Listen to Live | 2021 Battle Plan for Victory
Departure determined their deliverance. (Matthew 2:13, NKJV; John 10:10, NKJV; Matthew 2:12, NKJV; John 16:13, NKJV; 1 Corinthians 2:10; NKJV: Romans 8:14, NKJV; Galatians 5:16, NKJV)
The wise men followed a star, found Jesus, worshiped Him, and it was time to depart. Directions in our lives greatly determine whether we are delivered or destroyed. If you want to be blessed and if you want the abundant life Jesus offers, you have to be willing to follow the direction Jesus gives.
The Devil is determined to try and destroy God’s determined to bring deliverance. (John 10:10, NKJV; Matthew 2:14-15, NKJV)
The devil wants to destroy; God wants to deliver. It’s important to know God’s Word. See where you’re being tested and tried. Remember, God is always one step ahead of the devil. God used Joseph to be part of Jesus’ deliverance and the defeat of Satan.
The destruction and devastation of the Devil. (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV; Matthew 2:16-18; John 1:12, NKJV; John 11:25-27, NKJV; 2 Corinthians 1:20-22, NKJV, 2 Corinthians 1:20, CEV)
Baby Jesus was protected and provided for. God knew what they were going to need before it ever came about. It’s God’s responsibility to protect and provide, it’s our responsibility to listen to our Father.
What the devil meant for destruction and corruption, God meant for our victory.
Sermon Video Transcription
James Greer (00:03):
Boy, that’s exciting. God’s really blessed us in 2020 in spite of the virus. And man, I can’t imagine what He’s going to do next year. In fact, next Sunday, we start our season premiere of a brand new year. Man, you don’t want to miss it. I mean when the first message is going to be on Joshua and if anybody was probably ready for a new year, it was probably Joshua after wandering around the wilderness for 40 years. We thought last year was a bad year. Can you imagine after 40 years? And what calls them to go have a brand new year? So the season starts next Sunday so you want to be there. Today’s message is Listen to Live. And it’s going to be so important that we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit that we can really live. And you’re going to see it can also be called a 2021 battle plan for victory. Today’s message is really, it’s a physical picture of a spiritual battle going on in our lives. And in fact, if you really understood how this battle worked, it would change the way that you look at trials and temptations in our life.
James Greer (01:15):
In fact, we’ll look at it later, but the real truth is usually where you’re going through the greatest trials and temptations in your life is usually where Satan is tempting you the greatest, but God’s trying to give you the greatest victories. It’s God’s wanting to protect us and God’s wanting to provide for us while the devil is, of course, wanting to destroy us and defeat us. The devil would love to destroy us while God wants to deliver us. It’s being destroyed or delivered greatly determines who you listen to. And I pray that you’re going to learn to listen and live. We’re going to talk about the departure, how determined the deliverance, whether it’s the wise men, how they really listened and departed and went another direction. And then later on, Joseph, how he listened and thank God, he departed and brought baby Jesus a different direction. Then because then there was Herod that was waiting. Herod was just waiting. He was a type of Satan and he wanted to kill Jesus. Instead, he killed all the firstborn males two years and under.
James Greer (02:25):
But thank God that the wise men, that they listened. It said in Matthew 2:13, it said, and when they had departed. Thank God, the wise men, they had followed the star and they found Jesus. They worshipped Him and it was time to depart. And direction in our lives greatly determines whether we’re delivered or destroyed, whether we have blessings or curses. It greatly determines who we listen to. Who we follow next year is going to greatly determine the blessings and curses in our life. You know, John 10:10 says, the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. And Jesus comes, you’ve got life and you can have it more abundantly. But you can only have the abundant life if you learn to listen to live. Matthew 2:12, if we went backwards, said, and then being divinely warned in a dream. And I want to talk to you how we’re divinely warned today. That they should not return to Herod because Herod really, you’re going to find out he gets angry. And if they had gone that way, he probably would have killed them. Herod was so mean that he killed some people in his own family. They departed to their own country another way. The flight until Egypt.
