John 1:1-14 God Dwells with Us

Introduction:

Show video clip from the beginning of “A Christmas Story”

A Christmas Story: In the very beginning Ralphy (spelling) was waiting for Christmas, waiting for the BB Gun. In this case God has timing worked out and in the Old Testament they were waiting for the Messiah.

All throughout the Old Testament they were waiting for the Messiah. They were waiting.

We have been focusing on our Christmas theme which is “God provides the Light.” We have seen this played out in the Old Testament and then we have seen that John the Baptizer prepared the way. Now today we get to Jesus. The Light came into our neighborhood. This is called the incranation.

Scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer once said “The best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person.” The theological word for all of that is incarnation, meaning “in the flesh.” Jesus was the incarnation of God. Jesus was the way that God sent His “idea” to humanity; there was and is no better way!

Like the little girl who said, “Some people couldn’t hear God’s inside whisper and so He sent Jesus to tell them out loud.”

From Stephen Sheane’s Sermon “God With Us”

(Below is adapted from an illustration I read from John MacArthur)

I notice people sending fewer and fewer Christmas cards. Meagan and I will send a Christmas letter. Are you having that experience? The ones that they do send are two kinds, pictures of their kids, pictures of family, which are great and wonderful, and pictures of shepherds and wise men and mangers and stars and angels and all of that, right? I mean, that’s pretty much…we could separate them, the people go over here, the manger scenes go over here and that seems to be the current theme. And you might even wonder if the Christmas story could even be told without those very familiar elements. Would…what would the Christmas story be with no stable, no manger, no Joseph, no Mary, no Bethlehem, no shepherds, no angels, no star, no wise men and no baby? What would the Christmas story be?

It would be John’s account of the Christmas story. Fourteen verses, no Joseph, no Mary, no Bethlehem, no manger, no stable, no shepherds, no wise men, no star, no angels and no baby. But this is not any less the story. And if you think you can’t tell the story without those features, you’re wrong because that’s exactly what John does here.

One line from the text that I read you stands out and I want us to look at that line, it’s in the last verse, verse 14, and here is the story in four words…four words in English, four words in Greek, “The Word Became Flesh.” The Word became flesh. That is the most profound truth of all truth. That’s why we celebrate Christmas. Not because of the physical features of a stable and a manger and a star and a young couple and shepherds and wise men, they all participate, of course, in the physical historical features of the birth of Christ. But the real story is the Word became Flesh. The Word became Flesh.

Who is the Word? Verse 1 says, “The Word was with God and the Word was God. And this Word became flesh, verse 14 says, and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory.” The Word became flesh, dwelt among us without giving up any of His glory. This is the story of Christmas.

But the most concise statement in all the Bible on the incarnation, God becoming man, are the four words in verse 14, “The Word became Flesh,” God became a man.” The infinite became finite. The eternal one entered time. The invisible became visible.

That is exactly the theme today. God dwells with us.

Let’s read: John 1:1-14:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  1. Notice that verses 1-5 are specific about Jesus specifically beginning with His eternal past.

    1. I just want to skim over these verses. I like what John MacArthur says about verse 1:

        1. Was is an imperfect tense verb, eimi, a form of eimi. Eimi is the verb to be. And it describes continuous existence. The imperfect tense describes continuous reality. Ami is the verb to be, continuous existence before the beginning of everything. When the beginning began, He already was. John doesn’t use ginomai, he doesn’t say, “In the beginning the Word came into existence.” He uses ami, “In the beginning the Word already existed.” There never was a point when He came into existence. And that is why the testimony of Scripture is that He is before all things. That is why He says in John 8, “Before Abraham was, I am.” He was in the beginning already existing.

      1. John begins the Gospel going back to eternal past. He begins this Gospel going outside of time.

      2. By the way, “Word” is the Greek noun Logos and it meant all reason and reality. The Greeks and the Jews would have known John is writing about God, so we will not go deeper here right now. I would love to talk with you later regarding this. Actually, we do have a small group at my house at 6:00 and we could talk about it there. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament has about fourty or more pages devoted to the background of this Greek noun.

