Hello. And welcome to this message from Calvary Albuquerque. We're excited to hear from our special guest speaker, Daniel Fusco, lead pastor of Crossroads Community Church, in Vancouver, Washington. We pray God uses these messages to strengthen your faith. If He does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving.
Scripture has a way of showing us that life is messy. But Jesus is real. In his message, "Walking Honestly," Daniel shares how to navigate through the messiness of life while staying focused on Jesus. We invite you to mark your Bibles in Ephesians 4 as he begins.
Well, good morning, everybody. How's everyone doing this morning?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Yeah. I know everyone's a little terrified. I hear that little tempered golf clap, like, what are we going to do with this guy? So it's a pleasure to be back here with you all. I'll be honest. I was absolutely shocked the first time Pastor Skip invited me to teach. And the fact that he invited me back again proves that he is certifiably loco en la cabeza.
So you can pray for him. Better pray for yourselves, right now, as well. So it rained here last night. You can thank me for that.
So I live just outside of Portland, Oregon, in southwest Washington. Whenever people hear that I live and am from Vancouver, they always think Vancouver, British Columbia. No, no. I'm in the lesser Vancouver-- Vancouver, Washington. And so it's been raining where we live for about the last like seven months. So we're happy to share that water from the sky with you all. Amen. Oh, there you go.
So I wrote this book that just came out, called, Honestly Getting Real About Jesus and Our Messy Lives. We have some available in the foyer and as Pastor Skip said, that I'm going to be signing it after this service. So I'd love to meet you. For those of you who either like to buy books online, you can it at Amazon, all those different places.
But I wrote this book, because I felt like I had to write it. Because there's two truths that we're all experiencing that grabbed my heart. The first truth is something that I know about you, I know about the person sitting next to you, I know about your loved ones and your neighbors, and something that you know about me, and that's the fact that life is messy. Everyone's life is messy. That's the universal human condition.
Each one of us has areas in our lives, situations, that are just messy. I think about my own life. I remember when I met the woman who is now my bride, Lynn. It was like God took an angel and put skin on her. And she actually wanted to talk to me. And I remember we fell in love.
And then we got married. And I learned really quickly that marriage is messy. Now, I also learned, and I didn't know it at the time, but all the messiness in marriage is on the husband's side of the bed.
And all the sisters said, what? Amen, Pastor, right? And all the guys are like, Fusco, come on. But marriage is messy. My pastor, John Henry Corcoran, used to say marriage is like two porcupines trying to snuggle. And it's true. It's a beautiful thing, but it's messy.
And then, of course, you get married. And then you're like, OK, we're going to have a family. For Lynn and I, six weeks after we got married, we got pregnant. Or really, she got pregnant. But we did it. We are pregnant, you know.
And then we had these beautiful little beings that we call kids. And raising kids is a total mess, right? And I'm not just talking about like dirty diapers and boogers kind of total mess. Like raising kids is messy. Like right now, we have three at home. We have Obadiah. He's 11. Cool name, right? Holla, right?
And then we have an eight-year-old girl. If you thought Obadiah was a cool name, we have an eight-year-old girl named Maranatha. Oooooh. Well, that's good. And then we thought we were done having babies, and then God gave us one more. So we have a two-year-old at our house named Annabelle. Now, can I be honest with you? Annabelle's the naughtiest one we've ever had.
She's the cutest little thumb-sucking terrorist you've ever met in your life. So you can pray for us. It's totally-- I mean, I love this little girl, and she is the naughtiest. So you can pray for us. And it's like, and you're like, so Fusco, they haven't even hit teenage years yet. You don't even know how messy this is going to get, right? So life is messy, and certain things we choose, but other things are imposed on us from the outside.
So I wrote this book, Honestly Getting Real About Jesus in Our Messy Lives, because first, life is messy. But there is no hope in the message that life is messy. It's just our reality, right? But there's this other truth that's even more important. It's that not only is life is messy, but that Jesus is real, that Jesus, in the midst of the messiness of your life and my life, Jesus has this way of leveraging the messy circumstances to bring glory to God and to transform us to be a blessing to other people.
And that's where the hope comes in. See, the Christian message is not, if you believe in Jesus, your life won't be messy. I mean, there's spiritual warfare. I mean, then you get-- you feel called into ministry. That's a tragic mess, you know?
But the message is that life is messy, but Jesus is real. And so I felt I had to write this book, because I wanted to be a voice of hope into an entire population of people, every living soul, whose life is messy, but who Jesus wants to be the Lord of the mess of their lives. And so I wrote this book.
And so what I want to share with you today is six ways to walk honestly through a messy world. We want to learn how to walk honestly. And I get into some of this in the book. But really, I don't want to teach you about my book. I want to teach you about God's book.
So I want you to open up in your Bibles to Paul's letter to the Ephesians. We're going to be looking at Chapters 4 and 5. So open your Bibles. Ephesians 4 and 5. Now, I know what you're thinking right now. You're thinking, OK, Ephesians 4 and 5, right? That's a lot of ground to cover.
