Title: "Grasping His Care"
Theme: Truths To God Working In Your Life
Introduction: What you believe about God affects your entire life. It affects how you respond to the consequences of your past. It affects your response to circumstances and situations in the presence and it determines the outcome of the future, in this life and the life hereafter.
That is why Satan has laid out a plan to distort our view about God. Unfortunately, there are many who have an un-Biblical view of God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Satan effectively uses the media, music, movies, experiences, false teachings and people in general to distort mankind's mind about the God whom everyone must face someday. The Bible says, "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:14-19)
The Apostle Paul in prayer asked God for two key needs: give the Body of Christ Holy Spirit revelation of His love for them, and revelation of His full control and power.
Proposition: I would purpose to you that God has shown His love for the church in many different ways. Grasping His care will enable her to enjoy His love and intercession in their lives.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what are the truths of God working in your life? How can we live a life that tells all who are watching that God has revealed Himself to mankind when He has rescued mankind from this world's view and provides for mankind's most important needs?
Transitional Sentence: The God of the Bible has given revelation to mankind so they may know His will for them. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) Three times we see "word" (λόγος lógos) meaning to speak intelligently, an intelligent discourse. (The Complete Word Study of the Bible) This Greek word is the title of Christ (John 1:1; Revelation 19:13; Dictionary of Biblical languages) Jesus is the "Word" the logos of life. (1 John1:1; Dictionary of Biblical Languages) This is the very "Word" we are to preach. (2 Timothy 4:2; Dictionary of Biblical Languages) "It is the very utterances of the prophets - Word, Message." (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains. New York: United Bible Societies)
Just as our words and actions reveal to others our hearts and minds, God has given us revelation of His heart and mind to us, so we can know how to live for Him on this earth and discover our eternal reward. He has accomplished this for us through the written Word, the Bible. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
God-breathed (θεόπνευστος theópneustos), means that the written Word of God was prompted by God, divinely inspired as opposed to (phusikós) coming from mankind's natural abilities. (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers; (Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) "This is the Scriptural view of inspiration; that inspired men were [instruments] of God in such a sense that their words are to be received not as the words of men, but as they are in truth, the words of God." (Hodge, C. (1997). Systematic theology (Vol. 1, p. 157). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) "The Bible has revealed truths and fact that are infallible... All truths and doctrines of Scripture which are necessary to salvation [and living for God] are with out mixture of error and are the infallible rule of faith and practice... It is the operation of the Holy Spirit upon the human mind for the purpose of conveying religious truth to mankind." (Shedd, W. G. T. (2003). Dogmatic theology. (A. W. Gomes, Ed.) (3rd ed., p. 98). Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub.)
It is like this: God putting His hand on the hand of the writer and moving it for the author so that the Word is written down exactly what He wanted to say. Therefore, the Bible is from His heart to our spiritual heart. It's like taking the hand of someone who can not write and helping them mark an X on a piece of paper.
"Imagine your spouse, who loves you with all their heart, leaves you a note that reflects their heart and will for you on the night stand. Let us assume that the note contains information that is protective and instructive, when followed and obeyed, will get you through the day. How, will your spouse feel if you totally ignore the note or read the note and choose not to follow or obey."
God cares so much for you that He wrote down instructions that will get you through every day in His will. Too often that information sets on the night stand in a manner of speaking, ignored or even disobeyed.
"Consider how your spouse feels if you eagerly seek out their notes of instructions and love. You must understand, Biblically, your spouse is your partner in life. God sent, to help, encourage and strengthen you. God's Word, a letter of love was sent through men. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14 says, "And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." (1 Thessalinians 2:13-14)
"My wife, gave me an awesome Father's Day card. This card has truths in it, which was written by someone else, which reflect perfectly our relationship, being husband and wife and being a father. I have that card, along with other cards from my wife, laying in a place on my side of the bed of rest, keeping those words close to me. She gave me those cards because she sacrificially loves and cares for me. God sacrificially loves and cares for us, He wrote His caring, loving words down for us to keep close in our spiritual hearts."