      3. I recently heard how C.S. Lewis wrote about the crazy things that we say. People say “time flies.” That is a weird phrase, it is like a fish saying the water is wet. That is weird unless fish were not meant to live inw ater but on land. Well, the point Lewis was making is that maybe we are so perplexed by how fast time goes because we were meant for the eternal. (I heard this from Ravi Zacharius on Just Thinking podcast, also on a White Horse Inn podcast)

      4. So, here we are in eternity past, outside of time and Jesus is with God.

      5. Jesus created everything.

      6. Then the Bible says that in Him, or Jesus was life and then the noun “light” comes into play. Life come into play:

      7. Dr. Constable “. . . we move on from creation in general to the creation of life, the most significant element in creation. Life is one of John’s characteristic concepts: he uses the word 36 times, whereas no other New Testament writing has it more than 17 times (Revelation; next come Romans with 14 times and 1 John with 13 times). Thus more than a quarter of all the New Testament references to life occur in this one writing.”1

      8. We have been talking about “light” haven’t we?

      9. The “light” shines into the darkness. There is a contrast between light and dark in John’s Gospel.

    2. That noun is used 73 times in 62 verses in the New Testament. It is used 6 times in verses 4-9; 23 times in John’s Gospel; 6 times in 1 John; 4 times in Revelation. It is used 33 times by John, almost half of its uses. At its root, as it is used here, it means “light.” It can be used to mean:

      1. radiant or shining

      2. enlighten, give light to

    3. dawn, draw near

    4. star, splendor, radiance

    5. enligtenment, light

    6. radiance, morning star

      1. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996)

      2. Light does shine into darkness. Light does light up the path. Why do we care so much for light? Why do we need light so much? But this is metaphorical. The Light is Jesus. The darkness is the world.

  2. Notice verses 6-8 are about John the baptizer preparing the way for the Light of the world.

    1. So we stay with this theme of Light. John is preparing the way.

    2. By the way, I do not know that we switched from the idea of Logos. John simply changed nouns describing Jesus. Jesus is the Logos, Jesus is the Light of the World.

  3. Notice verses 9-14 are back to Jesus, ending in the present. Jesus took on flesh.

    1. Now, John tells us that Jesus comes to His own but they will not comprehend Him. His own are the Jews.

    2. There is heavy irony in those verses. In Jesus comes into the world and the world rejects Him. Jesus created the world (verses 1-3), but the world rejects her creator.

    3. Yet, verses 12 and 13, all who believe in Him. This is not a causual belief but a heavy trust. Confessing sins, believing, trusting and committing to Him.

    4. God gives the right to be children of God. Again, notice the irony. Jesus has created us. Jesus shines His light upon us and then He adopts us as childen of God.

    5. Verse 13 is key. Born not from human lineage but of God. This is full adoption, full children. And who does the saving? John tells us: The will of God. The text says, not of human decision.

    6. Remember this Advent I have stressed that God provides the light. Salvation is from God.

    7. So, verse 14: The Word became flesh.

    8. Literally, He pitched His tent amongst us. We are to the present.

    9. For the rest of John’s Gospel, He is not called the Word, but Jesus of Nazareth.

    10. How did He take on flesh?

    11. He was born of a woman in a stable or a cave. The Light of the World.

Now, that is a different Christmas story. That is different than the cards with the manger scenes, but it is full and in the Bible.

Let’s pray.

So, have you believed in Him? Have you accepted salvation?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

A man is rushed to the hospital where a doctor examines him and informs him that he is critically ill. The patient is told that he will die unless he gets proper treatment. The physician then prescribes medicine for the sick man and says, “If you will take this, I can assure you with absolute certainty that you will get well.” Now, what should the man do? Should he just lie there on his sickbed and believe that the doctor knows his business, that he has diagnosed his illness correctly, and that the prescription will surely make him well? No, that is not enough. If that is all he does, he will die. To live, he must take the medicine.

When a person offers you a gift that has cost him or her much, it does not become yours until you receive it from that person. The beautifully wrapped package in the outstretched hand of the giver will do the receiver no good until he or she reaches out and takes it. Likewise, reception of God’s gracious gift of eternal life is necessary before a person can benefit from it. Receiving a gift from someone else does not constitute a meritorious act or good work, and the Bible never regards it as a work. It is simply a response to the work of another.

Let’s pray

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John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus, the Light of the World

ON A RATHER INSIGNIFICANT SPHERE

A senior angel is showing a very young angel around the splendors of the universe. They view whirling galaxies and blazing suns, and then flit across the infinite distances of space until at last they enter one particular galaxy of 500 billion stars.

As the two of them draw near to the star which we call our sun and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis ball to the angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of what he had seen.
“I want you to watch that one particularly,” said the senior angel, pointing with his finger.
“Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me,” said the little angel. “What’s special about that one?”

To the little angel, earth did not seem so impressive. He listened in stunned disbelief as the senior angel told him that this planet, small and insignificant and not overly clean, was the renowned Visited Planet.

“Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince … went down in Person to this fifth-rate little ball? Why should He do a thing like that?” …
The little angel’s face wrinkled in disgust. “Do you mean to tell me,” he said, “that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?”
“I do, and I don’t think He would like you to call them ‘creeping, crawling creatures’ in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them. He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him.”
The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension.

(SOURCE: From Phillip Yancey, “The Jesus I Never Knew,” p. 43-44, quoting JB Phillips.)