Now, what I want you to know is I am not going to be unpacking Ephesians 4 and 5 with Pastor Skip's laser-like surgical precision. Because I mean, your pastor has got a very serious teaching gift. And whenever I listen to Pastor Skip, it's like laser-like heart surgery in the Word, right? And you guys are blessed with it.
Now, I'm more of like, I'm going to use a chainsaw.
Right? So I'm going to be popping around different-- so I know Pastor Skip's already taught you this better than I ever could in my most amazing day, splicing all my messages together, getting it perfect. So but I think God wants to do a work as we look at these six ways to walk that Paul just streams through Ephesians 4 and 5. And we're going to get at it.
So you're there in Ephesians 4. Let's bow our heads and our hearts one more time. Let's ask God to bless our time in his Word.
Father, thank you for the Bible. Thank you for giving us your heart in a book. And Father, we acknowledge the fact that our lives are messy in all different ways, but they're messy just the same, and that Jesus is real. And Father, we ask that you would meet each one of us personally, intimately, uniquely. And Father, would you take your Word and apply it to our lives by the Holy Spirit in all the ways that you have ordained for this day?
Father, give us open ears to hear. Give us open hearts to both receive your love and enlarge our hearts, that we can give it out just as you love us. Lord, bless your Word, and bless it to our ears. And we ask it all in Jesus' name. And all of God's family said--
Amen. OK. You ready to jump in? Ephesians 4, verse 1. Look at how this starts. It says, "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord." Now, stop right there for a second. Did you hear what Paul just said? I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord.
The apostle Paul is writing this letter from jail. Talk about a messy life, the apostle Paul's writing this from the big house, from the pokey, the clink. The apostle Paul was, so to speak, making license plates for the Roman Empire.
But Jesus called. And see, I don't want you to think that your messy life is unique. The apostle Paul is writing from jail. Imagine if Jesus, when he met Saul of Tarsus on that Damascus Road, said, hey, Saul, guess what? You're persecuting me. But listen. Come follow me. I'm going to send you right into the big house. I'm going to give you a prison ministry. How does that sound, buddy?
Do you think Paul would have signed up? Maybe not. Paul's life was messy. And you read through his letters in the book of Acts, and you find that. Did you ever think about how messy Jesus' life must have been? I mean, imagine being the only young guy in the city of Nazareth, where the story goes that his mom and dad didn't have relations before they got married, and he's the child of the Spirit of God. Do you think that would be fun going to elementary school like that?
Or maybe even more messy, imagine being the perfect Son of God and being raised by imperfect parents. Or could you imagine maybe Joseph, Jesus' step-dad, had anger management issues? And Jesus is like, well now, Dad, that doesn't really quite glorify God, the way that you're acting right now. Did you ever think about that?
And then, not to mention, Jesus was misunderstood, lied about. His own followers didn't get him. They forsook him in his most needy moments, not to mention, his betrayal and the scourging and the cross.
See, your mess and my mess, we're not unique in that. On every page, from Genesis to Revelation, we see the messiness of life, but we see God working in the midst of the mess. That's one of the things I talk about in the book, that every miracle is preceded by a problem. That's why a miracle happens.
There is a problem, an issue, a mess, and God leverages that. So I didn't want you to miss that before we jumped in, because the apostle Paul's life was totally messy, just like yours and just like mine. But yet, he walked through it. And he is exhorting the church in Ephesus.
Now, look at the first way we should walk. "I beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." First, we walk in humility. We walk in humility. I get that from verse 2.
It begins in verse 1 by saying, we need to walk worthy of the calling with which we were called. Now, that word worthy literally means to bring a scale into balance. So it's almost like you have a triple beam balance. How many of you guys remember that from chemistry class? Yeah a couple of you. I slept through chemistry class. That's the only thing I remember, right?
You would put like-- there'd be these two little trays, and you'd put something on one side, and then you need to put something else on the other side to bring it into balance. So in Paul's mind, on one side is Jesus and his finished work. And for us, in order to bring the scales into balance of what Jesus did, we need to walk worthy. We need to bring it into balance.
And we do that by walking in humility with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love. Humility, as it's been said, is not thinking less of yourself. It's thinking about yourself less.
See, it'd be like-- I use Fernando as a great example. I mean, what a gifted worship leader. It is not Biblical humility for Fernando to say, well, I really can't play the piano. I can't really sing that well. Because God has given those gifts. That's not honest. That would be a false humility, if he were to say that.
See, humility is not thinking less of yourself, being self-deprecating. But humility is being divorced from your obsession with yourself. See, humility is not thinking less of yourself. It's thinking about yourself less.
As John the Baptist said, Jesus must, what? Increase. And I must, what? Decrease. That's a great way to look at humility. And in a messy world, you and I need to walk in humility.
Now, one of the ways we know that we need to walk in humility is because obviously, Jesus is changing all of us. He's transforming us. And Jesus is humble. Think about classic verses, Matthew, Chapter 11, verses 28 to 30, classic verses, where Jesus says, come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am, what? Meek and lowly in heart, gentle and humble, some your translations say.
