Though Jacob has neglected God, God is still working, even behind the scenes. He is about to allow pain into the lives of Jacob and his family. The megaphone is coming. Though sin tries to derail the people of God from the best purposes God had for them, God is still sovereignly working all things together for His good purpose and pleasure.
The Pain of their own choices is about to become the ice water splashed upon their spiritually sleepy faces. God will use these circumstances to wake them up from their slumbering state. The fear of God has left them, but its about to return. They have taken things, dramatically into their own hands and yet God is about to bring them back. God is bringing Jacob to the end of himself. Jacob will be brought to pathetic and disgraceful lows… We must all get there, sometimes time and time again in order to look back up to God from our knees and acknowledge Him once again as Lord and master.
One more quote, and listen carefully, and then we will dive into our text.
From Lewis, once again:
“Let me implore the reader to try to believe, if only for a moment, that God, who made these deserving people, may really be right when He thinks that their modest prosperity and the happiness of their children are not enough to make them blessed: that all this must fall from them in the end, and if they have not learned to know Him they will be wretched. And therefore He troubles them, warning them in advance of an insufficiency that one day they will have to discover. The life to themselves and their families stands between them and the recognition of their need; He makes that life less sweet to them.
If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and [(emphasis mine) then, in our broken state, we will finally] come to Him because there is ‘nothing better’ now to be had.”
Jacob is getting there. The Brokenness is coming and Potter is standing ready to make him right once more.
From the Sermon: Remembering His Great Love – a survey of Gods Love through the book of John
Text (BLOG) Below:
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
“16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”
The purpose of this exhortation this morning is simple. It is to encourage our hearts in the love of God.
Often times, we question whether we are loved by God or others. And, sometimes, we cannot find it in ourselves to love others or even ourselves, and so the question’s arise within ourselves from time to time, “Are we loved?” “How are we loved?” “Does God Love Me?” “Can I love myself and others?”
These questions do indeed come with answers if we listen to the right sources. If you want the answer – need the answer, go to the source. The source of Love has spoken and given the answers that comfort even the most distraught and hurting hearts. When we are broken or doubting in the area and need for love, it is comfort that we are in need of. It is really a deep question and enquiry of purpose and belonging.
What is my purpose if love is not some part of it? To be loved and to give love. We all want it. We all need it. And sometimes we need to be reminded of it. To be comforted by it, by the source itself. To be comforted by the love of God for us as His creatures and kids.
How are we comforted by God? We are comforted by his great love.
He gives it, He shows it, and He promises it eternally.
The comfort He gives is an eternal comfort and good hope, freely given – through His generous grace.
I want to answer a couple of questions this morning about the love of God toward us and for us.
1. Does God love us?
(take a moment and allow several scriptures to remind you of Gods love)
“39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should
lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up
on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that
everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him
should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the
The will of God is to bring all who look upon Him andbelieve into eternal life with Jesus – receiving the samereward: eternal life.
God has compelled Himself in love to save the otherwiseun-savable.
Does God love us? The answer is a simple yetresounding YES! Because He willingly decided to act upon His love for us by saving those who believe in Him.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have eternal life.”
The Simple answer to this question is yes.
God loves us and has set His desire to save us and glorify His Son and Himself by doing so.
Amazing isn’t it!?
Its incredible that being the object and recipient of Gods love can, in and of itself bring Glory to God, and in doing so give our lives and our love meaning and purpose.
But, how can this be? How does this happen?
21 “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
To love someone is to set your affections upon that person, and to be full of good-will toward that person.
The closest relationship I can think of, to give as an example of this sort of love, is that love between a parent toward a child.
It a pure love, wishing only good upon its recipient. No evil is wished upon the other, only good things and pleasant thoughts are extended toward your child.
The Love is reciprocated. It is received, recognized and aimed back at its originator. We call this Love, and it becomes worship for those who believe. As a result of receiving this love, we want to obey and respond in kind. We want to be like God was and is toward us – loving and lovely.
How is it that love exists in our hearts and in this world?
1 John 4:18-19
19 “We love because he first loved us.”
It exists because God, among many other attributes, is a loving God who loves us as His own.
This is the agape love of the father extended to us – now made his children through faith, because of His reconciling us to Himself through Jesus, His son.
And so, does God love us?
2. How has God loved us? (How has He comforted us?) (How has He given us Hope?)
He has loved us by sending His Son into the world, specifically to fulfill the will of the Father in saving us and giving us eternal life with His beloved son.
The eternal curse of sin was deservedly upon us as trespassers and law breakers. And yet the penalty of that curse was undeservedly placed upon Himself in the flesh upon the cross.
Gods righteous judgement declared all sin to be punishable by death. It (sin) did not belong. Not with God, not in His presence and not in eternity.