We have been focusing on God sending the Light. We have been focusing on how God provides the sacrifice for our sins. Over the past few weeks we have looked at how way back in Genesis 3:15 God prophesied that He, being Jesus, will strike a fatal blow to the devil. This shows that when humanity first sinned, God was already declaring redemption. Salvation comes from the Lord. Then, last week we looked at Genesis 22 and how God provided a sacrifice for Abraham. This shows that God will also provide a sacrifice for us. In this we see the prophesies of old fulfilled in the New Testament that God would become a man to die for our sins. God loves us that much.

Today, let’s talk about John the Baptizer preparing the way for the Messiah, for Jesus. Today, we look at the New Testament.

Today’s Great Idea is that John the Baptizer Prepares the Way for the Light of the World. Today’s application is because Jesus Is the Light, we do not walk in darkness. So, walk in the Light. (Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:4-8)

Let’s read Mark 1:1-8:
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
4And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

I. Mark 1:1-8 is about John the Baptizer preparing the way for Jesus.
1. This passage actually quotes from the Old Testament, specifically, Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 about the one who prepares the way.
2. Since we are in the Chritmas season, how do you prepare for Christmas morning?
1. Okay, let’s pretend that you have people coming over for dinner, or lunch or a Christmas get together, how do you prepare? Do you have to get things ready in the house?
2. Less than a few months ago many of you hosted a few Judson University students for the night. How did you prepare? Did you get their beds ready? Did you clean the house? Did you get a camper out and get it ready? Then, when they came over did you drive them home and give them something to eat?
3. Prior to your Christmas celebratin do you decorate? Do you think, “I am having my grandchildren over and I want things to be right? So, you bake some cookies, you set up the Christmas tree, maybe you light a fire in the fireplace, maybe you light some candles. You are preparing the place for your family Christmas get together. When you do this you are preparing everything for the important people, your family.
3. Way back in the Old Testament God declared that someone will prepare the way for Jesus. Someone will prepare the way for the Light of the World.
4. John the Baptist was the forerunner. This passage is about John and his ministry.
5. However, I want to look at another prophetic passage.
II. In Luke 1:67-79 we see John the Baptizer’s father prophesy about John. Let’s read that passage as well.
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant,
73the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
1. So, we see an amazing prophesy and I only want to talk about a couple of verses.
2. First, in context John the Baptizer has just been born and they name him John. If you read the beginning of the chapter, verses 5-25 you can read about the angel of the Lord visiting Zecheriah to share that he and his wife, Elizabeth, will have a child in their old age.
3. Verse 67 says that Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. Wow! Understand that there has not been a prophet in 400 years. They have not seen anything like this.
4. In verses 67-75 are prophesies concerning Jesus.
5. As I look at these I see that they all are in a worshipful way. Verse 68: Praise the Lord, God of Israel because He has come to His people and redeemed them.
6. This is worship of God. Amen!
7. Realize that Zechariah and his wife are likely older than sixty years and they just had a child.
1. Raise your hand if you are under sixty years old.
2. Understand that the parents of John the Baptizer were older than you are, maybe older than your parents and they conceived and gave birth.
3. Now, raise your hand if you are over sixty years old.
4. Understand that Zechariah and Elizabeth might have been your age as new parents.
5. I have been a new parent and I am not eager to have that responsibility, pressure and time commitment in my sixties.
6. I do not want to miss stating that some of you take on great responsibilities for children when you are over sixty and praise God for your commitment.
8. Verses 76-80 are about John the Baptizer preparing the way for Jesus, the Light of the world.
9. Verse 76: John will be called a prophet of the most High. Do you know that Jesus said that no one born of women was greater than John the baptizer? (Matthew 11:11) Verse 76 also says that John will prepare His ways.
10. Verse 77: John will give people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.
1. John went out and preached that people need to repent. (Matthew 3:1-11; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:2-16; John 1:19-39; 3:22-36)
2. In John 1:23 John said that he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness. John recognized that he was fulfilling prophesies from the Old Testament. He knew the prophesies in Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1 which he fulfilled. He knew who he was.
3. What is really awesome is that here when he was just born his father prophesies this ministry regarding his son. We must be careful of this. But this was accrurate.
The eighteenth-century Anglican clergyman George Whitefield was one of the spearheads of the Great Awakening, a period of massive renewal of interest in Christianity across Western societies and a time of significant church growth. Whitefield was a riveting orator and is considered one of the greatest preachers in church history. In late 1743 his first child, a son, was born to he and his wife, Elizabeth. Whitefield had a strong impression that God was telling him the child would grow up to also be a “preacher of the everlasting Gospel.” In view of this divine assurance, he gave his son the name John, after John the Baptist, whose mother was also named Elizabeth. When John Whitefield was born, George baptized his son before a large crowd and preached a sermon on the great works that God would do through his son. He knew that cynics were sneering at his prophecies, but he ignored them. Then, at just four months old, his son died suddenly of a seizure. The Whitefields were of course grief-stricken, but George was particularly convicted about how wrong he had been to count his inward impulses and intuitions as being essentially equal to God’s Word. He realized he had led his congregation into the same disillusioning mistake . Whitefield had interpreted his own feelings— his understandable and powerful fatherly pride and joy in his son, and his hopes for him—as God speaking to his heart. Not long afterward, he wrote a wrenching prayer for himself, that God would “render this mistaken parent more cautious, more sober-minded, more experienced in Satan’s devices, and consequently more useful in his future labors to the church of God.” The lesson here is not that God never guides our thoughts or prompts us to choose wise courses of action, but that we cannot be sure he is speaking to us unless we read it in the Scripture.
Keller, Timothy (2014-11-04). Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (p. 63). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.
4. So, that is today, but Zechariah was letting God speak through him, how do we know? One way is that this was fulfilled.
11. In verse 79: Zechariah prophesies that John will: to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
1. Another translation says that he will give light to those who sit in darkness.
2. Would you be in darkness without Jesus?
3. Whether we realize it or not, we would be in darkness without Jesus.
4. In John 8:12 Jesus is speaking and He says: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
5. So, where you at? Do you have the Light of the world?
6. Ephesians 5:8-11: turn there with me:
7. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
8. Isaiah 60:1: Arise Shine for your Light has come.
9. Jesus has come and He was and is the Light of the world. John the baptizer prepared the way for Jesus, the Light of the World. Now, what is so awesome is that this verse has been fulfilled on multiple levels:
1. John the baptizer grew up as verse 80 says and he prepared the way for the Lord who would shine the light on those that walk in darkness.
2. Then, today, Jesus has come, died on the cross for us and risen again !
3. We have heard, we have seen the Light.
4. But others still have not.
5. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 that we are the light of the world.
6. Go, spread your light.
On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry
by Charles Coffin, 1676-1749
Translated by John Chandler, 1806-1876 (Stanzas 1-3)
Translated by unknown author, (Stanzas 4-5)