And he says, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light, and you will find rest for your souls. See, Jesus is humble, right? And because Jesus is humble, Jesus wants to make us humble by the presence of His Holy Spirit. So you've got to ask yourself, are you walking in humility through a messy life?
It's a challenging question, isn't it? Especially in a culture where there is so much self-obsession. There's so much, you are the most important thing in the world. But God wants to humble us.
Now, what's amazing is, if you think of the opposite of humility, is what? Pride, right? Now, when you are proud, it's very hard to be gentle with somebody, because you really just want to poke them in the eye, right? Bbppp.
Because you don't like what they're doing, you want to poke them in the eye. Maybe I'm the only one. You guys are good Christian people. God ain't finished with me yet. You kind of want to just, like, come on. Right?
Or the idea of long-suffering, I know that's everyone's favorite word in the Bible, right? It's the perfect definition for patience. You have to suffer with somebody for a long time. Now, most of us do not do that well. Why? Because we're proud. We forget how patient God is with us.
I mean, can you imagine if God was impatient with us? I mean, I always, I'm like, man, God is so patient. I would have wiped me out a long time ago if I was God. I would have just figured out a way to wipe the Fusco face off the face of the earth, wipe away every memory of that train wreck. And you know what makes me laugh? It's the same for you, too.
But God is so patient with us. God's not finished with us yet. And because God has been so patient with us, we can pass that forward. The idea of bearing with one another. Those aren't mellow terms. Those are excruciating terms. But because God's doing it in us, God wants us to pass that along.
Now, I don't want you to miss verse 3 before we move on. Because you might say, well, how do I know if I'm walking in humility, as opposed to walking in pride? Look what it says in verse 3. "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
What we learn here is that humility breeds unity. Or the fruit of humility is unity. See, the reason relationships disintegrate is always because of pride. Somebody's self obsession now undercuts the opportunity to have a real relationship.
And so if you look at your life, and you look at the relationships, the strained ones, pride is always at the root of that. Maybe it's someone else's, or it's your own. But humility will breed unity.
You think about it even right now. There's some of you who are here. You don't have a relationship with God. You haven't put your faith and trust in Jesus. Why? The reason you do not have a relationship with God is because your own pride is keeping you from receiving Jesus.
Now, I can say that, because I did not grow up in a Christian home. I know some of you are like, absolutely, I can see that in you, Fusco. You know? I didn't grow up in a Christian home. And so I came to know Jesus when I was 21 years old, at the very last semester of college. So I had made every mistake you can imagine. I made it in spades. Right?
And I remember hearing about Jesus. I'm like, man, I don't want Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I kind of like being my own lord. I like doing it my own way. I want to be the king of my own kingdom. Right?
But then I realized, the only reason there is a disintegration in the relationship that God created me to experience with him was because of my own pride. God has done everything to make sure that relationship abides. But I'm the issue.
But when you're humble enough to say, God sent Jesus to die on a cross for me because I need it. And I'm willing to receive the Great Physician's medicine to cure my ailments, then all of a sudden, the relationship comes back together again. But it takes humility. Humility will always breed unity, so we need to walk in humility.
Now, moving on from there, go down to Ephesians 4, verse 17. We'll see the second way we need to walk. It says, "This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk." Now, I like this. This teaches us that we should walk in uniqueness. We should walk in uniqueness. It says, you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk.
Now, in context, for somebody who was Jewish, there was a division between the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who believed in the true and living God, the Creator and the sustainer God, the God of the Bible.
Now, when Jesus died and rose again, the people of God, the Jewish people, who believed in the true and living God, it became multi-ethnic in that way, where now, Gentiles, people who had grown up outside of this reality, were being grafted in, like the church in Ephesus. So what Paul is saying is, listen, I want you to be unique from the world I just delivered you from. Ephesus was right in the middle of the Gentile world, but Paul is saying, I want you to be unique from the world that I called you out of.
And by extension, you walking through a messy life, you want to be unique from the world that you've just been delivered from. So let me ask you a question. If someone decided that they wanted to round up and try and convict people of following Jesus, would there be any evidence to convict you?
Like, if I followed you home today-- don't worry, I'm not a creeper that way-- but if I followed you home today, and I knocked on your neighbor's door, and said, hey, my name is Daniel. I'm this guest teacher over at Calvary Albuquerque. Do you know that your neighbor goes to Calvary Albuquerque? Would they be like, what?
They go to church? I wouldn't have known they were Christian by the ragers they throw every Friday night, that every time I do something, they see me, they scowl at me, because they don't like the fact that I planted petunias in my side of the yard, or whatever. They're so mean. Every time I do something, they write a letter to the HOA. Why don't they just help, or something?
If that's you, that ain't good, because what it means is that you are not like Jesus, that there isn't a uniqueness in your life that shows like we find in the book of Acts, that although they were uneducated, the Pharisees knew that they had been with Jesus. See, our life should be unique from the world that we've been delivered out of.