James Greer (03:39):
Today, we’re really divinely warned mainly by the Holy Spirit and it’s confirmed by God’s Word. I hear people all say, I wish God would speak to me. Well, He does. He speaks to you through the Word. Did you know God verbally, audibly only spoke to Jesus from Heaven to earth only about two times? Now He confirmed to Jesus, God, the Father, God, the Son, God, the Holy Spirit. I mean you would talk to them, there are one. The Holy Spirit would guide and direct Jesus. He never went against the Father’s will. But audibly, He came from the, did you know one of the times when He was baptized, when Jesus was baptized, He spoke from Heaven? He said, that’s my beloved Son who I’m well pleased. So every time we have a baptism, we should celebrate with God. Amen? Wasn’t it great to baptize number 100 while ago? Amen? It’s going to be great. The next service we’re going to baptize number 101. Amen?
James Greer (04:32):
But He usually, you’re not going to hear Him verbally. You’re going to hear Him through the Holy Spirit. Small, still voice is going to confirm the direction that He guides you through His Word. And He does that like in John 16:13, He says, however, when He, which is the Holy Spirit, of truth, He’ll always teach you the truth has come. He’s come. He will do what? He’s going to guide you. What is one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit? To guide you. If you listen to Him, He’ll guide you and He’ll guide you in all truth. For He’s not going to speak of His own authority. The Holy Spirit never leads you back to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always leads you to Christ. The Holy Spirit’s direction is always guiding you and directing you. But whatever you hear, He’ll speak. And He’s going to always tell you things to come.
James Greer (05:24):
In other words, He’s going to guide you, direct you. He’ll give you the divine warnings that’s coming your way. That’s why it’s so important that you want to listen so you can live. Amen? 1 Corinthians 2:10, it says how important it is. But God, He has revealed them to us through His Spirit for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. What He’s wanting to tell you is, listen, if you want guidance and direction, if you want to know what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, if you want to know where you go and where not to go, it’s the Holy Spirit’s that’s going to guide. He reveals it through the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14 says, for as many as are led, how are you led? By the Spirit of God. When you’re led by the spirit of God, you’re the sons of God. And then in Galatians 5:16, it says, then we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfill the lust of flesh.
James Greer (06:19):
They were divinely warned and they needed to depart and they needed to go a different direction. 2021 is coming up and God might be trying to divinely warn you about some things you either need to start doing or stop doing. The way He does that is you need to listen to Him. You need to listen through the Holy Spirit. You’ll either have great deliverance this year or you can have great destruction. To make it real clear, we’re going to briefly, we’re not gonna spend a lot of time. In Galatians 5, it gives some direction. It says what you really need to listen to, what you needed apart from and if you listen to Him, some things that you would get. In Galatians 5:16, it says, I advise you to obey. In other words, to listen and to live. Only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He’ll tell you where to go. Listen, He’ll tell you what to do. What does the Holy Spirit do? He tells you where to go and what to do. And you won’t always be doing the wrong thing then. If you’ll listen to Him, you won’t always be doing the wrong thing.
James Greer (07:36):
If you drop down to verse 17, you naturally love to do evil things, just the opposite of the Holy Spirit. He said, if you’re not listening to the Holy Spirit, you’ll be doing the very opposite of what He tells you to. But 18 says, but when you’re guided, when you listen to the Holy Spirit, you’ll no longer to do that. And then He tells you, He finishes up part of the Galatians and He tells you some of the things to depart from. He says, I don’t want you to guess. I want you to know. He says, I want you to go into 2021 and He said, I want you to depart from, verse 19 says impure, thoughts, lustful pleasures, idolatry. Did you know idolatry for a Christian, do you know it’s just simply looking to anything other than Jesus to meet your physical, emotional, spiritual needs? You can be a Christian and have idolatry in your life because my job won’t meet my needs, my mate won’t meet my needs, my church won’t meet my needs. You’re looking to anything and anything else other than Christ to meet your needs. That’s idolatry. Spiritualism, hatred, always fighting, jealousy, anger, all that’s because you’re not listening to the Holy Spirit. Criticism. You know somebody doesn’t matter what, they’re always criticizing?