1. On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake and listen for he brings
Glad tidings from the King of kings.

2. Let every heart be cleansed from sin
Make straight the way for God within,
And so prepare to be the home
where such a mighty guest may come.

3. For You are our Salvation, Lord,
Our Refuge, and our great Reward.
Without Your grace our we waste away
Like flowers that wither and decay.

4. To heal the sick, stretch out Your hand
And make the fallen sinner stand;
Shine out, and let Your light
restore earth’s own true loveliness once more.

5. To You, O Christ, all praises be,
Whose advent sets Your people free,
Whom, with the Father, we adore
And Holy Spirit evermore!
1. John the baptizer prepared the way. Zechariah prophesied that he would prepare the way for Jesus. You may not be a prophet like him, but you can still point people to Jesus as he did. Shine your light.
2. What better season than this season to shine your light and point people to Jesus.

Close:
Do you ever plug in your Christmas lights and only one bulb works on a strand? That would not be that pretty would it? No, the tree is pretty because of all the lights. The lights expose the darkness of that tree.

In like manner…

I am going to light a candle right now and ask that the lights will be turned off. This room can get really dark, especially at night. Just look at it. We just have the alter candles lit and this one. This does not brighten it up much. But suppose that it was just like Christmas Eve and you all had a candle, one by one this room would light up. Your candle light would expose the darkness in this room.

The Truth is, we all have the Light, if you know Jesus Christ. When you go about your daily lives you walk into rooms that are dark like this and you bring the light, which is Jesus within you.
Go be light.

Do you have the Light of the world that the Old Testament prophesied about? Do you have the Light of the world that John the Baptizer prophesies about?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
Pray

Sermon Genesis 22:1-14

Introduction:

The date is now December 7, so I wonder how things are coming along with your Christmas plans. Do you have all your shopping done yet? Do you have your house decorated?

Show of hands: How many of you have your Christmas tree up?

How many have two Christmas trees up?

How many have lights up outside of the house?

Have you gone out looking at Christmas lights whether driving around or a specific display?

On Saturday, November 22, I joined a group from the church to visit a Christmas Tree display at the Akron Convention Center. How beautiful it was to see all those trees decorated and lit up. How neat it was to see all the themed Christmas trees. I love walking into a room all lit up with Christmas lights.