Now, as it relates to a messy life, one of the things I talk about in my book is that the messiness of your life will either make you bitter or better, right? Now, for people who don't know Jesus, most times they become bitter because life's messy. Nothing I can do about it. Everything happens. There's nobody in control of this.
There's no God. It just is happenstance. And all you do is you become bitter, because there's nothing you can do about it. But for the people of God, we should be getting better, because we have this message of hope. Because we know that all things work together for good for those who love God.
It doesn't say, we hope. Or maybe if we're lucky, in a swan song, we're going to get there. We know this thing. So are you unique from the world in which we live in?
I look at right now, with this election cycle that's going on. Christians are so all hopeless in this thing, as if we really believe that a presidential candidate can do what only Jesus can do. I'm not saying it has no meaning. But I'm saying Christians always have hope, because Jesus is real.
I mean, the early Christians--
Oh, yeah. Some of you are like, I don't really believe that, Fusco. I'm not so sure. Listen, Christianity flourished the best with pagan Roman emperors. So no matter who we end up with, because Jesus is real, the light always shines the brightest in the darkness.
So I'm not saying don't vote. Definitely vote. But I'm not saying, don't think for one second, whoever ends up in that Oval Office is sitting as the King of kings and Lord of lords over all eternity. Amen? OK, good.
Don't clap. No, clap. Go ahead. Just go on. Just go on.
OK. Now that I alienated everybody, which is-- I do this really well. There's another. Not only should we be unique from the world in which we live, but there's another type of uniqueness that the apostle Paul gets at in the book of Ephesians. And you could pull this out of Ephesians Chapter 2, verse 10. And I think this is super important.
Ephesians 2:10 says-- it's a classie verse-- it says, we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. I talk about this in the book. That word "poema" in the Greek, it literally is the word-- or the word workmanship in the Greek is the word "poema," which we get the word poem from.
Now, it says, for we are God's poem. Or maybe by extension, we are God's masterpiece. We are God's work of art. See, not only should we walk in uniqueness from the world that we've been delivered from, but we should walk in uniqueness within the body of Christ from one another. Each one of you is God's unique masterpiece.
Now, I want you to look at the person next to you and say, you're God's work of art. Go ahead. Now, look at the person on the other side. Say, you're God's masterpiece. That's right. Good.
Now listen. Before you pull out your phones and start doing selfies on Instagram, being like, I'm God's masterpiece, you've got to remember that you are God's masterpiece that is still in process. You are not completed, hanging on a museum wall, amen? God's not done.
He hasn't written the final movements of the symphony of your life. He hasn't put all the finishing touches on who he's created you to be. But you are God's unique masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus. Now, that's not some sort of, be an individual, because we're American, and that's how we roll. This is uniqueness in Christ, under the authority of Jesus. Right?
God has created you uniquely in Christ for certain good works that only you can do. And what happens is, is within the body of Christ, we kind of don't like the uniquenesses of people. Like some of you, right now, are like, I don't know what Pastor Skip's doing, bringing this guy with this really weird, freaky-looking hair.
Like, why can't get like a normal haircut, like a little Pompadour, or something, a little parted down the middle, and you know.
And like, I've been a pastor long. I get it all the time. People come to Crossroads. I'll be playing the bass on the worship team. And they'll be like, oh, look, they let a weird guy play on the worship team. And then I go out and preach. They're like, there's a weird preacher in this place. What kind of church is this?
But the thing is, is God has created us all uniquely for certain good works that God's prepared beforehand, that we'd walk in them. And we make the mistake of wanting to suppress God-given uniqueness, rather than championing it, because God has good works that he wants to do, that only he can do for someone who looks weird like me and someone who looks perfect like you.
But we need to make space for uniqueness. Now, listen, those of you who are married, listen. This is the single greatest thing that frustrates your marriage. Because your spouse is different from you, and deep down, you really want to be married to you.
Let me give you some pastoral advice. You'd hate to be married to you. Trust me. Trust me. You don't want to be married to you. But you guys get frustrated with one another, because you're different.
Now, you can imagine my cute little wife, who's so sweet, having to put up with me every day. Like, man, God is teaching her long-suffering like you don't even know. But God loves the uniquenesses within the kingdom.
See, don't quench what God wants to do. Give each other space to grow in these ways. Because each one of us, God has certain good works that we should walk in, because we're unique in Christ.
Now, I could talk about this all day. But we want to keep moving. So look at what happens next. So we've seen we've got to walk in humility. We've got to walk in uniqueness.
Now, look at Ephesians 5, verse 1. "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." This is easy. Verse 2 gives it to us. We need to walk in love. We need to walk in love.
If there's is anything the world needs from the people of God, is that we walk in love through a messy world. Now, how do we do this? Verse one tells us that we become imitators of God as dear children.
OK. You want to have some fun? How many of you have ever said or thought in your heart, I'm never going to be like my parents? Pretty much all of us, right?