Who could settle and satisfy Gods wrath and righteous judgement?
What propitiation could be made, allowing us to escape the wrath of God to come upon the sins of the world?
A solution to the problem did not exist. It does not exist outside of the One who can accomplish the impossible.
Unless God acts within Himself to remove our sins, they cannot be removed. Within our lives as unforgiven sinners, we were missing the best of Love… Gods love, and so we were missing the best of life… eternal life.
He could not simply remove the punishment.
That would not make Him just.
Simply, justice would not be served.
He also, could not declare righteous what had been tainted by sin.
That would not be right.
Justice had to be imposed.
But how could sin be removed and punished at the same time?
The penalty was death.
How do you cure death?
God took it upon Himself… (selah)
The Father of all creation, compelled by His own love toward those who would believe, made Himself to become the sacrifice that would appease His own wrath.
Rather than letting us face the eternal consequence of our own sin, He became sin for us and stood in our place before the Judgement seat of God, as the Son, paying the price for our sin, dying, though He had been eternal life Himself, and there, feeling the pain that should have been ours, allowed Himself to be tortured and executed as a slaughtered lamb at the hands of those whom He created, and who were corrupted by sin, and He was nailed, hands and feet to a splintery wood cross, and there the eternal wrath of God was thrust upon Jesus Christ, once and for all satisfying Gods wrath and delivering justice on the offenders who would look to Christ Jesus for salvation.
He did what could not be done by anyone else. He took our sin’s upon Himself – all of them, and then rose in victory – sin could not keep Him in the grave because it was not His sin that caused His death, it was ours!
What was impossible for man, was made possible by God Himself.
1 John 3:1:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
We could not inherit the eternal spiritual life because in our sin we had become spirituality dead, and yet God in His love moved Himself to act on our behalf, sending us the promised rescuer, Himself, in Christ as Savior.
Does God Love you? You tell me…
1 Corinthians 15:50-55
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
How has God loved us?
He has loved us by sending us His Son as Savior and by doing for us what only He could do – dying in our place and sharing with us His eternal reward – eternal life.
3. How has and does He show us His love? (What does Gods Love look like/Act Like?)
In John 1
Verse 38-39, 42
Jesus invites us to follow him, and receive a new identity in him. Like Peter, to go from a man led by the impulses of his flesh, to become a man led by and standing firm in Faith, proclaiming the truth that changes our hearts and minds and saves us for heaven, by the grace of God through Christ.
In John 2
Jesus defends and preserves His house, His presence, and His church and a place to meet and talk with God. In love, by grace we are invited as His children, to pray with Him. He preserves His house as a house of prayer, casting out those who would stand in the way of you and the Father. Christ has brought us to the Father, now and forever.
In John 3
Jesus reasons with us, offering us His salvation and the new life, causing us to be “born again” into an eternal spiritual life, and declares Gods love: “for God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
In John 4
Jesus speaks with the outcasts and marginalized – sitting down with and drinking water from the cup of the samaritan woman – an adulterous woman rejected by the jews, yet accepted and pursued by God, here at a well, found by her Savior. She had been looking for peace, but not until Jesus found her did she know it. Here, with love extended by God in the flesh, her life was now made whole.
Gods love shows itself in His love for those hurting and the outcast, as He healed many who were hurt, lame, diseased, blind, poor and even the demon possessed.
In John 6
With great compassion for those hungry, who followed Him, He twice, miraculously fed them with fish and bread, to satisfy their physical hunger, simply because He cares for them and He cares for you. It may just be that simple, that God takes care of you because He Loves you. He Loves you now and into eternity.
Do you trust Him? Do you trust that He Loves you?
26 “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor
gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by
being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the
lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not
arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass
of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into
the oven, will he not much more clothe you…?”
And not only does He satisfy us with physical bread for our bodily hunger, but He becomes our very sustenance and life, being “the bread of Life”:
35″ Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever
comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me
shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me
and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will
come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will
but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him
who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has
given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will
of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and
believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him
up on the last day.”
He is also the Living Water (John 7:37), providing not only for our physical hunger, but satisfying our spiritual thirst eternally. He has given us His Spirit – inside us, to give us life and keep us for God eternally.
In John 8
God comes to the defense of a women caught in the very act of adultery, and forgives her of her sins. He is not ashamed to humble Himself in coming to our rescue. The woman would have been stoned otherwise, if Jesus had not intervened.
What sin is so big or so condemning in your life, that Jesus would not stoop to the ground and lift you up from your mess?
Just as He did for the Women caught in the very act of adultery, He has done for you. He has and will come to your rescue.