But our lights have an effect. Do you ever look up at the stars at night? Do you notice that you cannot see as many stars in the city as you can in the country? I once saw a program that said we have to go to the middle of the Atlantic in order to truly get away from the light pollution, wow! Yet, electric lighting revolutionized the world. We were already in the industrial revolution, but when electric lighting came, wow! But we know that Thomas Edison did not invent light, just the electric light bulb. Now, we have lights everywhere. Think about night baseball games, night football games, night soccer games, indoor night basketball games at night, we have services here after dark, headlights on our cars, lights outside our houses, parking lot lights and lighthouses. Is that all because of the light bulb? I don’t think so, I think it is all because we need light. Think about it, if we did not need light, the light bulb would have been another unimportant invention. We need light.

We need light and God provided light from the beginning. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was. Later God created the sun, moon and stars. But that is not the only light which we need and needed. We needed salvation. We needed a sacrifice. God sent us the Light of the World. God sent His own sacrifice. He was prophesies about in the Old Testament.

Singer Michael Card wrote a song called The Promise, and he wrote a little Christmas devotional on this theme:
He noted:
Christianity is founded on a promise. Faith involves waiting on a promise. Our hope is based on a promise. 
Promises are made with words. … .that part of myself that goes with every promise is given to you through my words….
Our God is the great maker of promises… His word, our Bible, is a collection of the promises… most of these concern Jesus, who came to be known as “the Promised One”
Through all these promises, God was trying to give something of Himself to Adam, and to Israel, and finally to us. The Bible tells us that when the Promised One came, the Lord poured all of Himself into Him.
What a costly thing it can be to make a promise – it cost Jesus His life.

Today, we continue our Advent series of sermons. Advent means “waiting” The idea is that we are waiting on Jesus to come and make things right. In reality, we all know that He has come and this is why we are here. Today, we look at a very familiar Old Testament story. Yet, as familiar as this is, this is prophetic in looking towards the Christ Child. We see once again that God provides the Light. God provides the sacrifice needed for Abraham and for us.

Read with me Genesis 22:1-14:

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

Here I am,” he replied.

2Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

Here I am,” he replied.

12“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

The great idea in this passage is that the Lord provides. So I want to talk about how the Lord provides the sacrifice. The Lord sends the Light. Three times in verses 1-14 we see the idea that the Lord provides.

  1. Let’s overview this narrative.
    1. In verse 1 God talks to Abraham and notice that Abraham has no hesitation. Abraham immediately said, “Here I am.”
    2. Verse 2 has God giving Abraham instructions as to what to do. Notice how specific this is:
      1. Take your son…
      2. Your only son…
      3. whom you love…
      4. sacrifice him as a burnt offering.
    3. Realize that Abraham had another son, Ishmael, whom he sent away. He was not the son of the promise. He was not the son by Abraham and Sarah. Isaac was.
    4. This was Abraham’s only son and he loves him.
    5. Yet, God tells him to sacrifice him. What was this like for Abraham? What were his emotions?
    6. Whatever it was like for Abraham, God did this with His Son.
    7. John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.
    8. Notice that Jesus, God’s one and only Son is the Son of promise. Isaac was the son of promise to Abraham. By Isaac all the world will be blessed. The lineage goes on to Jesus and in Him, through His death and resurrection all the world will be blessed.
    9. Verse 3, the next verse says that Abraham got up early in the morning and he began his trip to obey God.
      1. I heard someone say, “I wonder if he told Sarah.” That is a thought. I wonder if he just said they were going out for a bit. Do you think he could have actually told Sarah that he was going to kill her only son? No way!
      2. I bet if he told her that she would have stopped it. That is not saying that she had less faith, but this was her only son.
    10. Verse 5 shows that this is about worship. There were two servants with them. Abraham has the servants wait. Abraham says that they will worship and then they will return.
    11. Isn’t that interesting? Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, yet he tells the servants they will return. Maybe Abraham did not wish for the servants to come with him and try to restrain him from following the Lord’s command? Or, maybe Abraham thought that Isaac was the child of promise and so God would raise him up again. Maybe he thought his son, Isaac, was the Messiah. They were waiting on someone to make things right.
    12. They have the wood, the fire and the knife and they are going up to make the sacrifice. Isaac is carrying the wood for his own sacrifice. Hmm. You know that in John 19:17 it says that Jesus carried His own cross?
    13. By the way, Isaac is not a young child. He is an adult. The Jewish historian Josephus says that he is probably twenty-five years old. We never think of him that young.
    14. In verse 8: Abraham says that God will provide the lamb. Isaac knew what he would need for a sacrifice. But see that. Abraham had strong faith. God will provide.
    15. We look at this today and we are looking back and we see that God provided Jesus, our eternal lamb.
    16. Abraham places his son on the alter and pulls the knife. He is about to kill him when an angel interrupts him. The angel may have been a normal angel or he might have been Jesus in the Old Testament. Sometimes when the Bible says the Angel of the Lord it is referring to Jesus.
    17. Abraham is stopped and then they see a ram caught in the bushes by its horns.
    18. God provided the sacrifice.
    19. God provided a sacrifice for Abraham.
  2. God provided a sacrifice for us and the sacrifice was His own Son.
    1. John 1:36 John the baptizer says look at the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 1 John 4:9; John 3:16 both talk about God sending His one and only Son.
    2. Isa 53:7: Jesus is like a lamb to the slaughter.
    3. Verse 14: Abraham calls that place the Lord provides.
    4. Abraham needed a sacrifice. God gave him the sacrifice.
    5. But the sacrifice for Abraham was foreshadowing the sacrifice for the rest of the world. Truly through Abraham all the world would be blessed.
    6. Close to two thousand years later a descendant of Abraham would be born and raised. He would be just over twenty-five years old at the age of thirty-three. He would be God’s Son and He would carry His own cross and this time the angel would not stop the death. This time He would die. He would die as our sacrifice. God provided the Light. But praise God He did not stay in the grave. He became the first fruits of the resurrection. (1 Cor. 15)
    7. Our Lord provides! Amen! Jehovah Jireh is how that name is translated.