Now, what's amazing is, is that I definitely said that. And all of a sudden, I had kids. And then, all of a sudden, I go to talk, and my dad comes out my face. And even though I said, there ain't no way I'm going to be like my dad, I mean, I was a train wreck, right? All of a sudden, stuff just starts coming out of you.
Now, those of you who are teenager, like, there ain't no way, Fusco. Don't tell me this. Listen, prophetic word for you all teenagers, you're going to end up like your parents.
I just got to put out. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But Jesus is real, and it's OK. Right? Like this happened at my house. Remember I told you about my little Annabelle, the naughtiest, cutest little thumb-sucking terrorist you'll ever meet? That's Annabelle. She's so cute. If I put a picture on, you'd be like, aw, she's so cute. Right?
So sure enough, when you have a two-year-old at your house, everything is good until everything gets quiet, right? When it's quiet, you know that there's some shenanigans going on, right? And so sure enough, me and my wife are sitting there. We're talking, and we're drinking coffee.
And all of a sudden, we realized it's really quiet. And she looks at me in horror. And I'm like, oh, oh. I've got to find Annabelle, Annabelle. And Annabelle comes peeling out of her sister's room. No, no, no, no, no. Now, where do you think she learned that from? The number of times that cute little girl's heard no, no, no, no, no is unbelievable. That's the most common thing I say to her. No, no, because she's naughty, right?
So she comes out of the room, no, no, no, no, no. And she's about this high, so I just kind of hurdled her. I walk in the room, and Annabelle's art is all over her sister's walls in crayon and marker. Right? Oh, yeah, now pray for me, you know?
But it was so funny, because Annabelle comes out the room, no, no, no, no, no. Because she got that from me. And all the naughtiness in [INAUDIBLE], that's from her mom, you know?
But we become chips off the old block from our parents. But the beauty is that in Christ, you have a new Heavenly Father. And God wants to make you and me in Christ chips off the old block, that we begin to imitate our Heavenly Father, and we walk in love.
And how do we know that we're walking in love? Because we have this beautiful example, "As Christ also loved us and gave himself for us." Jesus said this in John, Chapter 15, verses 12 and 13. He said, "This is my commandment." Listen to this. "That you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one's life for his friends."
See, we become like God when we walk in love, and we love the way Jesus loved. Now, what's the opposite of love? People always say hate. It's absolute-- it's not that. Because hate and love are both strong emotions, just in different areas.
Jesus actually teaches us that the opposite of love is apathy. How do I know this? You guys are doing a series on Revelation, right? The church in Laodicea, Revelation 3. Jesus said, I'd wish that you were hot or cold. Why? Because when you're lukewarm, I'm going to do, what? Spit you out of my mouth. So when it causes God to have a gag reflex, you know it's no good. Right? That's what we learn there.
So lukewarmness, apathy, is the opposite of love. Now, what the world needs more than anything right now is the people of God to love the way God loves. Because the Church of Jesus Christ today is known for its judgment, its anger, right? And I heard Billy Graham. I just read this quote by him, that it's the Father's job to judge, it's the Spirit's job to convict, and it's my job to love.
See, the world doesn't need our judgment. It needs the love of Jesus flowing through our lives, a self-sacrificial love, the fact that God loved us and sent Jesus. We need to love this world enough so that they can see the love of Jesus, the goodness of God, coming through us. But you can't love people who you're judging.
And God never asked us to judge other people. He asked us to love other people. I'm not saying be soft on sin. I'm saying, be big on God's love, and God's love is greater than someone's sin, just like it is in our lives.
Huh, huh, huh.
I'm going to be as honest as I know how to be. It's the hardest thing to love a messy person. It's so hard, right? You get frustrated when they're messy. You want to just kind of knock them on the head, like, get it right. Now you guys know I do. God's working on me.
But God loves us, even when we are not being lovable. That's why Jesus came. That's the rescue mission. That's the plan. So we have to walk in love. Now, not only that, scroll down a little bit. Ephesians 5, verse 8. We've seen walk in humility, walk in uniqueness, walk in love. In verse 8, notice this. "For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, finding out what is acceptable to the Lord."
My friends, walk in light. We have to walk in the light. It says, you were once darkness, and now you are light in the Lord. So we were darkness, outside of Jesus. And now, in Christ, we are in light, and we walk in the light. We know this, because the Bible says that God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him.
Of course, Jesus, in John, Chapter 8, verse 12, he said, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." In the Sermon on the Mount, then he says that you are the light of the world. So we walk in light. We reflect the light of Jesus into a broken world, into a messy world.
Now, you might say, well, how do I know if I'm walking in darkness? I got three quick things for you. Write them down, and think about them later. You know you're walking in darkness when you are hiding, when you are lying, and when you are blaming other people. When you're hiding, when you're lying, and when you're blaming other people.
Yeah, but where'd you get that from, Fusco? Easy. Genesis, Chapter 3. When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, what do they do? They lied about what they did, they hid from God, and they blamed other people. Remember, Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. Because the serpent was the only one left there, he got stuck with the hot potato.