James Greer (09:00):
Were you at Christmas and somebody just gave somebody everything they wanted and they just weren’t happy? The feeling that everyone else is wrong, except for their own little clique. Envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties. And He says, everyone that lives this sort of life, they’re not going to inherit the Kingdom of God. You know and I know there’s Christians that are living like that and you say, well, they’re going to Heaven. They might be going to heaven, but they don’t inherit the Kingdom of God. In other words, Romans 14:17 says, the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking. It’s righteousness, peace and joy. And what He’s trying to tell you is this. I don’t want you to go into 2021 and disobeying the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction. Because when you do, you won’t have righteousness, joy, and peace. Because if you finished out Galatians, it says, but if you’ll listen, if you’ll follow,, you’ll listen and live, He said the Holy Spirit, when you listen and live, you’ll have love and joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and gentleness and self-control. He said, that’s what I want you to go into 2020 with. I want you to listen and live. Amen?
James Greer (10:02):
There’s a couple of things you got to remember though. You’re only as close to Jesus as you want to be. You got to choose. You’re only as close as you want to be. And you can’t live off somebody else’s spirituality. You can’t live off your mate’s commitment. You can’t live off your parents, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend. You gotta do it yourself. Not only did the wise men depart, thank goodness, Joseph, Jesus’ stepdad says, now when they had departed, Joseph and Jesus and Mary, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Basically, God doesn’t speak to us that way today. They didn’t have the New Testament. We have it today. Saying, arise, take the young child and his mother and flee to Egypt and you stay there until I bring you word. In other words, how important it is to know the Word of God. For Herod, he’s going to seek the young child to destroy Him. See, the devil is always out to destroy Him. God’s always one step ahead of him. Amen?
James Greer (11:13):
I mean let me give you a picture of how bad the devil wants to destroy Him. He is determined to try to destroy Him. God said, I’m already one step ahead. If you’d listen, I’ll deliver you. It’s a picture. It’s a picture of really how bad the devil is, how bad he wants to destroy you and how much God’s always ahead of him trying to deliver you. It’s a picture of why it’s important to know God’s Word. They heard, they listened, and they left. It’s a picture how we can know what the devil’s trying to work in our life. It’s a picture how we know God’s trying to deliver us. Listen, see where you’re being tested. You know where you’ve been tested. See where you’re being tried. A lot of times where you’re being tested and tried is where the devil is trying to destroy you and God’s trying to deliver you. Matter of fact, many times where you’re tested and tried is where God’s trying to get you to trust Him where He can bless you. Many times where you’re being tested and tried, you can just reverse it and that’s what God’s trying to do in your life.
James Greer (12:34):
See, so many times, the devil blinds us to it and all we do is look at the test and the trials. And so therefore, as a result, we missed the greatest blessings that God has for us. Remember, God is always one step ahead of the devil. He’s more powerful than the devil and He wants to give you the victory over the devil. Amen? In 14, and he arose and he took the young child and his mother at night and he departed to Egypt and was there until the death of Herod. Let me ask you a question. Who won? Herod’s dead. Jesus and Joseph, they’re still alive. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord through the prophet, saying, out of Egypt is called the Son. See, God used Joseph, didn’t He? God used the stepdad to deliver Jesus, to defeat Satan. Who could God be using in your life to warn you, to help you? Who do you need to be listening to? Could it be your mate, your mom, your dad, your pastor, your boss, your boyfriend? And God really sent them, your girlfriend, sent them in your life to help you. And instead of listening, you’re heading to destruction.
James Greer (14:00):
I believe before destruction, listen real close, God sends somebody for us to listen to. You can listen and live or you can be destroyed. He gives us choice. Because see, Herod was out to kill. The destruction and devastation of Satan is Herod and he’s a picture of what the devil wants to do. In fact, 1 Peter tells us, be sober, be vigilant, be awake. Because the adversary, the devil, he walks around like a roaring lion. He’s seeking whom he can devour. He wants to destroy you. The word devour means, it’s like drowns you, suffocate. Just feel like you can’t breathe. Like you can’t go anymore. And He gives you a picture of it in Matthew 2:16, just how bad it is. Then Herod, when he saw that he had been deceived by the wise men, he got exceedingly angry. He sent forth and put to death, listen, all the male children who were in Bethlehem. God, in that district, from two years old and under, according to the timing which they had determined from the wise men. It was a terrible time. It was fulfilled as spoken of Jeremiah the prophet. It was saying this, that there was a weeping and great mourning and Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because there was no more. Everybody, two years, males and under had been killed.
