For The Love Of God Is Faithful
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
“For The Love Of God Is Faithful”
(1 Corinthians 1:3-9)
This passage offers us a wonderful promise. Over and over again Scripture reminds us of this promise, that “God is faithful.”
William Barclay translates it this way, “You can rely on God.”
Eugene Peterson in The Message, paraphrases it this way, “God will never give up on you. Never forget that.”
This is a wonderful promise which tells us that in a world that is constantly changing, God's love never changes. In a world that seems increasingly unreliable, there is one upon whom we can always rely. In a world where relationships are constantly breaking down, there is one relationship upon which we can always depend.
I. JESUS FELT DESPAIR:
Sometimes we questions that promise. Sometimes life hits us so hard that we wonder just where God is. In the midst of all the turmoil, sometimes we question whether God even exists. And then we feel guilty for feeling that way.
We need to realize that those feelings of anger, frustration and loneliness are real and natural. They come because that’s how God created us. We also need to remember that even Jesus, the Son of God, felt these things. He had these very same feelings of despair.
On the Mount of Olives, in the Church of all Nations in Jerusalem, you can feel that despair. It’s a Church that remembers Jesus’ prayer of despair in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his betrayal and arrest. The Church is dark and somber. The altar is surrounded by a huge crown of thorns. It's built upon the very stone where Jesus wrestled with the temptation to walk away from it all. You can feel the weight of his aloneness and the turmoil of his soul.
He carried that sense of aloneness to the cross where He cried out to God, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus felt what we feel and sometimes we feel like this promise is an empty promise.
II. GOD IS NOT LIKE THE WORLD:
A. BUT the Good News is that God is not like the World.
Paul is right, God keeps God’s promises. GOD IS FAITHFUL! YOU CAN RELY ON GOD!
B. The land of Israel is proof of the faithfulness of God’s love. Wherever you stand in Israel, you are surrounded by the fulfillment of God’s promise. In 70 AD, the nation Israel was destroyed and it’s people scattered. Jerusalem was leveled. The country’s name was changed to Palestine by the Roman Emperor, so that no one would remember Israel. But people did remember. And for over 1800 years, the Jews, the people of God’s promise, longed for the re-formation of their nation. In 1948 that dream became a reality and Israel was re-founded. God IS faithful. You CAN rely on God.
The hard part of the promise is waiting. We want it to happen right now but God works in God’s time.
C. When we accept that, we can look around and see evidence of God’s faithfulness. All over Israel you can look and see the evidence of the coming of God’s promised Messiah. There are churches everywhere, commemorating every aspect of Jesus’ life and ministry. There’s even a church commemorating the Inn where the Good Samaritan would have taken the wounded traveler if the story had been more than a parable.
The greatest bit of evidence, is in Jerusalem. As you peer into the Jesus' burial tomb you see the promise of the resurrection fulfilled. The Tomb IS empty. God IS faithful. You CAN rely on God. That’s the promise and that’s what this sacrament is all about. It reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice, the resurrection and of God’s faithfulness.
I wanted to make this trip a pilgrimage for those that went partly by celebrating the Lord’s Supper every day. The problem was that half of our group were Baptist and I wasn’t sure how they would react. I prayed about it. On the first day, this group of Baptists and Methodists celebrated the Lord’s Supper in the Roman Catholic Garden of Gethsemane. On the last day we celebrated it together in the Upper Room. Throughout the trip nothing divided us.
God IS faithful. We need to know the truth of God’s faithfulness as our own. We need to know that God is trustworthy and faithful because much in the world is not. We £CAN rely on God. That's the promise.
This is the Word of the Lord for this day.