I tell my kids all the time, if you're hiding something, if you're lying about it, and if you're blaming other people, that's where you know you're walking in darkness. You might say, well, Fusco, someone else is to blame. Listen. No, no no. Someone else might play a part in your darkness, but you are responsible for your response to whatever they're doing.
And blaming somebody else is abnegating your responsibility that God has given you for your own life. So stop blaming other people. You got to own what God is going to hold you accountable for, which is your own life. But you know you're walking in darkness when you hide it, when you lie about it, and when you blame somebody else for it.
So are you doing those things? Write it down. Confess it to somebody else. Own it before God, and walk in light. The best way to counteract the darkness is to drag everything into the light. That's how it's defeated, because the light reveals everything.
So we have to walk in light. Notice next, in verse 15 of Ephesians 5, we see the next way we should walk. "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is."
Not only should we walk in humility and walk in uniqueness and walk in love and walk in light, now we need to walk in wisdom. Notice this. See then that you walk circumspectly. That word circumspectly means work with a lot of carefulness. Walk in such a way that you are hyper vigilant. You have to be careful.
And it says, when you're being uncareful, you're acting as a fool, not as a wise person. Now, you might say, OK, so walk in wisdom as opposed to foolishness. So how do we do that? That's the way I am. When I read the Bible, I'm like, OK, so if that's the answer, then what do we do? What's the next step, Lord?
Well, it reminds me of what it says in Proverbs, Chapter 9, verse 10, and Psalm 111, verse 10, where it says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Did you hear that? What's the beginning of wisdom? What's the first step of wisdom? What's the doorway to wisdom? What is it? The fear of the Lord.
Now, let me ask you. When was the last time you woke up and said, I want to fear the Lord today? Almost never, right? Like it's not something we talk about a lot. What does it mean to fear the Lord? But if it's the beginning of wisdom, and we need to walk in wisdom, because if we're not walking in wisdom, we're walking in foolishness, then how do we fear the Lord?
I've got two ways to fear the Lord. First, you want to fear God's authority to judge what you're doing. You fear his authority. I'll use a great example of this, always the same example, but I'll put it in New Mexican context.
Imagine you are driving down I-25. You're in the left-hand lane, just kind of stroll along. It's a beautiful day. You look down at your speedometer. You're doing 83, 84. And all of a sudden, you look in your mirrors, and there's a white and black car with lights on it. What do you do? You slam on your brakes, 10 and 2, and your eyes dart between the road, the rear view mirror, and the speedometer, right?
Now, you know what's amazing? If you're in the right-hand lane going 55, and you see that white and black car with the lights on it, you do the exact same thing, right? You're going below the speed. You still hit your brakes. You still grab 10 and 2, white knuckle it. Why do you do that? Because we fear the authority of a police officer to turn on those lights, pull you over, issue you a citation, and then you have to pay the fine and then points on the insurance.
I actually got pulled over, and I got a speeding ticket with guys on my staff in the car. Talk about that one of-- they're like, you're a sinner. I'm like, shut up, you know?
Welcome to my messy world. Do you know what I mean? They get mad, go like, oh yeah, Fusco got a speeding ticket. Oh. And all the good Christian ladies are like, oh, Pastor Daniel. I'm like, sorry.
See, wouldn't you wipe me out if you were God? Amen. I'm going to wipe you out right now. Might as well get this done. Anyway if you fear the authority of a police officer to be able to issue a citation for speeding, how much more should we fear the authority of the true and living God, who gets to make the determination for what's right and wrong in this life?
So you fear God's authority. That's one side of it. But the other side of it is equally important. That is we should fear breaking God's heart, because of the relationship that we have with him. One of the best parts of a loving relationship is also a healthy fear of breaking your loved one's heart.
I do this with my son Obadiah. He's 11. We have those man-to-man talks, because he's 11. He always drops his voice about five dBs. I'm like, ey, Obadiah, hey, buddy. Could we have a talk? Yeah, Dad. Right? I always tell him, Obadiah, don't you ever break your mama's heart. Don't ever make your mama cry.
Why do I do that? Because I don't ever want my son to break his mama's heart. Because I want him to fear breaking the heart of the woman who cares for him and loves him. And that's a healthy thing. And you know what? As a husband, I should fear breaking my wife's heart.
And as a child of God, I should fear breaking my Heavenly Father's heart. That's a healthy thing. That's what real love is. Real love is loving someone else enough not to want to break their heart. And we need to fear breaking our Father's heart.
I think there's some of you right now. You believe in Jesus, and you're breaking God's heart. And you know you're doing it, and you don't even care. That is foolishness. You should fear breaking God's heart, and you should fear breaking your mama's heart.
There's some of you in here right now. You are making your mama cry, and you need to stop that business right now. That's not a good thing. Because your mom loves you, and she cares about you. All she wants you to do is succeed and be a good person and follow hard after Jesus. Stop being a knucklehead. Stop that. You should fear breaking your mom's heart.
And we should fear breaking God's heart. You want to walk in wisdom? Fear God. Fear his authority and the relationship that he bought for you at Calvary's cross.
