No More Neutral

Series: Emotions. James Dewhurst August 9, 2020


No More Neutral

After leaving park, there are 3 positions cars go in: Reverse, Forward and Neutral!

For months now, the majority of the human race has been in survival mode, waiting around for some scientist or doctor to discover a wonder drug that will change our circumstances, so that we can start “living again”. Unknowingly, we have empowered other people to dictate our entire future, and have become paralyzed in the process!  People have stopped making plans, setting goals or dreaming dreams. We have literally halted all of our own progress, as we wait, in neutral, on the progress of others. The worst part is, the longer we float in this Dead Sea of dormancy, the destructive emotions of indifference and apathy set in. We have become aimless arrows with no bullseye!

We are apathetically relegating the power of our future to circumstances and science!

Jane Goodall – “The greatest danger to our future, is apathy.”

A wise person said – “Apathy is the world’s fastest growing disease, but who cares?”

John Stott – “Apathy is (where we start) accepting the unacceptable.”

The Great Aristotle – “Tolerance and Apathy are the last viruses of a dying society.”

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (ESV)

God’s plans don’t change for his children when problems arise, they manifest!

This is not a time to step away from your calling, it’s the time to step into it!

Our circumstances may influence our feelings, but they don’t influence God’s promises!

Romans 11:29

29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (ESV)

God’s purpose and plan for your life is not edited by the conditions of this world!

We must stop allowing where we are today to determine where we are going tomorrow!

Hebrews 12:1

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (ESV)

Proverbs 4:25

25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. (ESV)

It’s time we stand up and stop allowing today’s problems to predict our tomorrow!

Proverbs 28:1

1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. (ESV)

It’s not your circumstance, but your constitution, that determines your outcome!

One day Jesus went up to Jerusalem from Galilee for a Jewish feast, and walked by twin pools, where the lame, crippled and sick spent most of their days. Why? Because the Jews believed when either pool was stirred, the first one to get in would be healed.

John 5:1-8

1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” (ESV)

-Now we know that this man had been in an invalid condition for 38 long years! Wow!

-But the first thing we see Jesus address is not this man’s circumstance, but his desire!

-The invalided, instead of addressing his desire, focused only on his circumstance!

We all have mat! Our mat is not the issue, it’s whether we care enough to get up that is!

Apathy turns our circumstances into excuses, because our desire to get up is gone!

Jim Rohn – “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” (A virus is not a reason not to grow and connect spiritually, it’s an excuse!)

We’ve been laying on the mat so long, we don’t really even care to get up!

One of the most powerful stories in the Bible about circumstances is found in the book of Numbers. Hundreds of years earlier, God had promised Abraham a Promised Land for all of his descendants. After God delivered them from Egypt, he lead them to the border of their land, but it was inhabited by other nations. So, Moses selected 12 godly, wise and respected men from each of their tribes and sent them in to spy out the land with very specific instructions. Moses wanted them to gather population numbers, geographical details, and agricultural findings, along with some tangible fruit from their land, so they could taste it for themselves. The reason Moses selected “men of faith” to go as representatives, was not because he didn’t want the truth (he wanted the facts); it was so that after seeing the facts, these influencers could return with a faith-filled report on what they had seen. This is the record of their collective reports:

Numbers 13:1-33

1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.” 3 So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the people of Israel. 4 And these were their names: From the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur; 5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori; 6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh; 7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph; 8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun; 9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu; 10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi; 11 from the tribe of Joseph (that is, from the tribe of Manasseh), Gaddi the son of Susi; 12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli; 13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael; 14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi; 15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. 16 These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua. 17 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, “Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, 18 and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, 19 and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, 20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes. 21 So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22 They went up into the Negeb and came to Hebron. Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 And they came to the Valley of Eshcol and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them; they also brought some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster that the people of Israel cut down from there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. 26 And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.” 30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” 32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (ESV)

Have you ever noticed that it is a whole lot easier to be negative than positive?

Can you imagine the scene? Moses has the nation of Israel waiting on the edge of their seats for the 12 to arrive. These hand selected, well instructed spiritual spies are on a 40 day surveillance tour of paradise, and they’re even bringing back food. Moses has planned well and set the stage for a grand pep rally when the desert dozen return, with fruit, selfies and strategies. Moses is certain this is exactly what pump the Israelites up enough to cross the Jordan and take their Promised Land. But it didn’t go as planned!

Of the 12 who returned, 2 had a positive report, but 10 neutralized the 2 with negativity!

3 sins the spies committed, that ended their progress:

1.They found the negative!

(In life, you will always find whatever you are looking for!)

Luke 6:45

45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (ESV)

Moses didn’t send the 12 spies in to tell him if they could take the land (He was already holding the deed!). He sent them in to figure out how they could take it!

2 went looking for how it could be done, and 10 went looking for why it couldn’t!

2. They exalted the negative!

Negative people find a problem for every solution!)

The spies told Moses – “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large” (The spies said 1 good thing to 3 negative things!)

Caleb tried desperately to be positive, but negative news neutralized the entire nation!

There will always be obstacles in life, but people of faith move forward anyway!

3. They spread the negative!

(The problem is negativity only breeds more negativity!)

The Bible says that the 10 spies: “spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron”

10 toxic fear mongers destroyed the lives of 2 million bystanders with negativity!

Instead of trusting in God, Israel reacted to the report of men and died in the desert!

*The enemy is working overtime to neutralize the church with negative reports!*

Philippians 4:8

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ESV)

Negativity is not only destructive, it is also a sin! God commands us to find the good!

So what’s the message? Regardless of the giants we have to move forward anyway!

Ministry: Pray for people who have become neutralized and apathetic!