Pastor Vince Giardino’s sermon this past Sunday, Feb 12, was titled “Running On Empty”. He began with Jer 48:11 to introduce the sermon’s main idea of empty vessels. The tireless faith of John Knox from Scotland was used as an example of a man who had emptied himself of “self” and filled his “vessel” with the Lord’s will. This famous preacher was praying for others right up to the moment of his death. He was “a man emptied of himself, filled with God”. Nahum 2:2 was used to show God emptying Jacob and Israel of themselves.
Pastor Giardino suggested people feel empty and with no purpose because they had thought their lives would be better after being saved. The hopelessness comes from still relying on things of this world instead of Christ, who would bring “a life of fulfillment, joy, peace, and love”. Reading Jer 48:11, Pastor showed Moab living a life of self and not willing to go forward for God. For a child of God, it should be opposite. In Zeph 1:12, Zephaniah intended to search Jerusalem and punish those living for self, settled and neutral. We also can be neutral, saying that the Lord won’t chastise me, nor will he bless me. Are we emptying ourselves for Christ?
Using Job 21:32, Pastor asked us if we are remaining in our tomb, rather than like Christ who rose from the tomb, leaving it empty. Do we live the resurrected life, a life that reflects what Christ did for us? Do we remain in our tomb?
2. The Empty Whom
In Gal 1:13-23, Pastor showed us how, after his conversion, Paul needed to get emptied of himself in order to be used of God. Paul was alone with Christ, being emptied of self, for three years so that he could transform from the persecutor to the preacher. We were reminded that its not about what we want, but its about God’s will on earth. We need to be emptied of everything.
In Heb 11:23-25, Moses refused to seen as the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter, his worldly profile, but chose to suffer with the people of Israel. Pastor Giardino asked, “Have you been emptied of whom because of an empty tomb?” We learn from Moses that there are better riches in Christ than the riches of Egypt.
3. The Empty Womb
Pastor Giardino used Gen 30:1 to show it is normal for a child of God to bear children, just as Rachael pleaded to bear a child for Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die” Gen 30:1. John Knox, in his devotion to God’s will, played off this scriptural passage when he said, “Give me Scotland, or else I die.” Our children should be spiritual children, as we invest in others, vessel to vessel. Our existence should be toward bearing children of God through the second birth. Rom 6:18-22 reveals that being made free from sin, we become servants to God and should be experiencing the fruit of leading someone to Christ. Rom 7:4-5 indicates that we are as good as married to Christ and “we should bring forth fruit unto God”. Just as Isaac asked God that his wife bear a child (Gen 25:19-23), so does Christ entreat that his church produce fruit.
Pastor concluded with Gal 4:27-29. He pointed out that the unsaved are adding more heathen to their roster, adding more fruit than us. Nevertheless, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise” and were “born after the Spirit” Gal 4:28-29.