|Series Theme: "Faith Sermons"|
Title: 18. Expectations - of God
1. Recap about expectations from previous weeks
Expectations are a normal part of life
Realistic expectations are built on past facts
Biblical expectations are built on God's faithfulness
When He speaks it is as good as done.
When we are born again we enter a life that is supernatural, God empowered, changing and fruitful
We are to live in the light of these expectations
What are our expectations in the face of bad circumstances that are:
self-generated - Jonah
Satan-generated - Job
2. The Nature of life in the 21st century
The language of technology - TV, PC BBC iPlayer, iPods, Blackberrys, Wi games, broadband
The language of home life - football clubs, ballet, music lessons, craft clubs
The concerns of modern families - worries about weight, healthy eating, fitness, debt, diminishing pension values, standstill savings, falling euro limiting holidays
Where is God in all this? How is He relevant to all this?
Often people suggest He is irrelevant and outdated.
Waiting for Godot 1955 (English version) by Samuel Beckett (despite Beckett's denial) suggested message: why doesn't God turn up?
3. The Irrelevant Bible?
open the Bible at odd pages and find odd things, e.g.
Lev 19:27 Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
Ex 23:19 Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk
There were always reasons!
These were to say to Israel, stay away from pagan practices rely upon the Lord alone.
4. A Fresh View of Modern Technology & today's world
WE are made in the image of God which includes the following abilities: to communicate using complex language, to think, plan, purpose, order, reason, invent, create, write, design.
The technology we considered before are outworkings of the abilities that God has given us.
In addition He has enabled us to: produce great works of art, write great works of fiction, write heart stirring poems, compose wonderful music, or write and produce great films or plays or operas or dance, design wonderful buildings, develop life-changing medicine, develop amazing skills of surgery, of artistry, and of manufacture
(Of course we can wrongly use all of these abilities.) These are the wonder of the gifts God has given us to enjoy.
5. So what do we expect of God?
Here are some of the basic things we can expect of God:
a) His Character
Ex 34:6,7 the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger , abounding in love and faithfulness , maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.
compassionate sympathises with us, feels for us, understands us
gracious kindly, has feelings of good towards us
slow to anger doesn't get wound up by our mistakes
abounding in love love is his primary characteristic
abounding in faithfulness He sticks with us & He doesn't give up on us
forgiving putting aside wrongs
Is this our expectation of the Lord
This is the God with whom we can have a relationship.
b) His Correcting Activity
Yes, He judges but it is always to bring us back to Himself
He seeks to draw us to Himself
When we, as Christians fail, Jesus is interceding for us:
1 Jn 2:1 I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
Gal 6:1 if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently
God's desire is to restore us, not put us down.
c) His Guiding/Teaching Activity
Jn 16:13 when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. Isa 42:16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do
He is there to help us come to understanding of who He is, what He has called us to, and what He wants to do for us.
6. By why does He seem so distant?
Waiting for Godot? Why doesn't God turn up?
It's a wrong starting premise
God comes to those who yearn for Him:
1 Chron 28:9 If you seek him, he will be found by you. (David to Solomon)
Deut 4:29 if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Mt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
It's not that you wait around for God, it is that you seek Him with a pure, yearning, hungry heart
Mt 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The people who touch and encounter heaven are those who realise their spiritual poverty and seek God, not those who sit around and bemoan His absence.