God says this about the Bible: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33)
Transitional Sentence: God gave us His instructions and He has rescued us from guilt of our past. "...As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, (Ezekiel 33:11) "None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live." (Ezekiel 33:16) Upon the fruit of repentance, our sins will not be held against us. (Cooper, L. E. (1994). Ezekiel (Vol. 17, p. 295). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers; Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Eze 33:11). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.; Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1404). Peabody: Hendrickson; 2 Peter 3:9)
The Prophet Micah tells us, "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:18-19)
"Micah was written during a time when ships sunk at sea, there was no recovering anything from it, nothing could be salvaged. So it is with our sins, they can not be bought up before us in a way which can be used against us. The devil or anyone working with him can not make accusations that will stick before God - the sin can no longer have dominion over us like it did before coming to Christ.
Many know the release of no longer feeling the guilt of sin, many enjoy the peace that comes with knowing God will not hold repentant sins against them and many live victoriously over sins that once held them captive."
Transitional Sentence: Living guilt-free enables us to enjoy God making us into a new creation, "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:16-17) New (καινός kainós), qualitatively new, as in contrast with new (néos), that which is temporarily new. (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) It is not like a new car that with use wears out. This is a new quality (Greek- English Dictionary of the New Testament) that brings about changing one's way of looking at things, and this change occurs at true conversion. (Garland, D. E. (1999). 2 Corinthians (Vol. 29, p. 286). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
"A highwayman once stopped John Wesley and demanded his money or his life. Wesley, after giving him the money, said, 'Let me speak one word to you; the time may come when you will regret the course of life in which you are now engaged. Remember this, The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.' No more was said, and they parted. Many years after, as Wesley was going out of a church in which he had been preaching, a stranger introduced himself, and asked Wesley if he remembered being robbed. He said he recollected it. 'I was that man,' said the stranger, 'and that single verse you quoted on that occasion was the means of a total change in my life and habits. I have long since been in the practice of attending the house of God and of giving attention to His Word, and trust that I am a Christian.'” (AMG Bible Illustrations. (2000). . Chattanooga: AMG Publishers)
Transitional Sentence: A sure sign that God cares about you is the new creation. This new life in Him enables us to grasp His provision, "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) "'According to' means, the supply is suited to the resource and like it in kind and extent. God, therefore, bountifully blesses those who give with glorious provision in accord with His glory and for His purposes. (Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 158). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.) "Paul implies that God would reward their [giving] to HIS servant, by 'fully supplying' their every 'need.' (2 Co 9:8), even as they had 'fully' supplied His servant's 'need.' (Php 4:16, 18) As Christian use their finances, talents, and spiritual gifting, God will fully repay back." (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Php 4:19). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) The Apostle Paul is saying, "God will accept your offerings as made to Him; you have supplied my need, He will supply every need of yours." (Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Philippians (p. 159). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company) 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." God will work in your life as you give yourself to His work.
David Jeremiah wrote, "Because God’s provision flows from His unchanging promises, His provision is unchanging as well: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
Who was the God who heard the prayers of Daniel in the lions’ den, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and Paul and Silas in the jail in Philippi? He is the same God you and I pray to when we are in our own perilous places. And because God is unchanging, His resources are as available to us as they were available to the saints of old. When I recall what God did for the heroes of the Bible, I have to remember that God lives in the 'now' of our needs. At the same moment he saw and met Daniel’s need, He sees and is ready to respond to our prayer for help as well. There is no 'us' and 'them' when it comes to God’s provision—He is ready to meet our personal need at any time." (Jeremiah, D. (2004). Knowing the god you worship: Study guide (pp. 53–54). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
Matthew 6:26 gives a powerful teaching from Jesus: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:25-16) Many are the testimonies of Christians, "When it looked like there was no were to turn to, God opened the door for us from the people who love the Lord."
