The Unfair Advantage

Jesus says that “the world is going to give you trouble, but I have overcome the world.” This sermon is all about the unfair advantage that Christians have in this world, because if you believe in Jesus and have received him as your savior, there is something inside of you that is equipping you to be better. Listen in to hear more about God’s equipping over you, spoken by Eric Knopf–you don’t want to miss it!

Message Notes

Epic Life October 21st, 2018

It’s fun to be back!

  • We had an amazing time last time and it was so fun to see people of all ages, churches, and cities to come.
  • Last time we had an abrupt ending because of a sudden rain storm which made for a wild ending. Hopefully tonight you get time to enjoy the service and connection time after. 

Last time, we talked about how when you believe in Jesus, you’re not just saved, you are transformed.

  • People think that believing in Jesus is about going to heaven.
    • Jesus come rescue me from this wretched world.
    • Believers are waiting to be vacuumed up from earth to escape all the evil on the world.
    • They believe their salvation gets them a seat on the rescue mission
  • That’s not it.
  • Believing in Jesus is not about going to heaven, it’s about getting heaven in you and then impacting the world.
  • Jesus didn’t just forgive us, he transformed us
    • When you believed in Jesus, you got transformed into a new creation, and the Bible declares that you become “the righteousness of God”

We often define faith but what happens to us after we die. But believing in Jesus is about redefining how you live while on earth.

  • That identity changes everything for how we should live
  • In other words, from identity flows behavior
  • We are a new creation, and our new identity is the righteousness of God

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So I wanted to give that as the context for tonight’s message. The title of this message is called the Unfair Advantage.

  • When you believe in Jesus, you now have an unfair advantage on your side to live life in this world
    • Life is hard (someone say amen)
    • Jesus said, the world is going to give you trouble – but I have overcome the world.
    • It means there is something in you because of Jesus that allows you to not only survive in the world, but to thrive

Romans 5:17 those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Again, we see this ideas … the benefit of salvation is not just after die, it is for the here and now.

  • And what does it say? It says you will “reign in life” through Jesus

Because of Jesus, you have an unfair advantage to live a certain way of life

  • But here is the thing: You won’t live it if you don’t know what’s possible

I bought the iPhone X – I know of only a fraction of what it can do.

  • If you only use the iphone x for making phone calls, you miss out on 99% of the incredible engineering this phone was designed for.

The same is with you and your faith

  • If you define your faith by where you go on Sunday, and where you go after you die, you have missed out 99% of what life in Jesus affords you
  • That is the picture I have for you tonight
  • There are people in here who have received Jesus, but are missing the vast majority of what Jesus made possible for you.
    • You are not reigning in this life You’re just surviving
    • God wants you to reign. And what he gave us is the proof.

So that’s why I am calling this message the Unfair Advantage. It’s to look at what God has given you that empowers you to reign in life.

  • I am only going to cover 4.
  • Here’s the thing: most of us don’t believe we have received these things… and we know this to be true when we observe our prayers.
    • My aim tonight is to encourage you to live a radical life
    • And if nothing else, I am going ruin some of the things you’ve always said in prayer

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Unfair Advantage #1: God’s Presence

God is always with you

Remember how I said, that salvation is not about getting you to heaven but instead is about getting heaven into you? Let me elaborate on this for a bit.

Do you remember what happened at the Temple in Jerusalem when Jesus hung on the cross?

  • In the temple, God’s presence on earth was limited to the Holy of Holies – a 30ft x 30ft x 30ft room in the temple.
  • Once a year, the high priest could enter the holy of holies to offer a sacrifice to God.
    • They would tie a robe around the priest with bells around his waist. If he fell dead, there would no way to retrieve him
  • This room was separated from the rest of the temple by a 30 ft tall veil – this veil was 4 inches thick

What happened to that veil when Jesus died? It was torn in two.

  • No, this was not a sign that God wanted a different interior decorator, this was a sign that God wanted out of the box.
  • This was a sign that God’s manifest presence on earth would no longer be confined to a room.
  • Where did God want to make His presence? Inside of us.

In Paul’s first letter he wrote to the Corinthians…

1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

  • Paul elaborates a few chapters later and says…

1 Corinthians 6:17 – But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, He again mentions it again… almost as it he is like, “In case I did not make this clear enough in the first time”…

2 Corinthians 6:16 For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

How about Jesus’s birth story? “He shall be called Emanuel…”

  • Meaning? God with us
  • If you’ve received Jesus into your life, God is always with you

The single and most profound truth I cannot get over: God dwells in us.

But it is the most profound truth that I feel none of us believe.

  • How do I know? Listen to our prayers…
  • “God would you be with me?”
  • “God give me your spirit today”
  • “God would you draw close – would you be near today
  • “God I want to experience your presence”

We beg for God’s presence and I wonder if God is like…

  • “I am inside you! I don’t know how much closer I can get! I thought that being inside of you would be close enough”

We have to stop referencing God’s presence in the third person, in the 3rd dimension as in an abstract location.

  • He made himself dwell in you so you would never have to ask
  • It is impossible for you to be separate from God.

Stop praying prayers for His presence.

  • Start declaring and thanking that God is in you! And separation from him is literally impossible.
  • If that is not an unfair advantage, I don’t know what is
  • Don’t ask me how this works, I am just giving you the Bible.

So the unfair advantage is that you bring God to every situation.

  • You are never alone. If you’re there, God is there.
  • Because God is in you, you will always outnumber darkness.
  • But we won’t live the benefits of that unless we believe it

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One of the advantages of God making you His home is that it should never be hard to communicate. You guys are one afterall…

Unfair Advantage #2: God’s Voice

God is speaking to you.

Two of my favorite Biblical promises

John 10:27: My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.

John 8:47: Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.

Hearing God’s voice is a birth-right of being a child of God.

  • You don’t have to do anything to get God to speak to you
  • Can you believe the God of the universe says that he speaks to us?

BUT…look at our prayers:

  • “God would you speak to me!”
  • “Lord, show me an answer or a sign”
  • “If this is what you want, confirm it in a taco”
  • Or this week – “God tell me the winning lotto numbers”
    • Millions of people this week will probably be trying to hear God’s voice for the first time this week

We clamor in our faith to touch an experience with God’s voice… never realizing that God is always speaking.

His promises are clear: My sheep hear my voice.

  • “But, God doesn’t speak to me. What am I doing wrong?”
  • And we can get freaked out by this if we don’t hear his voice and then question, well I am not his sheep! Am I not saved?
    • If you have believed and received Jesus, you are saved.
    • Well then, does God have a speaking problem?

God doesn’t have a speaking problem, we have a comprehending problem.

  • God is speaking but it’s just that you are not comprehending
  • We think because we don’t comprehend that God is not speaking to us.
  • It’s just not the case.

The Apostle Paul likens our spiritual journey as ones as infants who grow. 1 Corinthians 3, he tells the church, they are mere “infants in Christ”

  • What is the one attribute between a fathers and babies that makes that stage of relationship unique?
    • The baby phase is the only time in the child’s life where the father is speaking but the child is not comprehending.

Any new dad can tell you this. The baby has no idea what you’re saying.

  • And trust me, I know this well.
  • I have spent hours begging my newborns at 2am to sleep and they never listened once.

As a dad to a new child, you’ll spend months and even years speaking before your child understands

  • Heck, My 4 year old hardly comprehends a lot of what I say right now.
  • Think of the endless times a new baby hears “I love you” having no understanding of those words.
  • And just because babies don’t comprehend, that doesn’t stop us from speaking
  • The same is true with God


Your comprehension is not the determining factor for if God speaks to you or not.

  • You need to start from a position of “God speaks to me” (Period)
  • Even if you are not understanding, God is always speaking.
  • Therefore… The method for developing how to hear God’s voice is simply comprehending what God is already saying.
  • You first align your belief that God speaks…
    • then you figure out how he speaks to you
    • Don’t get caught up in expecting an audible voice

A good father develops unique communication with their kids

  • I have a 6 year old girl and a 4 year old boy. I can’t talk to them the same. They are wildly different children.

You have to look for how God connects to you. He meets you on your level.

  • Some people experience God’s voice in prayer, others in scripture, some in music, some stirrings of the heart, some through other people
  • Maybe God is speaking to you right now through this message.
    • But you need to know God is speaking, and learn to start comprehending.

Satan wants us estranged from God. Satan wants us bitter and calloused

  • What is the single greatest way a child can become embittered and calloused against a father?
    • When the father never speaks to the child.
    • In all my years for people who have broken relationships with their father, it was rarely abuse or an event that occurred
    • It was largely the disconnection that occurred
  • Satan is trying to make you believe God is an absentee father.
  • And the only “proof” he could fake is to convince you never hear from God.
  • It’s not the truth.

Whats the unfair advantage?

When you are connected to your father’s voice, you know your worth, and no other opinion matters.

  • The voice of God brings you security, identity and connection
  • There is no greater force on earth than being connected to your creator

So, your Unfair advantage in this life is…

  • God is always with you
  • God is speaking to you
  • Ready for #3

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Unfair Advantage #3: God’s Empowerment

So not only is God with us and speaking to us, He provides us an empowerment that comes with His Spirit inside us – the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:11the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you!

  • Why does Paul go on to make the distinction that it is the spirit him who raised Jesus from the dead?
  • To emphasize the power of the Spirit inside of you
  • He wants to make sure you know, it’s not some little friendly ghost to give you some companionship.
  • Paul us saying that the greatest power in the universe has crammed itself in your puny little body to help you live differently
  • He is making a statement about the power of God that is within you

Acts 1:8 – you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you’ll be my witnesses to the very ends of the earth

  • Two promises:
    • By God’s spirit, you can live a powerful life
    • And that powerful life will be living proof that Jesus is alive

What does this mean? You are fully empowered in Christ to face every situation

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him

  • Notice there is nothing we are unprepared for
  • How are we prepared? By His divine power

But notice that there is an asterisk to this verse… “According to the true knowledge of him.” This is only a valid promise under that condition

  • What is the true knowledge of him mean?

I believe it means that you believe in a God that actually grants you power for all things pertaining to life and Godliness.

  • If you don’t believe in a God that provides you the ability to thrive in life, you probably won’;t thrive in life

You will live a powerless life as long as you believe you are powerless.

  • The truth is, you bring the power of God to every situation. Stop pretending as if you don’t have the Spirit of God within you.
  • We have no reason to feel powerless because God has empowered you

But our prayers often reveal that we believe we’re in a powerless position instead of a powerful position

  • God would you just do this…
  • God would you just cause this..
  • God would you just change this

Notice that…

God has given us power … and then we beg God in prayer to do something for us ignoring what He has given us

  • Jesus didn’t ask us to complain to him about the mountains we face
  • Jesus said, speak to the mountain and command it to be thrown into the sea and it will be done

But what we do, is we go in prayer talking about how big the mountain is, and “God would you just move this mountain. It’s really big.”

  • Don’t talk to God about the size of your mountain. Talk to your mountain about the size of your God.

We spend a lot of our time in prayer requesting. God wants us to spend time in our prayers declaring.

  • A dear friend of ours just this week learned their 5 year old son has cancer
  • I spent almost my entire drive home from Sacramento this week commanding that cancer to leave.
  • I was commanding cells and genetic strands to change.
    • I was commanding parts of this boy’s biology that don’t even exist to obey to Jesus

That’s the kind of boldness and confidence we should approach prayer and every sitiation with.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with boldness … to help us in our time of need.

Folks, we have the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead in us to live differently and cause breakthrough.

  • If that is not an unfair advantage, I don’t know what is.

So, what’s your Unfair advantage in Jesus?

  • God is with you
  • God is speaking to you
  • God has empowered you
  • Ready for the last one?

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Unfair Advantage #4: God’s Equipping

God has Equipped You With Every Spiritual Blessing

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places

Every possible spiritual resource to reign life, has already been given you

  • The Bible tells us that we have the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22):  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
  • If you have the Spirit of God, you have the fruit of the Spirit

Here’s common mistake: it is called the FRUIT of the Spirit (not fruits)

  • It’s one fruit – not many fruits
  • It’s not like at the farmers market where you pick some. It’s one.
    • (now that’s what I call a super fruit)
  • So you don’t get some, you get them all. And in full measure

But we don’t really believe this do we? All we need to do is look at our prayers

  • God give me love
  • God give me joy
  • God give me peace
  • God give me patience

And God is like, “I already did! It’s already in you.”

  • Our prayers are filled with requests for things God has already given us
  • Colossians 2:10 – You have fullness in Christ
  • God didn’t save you and leave you unprepared
  • He saved you and equipped you

And we’re like, “well I don’t feel like it.”

  • Stop being such a feeler and start behaving like a believer
  • We’re called believers, not feelers.
  • We are identified by what we believe, not by what we feel.

Its all in you. We don’t need to beg God to be equipped. We already are!

  • It’s is entirely possible to die of starvation with a full refrigerator of food.
  • You can be homeless although you have money in bank.
  • God said, I am giving it to you in full, and it’s your responsibility to apply it

God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing which allows you to have a supernatural response to every situation in life.

  • I would say unnatural here, but I don’t like identifying the kingdom with it being unnatural.
  • Because in the kingdom, it’s natural.

What do I mean by super natural?

  • You are equipped to respond in ways that are beyond-natural
  • We respond to the natural with a kingdom response that is beyond natural (super natural)

You encounter a situation and …

  • The natural says be fearful. The supernatural says be at peace
  • The natural says, freak out. The supernatural says be joyful
  • The natural says be outraged. The supernatural says be kind
  • The natural says get even. The supernatural says be loving

In Christ, you get to provide a response that doesn’t match the circumstance.

Wednesday, I’m at our company offices (I run a small software company)

  • We have 36 employees, no venture capital. We’re small and scrappy

On my desk is a Fedex envelope

  • The return address is a big law firm representing one of our biggest competitors
  • A letter threatening us – saying, we don’t like what you are doing, and you better change or else we are going to sue you into the stoneage
    • It’s totally bogus what they are complaining about

But, this company has 4,000 employees. Hundreds of millions in funding. Worth 3 billion dollars. And were listed on the NYSE

  • They have more people changing the urinal cakes in their bathrooms than we have in our entire company.

The natural said, poop your pants. Believe me, that’s what it felt like.

  • My heart rate shot through the roof, my breathing got heavy, my hands started shaking as I was reading the letter
  • And then I was like, “Wait, I have been given something for this moment.”
    • And I declared I have all peace. I have no reason to freak out. And a supernatural peace came over my body (and sphincter)
    • They might have an army of attorneys, but I have the living God

Our prayers need to change so they begin with a praise and thank you’s

  • Thank you that I have all peace.
  • Thank you that I have all love.
  • Thank you that I have all joy

The Apostle Paul prays for us to have a spirit of wisdom and revelation.

  • Wisdom that we would live wise lives
  • Revelation: that we would realize what we have already been given in Christ.
  • You don’t need to ask God for more, you need a revelation to see what He has already given you.

Everything you need for life is already in you. We just need to appropriate it to our circumstance.

So the next time you have fear coming knocking on your door, tell it to hold on for just one second because you’re going to go get something out of the back.

So, what’s your Unfair advantage in Jesus?

  • God is with you always
  • God is speaking to you
  • God has empowered you to be powerful
  • God has equipped you with every spiritual blessing

I’m going to end it there.

As a believer in Christ, you are most qualified to thrive in life. When you consider what God has made available in us, we have no excuse

We’re going to transition into one more worship song and we’re going to have some people up at the front to pray for you.

  • I feel some of you need prayer tonight to know the reality of what is inside of you. To know these things are true
  • Some of you are facing trying times, and need the reassurances that God is with you, he’s for you, he’s rooting for victory
  • And perhaps there are some of you who want to receive Jesus. You don’t know how or what. Come get prayer and have someone lead you

We’re going to do one more song. Stick around a bit and say hi to people here. We are the family of God.

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