Close:

Jesus came:

That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.(Hebrews 2:14–15)

But not just to die. Jesus was born to be raised from the dead (Revelation 1:18). He is the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in him “though he die yet shall he live” (John 11:25).

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem it was the dawn of death’s destruction. It made possible the fast-approaching time when,

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8)

Today is the second Sunday of Advent, the season on the Christian calendar that climaxes at Christmas. “Advent” means “something’s coming, something’s about to arrive.”

It is called “Advent season” because the Christian church takes this time of the year to intentionally do what all of creation is doing. Creation is enslaved, held captive. Sin and Death hold the world in their grip, and we all feel it. Life hurts. We get depressed. Our bodies break down, or they just break.  People hurt us, reject us, people hurt themselves. Families fall apart.

In this condition, what is creation doing? It is waiting. It is expecting. A long time ago the people of God were waiting for their redeemer, the one who was promised, who would come and deliver God’s people from oppression and captivity. God sent Jesus into the world to provide salvation, to make God’s initial move to redeem the world. So we celebrate Christmas.

But we celebrate not only the singular day that commemorates the arrival of the Son of God, we participate in the entire Advent season, since we still find ourselves in a posture of waiting. We are waiting for the return of Jesus to come and save, to redeem us from oppression and save us from our brokenness and sin. We are waiting for God to come back and fix the world finally and forever.

This is the prayer from http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearA_RCL/Advent/AAdv1_RCL.html

Nov 30: God Provides the Light (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; 60:1-3, 19-20 and other Scriptures)

I like jogging around town at night during the Christmas season. It is great seeing the Christmas lights. It makes me think back.

What are your Christmas decorations like? Do you enjoy Christmas decorating?

When I was a child we were not allowed to listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas movies or television shows until after Thanksgiving. I looked forward to Christmas in every way. I looked forward to the lights, snow, days off school, lights, Santa Claus, trains (I’ll explain that), family get togethers, and -did I say- lights and so much more.

When I was a child I remember setting up Christmas lights with my dad. I think it was every year from the time I was in first grade up until I was in sixth or the seventh grade we would set up Christmas lights the weekend after Thanksgiving. It seems that the day after Thanksgiving we would clean up from the family get together and then maybe set up some indoor Christmas decorations. We could not set up the the Christmas tree at that time, we had to wait on that. We would set up the Nativity scene on the mantel and we would string lights along the mantle as well. We would set up various other Christmas decorations around the house. I think I loved the colors of Christmas, but I loved the many colors on the lights. It seems that usually the Saturday after Thanksgiving we would hang Christmas lights all over the exterior of the house. We had a two story and my dad would use the extension ladder as we would hang lights on the top of the house as well. We had a blue spruce tree and we hung lights on there also. It was great getting the lights out of the garage attic plugging them in and watching them light up, or we hoped they would light up. Many times they wouldn’t light up. My dad could fix anything and so many times he would replace the fuses and rewire things and make them work. We stood there in the cold and watched as he did all the work! We did hold the ladder. We used the big lights, not the little lights, but they sure could blow fuses. At night it was so nice to go outside and see the house lit up. In the next few weeks we would set up the Christmas tree. The tree had snowflake lights and these bubble lights that were supposed to resemble candles. We hung so many lights on the tree, I’m sure many of you would have thought it was too cluttered. In the coming weeks we would drive around and look at Christmas lights. Sometimes we were on our way home from cub scouts or some school event and we would just drive around for awhile.

