Lay it Down by Pastor Don
Pastor Don was so passionate in teaching this excellent sermon. The topic is important to all of us. The written transcript is slightly edited. Remember three dots … means a pause. And what is written in brackets [ ] is what the congregation says.
Lay it Down
But today I want to talk to you about lay it all down… I said, lay it all down. [amen] I had been asking the Lord about a message all week, and I had some wonderful ideas. I had some good stuff. But this kept reverberating and I kept thinking, well that’s not what I’m supposed to minister on. And so, last night when I went to sleep, I was pretty sure I had come up with something that would work but I spoke to the Lord and I said, “But Lord, I need you to give it to me exactly the way you want.” And I went to bed and I left it with Him. This morning when I woke up, my wife…looks at the mirror, and Mrs. Moore, would you just stand and tell them what the mirror said? [laughter] And so, it looked like lay, lay pie all dimensions to her. But in the dark as I wrote it with the bar of soap, it said, lay it all down. [laughter] And, [more laughter]… need a translation here. Talking about tongues and interpretations, right. [laughter] This is mirror and interpretations. So I wrote that on the mirror. So what I’m giving you is what, after I went back to bed and laid down, the Lord gave me. And then this morning I went and sat at my table and wrote down the Scriptures, that will get this across over to you.
In life we all, and that’s all of us, we all have desires and things we want, and things we need. And quite often, we will make certain choices as we pick the things we want and the things we need. And then for a while we commit them to God, and then out of habit we…uncommit them to God and take them back. Come on, right? Haven’t you ever done that? And so, we, we have these practices that our flesh leads us to of depositing certain things with God, and then taking them back. You know, we will say, well, I’m committed. And we stay committed to the Lord for whatever reason for a purpose and a time.
We’ll be committed to getting our bodies healthy and we will work out for three weeks, and then at the end of the three weeks, when we’ve lost two or three pounds, we’re starting to look good, we get busy going back to the same old habit that, come on now… anybody here? [amen] And so what we do is we pick back up our bad habits, and then we, you know, it’s hard. I can understand to a certain extent. It’s hard not to be 23, and 119 pounds and love yourself. Because there are very few, most of the 119 pound 23 year olds are wackos. [laughter] Sorry. [more laughter]… Because they are so enamored with themselves and their physical bodies that they have taken back upon themselves the things that are not of value. The things that will not last.
And so, when we get out of proportion because we pick up things from the world, amen, we pick up the things from the world, or we pick up things from the back corners of the closets of our mind, or we pick up the habits and the training that the world has set us to. We find we get to a place where we didn’t take that and we go run to the altar of the Lord and we lay that on the altar, and say, “Jesus, you have it. You’ve got it. I’m laying it all down.” But then as we turn to walk away, a part of us reaches back, lays hold to it, and drags it along with us as we pretend we have laid it all down. And we just bring it with us until eventually it rises up again and we are, as the Bible says, we’re back where we started. Or we are in worse shape. Amen. And so, then our condition is worse.
My heart goes out to people that have bad flesh habits, and then they want to change those habits and then get hooked back in deeper than they were before. Come on now, amen. And so we have to get to a place that when we look at this thing of laying it down. We have to just deposit some things with God, and not pick them up again. One of my favorite verses of Scripture says, “Cast your cares upon the Lord.”
