forget the New York Times. I’m looking for low-grade news. Just one cut above the national inquirer, these papers. Those were what I grew up with running the subways. People are picketing, wanting to tear down the statue of Christopher Columbus in New York City.
I said, wow, that’s interesting. I don’t know if you follow sports, I’m a big sports fan. CNN pulled a reporter from a southern sporting college event whose name was Robert Lee because of the connection with Robert E. Lee. The only problem is that Robert Lee is Chinese. I know it’s a very uncommon name, but if I had a dollar for every Bob Lee I knew in this world, I’d have $10. It’s very good. In this world now you have to be so politically correct. You can’t even have a name association. It’s not even your race. You were not slaves, wouldn’t even fight the civil war, and were not a descendant of a laundry and railroad worker. You were part of the oppressed, but you have the name. So yanking you off coverage? It’s getting very bad.
What I’m going to do for the next 25 minutes is to speak to you as a pastor. As Pastor Terry said I’m a professor, for 13 years I’ve been a professor. But before that, I was a pastor for 25 years. I’m going to speak to you as a pastor on a very interesting Psalm. Psalm 110 is the most referred to Old Testament passage in the New Testament. What does that mean? That means when the New Testament writers wanted to capture a prophetic thought of what the Messiah would be, they came back to Psalm 110 18 times because there is no other Psalm that captures the essence of what Jesus Christ is, is doing, and has done for us. I’m going to do a simple proclamation sermon.
I will read, tell you the point, and then we’re going to apply it to two very difficult situations. Follow as I read, the Lord says to my Lord, “sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion saying rule in the midst of your enemies.” The first point is that this describes Jesus, that Jesus is Lord. He’s at the right hand of God. He is in the place of bringing forth, executing, not in putting someone’s life, but in bringing something to pass the purpose of God to the right-hand man. Jesus is the right-hand man of God. He is the son of God. If there’s anyone who can bring forth the plan of God, it is Jesus. The Psalm continues. Verse three, “your people will volunteer freely on the day of your power in the holy array, from the womb of the dawn your dew, your youth is to you as the dew.” Verse four, “the Lord has sworn and will not change His mind. You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” What about Melchizedek? Melchizedek is this very old priesthood line that is found in the book of Genesis. What the Psalmist emphasizes is that this choosing of Jesus from this line is a decision that God, the Father has made. He will not change His mind.
This is the finality of it because Jesus is the perfect priest and intercessor for us. Now, priests have a bad name. Priest is a bad word now. You ask, “what do you do?” “I’m a priest.” Understand that this is what the term has become. But in the Old Testament, this person was the go-between to make things right between you and God. This is what Jesus is. Not only is Jesus Lord, but Jesus is also ministering. I’m afraid to use the word priest because of the bad connotation. He’s ministering for us at this time. That is the second element within this passage that the Psalmists want us to know. The New Testament writers want us to capture.
The final element of who Jesus is or what he is doing is found in verses five, six, and seven. “The Lord is at your right hand.” He’s going to bring forth the plan of God, being the right-hand man of God. “He will shatter kings on the day of His wrath.” People are taken aback by this. “He will judge among the nations and He will fill them with corpses. He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. He will drink from the brook by the wayside.” The third and final aspect of Jesus is that he will be judge. We don’t like to talk about this aspect of Jesus because what most of us like is the loving aspect. Jesus is ministering for our sake and will die on the cross. So anything that you feel uncomfortable with has to be balanced with the love that God has for us. I take a very different perspective on judgment because I feel in this world there is imperfect judgment. I feel that the game is to the point where nothing’s getting done anymore. In Washington DC it’s so incredibly confusing and in turmoil that instead of correct judgment, it’s “what will people think?”
That’s not a judgment. That’s what all people think to get elected for the next semester. It’s all playing for the mid-year elections. It’s very interesting. This concept of judgment, who’s going to stop the turmoil with North Korea. Who’s going to stop the terrorism like what happened in Barcelona, 15 people died. Another big car slammed into a marketplace in Barcelona, Spain. Over 100 people were injured. Who’s going to stop that. Who’s going to unify and bring peace in America. It’s getting very sectarian now. We need to apply this Psalm to these situations.
