Jesus saves us from the power of sin, keeps us from the presence of sin, and reserves us from the penalty of sin.
If we don’t watch out, we get used to going to church. We get used to living a standard, living separate from sin, and living a good moral life. If we aren’t careful, we forget what it’s really all about.
We had a garden once.
In the front of our church, as you came into the parking lot, was a garden. For about ten years after it was completed, it was beautiful. I prayed many times in that garden. Soon, people who helped work on it had gotten busy with other affairs in life. I got busy too. Life changed and different things started taking up time. I noticed weeds starting to grow, but no one was pulling them. Something happened to the creek in the garden and people helped us get rid of it and move the falls down next to the pond there. Then the pond started stopping up, so we did away with the falls and just let it be a pond. We had water spraying up from inside the pond and that was good for a year or two, but once again the garden became neglected. What had once been a beautiful garden was now a problem site.
Before a revival, we were going to clean up the grounds some. We got in that garden to clear up some stuff when I heard someone yell “Snake!” It was a big copper head. When I heard that, I just left for a little bit. Only me and Jesus know how much I don’t like snakes.
I started to think about my church family and all the little children that run around. I looked some things up about copperheads and how they like wet places with thick bushes around and I thought, ‘This pond has to go.’
So, when I got back to the garden with my son, Micah, and my nephew, Jentezen, I let them know we were going to fill in the pond. I got to looking around at the stones we had put around the pond and a lot of them were missing. We found that year after year rocks had been thrown in and the pond was full of them.
I bought them. I wasn’t going to destroy them, but I would get them out.
God dropped that into my heart. He paid for us. He bought us and He will get us out of a mess.
We started grabbing the rocks out and about every third one we would grab it would slip back out of our hands into the pond. Go back in your Bible and read Judges sometime. 5 times God pulled His children away from their enemy only for them to forget God and go back to idol worship. God raised up prophets and kings to help His children, but they still slipped back into their messes. David, Samuel, Jeremiah, and Daniel couldn’t pull God’s children out of their mess.
I have one of the weakest stomachs.
I don’t only not like snakes, but I have a very weak stomach. You don’t have to throw up in front of me. All you have to do is describe how you threw up and I will throw up. So, while we are getting the rocks out of the pond, I get a look at the stuff at the bottom, and it was some of the nastiest mush I’ve ever seen in my life.
I paid a lot of money for those rocks. So, I went to grab some old shoes and finally got my nerve up to get down in that muck and save those rocks. That’s when Micah yells, “There’s that snake!” We tried to get it, but it got away. I’m in that mush picking up rock after rock and putting it in the bucket of my tractor to put them somewhere else.
God spoke to me and said, “I had a garden once.”
“In my garden, it was perfect.” He said. “There was peace, serenity, and paradise. A snake came to your garden and messed it up and the same thing happened to mine. Do you remember when you were pulling those stones out? For every one you got out, there were still a hundred laying in there.”
God began to deal with me. From Genesis to Malachi, God pulled and only got a few like Moses, Joshua, and the three Hebrew boys here and there. There would still be a billion lost. I’m just a country preacher who got down in a mess to save some rocks. God was in the heavenly throne room where angels cried ‘holy’ all around, where He was high and lifted up. He loved His little garden so much and realized no one could pull His people out of their mess except Himself. He had to step down and become who we are and go where we’ve been so He could pull us out. He became sin who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God. We have been blood-bought!
You can’t do it yourself.
Even when I was down in the mess, it would take all I had to get some rocks out. Those rocks couldn’t get out of the mess using their own strength. The only hope they had was my hand, and all I asked of them was for them to stay in my hand.
God told Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house. On the wheel, the potter was working on a piece of pottery that had a problem. Let’s be honest. Sometimes we can have a problem. But what should we do? Stay in God’s hand. We can’t fix it ourselves, but we know a man who can! The vessel in the potter’s hand was marred, and he made it into another vessel.
I don’t know what marred your life, but maybe you’re thinking it’s over. But look at who’s hand you’re in. You may never be in the same place you were before, but God has a plan for your life. It may look like life has cut you off and you’ll never laugh again, but God is about to make you into another vessel, simply because you stayed in His hand.
Power over the snake
In this garden, God has not removed the snake. But He has given you power over it. That power is in the name of Jesus. You need to remind the devil that his days are numbered. As for that copperhead in my garden, its head is bruised and it is gone.
I cannot describe the smell that was on my hands.
When I was down in that muck the smell on my hands was terrible, but I got down in that muck to save, to restore, to rescue those rocks. It was more than just nails in Jesus’ hands. There was a lot more than just whip lashes on His back. The King of Kings took upon Him flesh and knew what it was like to be tired. He who made the oceans sat down by a well and asked for water because He was thirsty. He who is life stood by Lazarus’ tomb and wept.
How easy would it have been to get a bucket of dirt, cover those rocks, get out my credit card, and get some more? I could have said, “I’m through with this mess.” How easy would it have been for God to have the earth burned up and start over?
But He saw something in you and me that He loved. The next time the devil tells you that you won’t make it, get in his face and say, “Everything is going to be alright, because God bought me back and I’ve stayed in His hand.”
What those rocks need now after being in that mess, is a powerful rain from Heaven to wash them. After God has pulled us out of a mess, that’s what we need, the Holy Ghost to rain down on us. If it rains hard enough, it will wash away all that slime and muck.
I hope this message encouraged you and helped you realize again the love God has for you. God has everything under control. Just stay in God’s hand and let Him wash the mess away!
— Pastor Anthony Wynn