God even provides for people who are in accordance with his permissive will. (Genesis 16:6-9) Consider Hagar, the Egyptian slave of Sarai. (Genesis 16:1) Sarai and Abram had lost patience and faith in God’s promise of a child. (Genesis 15:1-6) Therefore, Hagar was given to Abram to be his secondary wife (Genesis 16:3). A child was conceived (Genesis 16:4) and because of jealousy, conflict, distrust and suspicion, Hagar and her son were sent away. (Genesis 21:14) After they ran out of water, God opened her eyes to the provision of a well that was right before her. (Genesis 21:15-19) Sarai and Abram sinned when they ceased to believe in God's word by using human reasoning, and by neglecting their responsibilities to others. Despite sin abounding, the Lord still provided.
Nowadays, we live in a world that has convinced us to rely on human reasoning. We have chosen our way of helping God fulfill His promises to us. We have become impatient at times, thus causing negative consequences for our children or in the work place or any other place we have influence. Therefore, we can seek God to provide as our kids, family members, friends and co-workers find their way to the center of God's perfect will while they live in His permissive will.
Trusting God, as Hagar did, will open our eyes to His provision just as it did for Hagar and her son out in the desert. (Genesis 21:14-19; Genesis 16:6-16)
In Closing: The greatest blessing in a person's life is to have Biblical revelation that God cares for them. Satan has used worldviews, situations and circumstances to make people think God is just out there in universe, disconnected from us. That is why God moved the Apostle Paul to write a key verse in Ephesians 3, which is the heartfelt prayer of every Christian, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." (Ephesians 3:17) Christ dwelling in the spiritual heart is the only way people can enjoy His care for them; there is no other way.
Christ to "dwell" (κατοικέω katoikéō) - "Metaphorically of Christ as being permitted to take up full residence by His Spirit in the hearts of Christians (Eph. 3:17); of the Spirit dwelling in man (James 4:5)." (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers; Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.; Newman, B. M., Jr. (1993). A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies) James 4:5 says, "...Scripture says that He jealously longs for the spirit He has caused to dwell in us. "There is a holy, loving jealousy that a husband and wife have over each other, and rightly so. The Spirit within jealously guards our relationship to God, and the Spirit is grieved when we sin against God’s love." (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 369). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
Christians who grasp God's care for them understand what it means to have Christ dwell (κατοικέω katoikéō) in their spiritual hearts. It means that our spiritual hearts is allowing God to make His abode within us, supernaturally. (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Eph 3:17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) It means that you have given the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, permission to make His home in your hearts. (Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Eph 3:17). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.) The Lord has taken permanent residence, within us. (Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 3, pp. 383–384). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.)
Have you ever notice in movies where the husband is having an affair on his wife? In the bedroom happens to be a picture of the wife's father, and when the cheating husband notices it, he lays his father-in-law’s picture face down, as if he felt that his father-in-law was watching. The child of God who has allowed Christ, through the Holy Spirit to dwell, recognizes the Lord is right there watching; it changes his whole way of living.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, "Beyond measure it is desirable that we, as believers, should have the person of Jesus constantly before us, to inflame our love towards Him, and to increase our knowledge of Him. I would to God that my readers were all... diligent scholars in Jesus’ college, students of Corpus Christi, or the body of Christ, resolved to attain unto a good degree in the learning of the cross. But to have Jesus ever near, the heart must be full of Him, welling up with His love, even to overrunning; hence the apostle prays, 'that Christ may dwell in your hearts.'
Observe the words—that He may dwell in your heart, that best room of the house of manhood; not in your thoughts alone, but in your affections; not merely in the mind’s meditations, but in the heart’s emotions. We should pant after love to Christ of a most abiding character, not a love that flames up and then dies out into the darkness of a few embers, but a constant flame, fed by sacred fuel, like the fire upon the altar which never went out. Now, reader, Jesus cannot be in your heart’s love except you have a firm hold of Him by your heart’s faith; and, therefore, pray that you may always trust Christ in order that you may always love Him." (Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening: Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers)
Charles writes a truth that enables Christians to grasp God's love and care for them. Having Christ dwell in us is to allow Him ownership over our entire lives. Similarly, it’s like buying a house; when we purchase it, we have full reign to make whatever changes we want to make, so it a place that is pleasing to us. When Christ dwells in us, He has full reign to make whatever changes He wants. The child of God who is aware of the Lord’s indwelling and care is very concerned with how the Lord is affected by everyday choices and actions. Let us pray!