What happens when your life spins out of control? What happens when we’re living in this world? It’s like, “man, it’s easy to set off people.” First is the personal situation. I told you about the situation that I had this week, with someone that I know. I talked to the parents. I told you he’s now a father of a child he does not want and does not want to see. He’s going to have to pay out for paternity. I also told you he’s on drugs too, but he has a job. He suffers seizures as a result of his job. He has difficulty driving. He’ll just sort of go into convulsions. His parents can’t tell him anything because he doesn’t want to hear it. If you checked a box in terms of religion, he would check Christian because he was raised in a church. There he received all the great qualities that make America great. ‘I can meet anyone on Tinder. Drugs, whatever I do to my body is my concern. You can’t tell me anything because it’s my life, my freedom and I guess I’m a Christian.’ That’s this young man.
He’s prototypical of many people in this country today. You might have children, there are people older like this. You might be younger, you might have shades of this. What happens when you make bad decisions? We all make bad decisions. Sometimes you can correct them quickly. Sometimes you have to live with them for 20 years. Sometimes they will affect your health. Do you have control over the situation because your life has spun out of control or is spinning out of control? In order to understand this, we have to take these three aspects of Christ as judge, ministering, and as Lord in account to apply, as I speak to you as a pastor.
The first thing is responsibility. At the beginning of how you get yourself out of trouble and allow Christ to pop you, you have to take responsibility. It is not necessarily doing what is right. That is putting the carriage before the horse at this time. Responsibility in what you did wrong. I’ll tell you about this young man. He does not blame himself, he blames the girl. I’m saying in the sex act it takes two. I know, call me naive, old-fashioned. I think it takes two, but he accepts no blame.
This is very important at the heart of our faith and being a good person. No one likes a defensive person when you’re always wrong. God certainly doesn’t like it. Accept your part of the responsibility. What’s happening is in this generation, people tend to have a default mode of denial. It is always the other person’s fault. Don’t tell me I was wrong because you have no right to tell me. I was telling this couple that perhaps I will have the opportunity one day to speak to this individual face-to-face. I basically told them what I would say to him. This is the beginning of it. Stop hiding. It doesn’t correct or change anything. He’s the father of an unwanted baby girl. He still has seizures. He’s still taking some hard drugs. But without this, you can never get better. You’re just going to spin out and make another problem. When you make another, you’re going to blame that person again.
Next is forgiveness. What makes Christianity distinct is that we don’t have a faith that is based upon obedience to make ourselves right with God. It is a pace upon a loving grace, a mercy that God gives to us. In this passage, Jesus is always ministering on our behalf. Understand that there is forgiveness. As a believer or thinking about becoming a believer or following Christ, this is at the heart of our faith. To make things right with God, by being honest with just who you are. I need help here. I told this couple until their son comes to that point, I can’t help him. A lawyer can help him legally with the calculation of child support and things like that. But I can’t really help him transform. That’s why we’re here because we want a deeper transformation.
The final point is transformation. It’s tied in with the first point that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. He is the one who will bring forth the purpose of God in the midst of turmoil. This is it, how it will reply, how it affects personally each and every one of us. If life is spinning out of control, you do these steps. It’s about honesty to self, honesty to God, and forgiveness. Begin to walk with God because you see that our faith is not a box just to check that you’re a Christian. What kind of faith is that? That’s religion. But Christianity is more than a check in the box or I went to church when I was a kid.
I believe in this Christ, to live in His ways. There’s something about Christianity. Christianity does not pretend that we’re perfect. Christianity is not a magic wand to make your unwanted daughter disappear. To make your seizures go away, so you can get the driver’s license back. What Christianity does because of Christ and he reigns on high, is He can take your mess, exchange it and make it better so we see the grace of God. We see beauty, even though our life at the moment is out of control. That’s the tremendous beauty of Christ in our lives. Some of us need that right now because all we do is check the box that we’re Christian. Our faith, life, and values are part of the faith.
You may pray for me as I get the opportunity to speak to this young man. I was speaking to my wife about him. He needs a game-changer of this Psalm in his personal life. The reason why I know this person so dearly is he’s blood. Some of our problems are not quiet. We can juggle things around, but we are under a different type of dark curtain in society. What’s happening in San Francisco yesterday and this weekend, and what’s happening in the world. It’s almost as if you say what your position is about anything, you’re going to offend half the people that you meet. So Robert, Bob Lee, “oh, well, sorry we got to fire you,” it’s like, “I am Bob Lee, Chinese. I don’t eat grits, I eat rice. I mean, don’t fire me, boss man, don’t fire me.” The Southern Poverty Center for law, God bless the organization, they’ve done a lot of good. They have also labeled certain Christian groups hate groups for their positions on sexuality.