Now casting your cares, I’m a fisherman. I love to fish. And when you take your fishing rod, and you cast it, you are throwing it far away from you… [amen] Is that not right? You are casting it, you are throwing it far away from you. The only difference is that Jesus is saying, after you throw it far away from you, cut the line. [laughter]… He is saying, cast your cares upon the Lord, because He cares for you, but, if we throw it out there and keep the lines connected, come on somebody…I’m helping you now. I’m helping me. If you cast it out there and keep the line connected, guess what…you are leaving yourself in position to reel it in again. [yes] And when you reel it in again, no telling what’s coming up. [whew]
I felt like I was in a movie last year. My wife and I were out fishing and you know, I had a good bite, and whatever, whatever, and I’m reeling and it’s very heavy. It’s a very heavy thing. I mean, it’s really heavy. It was so heavy that it was pulling the boat against the anchor. Cause I had a very strong line. I have 40 pound test on. I was trying to catch a monster. [laughter] I was looking for Moby Dick. If he was out there, he’s in the boat. You know what I mean? He was not getting away. But I reeled in, and as I kept reeling, I kept reeling in, it got so heavy that I began to lift it and fight it and lift it. I knew at that point it wasn’t a fish, cause a fish runs and tries to move. And this was just dead weight coming up. And as the dead weight came up, I had pulled up the electrical line that runs across the Hudson River. [laughter] [oh my goodness!]… I hope nobody from Central Hudson’s listening to this. [laughter] But that cable was huge. It was huge and it had wire and rubber and all things. And as I looked I realized that my hook was embedded in part of it. And I had to make a decision. Yes, it was one of my favorite hooks. One of my favorite lures. But it was connected to thousands of wattage of death, pure death. [laughter] Pure blow up the boat and my wife at the same time. [laughter]… Right, so, I had to do what? I had to reach over, grab my fishing knife and do what? Cut the line! I had to lay it down. I had to cut it and lay that thing back into the river from whence it came…
There’s some stuff in our worlds that are like that wire. We will fight very hard to raise it up off of the bottom of the muck and mire of sin and destruction. And we’ll pull it and we will fight at it and we’ll try to get it, get it up. There’s some stuff in our minds that is just wrong thinking, that is the thinking of destruction and death, but we just get so locked on it. There’s some emotions that are just down in here, of resentment and hate and disgust, that we’re just reeling it in, we’re just reeling it in. There’s some stuff that we reel in, and it is death!…We need to lay it down! Cut the line before we explode! [yes, yes, amen] Somebody say, amen. [amen] I hate to get so dramatic. But sometime maybe if I get dramatic somebody will get a picture. Wait a minute! I need to lay that down. I need to separate myself from it for it reeks of disaster. [yes]…
Go to the book of Acts, Chapter 2…I was looking at a research study on fear…many years ago, and this really surprised and shocked me…they said, that there are many things that people fear…And to my surprise, I thought that the number one thing would be fear of death, or fear of divorce or separation, or fear of abandonment…I was sort of looking for those things. But it said that the number one most fearful experience for people is the fear of public speaking….Yeah, that’s what it said. Cathy, you couldn’t possibly know anything about that. [laughter] I mean, she’ll talk to anybody anywhere. She’s a great salesperson. So she has overcome her fear of speaking. Amen….But there are others of you that are listening right now, that the thought of being up here in my place and speaking to people, I’ve seen people perspire when I say to them, you have a Word, why don’t you bring it?…And the little drop of perspiration will start, just start right there, and a little twitch will start in their left eye, and start twitching, and their eye…[laughter] And I realize that they start grinding their hands, that, you know to speak, wait a minute I’ll sing, I’ll dance, I’ll burp my kid, but don’t ask me to come up here and speak in public. And it said, fear of speaking.
One guy that had that fear just like that was the Apostle Peter…. Peter was a fisherman. He thought of himself as not a very intelligent person. But he also realized that he was a sinful man. I said, he also realized he was a sinful man. [amen] You know, God wants to help you, but you’re going to have to get to the first place which is the truth. The truth is, that you have sinful desires. So, when Jesus preaches from Peter’s boat, Peter doesn’t get up on the boat and make a public speech. He just goes over privately to Jesus and says, do me a favor, get out of my boat, get away from me, I’m a sinful man. So he could discern holiness from evil and he could discern that Jesus was special and that he (Peter) had sin. But one thing we don’t see is, it takes a long time before we realize that Peter, the fisherman, the uneducated dude, becomes a public speaker because he reaches into a place where he’s willing to lay himself down in order to achieve the purpose of God.
Look at it here in Acts, Chapter 2, verse 14. They’d just received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and it says, “But Peter,” It almost kind of implies that he was an exception to the rule, for it says, “But Peter.” It wouldn’t be as astonishing if it had said, John. Because John traveled with a prophet. John was around a prophet. He knew something about speaking to people. He knew something about being in the presence of important and powerful people. So John had some experience with that, but not this fisherman, for it says, “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice…” Whose voice did he raise? [his voice] His voice. He found something that was important enough to be said, that his fear of public speaking was overcome by the urgency of the moment. He wasn’t concerned about himself, or he didn’t even take the time to consider is my tie on right? Is my shirt correct? Do I have on the right apparel? Or do I look good? Honey, is my hair to the right side or the left side? It doesn’t say he was concerned about his appearance. He wasn’t concerned about his education. He wasn’t concerned about anything. He was under the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. And he was able to lay himself down and just go with the flow.