James Greer (15:50):
Let me give you a couple of insights. Number one, of course, baby Jesus was protected and provided for because Joseph listened and they lived. He was protected from the devil which is a type of Herod. He was provided for by the wise men. You know, the wise men not only they brought Him gold, frankincense and myrrh. God knew where they were going. He knew what they needed before it ever came about. God provided the gold for them to travel and for their provisions before they ever needed it. God knows what you need before it ever comes about. Isaiah 65:24 says, it shall come to pass that before you ever call upon me, I’m going to answer you. When you get saved and I get saved, we become the daughters and sons and God becomes our Father and He meets our needs and provides and protects. And John 1:12, He tells us this. He says, but as many as received me, He gave them the right to become the children of God, those who believe on His name. So He knows what you need. And He gave Jesus what He needed and provided and protected before He even knew it. And He does that for me and you.
James Greer (17:05):
Number two, if we’re listening to live, it becomes God’s responsibility to provide and protect. It becomes our responsibility to listen. See how important it is to listen. If you’re a child, it’s your father’s responsibility. When I was little, I didn’t come home every day and say, I hope my father takes care of me. I hope he provides a meal. I just came home and ate. Amen? See, when you’re really listening to live, it becomes God’s responsibility to protect and provide. But you see what a great responsibility it is for me and you to listen to God? Amen? Third, Herod took and killed the young children. He took and killed. I mean, of course, Jesus escaped and he thought he’d killed Him. He’d took Him. Later on, God gave Him. God gave His Son to be killed, to be crucified. Herod thought he’d killed Him physically. Later on, God gave Him to be killed physically but Jesus escaped spiritually and defeated Satan. And He gave us victory, not only now but to have a permanent home in Heaven. 1 John says, 3:8, He tells us this, for this very purpose. For what purpose? He said for this very purpose, the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil.
James Greer (18:51):
In other words, He said He actually humiliated the devil at the cross. He humiliated his works. He thought he was going to kill Him. Instead, He used it to deliver Him. In fact, at that point, that’s when later on Jesus was trying to tell Mary and Martha about Lazarus and He was trying to tell them about once you become saved. And He tells them in John 11:25 through 27, and He tells them, Jesus said unto her and me and you, He said, I’m the resurrection and life. Now that hasn’t happened yet. But He was telling them who He was and what we could have. He said, who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. I had the wonderful opportunity to share this with somebody recently. And whosoever lives and believes in me shall what? Never die.
James Greer (19:38):
And then He said, do you believe this? And when you believe this, you’re never going to die. And she said, yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, Son of God who has come unto the world. My question is, do you believe that? See, because the devil, what he meant for destruction and corruption, God meant for victory and triumph. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, after this, all the promises of God are, yes. Isn’t that something? You can go through all the promises in the Bible and they’re all for yes, for me and you once we get saved. Not one, but every single one of them. One after another after another after another. They’re all yes, yes, yes, yes. Now let me tell you what, the Holy Spirit is the guider and director in our lives. This is what I’d like for Him to do for us today.
James Greer (20:37):
I’d like you to ask some questions to yourself. He’s not going to speak to you audibly. He only spoke to Jesus twice. He speaks to you through the Holy Spirit and He speaks to you through the Word. And this is how you use it today. You ask Him, what would you have me do? What would you have me to start doing even before the new year starts? In other words, would you have me start reading the Word, start praying? God, what would you have me stop doing? We read a list of things that He said to depart from. And I used to think God wanted me to stop doing things because He didn’t want me to have fun. The reason He wants you to stop doing that, it’s where you can have the righteousness and the peace and the joy that can only come from God.