That’s so funny because you say whatever you want and if you don’t like it too bad. I talk to my relatives, my family about things happening. You can almost not talk about what’s happening in this world and the government in the United States. It’s very hairy sometimes. I’m going to give you three principles. They are general principles. You have to work them out as a church and as an individual. The first principle is to discern in your mind what is true in the midst of the turmoil surrounding you. It’s not personal, it’s a societal thing, discern. In all the sectarian, I cannot agree with following down the party line. In modern society, you have to choose a party line.
I have support and problems with each party line. For example, take immigration. The last time I looked in the mirror, I’m Chinese. I have to tell you, my great-grandfather came to build railroads in the late 1800s. These are basically your grant day laborer, leaving poverty in China to come here. I have a blue-collar immigration background. I tend to be gracious on immigration, because of who I am and my heritage. I look in the mirror, look at your family heritage. My family didn’t come over on the Mayflower. They’re not Southern plantation owners. They were laundrymen and railroad builders. My mother was a seamstress for 40 years, sewing clothes, that’s my background. I tend to be very gracious to immigration. I hear we just want people who speak English and who have money. It doesn’t sit well with me.
I’ll tell you something that might be very controversial, I’m pro-life. I’m not a picketing pro-life person, but I’m a pro-life person. One party says, if you’re pro-life, you cannot be in our party and I’ve got a problem with that. You have to discern and not be fooled by a party line. Just be sectarian and down the line. You check the box because then you don’t understand that there’s a higher level of authority. A higher level of morality that God has and that’s why he’s judge. That cuts both lines. It has positive aspects in all the positions but is not actually represented by either position.
Second, be wise in your association. We are in a YouTube world. Someone’s got to have a cell phone, and someone’s going to put you in and someone’s going to get a sound bite of what you said. I was reading about Joey Gibson and the Patriots Prayer last night. You want to have me there, even though he is a conservative Christian blogger from Vancouver, Washington, I’m not going to be there. It’s a very unwise thing. You’re an association with elements that don’t really represent that which is good. I am not going to do that because if I want people to dislike me, I want to be like everybody else.
I want them to dislike me because of Christ, not because of my political position. You have to be very wise these days. As a matter of fact, I try to tell people, you don’t even know what I vote for, but I do vote. I’m not going to tell you because I’m going to offend half the group. But in my mind, I will tell you what my view is because I’m clear in my mind and I’m wise in my association. The final things are peace and turmoil. Christ is at the right hand of the Father executing the plan of God. Bringing forth God’s plan and he’s doing it in the midst of His enemies. It’s an imperfect situation.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with North Korea. Will China put enough pressure with sanctions so that they don’t send an atomic missile away in Guam. I don’t know what’s going to happen with ISIS. I have a trip to New York City in December to see my mother who’s 92. I fly to a few cities. I fly to Portland a lot, I don’t think there’s going to be a terror attack in Portland. It’s a nice city, but I don’t think it’s a big New York. If there’s going to be a terrorist attack, it’s going to be New York City. Every time we go, we always head to Times Square because it is a big place. When I grew up, it was Citi. Now Times Square’s a happening place. I’ve never seen so many tactical policemen surrounding Times Square when you go over there.
I could be scared to death, I don’t want to go to New York City. There’s a confidence that you live your life because ultimately God’s purpose overrides and oversees me. There are things in this world that are out of your control. Jesus is at the right hand of God and He will execute the plan of God. That is what I have my hopes in. It’s a very strange thing. I’m concerned about this world, but I also have peace about me in terms of who Christ is, what He is doing, and how He is overseeing the mess that human beings are causing. You cannot blame God for this. It is what human beings are causing.
I hope you are at peace in the midst of this. Be discerning, be wise, but be at peace for our Lord reigns. It’s a game-changer. The peace in the midst of this society that is in disarray is indeed a gracious miraculous act of God. Now, where are you today? I’m going to come to prayer. You need to apply the personal aspect of this message. I think you heard me and I’ve spoken quite clearly about the things we can do. Some of you need greater peace in society. Allow me now, as we end in prayer, to ask God to minister to you. After the prayer, we will have a final song in the receiving of the offering.
Let’s pray, our heavenly Father, I pray for these my friends at Cornerstone Church. Wherever we are, if the bottom has fallen out in our lives because we made bad decisions, allow us through you and honesty of ourselves and before you, the ability to change that and to make it good. To change a mistake into something good, even though the mistake may not disappear. Some of us need that. Wherever we are along the way, we know that Christ is there to help us, to forgive us, to help bring forth that change. For others, we live in a great city, but our nation and our country are in disarray. Allow us in Christ to have a peace that transcends all understanding. That is not foolish. That is not blind. But we find our hope and peace in you, for we pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.