So we've seen walk in humility, walk in uniqueness, walk in love, walk in light, walk in wisdom. Right? I got one more for you. Now, I'm going to invite Fernando and the worship team to come on out as we close out.
Now, this is what I want to tell you about the last one. First, it actually doesn't say walk in the text. So I'm just taking the liberty. I'm just going to drive it like I stole it. That's the first thing.
The second thing is that if you get this last one, all the other five will come with it. Notice what it says in verse 18. "And do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit." My friends, we need to walk in the spirit. We need to walk in the spirit.
And if you walk in the spirit, you will walk in humility, because Jesus is humble. If you walk in the spirit, you will walk in uniqueness, both from the world, and be uniquely who God created you to be. If you walk in the spirit, you will walk in love, because the fruit of the Spirit is, what? Love.
And if you walk in the spirit, you will walk in light, because God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. And if you walk in the spirit, you will walk in wisdom and fear of the Lord, because the Spirit takes what is Jesus' and points us into it. So you've got to walk in the spirit.
Now, what's amazing about this is that the Spirit of God, in getting this across to us through the pen of the apostle Paul, uses a very vivid example, one that you might not think he would normally use. Because he says, do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, or that word means excess. Think about the analogy.
Don't be drunk, but be filled with the Spirit. Why? Because when somebody drinks too much or takes drugs, right? And people that didn't grow up in the church got lots of history in those areas. The influence of the foreign substance brings out the worst parts of who we are, right? It's like, when somebody is under the influence, the worst parts of who they are come out-- the anger and the selfishness, and all that stuff comes out. It's the influence of the foreign substance.
Now, in the same way that if you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the worst parts of you come out, if you are under the influence of the foreign substance of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God cultivates the resurrected life of Jesus and pulls it out of us. So it's the best parts of him that is absolutely the best parts of who we could ever be.
And God wants us under the influence of the Holy Spirit. God wants to cultivate the life of Jesus, his resurrected life, in your life. And you know what happens when the Spirit of God cultivates the resurrected life of Jesus in your messy life and in mine? Not only do we not just get bitter, we get better, but the kingdom of God starts to happen.
See, God leverages your messy situation and mine. He leverages the messes that you find yourself in, and now, the kingdom of God starts to touch down. And not only in your own life, but in all the people around you. And I believe that that is God's plans and purposes for the church, that you and I would be ground zero for God's kingdom to touch down, for heaven to touch down, in Albuquerque, in Santa Fe, in Nob Hill, as it is in heaven. In your life and in my life, as it is in heaven.
So if you're here today, and you've already said yes to Jesus, I want to ask you to pray a simple prayer in your heart. Say, God, top me off with your Holy Spirit, to use a drinking analogy. Bottoms up, Lord. And when you put that glass down, he tops you off again. Say, Lord, I want to submit afresh to the work of your Spirit in my own life, and allow God to do a work through your messy life that will reverberate into eternity for God's glory.
Now, there's others of you in here today. You've never said yes to Jesus before. And I'm here to tell you, the only cure for a messy life is Jesus, and his grace and his peace. And when you believe in Jesus, the Spirit of God comes and takes up residence in your life. And I do not want you to leave here today without saying yes to Jesus, without allowing Jesus to be who God created him to be in your life. But you have to respond to it.
God is inviting you, saying, come on. I'll accept you just as you are. But I love you too much to keep you that way. Just come to me, and we'll work on everything. We'll work on all of it. And then I'll invite you to partner with me to change the world. That's what God is offering you today.
And in a moment, I'm going to pray, and I'm going to give you an opportunity to respond to that. And let me tell you. My prayer is that you run to Jesus, because he's already come to save you. You just have to say yes. Amen?
Let's bow our heads and our hearts as we pray. Father, thank you so much for your Word. Thank you for Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Thank you that you could take a messy life like Paul's and leverage it, that we have a third of our New Testament. Father, thank you that it's not just that life is messy, but that Jesus is real.
And Father, by your Spirit, will you cultivate the resurrected life of Jesus in our lives? Father, do all that you want to do. Let us walk in humility. Lord, let us walk in uniqueness. Lord, let us walk in love and walk in light. Let us walk in wisdom. Father, top us off with your Holy Spirit, that it would be in our lives as it is in heaven, that your kingdom would come, and your will would be done.
And now, with their heads bowed and our eyes closed, I believe there's many in here right now, who you're hearing this message, and you're saying, I've never said yes to Jesus. And I've never gotten right with God, and I've never allowed Jesus to forgive me. And I've never allowed Jesus to do the work he wants to do in my life.
And you're hearing all this, and you're saying, I want that. I don't want to get bitter. I don't want this life to be a display of bitterness. I want my life to get better. I want to walk in the spirit. I don't want to be proud. I want to be humble. I don't want to be a cookie cutter of somebody else. I want to be who God made me to be.
I don't want to walk in apathy. I want to walk in love. I don't want to walk in darkness. I want to walk in light. I don't want to walk in foolishness. I want to walk in wisdom.