We had an old train that was probably from the 1930’s, it was a Lionel Train and we would set it up under the Christmas Tree and I remember sitting in that room with the lights off except for the tree and letting the train go around the tracks. The Train had a light on the front and the cars lit up inside.

I wonder if you have memories like this?

Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpk9Fk6sR3g

Pictures and videos of Christmas lights displays.

Today, we begin our Advent theme which is Jesus is the Light. In this year’s Advent theme I intend to show you how Jesus was prophesied in the old Testament and these prophesies are fulfilled in the New Testament. I intend to show you that Jesus is the Light of the world and as people engaged Him they had enlightening experiences. You know, Jesus calls us the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14) So, let’s open our Bibles and see the very first prophesy about God providing the Light. That is my title today and that is the great idea:

God Provides the Light.

The applications are:

  1. Have we trusted in the light of the world?
  2. Are we encouraged that the whole Bible talks of God sending the light?
  3. Notice God provides the light, salvation is of God.
  4. Can we rejoice in our salvation? (Psalm 51:12)

Let’s look at a few passages about how God provides the light. Let’s start with:

  1. Let’s turn in the first book of the Bible and look at: Gen. 3:15:

Genesis 3:15:

And I will put enmity

between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and hers;

he will crush your head,

and you will strike his heel.”

    1. Take note, this passage is written right after the first recorded sin. I don’t know how many years before Christ came to earth this was written, but I would think about 4,000 years and just days, weeks or months into creation. Adam and Eve had the reign of the Garden of Eden and walked with God. Then, the devil came and tempted them. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Take note that there is spiritual warfare and we see it in this passage. The devil comes all innocent and disguises himself as a snake. Next thing we know they are disobeying God.
    2. Now, in verse 15 God is giving the punishment for satan and for Adam and Eve.
    3. In the middle of the punishment is this prophesy.
    4. Enmity: this means that there will be a barrier between the devil and Eve and her off spring and the devils. It would be easy to think this is simply talking about a fear between man and snake, but historically that is not how it was interpreted.
    5. Luther commented on the nature of “the woman’s Seed”: “This means all individuals in general; and yet he is speaking of only one individual, of the seed of Mary, who is a mother without union with a male” (LW 1.195).1
    6. One writes: The “offspring” of the woman was Cain, then all humanity at large, and then Christ and those collectively in Him. The “offspring” of the serpent includes demons and anyone serving his kingdom of darkness, those whose “father” is the devil (John 8:44). Satan would cripple mankind (you will strike at his heel), but the Seed, Christ, would deliver the fatal blow (He will crush your head).
    7. Another writes: The serpent’s poison is lodged in its head; and a bruise on that part is fatal. Thus, fatal shall be the stroke which Satan shall receive from Christ, though it is probable he did not at first understand the nature and extent of his doom.2
    8. Here we have the common case where an individual represents many.204 Eve and her adversary are the progenitors of a lifelong struggle that will persist until a climactic moment when the woman’s offspring will achieve the upper hand.3
      1. Now think about this verse and our applications. Notice that salvation comes from the Lord.
      2. Here we are in the beginning of time. Here we are and man and woman have just sinned, they have broken God’s perfect standard. But God is saying, “I am going to bring you back.” God is saying, “There is a punishment, but I will send the light.”
      3. The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) The Bible says that God wants all to come to salvation. (2 Peter 3:9)
  1. All throughout the Old Testament God reminds them of the Light that will come. God reminds them of the Light of the world. God continues to talk about the birth of Jesus.
    1. Isaiah 7:14:
    2. Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
    3. Isaiah was written some 700 years prior to Christ and God is reminding the people that He will provide the Light.
    4. Notice that the whole Bible talks of God sending the Light, sending Jesus. Isn’t that encouraging? Do you have the Light? Do you have joy in your salvation, Psalm 51:12?
  2. Listen to Isaiah 60:1 and 19-20:
    1. Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
    2. Isaiah 60:19-20:
    3. The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.
    4. These verses are about a time still to look forward to. But notice, who provides the light? God will provide the light.
    5. Is it possible?
  3. On March 9, 1979, nine satellites stationed at various points in the solar system simultaneously recorded a bizarre event deep in space. It was, in fact, the most powerful burst of energy ever recorded. Astronomers who studied the readings were in awe.

The burst of gamma radiation lasted for only one-tenth of a second . . . but in that instant it emitted as much energy as the sun does in 3000 years. If the gamma-ray burst had occurred in the Milky Way Galaxy, said one astrophysicist, it would have set our entire atmosphere aglow. If the sun had suddenly emitted the same amount of energy, our earth would have vaporized. Instantly.