38 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor
rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will
be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus
No sin is too great, no one has become so backslidden or gone too far into the darkness that Christ cannot redeem or rescue you by shining His very light of forgiveness into your life to bring you back into His glory and grace. For that is His mission – Gods mission – a rescue mission.
In John 8
He is the light of the world and whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness but will have the very light of life.
Do you need to walk into the light? He loves you, for that is why He came, and comes to your rescue.
In John 10
God reassures His love for and eternal protection over His sheep, even laying down His very life to win you back to Himself – dying to protect you from the enemy of your soul.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came
that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the
good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for
the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd,
who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and
leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and
scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and
cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I
know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father
knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for
the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.
I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So
there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the
Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take
it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of
my own accord.
In what other ways has God and does God express His Love for us?
In John 11
Jesus weeps with those who have lost a loved one (Lazarus). Not only does he weep over our lack of and lapses of faith, but he takes it upon Himself to increase our faith through miraculous acts of His grace upon our life. Here, He raises a dead man, Lazarus, not only restoring life, but increasing our faith.
He walks on water and calms storms, He makes wine for celebrations, He washes the feet of His followers, He defends His disciples against the attack of the legalistic pharisees, He promises His Spirit as the keeper and sustainer of our salvation, bringing us home to heaven. He fulfills His promise to us, by laying down his life for us on the cross, and pleasing His Father, and finishing His mission.
He forgives those who persecuted Him, and He forgives and restores Peter, who betrays Him 3 times. . .
Does God Love You?
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
Does He Love you? Are you loved?
The answer is a resounding YES! Y.E.S!
Look at what great lengths He has gone to, to show you His great love for you, and in doing so, Jesus has completed and satisfied the will of His Father, giving God glory.
And finally, in Love, He redeems our praise and brings us into worship. Our Response is to Love as He has loved us. To forgive others. To be instruments of His Love, Mercy and Grace.
6 “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give Him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
9 And the angel said to me,
“Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Be reminded now, and make no mistake, that you are eternally loved, oh child of God, and blessed forever.
What is written below is in response to another pastor within my community publicly condemning his congregation for exercising their liberty to drink alcohol in public or private – just so you know the context.
“Why even beat this drum?” you might ask, since I have publicly debated this topic multiple time’s online. I do believe passionately that if we begin to twist scripture to fit our own and every personal deep seeded conviction, and then pressure those around us to believe and practice the same, and especially if we are going to allow those who speak in our pulpits at our churches to do the same, we are going to:
1. Lose an entire generation of people and congregants who can see through the clouds of legalism that is spewing forth from this type of interpretation, even if they cannot articulate it. and
2. We are allowing our churches to produce accidental pharisees even though the intention was well meaning.
I cant even count the number of people I know and have met who are leaving the church or are discouraged and bewildered in their church because of the heavy handed doctrines that are being taught in regards to the topic of christian liberty. Pastors telling people what they can and cant do in life, in their families, in their careers. “Then what am I allowed to do?” Thus, the bewilderment of so many.
As pastors, preachers or Bible teachers, we are not instructors on every detail of everyones life, but rather conveyors of truth. Once that truth is accepted, it is up to the individual to grow into maturity and make their own decisions that can glorify God. We help them get there through discipleship. Not making them into our image but Christ’s.
This topic (on restricting liberties) always comes up around the issue of alcohol (which I believe is a “non-issue”) which is why some have come to believe that I am defending only the believers right to drink alcohol (because I do enjoy my craft beer) but that is not the case at all. In fact, that is not even what this article is about (not about alcohol). I am defending the believers right to their God given, fought and died for liberties in general – all of them.
Once you begin down the slippery slope of restricting others liberties (legalism), it becomes inevitable that you will produce in yourselves and in your church a horrific result of “christian superiority” over those who are not like you. That is dangerous and that is exactly where the pharisees erred. You and I cannot fill in the blanks where God has decided to keep silent or give liberty.
Which is exactly why my conversation began with the following verse:
(Following is my public online response)
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Cor 10:12
We all know that eating the food and where it comes from makes no difference (in relation to food offered to idols). But just because we know that we can eat it, lets not become, in our knowledge (or liberty), arrogant. Rather, in love we should consider the weakness or ignorance on these things (liberties) that those weaker or younger in the faith might display by their sensitivity to such matters. (1 Cor 8:1-8) These people’s conscience were still captive to the influence of these (false) idols. Thats not where we want to leave people. “their conscience, being weak, is defiled.” (1 Cor 8:7)
Corinthians encourages us to grow in the grace and knowledge of God, not stay weak in mind and faith. Paul was concerned about those who still believed in the power or influence of idols (that they, the idols, are something when they are not – idols). He is concerned that the one mans knowledge (which is commended), that it is ok to eat meat, even if it was once offered to a idol, would encourage another (weak minded and confused) believer that its ok to worship Jesus and to continue to worship idols as well. The context is to say, “we don’t worship idols, but some still haven’t gotten there yet – or figured this out yet” We should help them get there by getting our meat elsewhere if need be. He is not condemning the mature christians liberty but commending it by saying, “hey, we know better, and because of that, lets be mature enough not to send our weaker brothers and sisters, stumbling back into the idols temple and away from the one true God.”