And it says, he opened his mouth. He “raised his voice and he said, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:…” And then he begins to preach to the people…and explain to them that they are witnessing with their own eyes an outpouring of the power of God. It could not have happened if Peter wasn’t willing to lay himself down.
Go to Acts, Chapter 4…In Acts, Chapter 4, we see these same two men, Peter and John of whom I spoke previously, and they are in a difficult situation. It says in verse 1, “Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word…” did what? [believed] “…believed; and the number of men…” now remember, no man, the married guys, you know, you don’t go to a convention and not take your wife. So we know that if there’s 5,000 men, you know, you got another 5,000 women and children. Amen? So in this period of time, the, the numbers exceeded that. In verse 5, “And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander...” And all of these, and so forth. Now look at verse 7, “And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Once again we see, “…Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well...” Remember they just participated in a healing of this guy, and he says, “let it be known…” in verse 10…”to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” [glory] Now, I’m, I’m not preaching on this, but I want you to look at verse 13 cause that keeps us within the context of of where we’re going. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.” Lord have mercy!
What I’m trying to say to you is, if we would learn how to lay down self, the boldness of Jesus Christ will come upon us, and we can be used as great vessels by Him. But we’re going to have to lay down some of our stuff. We’re going to have to lay down our egos and some of our attitudes, in order to what? Pick up that which is greater. The greater reward is available to us if we’re going to learn how to do what? Lay down ourselves. More people in the church would witness and would witness boldly, if they could get out of themselves. If they could get past the fact of always worrying about what are they going to think about me? What are they going to say about me? I would mention Jesus on my job, but, you know, they may not eat lunch with me. A, they might not call me to go bowling. And so forth, and so on. And so what happens is, we’ve got to learn how to lay self down and realize that God, the only instrument and weapon that He has on the earth is you…[amen] You are His hands. You are His eyes. You are a part of His body. He is waiting for you to lay you down. Lord have mercy, I got a whole lot of “you’s” in here. He is waiting for you to lay you down, so that you can become an instrument in His hand. [hallelujah] And He said, He will give us the boldness if we’d just make that commitment, that same commitment that Peter and John made, which was, “Lord, I’m willing to lay myself down.”
You in Romans 12″1-2 it says, “be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” In other words, we have to… out of our old willpower, you have to just face some stuff. The reality is that you do have a free will. You can spit in the eye of God, if you can reach that far….I thought that was funny, but never mind. But you can do that. You can neglect God. You can walk away from God. You can walk away from the people of God. You can walk away from yourself. You can do all of that because you do have a free will. And don’t believe these people that say that God has already predetermined your will. God may know what you’re doing. But he hasn’t predetermined what you’re going to do. He is basing the fact that He knows what you’re going to do upon the fact that He can see across time. [that’s right] But since you can’t you’re making a choice in time. [yes] Did I go too fast? You got that? You’re making a choice in time…and therefore you don’t see the possibilities and the ramifications. That’s why we have to learn to trust on God’s will…
So Peter and John are in this situation where now the authorities are marshalling themselves against them so, let’s see what else happens here. In verse 18, “So they called them…” that’s Peter and John, “and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to listen to God, you judge.” And then they hit them hard. “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” [thank you Lord] “So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.”…
We need to realize something, if you get your will intact, and if you will lay yourself down, the glory that is on the other side of your embarrassment is well worth it…[clapping] There’s glory waiting for you on the other side. It’s well worth it. We just have to learn to do the proper, listen to me, we have to learn to do the proper thing concerning people and prayer…You know barging into your dentist’s office and saying to the secretary across the desk, you know, come over here, I’m going to pray for you, you heathen, [laughter] is thoroughly ineffective evangelism. [laughter]…Even if you feel led, you’d better check whose leading you. [hey!, yeah that’s the truth] … Cause taking people hostile captive will never win them to the Lord. [teach pastor] Attacking them will never win them to the Lord. [amen] And if you’re not careful, you will be judging them…and you can’t win people that you put negative judgment on, to the Lord. So, why don’t we just ask…You feel led to pray…Why don’t you ask. There’s nothing wrong with leaning over the secretary’s desk and say, “How are you doing?” She says, “Fine.” You know. “Would you like some prayer?” And she says, “No, I’d like you to pay your bill on time.” [laughter]…Lord have mercy!