If that's you today, I'm going to ask you to take a few steps of faith with me. Because I believe that you sense God saying, come on. Let me get at this in your life. If that's you, the first of faith, I just want you to raise your hand up high. Just say yes to Jesus. That's what you're doing. Raise those hands of high.
Oh, God bless you. I see two hands right here. Keep those hands up. I see a hand there in the back, as well. I see another hand right here in the front. Keep those hands up. Raise the hands up high. It's such a big room here. Oh, there's a number of hands up there in the balcony. I see up there. I see there's a number of hands over here on the left-hand side, on my left-hand side here. Keep those hands up.
Other people just saying yes to Jesus. I see you right there in the center, on the left there. God bless you. There's many, many hands up, right now. Now, listen, those of you with your hands raised-- and I believe that there's others of you, your hand's up in your heart-- I'm going to ask you to take another step of faith with me here. And this step is so important.
I'm going to explain to you what we're going to do and why. In a moment, I'm going to ask the entire congregation to stand. And Fernando and the worship team, they're going to begin to sing a worship chorus. And those of you with your hands raised, either up in real time, or your hand is up in your heart, I'm going to ask you to take another step of faith. I'm going to ask you to step out of your seats, and you're going to come down to me in the front.
The reason we do this is because Jesus lived openly and publicly for us. And he invites all of us to live and walk openly and publicly in this world. And we want to draw a line in the sand. We want to be able to say, Jesus came for me. I'm going to follow him, and I'm going to do it right here, right now, with the Calvary family.
So this moment is important, and we don't want to miss it. So are we ready? Let's all stand together, and those of you who are saying yes to Jesus, step out of your seats, and come right down to me in the front. Give your lives to Jesus. Come on.
[APPLAUSE AND MUSIC PLAYING]
(SINGING) Just as I am, without one plea, but that your blood was shed for me. Just as I am, without one plea, but that your blood was shed for me.
As we're singing this chorus, I'm just going to be honest with you. I believe there's about a half dozen more of you right now, who you're seeing people come forward, and God is kind of prompting you, saying, you need to do this right here, right now. Whether you're in the balcony or you're here, I'm going to have Fernando-- he's going to sing that course again.
You need to follow Jesus right now. God is inviting you right now in this moment. And I believe that even me saying it, there's some of you right now who God's saying, he's talking about you. We're going to sing that chorus again one more time. I'm going to wait for you.
You need to step out of your seat right now. And you need to put your faith and trust in Jesus. Because God knew that today, he would robe you in the righteousness of Jesus. He would make you white as snow right here, right now. So we're going to sing again. Come on down. Give your hearts to Jesus. Come on down right now.
(SINGING) Just as I am, without one plea, but that your blood was shed for me. Just as I am, without one plea, but that your blood was shed for me.
Sing it again.
(SINGING) Just as I am, without one plea, but that your blood was shed for me.
This moment for each one of you who are saying yes to Jesus is so important. Because right here, right now, it's both a finish line, and it's a starting line. It's a finish line, because your old life, your life outside of Jesus, it ends right here, right now. That race is over.
But it's also a brand new start, because the apostle Paul calls this the race of faith. He says, if anyone's in Christ, they're brand new. Old things have passed away. All things are being made new. So right here, right now, it's the end. Those old things are gone. And Jesus wants to start a brand new life.
So what we're going to do is in a moment here, we're going to pray together. And then after we pray, we're going to have all of you go with our pastors and our prayer counselors right into that prayer room. Because here Calvary, we don't just want you to make a decision one day at church. But it begins a journey.
And it's a journey that we need to run together. We walk this journey together. And the Calvary family here, they want to walk with you. They want to help you on this journey.
And so after we pray here, we're going to have you go in the prayer room. And we have presents for you. We have Bibles for you. We want to connect with you. But now, what we're going to do is we're going to pray.
Now, listen. I need you to know this. This prayer doesn't save you. As a pastor, I can't save you. Calvary Albuquerque, it's an amazing church. Calvary can't save you. You might say, well, then, if the prayer doesn't save me, why are we praying it? Because if you believe this prayer in your heart, it means that Jesus has already saved you. We're just acknowledging that Jesus has done the work.
So everyone here in the congregation, I want you to raise your hands up. Raise your hands up. And those who are saying yes to Jesus, I want you to repeat after me. I want you to repeat it out loud.
Say, Jesus, I give you my life.
Jesus, I give you my life.
Thank you for saving me.
Thank you for saving me.
I believe in you.
I believe in you.
Your death on the cross.
Your death on the cross.
And your resurrection.
And your resurrection.
Forgive me of my sins.
Forgive me of my sins.
Fill me with your Holy Spirit.
Fill me with your Holy Spirit.
And I ask it all in Jesus' name.
And I ask it all in Jesus' name.
And all of God's people will agree with you and say, amen, amen.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Albuquerque, featuring our guest speaker, Daniel Fusco. How will you put the principles you learned into action? Let us know. Email email@example.com. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque.