Speaker(s): Pastor John Love, Pastor Eugene Davis
Sermon # 11562
11:00 AM on 10/21/2018
I have a question? How intimate is God with our lives? Ever ask that question? Especially when things aren’t going the way you think they should go.
Is. 66, this is for each one of us. We may not be there but we will be there someday.
vs. 1-2. Whenever you use “but” there is a transition. It doesn’t say man only in the original. It can be to this person will I look. Poor – often times in our culture we understand poverty and think of physical poverty. This word speaks of affliction. It doesn’t always mean financial. A situation out of my control that is causing me pain, duress, lack of sleep like we heard in the song. It’s 3:00 a.m. I should be sleeping but I’m awake because my mind is going. God loves to be intimate in these times with us. He’s not removed from the situation. To this person will I look – it’s an intimate gaze. God is focused on this time in our life. He is present in our situation. That is of a contrite spirit, someone who is crushed. Ever been crushed by life? Ever been crushed by a burden, a relationship or a lack of a relationship? You’re afflicted and you are crushed and God is intimate with you. He’s not removed from you. He’s right there with you in this time.
Is. 41:17, dry, looking for moisture, looking for a spiritual band aid for my soul and I can’t find one. It’s not there. Their tongue fails for thirst. I the Lord will hear them. When my tongue is so dry I can’t talk. I’m mumbling. David was like this after his sin with Bathsheba. His bones were dry because of his sin. He acknowledged his sin and God heard him. God hears. He’s listening. I the God of Israel will not forsake them. These are words that counsel our soul and we communicate to people and it counsels their soul. These are words our neighborhood needs, our job needs. Someone at some time in their life will be afflicted and out of control. I’m freaking out and losing my mind and God is right there. He says I know you, understand your situation and I’m not moved.
Ps 62. The third word “that trembles” at my word. This word means when the word of God comes in it moves me. It moves me. I am moved by the word of God. Remember in life when you heard the Bible and (yawn). And then one day what? What did you say? It hit you or maybe it produced a reaction in your soul. Hey, pastor. Don’t preach that way. It moved you. No longer complacent, indifferent, or passive.
Ezek 47 valley of dry bones. We can be like that, dry, brittle, no moisture. Nothing affects me. I’m passive. I’m coming to church because I’m going through the motion. Oh valley of dry bones. Hear the word of the Lord. When the word of God, the word of grace, the finished work enters in, the bones start moving. There’s a shaking, a trembling, a work of God. You know what happens? The bones start coming together. Maybe I was so far gone from God. Maybe things happened in my life and I’m done, God. Word of God enters in and that which is dry begins to receive moisture. The bones come together. God, can these dry bones live? We say Lord, you know. You know me and my situation, my circumstances, my neighborhood, my job. You know all of it. Your word still can minister to me. Cut through all the stuff and hit me where I’m at.
I may be poor and needy, weak but in Is. 40, they that wait upon the Lord. Just wait. Don’t cash out. Just wait. God begins to renew your strength. Quietly but confidently he renews your strength. Ever see an eagle fly? Up there, soaring, untouched, in control. Ever see a baby eagle thrown out of the nest? No, mom. You’re out. Our nature of Christ takes over and I start soaring. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. This is God’s work. I can’t run as fast as I used to. It hurts. Knees, weight gain. Sometimes spiritually, we say God I can’t run. That’s okay. I’ll renew your strength. I’ll take care of you. I’ll build you and strengthen you and bring you back from a far country. I’m your God. I’ll speak comfortably to you in your wilderness. All of us are in a great place whether we are young or seasoned. God is building us. Is. 40 walk and not faint. There are things in life that can cause you to faint. As we wait on God, he’s there. He’s intimate. He’s with us. He’s not cashing out. He’s intimate. We love intimacy. Intimacy is something you can’t create naturally. It’s something you go through circumstances with the person and there is a closeness there that wasn’t there before because of the situation. We love coming to church and sharing our faith. The answer for the world’s problems is God. It’s simple. It’s God. Throw more money. This program and that program. How about try God? Yesterday at the lunch rap, we had a time with our Bibles. Let God speak to you through his word. Be quiet and say God I know what your word can do in me.
I’m still and I know you are God. You may take time to build me but you will, Jer 31. I will be built. We will be built. He will restore the years the cankerworm has eaten. He will do it. I promise you. It’s his promises not mine.
Prov 30:5 his word is pure. Not defiled.
It will do that which is appointed in Hab. 2:2-4.
Isn’t it great to be in a church where we know we have a guy that can beat up anybody? And he’s on security! Come on! Congratulations. Coach Lynch, great job on our soccer team. Lead the team to first place. They still have the state tournament to play. Remember P. Eugene said I’m older, put weight on, bad knees. You can go on the other team! If you’re the last guy picked, it’s your fault.
The text messages. I’m not so sure if it’s the best way to communicate. Ever have a problem with them? I’m on my sibling’s group text. I got 7 other siblings and others in there. They are constantly communicating. We are trying to arrange a visit with an aunt in Johnstown, PA. My father’s sister. We are trying to agree on a time. At the same time as me text messaging about that, they are messaging about a cousin that is getting married in New England. It’s the third time. They are texting back and forth about the marriage and I’m texting about visiting my aunt. My sister said looks like we’re going up on Columbus weekend. I said I can’t make that. I said I’ll have to get her on the next visit. You’ll wait until the fourth marriage! [They thought that’s what he was saying]. I had to call everyone and say that’s not what I meant. Be careful with the text messages.
Have you ever embraced someone or go to embrace someone and their arms stay folded? You embrace them and they’re like “I don’t like you.” At the end of our chapel services in New York, they appreciate we come and bring the word. At the end they appreciate it. They want to give you a big hug. One of the guys is 7 foot 1 inch. I’m holding his waist. I feel like he’ll pat me on the head, there, there little man! Their arms are open. Nothing quite like open arms. We go to someone and it’s been a long time since we see them and our arms are open and their arms are open and we can’t wait to embrace them with the love of Christ. God operates towards us with open arms.
In the ministry of God in the mission of God to reach the world, he has no option but to use human beings. Every once in a while he uses an animal to speak, Balaam’s donkey. But primarily he uses human beings. Great thing about God using people like us, he doesn’t use heroes. We think they are heroes until we read the whole narrative. He doesn’t use perfect people or people very good or worthy. Imagine if God said I’m going to choose worthy people to fulfill my vision on the earth. He would use no one because there are no worthy people. Christ didn’t die for worthy people. He said it himself. He said I didn’t come to call the righteous. You would think if God was interested in anyone, it would be the righteous. He knows there aren’t any. None righteous, not even one. Not one could stand in the presence of God and proclaim his own righteousness. He uses sinful people. If you ever need a reminder of how tolerant God is, open your Bible and read the narratives. Ever wonder how God could use you to change the world? Just look at some of the people in the Scriptures. Young believers think God can only use holy people, biblical people. You think of King David, and Father Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, the apostles. You think these people I will never be like these people. We can even do it in the ministry. We can think people in ministry are impeccable which is why they sit up higher. That’s not the truth. Men of God used by God and we should want to see them because it’s Pastor Appreciation Month and others in the audience. These are people in the Bible like us that found their hope not in their performance. Where did they find their hope? In the open arms of God.
Luke 15, man had two sons and one wayward.
After he spent all his money and had no friends and wanted to eat what the pigs were eating, he made a tremendous decision in vs. 17 when he came to himself. It’s a great place when you reach the end of yourself. You realize you guided or directed yourself and you end up in a real mess in life. vs. 17 I will arise, another great decision and go to my father.
vs. 19-20 open arms. If ever an image in our hearts of the love of the Father, it’s in this story, this parable. Those arms must have been so wide open. Even after the father embraced him, the son gave a well-rehearsed speech. It didn’t matter. The arms that held him. That was enough. He was embraced. We live in a culture so different from God. You have value and it’s found in appearance and performance. God says your value is in you. Your value is in the fact that I love you. You give me no good reason to love you.
We in humanity, we could hate him without a reason, Jn 15:25. Jesus said that about the nation of Israel. They hated me without a cause, a reason.
Rom. 3:24, God turned around and justified us without a reason. We hate him. You say don’t say that. I love him. I’m in church. There was a time before you had a new nature when you hated him. Every human heart there is a hatred for God. They hate you without a reason. Snuff them out. Get rid of them. I’m going to turn around and justify them without a reason. Not like the world operates. Abraham, the father of many nations possessed a nation full of weaknesses in his own soul. God chose him. A lying tongue. He would trade integrity for security in a heartbeat. He put his own wife’s life on the line to save his skin. Coward, yes. Liar. Father of lies sometimes, too. Coward. Can you build a nation from someone like that? We would say no way. God would say yes I could. I see something in Abraham that I see in all his children. I see children that believe me, that trust me. I see people willing to take that step of faith.
I was telling Pat Calise our precious brother Joe went to be with the Lord. Last time I talked with him, he wasn’t able to talk. About a week ago, I saw him lying in bed so weak and not able to say anything. Prior to that in the hospital, he always wanted to sit up and talk. This time the only word he said was “I’m sorry.” I know what he meant. I’ m sorry I can’t get up and have fellowship. I said you don’t have to be sorry. He said I am. I’m sorry. Those are pretty good last words.
God can use Abraham and make a nation out of him. He finds that within us that is godlike and uses it and everything bad he gets rid of it. Takes it away. Moses. Until Moses was 80, it looked like he wouldn’t amount to much except a fugitive. Those were his credentials. An outlaw. How is God going to use a murderer to lead a nation out of bondage? Give this fugitive the commandments? This is a man who already broke some of them. God says I can do it and will do it. I’ll make a leader out of this man who was a murderer. Make a nation out of a man who was a liar, fearful and insecure. Moses was so insecure and scared. So excuse laden.
Ex 3 and 4 you’re the guy I’m looking for and the excuses that came from him. I can’t do it. I can’t speak. I’m too weak. I don’t have any strength or power. Even if I were to go and say the God of your fathers sent me unto you, what’s his name? I wouldn’t know what to tell them. God said tell them I AM. When God reached Moses what was written on his face was, who, me? Same thing on our face when we heard God wanted us. Don’t we say that? Didn’t Moses say that? Gideon said that. Jacob thought not me. There’s David. We know about his failures. David is a giant killer but one giant took him down, the giant of lust. I wonder how many other victims the giant of lust has in our culture today and how many men he has taken out. It didn’t take David out. It was the exception to his life. The rule was I believe God. I cling to God in my weakness and failure. Even in my brokenness, I trust God. Thank God he looks beyond our faults and sees the deepest needs in our hearts.
Let men be caught up in outward appearances of 1 Samuel 16:7 and God says my only business is the heart of my people. He gets through the weaknesses and sees beyond the struggles. He sees something there that longs for me. If they could, they would whole heartedly follow me. I understand how weak and frail they are. I always come to them one way, open arms. God’s arms always open. David so deceitful he went after another man’s wife, got her pregnant, tried to blame her husband and didn’t work so he said, I’ll just kill her husband.
I first got saved and before I would sometimes carry beer into the house. I was carrying a Bible and my mother said, what happened to you? You lost your mind? Don’t be reading the Bible, my mother said. There are some bad stories in there.
That’s the good news. God used them just the same. Not only did David have Uriah, after getting his wife pregnant and killing him, he carried on for a full year like nothing happened. Yeah, he’s out of the way. I can take her as my wife. He may have thrown in a “praise God.” It’s behind me now. His broken and repentant spirit was unquestionable. God is not intested in our I.Q. or our E.Q., emotional quotient. He’s interested in your R.Q., repentance quotient. How quickly can we stumble but get back on our feet. How many times can we stumble but rise again. We understand his arms are always open. How about Jonah? He hopped ships when God wasn’t looking. What a brilliant man of God he was! I’ll go on another ship and I’m sure he won’t notice! He wants to go to Joppa. I’ll recruit someone better. God said if it’s not Jonah, it will be someone else. God doesn’t have much to choose from.
P. Stevens used to quote Jack Hyles: “God is hard up. He’ll even use you.” Who, me? Yes, you. Every one of us. It doesn’t matter our track record or how our resume looked. God said I can use you. Just ask Jonah, Moses, Abraham. Ask Elijah, Solomon, Sarah or Gomer. Ask Rahab. Rahab, we are signing you up for God’s service. What is your profession? Prostitute. You’re in! God uses ordinary people. Not saints though he turns them into saints. Ordinary people. Crooks, cheats, liars. If you fall into that category, you’re in. God using man’s best and saying I can overcome man’s worst. That’s how God operates. We could easily give up on ourselves. God isn’t going to give up on any of us. The nature of his own arms. God wanted us to understand his arms are so open for anyone that he let mankind nail them that way. So the world could know my arms are open. There is room for you. “Whosoever will” is his policy. It doesn’t matter what it looked like in your past. What we lack in profession, God more than makes up for it in his love for us. God’s open arms is the story of the Bible. Imagine if that son came home and the first thing he saw was a wagging finger or “I told you so” or “where have you been?” Did you learn your lesson? Those are the words we sometimes hear from people. All we get are open arms. He says I love you. I have been waiting for you. Nothing will separate you from my great love. Not pestilence or hardship or storms. I will remain steadfast in my love for you. I say I won’t leave you and unlike people, I mean it. I won’t change my mind. Ever wonder how God can use you to make a difference in the world? Look at the people he’s already used. Amazing to see those open arms in action. God’s got everlasting arms that never tire of you and me.
De 33:27, underneath are his everlasting arms. You say I have fallen so far. You can’t fall further than God’s everlasting arms. They will be there and will catch you and restore you. He takes the worst scenario and turns it into the glory of his name. He takes a ruined soul and says I can fix that person. I can restore that person. Through love and mercy and grace, I’m ready to lavish on them. I’m going to make a difference in their lives. He has open arms, everlasting arms and they are not afraid to embrace children, prostitutes, someone caught in adultery, publicans and sinners and people who have committed great crimes. The greatest name men gave to Jesus is friend of publicans and sinners. Friend of sinners is the name of our Savior with open arms. Arms reach further than we can run away. They will carry us when we are too weak to take another step. He says I’ll hold you and carry you on eagle’s wings. Arms that eventually will come and receive us so he can take us into his presence. I go to prepare a place for you. I will take you personally with my arms. Those arms saved you and kept you and were used to restore you. Those same arms you found open and when you fall, you thought it was fatal and I was there to catch you.
I think of P. Joe going to be home with the Lord. Jesus came to get him. He saw a Savior with open arms. Jesus said when my children leave the earth and come home, I’m going myself. I’m not going to send angels. I’ll receive them myself.
Praise God for his open, everlasting, strong, faithful, capable, merciful, gracious, open arms.
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