Let’s move right along. Moving right along. Go to verse 41, Chapter 2. Go to, I’ve got Acts Chapter 2, 41…Two – 41. What am I trying to say? I’m saying that if you will lay yourself down, you will lose your fear of public speaking. You will lose your fear of people. You will lose your fear of authorities in the world. You won’t be afraid of anyone. And therefore you will be able to speak boldly about Christ, or to boldly defend yourself. You shouldn’t be afraid of a judge. He is an elected official. [hallelujah] I said, “You shouldn’t be afraid of him, he’s an elected official.” He’s been put there in place by your tax dollars. He is an employee of yours. You shouldn’t be afraid of a schoolteacher or a principal. They make their living off of you. You should not be afraid of anyone in public office for they are supposed to be servants, even though they try to lord over us. You should be able to walk into anyone’s office and let them know who you are in the Lord. In a polite and and wonderful manner.
Your doctor has information, but your doctor is not God. You should remind him that your God is involved in the medical business as well and that your God will guide his hands. Your God will set the correct prescriptions. Your God will determine your healing time and the process by which your deliverance shall come. [amen] Don’t be afraid of him, talk to him in order that they might what?
Remember that you are a saint and therefore that they have to also, you know, it’s like that Jewish, that Jewish thing. Remember in the city they have picture of a hotdog, and there’s a guy holding the hotdog, and, and he says…who remembers it? [Hebrew National] Hebrew National hotdogs, and it said, “But we answer to a higher authority.” [laughter] You, you need to be like that hotdog. Hotdoggitt. [laughter] You need to answer to a higher authority.
Come on, let’s look at this verse, of 41. How many of you are there? [there] Alright, in Acts 2, 41 it says, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.” Watch this. “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,” Come on, let’s read verse 47 together, come on. “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
You see, God will also take away your fear of poverty…if you will lay it down. If you will bless the Lord, by giving Him authority over your finances, your fear of poverty can be lifted off of you. You can come before the Lord and you can hand your checkbook. I brought my checkbook today. You all want to see it? This is my checkbook…I will never be poor again…This, this is my checkbook. God will always give me… listen, God will always give me the ability to write my bills…and mail them. With the fullest confidence that what? There’s enough money in here to cover them…Now, if you can’t do that, you need to get your house in order. Because you should always have abundance coming in so that you can meet what you need to have done. What did the early apostles have? It says they had no fear of lack, no fear of poverty. They came together and they were willing to put everything into…I know the church isn’t ready for that now. But guess what, as persecution increases, as the economic pressure that Jesus said is coming on the earth does, trust me, you’re going to bring a potato, you, going to bring an onion, you’re going to bring a slab of, slab of bacon or beef or whatever, you going to bring some potato chips, and you going to bring a piece of pie, and then you’re going bring some apples and some fruit, you’re going to bring all the little bit you have, and bring it into the House, and we’re sure enough going to get greasy [yeah]…
Well, I know right now you don’t want to share. But some of us are going to go fishing and bring the fish out of necessity because that’s what’s coming on the earth. [thank you Lord] The Day of the Lord is coming. You can’t stop it. And when it gets real, we’re going to do that. We’re going to look like the church in the book of Acts. We’re going to bring what little bit we have, because we will have no fear of poverty, cause we’re going to lay our wealth down. We’re going to lay it down. Everything I have belongs not to me, but belongs to the Lord. And it’s for His use. And that’s why I’m abundantly blessed…I said, that’s why I’m abundantly blessed. [hallelujah] Because I’ve laid it down before Him, I’ve put it at His altar of His feet.
Hannah laid her womb, her womb could produce no children, but what did she do? She laid her empty womb before the Lord, and what did He do? He filled it. She lost her fear of barrenness, because she laid it down and gave it to the Lord. What about Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus? They weren’t traditional Christians, no, they were Jews sitting in positions of power and authority. But after they came to Jesus, after they heard what He said, they were willing to lay down their tradition. They were willing to lay down the way that they thought. They were willing to lay down their denominational thinking. Because, why? They knew if they laid it down, He would give them eternal life. And then look at Jairus. He is the High, not he High priest, but he’s the priest in the Temple, and the Temple had not yet accepted Jesus as a miracle worker. They didn’t accept Him as a healer. But Jairus says, “My daughter is sick. My daughter is sick unto death.” He laid down his rigid thinking, and he laid down his prejudice against this vagabond of a preacher man, who’s wandering all over the country, and he said, “I don’t care what the authorities say. I don’t care what these people say. I’m laying down my prejudice cause Jesus is here. I’m going to go get Jesus.” …
Isn’t this an incredible sermon?
Have a blessed day!
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