James Greer (21:29):
Is there someone God wants you to witness to? I hope you didn’t go through 2020 and not witness to at least one person. Did you invite at least one person to church in 2020? Did you pray with at least one person? One person was hurting. Did you go to them? Did you minister to them? Would you ask God to be aware, help you be aware of one person that He wants you to witness to? You ready? Is there a sin that you need to confess? See, all this is jobs of the Holy Spirit. Who would you have me forgive, Holy Spirit? Is there somebody last year that really hurt you and you haven’t forgiven them yet? Who did you hurt that you need to ask forgiveness of? Wasn’t it great to see the baptism a while ago? Amen? But have you been baptized since you were saved? I mean for me, I was baptized as a young child and later on in my 30s right here at this church. I knew I wasn’t baptized after I was saved and Mike Scott baptized me. I was 30 something years old, probably 33. I don’t know, 34. And I just wanted to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. And maybe that’s you. We’ve got two more services today. You can, at the end of the service, you can take your next step card and say, hey, I want to be baptized or you can tell Brother Darrell. We got clothes you can change into and say, I want to be baptized and I don’t want to go into 2021 not being baptized. And I know that God wanted me to.
James Greer (23:24):
Maybe this is the year. Maybe you’ve been coming but you haven’t been a member of the church. You want to be part of the family and today the Holy Spirit is telling you to join. Maybe you need to rededicate your life. You know what that means to me? There was a time in your life that you were more on fire for God. And the Holy Spirit says, I don’t want you to go into 2021 not on fire and not excited for me. And today’s the day I want you to rededicate your life. Some of you need to stop worrying so much. People don’t like to talk about this but we all have times of worry. But continuing worry is a sin. He tells you don’t worry about anything. Pray about everything. He says, cast all your cares on Him. You’re not God. Quit trying to play God. Do you need to stop overspending? God wants us to be a slave to Him, not to our debt. So as we stand up in just a minute and we pray, I’m going to ask the Holy Spirit what He would have you to do. And if you’ll allow Him, He’s not going to speak to you audibly but He’ll speak to you in your heart. And if you’ll listen, you can live. Would you stand?
James Greer (24:59):
Father, I thank you for today. I thank you how you spoke in the Old Testament. But I thank you how you speak in the New Testament. You give us your Word. That’s how we really know. You give us the Holy Spirit. But God, we have to listen. God, I pray for our members. I pray for those online. I pray for our mixers class, that so many of them are aligned today, a special prayer for them. I pray for Tom. But God, I pray for those right now that are listening. God, I pray that they would just say, God, what would you have me to do? What would you have me to start doing? What would you have me to stop doing? God, press it on our heart. God, who would you have me witness to? God, if I hadn’t witnessed to somebody in 2020, God, convict me that I should.
James Greer (25:41):
What sin should I confess? God, who do I need to forgive? Bring their name to my mind and my heart. Who do I need to ask forgiveness of? Might be a family member, somebody I work with. It might be this year. It might be years ago and I just never let it go. Maybe I really do need to be baptized. I haven’t really been baptized since I was saved. Maybe I need to join the church. Maybe I need to rededicate my life. The truth is known. I’ve just gone through the motions and I’ve lost the joy of my salvation. I want to find it. I want to go back. I want to confess my sins. I want to get right. I want to forgive. God, I’ve been worrying. I need to stop worrying. Help me to cast all my cares on you. God, help me to pray about everything, God. If you’re overspending, God help me to stop spending. I don’t want to be a slave to my money. I don’t be a slave to the creditors. God, I want to be a slave to you. God, I pray that people take their next step card and they’d be ready to take their next step. Whatever you lay up on their heart, God, we give you the honor and the glory. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.
Darrell Ingram (27:05):
On behalf of Pastor James, we’re so glad you joined us this morning. If you still want someone to pray with you and for you, we have people on standby right now. Hey, next Sunday, I want to invite you at 8:30, at 10:00 and 11:30 as Pastor James starts a new series and that series is A Season Premiere, A Brand New Year. Y’all don’t forget to join us next Sunday. See you then.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.