But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?
And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 1 Cor 8:8-11
He is talking about leaving the faith and going back to idol worship. We are to raise up or disciple our congregations to believe that there is One true God only who is worthy of our worship and that idols are nothing, therefore eventually they will grow up, not stay weak, and realize, like those with knowledge, that the idols that the meat is offered to are literally nothing and that the meat is just that, meat. “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Jesus – Matt 15
This kind of teaching was at the core of Jesus’ teachings toward the pharisees and those trapped by legalism. Its about the heart. We encourage people to grow up! And in growing up in Christ, its becomes natural to make decisions based on our love for God and one another.
We encourage christians to grow and mature in a way that helps them to make all their decisions in a way that glorify God. When teachings like this (“dont do this or that”, “god revealed to ME that this is a stumbling block and unwise for you”) are taught year after year as people sit under our guidance, it becomes confusing, harmful and non-beneficial. Its encouraging christians to sip on the pastors milk when they should move onto the meat – maturing and being able to make their own decisions based on the scriptures. Thats where we get true wisdom – not from pastors who make statements like: “when God revealed this to me.” Thats nothing but legalism and extra-biblical teaching. This leaves no room for maturing or discussion or differing opinions on the matter (which the Bible leaves open for discussion). What else can be said or discussed among the church if the pastor is claiming that his opinion is from God?
Example from the Video: “You think you have the liberty to drink?” You cannot practice liberties, even “in the privacy or your home” your liberty “is a stumbling block” expressing “liberty” in “air quotes” “thats how some of you started drinking” ….etc.
A fat person finally got themselves on a diet and grabbed an apple before heading to church only to find mature believers at church eating extremely unhealthy donuts that the church provided…. stumbled.
Where does this logic stop?
Paul was not discouraging liberties. For Liberty Christ has set us free! “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Gal 5:1
It is not beneficial as pastors to tell people what liberties they can and cannot partake in. The bible does not teach that alcohol is a sin. It does not discourage the use of alcohol. Rather, it encourages wise decision making and giving God Glory in all things with our liberty. Any teaching that makes a believer think that they are pleasing God by not doing this or that IS LEGALISM AND THERE IS NO OTHER WAY AROUND IT. Stick to the text. trust God to grow up the believer. They WILL make decisions that prove their love for God and one another.
First of all, the context here was never speaking about alcohol.
Second, if your going to condemn others liberties in this one area, then you should discourage all liberties (like my donut example above). i.e. Christians shouldn’t use the internet because some people got save from porn. Christians shouldn’t eat food because some christians were saved from eating disorders. Christians should not throw parties in their homes because a christian was saved from a party lifestyle. Christians shouldn’t be seen in malls because some christians were saved from excessive spending and vain lifestyles. You shouldn’t talk sports because that one guy was saved from gambling on sports…etc
This logic above is wrong because we were not saved from these things alone but from all sin and lots of those things (like the meat offered to idols) were not sin in and of themselves but it was the idolizing of them and rejecting God in order to do life on our terms that was and is the sin that we are all saved from. Idols.
If alcohol can lead to drunkenness, therefore we say “stay away!”, should the same reasoning be applied to everything? Because of the potential? If gaining wealth can lead to “the love of money” which is the root of all evil, should we not also say “stay away from money all together!” Should the church stop accepting tithe to avoid this temptation? Because it has certainly corrupted so many believers and churches. Certainly not. Instead we are encouraged and even commanded to walk in wisdom with our liberties not without them. We as individuals and churches should have a structure that allows accountability in these areas of our lives.
Don’t demonize “liberty” for the false assurance that it will keep people from sinning. Encourage people, that they have the liberty to Give God Glory in all things and in everything that they do.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Cor 10:31
Though I do not think the following comment is necessary as a follow up, I have provided it for clarification due to a good brothers feedback. Thanks brother.
Sin is NOT liberty. If you cannot practice self-control or sobriety in any liberty than it has become an idol and a sin to you. You are better off abstaining from those liberties that cause you to sin. Drunkenness is Sin and cannot glorify God. Being high is the same, therefore drugs that cause you to lose your faculties and become intoxicated cannot qualify as liberty – they are sin and should be repented of and avoided.