Let’s look at the New Testament:

  1. In Matt. 1:23 Joseph is having a dream and this is what the angel says: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). This is the fulfillment of that prophesy way back in Genesis 3:15.
  2. In Luke 3:29-32 Jesus as a baby was seen by a man named Simeon and this is what he says:
    1. Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.
  3. One more Bible passage which shows a more direct fulfillment of that prophesy is Gal. 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.
    1. Notice how this passage says, “born of a woman” and that is alluding to Genesis 3:15: the seed or “offspring” of a woman…

2 Cor. 4:4, 6 says:

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

As Christ followers, we look forward to a time when God provides all the light we need:

Rev. 22:5:

And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Interesting, I remember buying Meagan an engagement ring and it sparkled and just looked amazing. But that is because of the light reflecting off of the diamond. Light makes things beautiful and amazing.

When we read about the images of Heaven and the New Jerusalem everything appears magnificent, but it would not appear that way in the dark, it does because God will dwell with us and be the Light.

God prophesied in Genesis 3:15 that He will provide the light and that happened through Jesus. That is not all the Light God provides. As Christ followers we have the light of Jesus with us all the time through the Holy Spirit and some day He will dwell with us.

Close:

[The Passion of the Christ with Jesus stepping on the snake, maybe silent only.]

This past year we took Mercedes out to see Christmas lights and she loved them, absolutely loved them! There is a mansion in Salem with lights all over the yard and just more lit up than anyone could imagine. Mercedes would say, “I want to go play in it!” Remember she was two then. When we think about the light, we remember that Jesus is the light from God. God loves us so much that from the very beginning God revealed to us that He would make a way of salvation.

We will continue with this theme of how God provides the Light and Jesus is the Light. We will be talking about this the next few weeks as we consider the prophesies of old fulfilled in Jesus.

Have we trusted in the light of the world?

Are we encouraged that the whole Bible talks of God sending the light?

Notice God provides the light, salvation is of God.

Can we rejoice in our salvation? (Psalm 51:12)

Do you have the Light? Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

W W Luther’s Works. Lectures on Genesis, ed. J. Pelikan and D. Poellot, trans. G. Schick

1 K. A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:26, vol. 1A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996).

2 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 19.

4 04 In 1 Tim 2:15 Eve’s role as childbearer is taken as an archetype in Paul’s reference to the Christian women at Ephesus.

3 K. A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:26, vol. 1A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 245.

Thanksgiving message

Introduction:

Someone gave me the following:

If Jesus showed up for dinner on Thanksgiving:

There wouldn’t be any fighting over the drumsticks,

He’d just multiply them.

He could turn water into cranberry sauce if you ran out.

The last to arrive would be the first to get served.

He’d let the little children come to Him at the big people table.

He’d make sure all the food was ready at the same time and dished up piping hot.

He’d grant everyone wishbone wishes.

There’d be enough leftovers to feed a whole multitude.

May Jesus be with you on Thanksgiving always!

Let me read a part of the list that several housewives compiled. They wrote that they were especially thankful:

“For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks.

“For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.

“For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents

“For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.

“For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.

APPL. Now our list might not be the same as theirs, but I’m convinced that if we began to make a list, we would find that we have much more for which to be thankful than just our material possessions.

What are you thankful for?

Maybe you can better determine what you are thankful for by considering what causes you to be anxious.

I remember being in a counseling class and they talked about the rise of anxiety amongst teenagers. But we are a very anxious culture. We can get worried about anything and everything. We can be so very tense and we know we are just about ready to explode. I know of people who have been anxious over a football game. In one of those two years when the Browns went to the AFC championship I know of someone who was so nervous during the game that he went on a walk.

I must admit that I can get very anxious. It has been several years now but I have had anxiety attacks in the past. There can be a sudden fear that is hard to place that just would come over me.

Today, I wish to talk about the cure for anxiety and Jesus’ instructions on anxiety. So, let’s read Matthew 6:25-33. My big idea is to be content, trust God for your needs because He cares for you.

Let’s read Matthew 6:25-33:

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 than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look 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? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you―you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

  1. Let’s talk for a moment about Jesus’ instructions in this passage.
    1. In context we must know that at this point in this passage Jesus is giving instructions concerning money. In the previous verse Jesus says “you cannot serve God and wealth.” Or, “money.”
    2. Materialism always gets in the way. I find an unfortunate contradiction in my life. The “thing” that should satisfied me actually causes more anxiety. That is backwards. When I get something new I am stressed about what to do with the old, or I am stressed with learning how to use the new thing or take care of it or store it or put it together. Materialism ruins our life of simplicity. Materials easily become our God. Listen to the commercials about what we “need.” I heard recently of a young adult saying, “I love this.” [talking about an iPhone] We do not own possession, possessions own us. The more we have the more we must keep up. The saying goes the more money we make, the more money we spend. Possession are fleeting satisfactions. They satisfy us one one moment but they will come to ruin. The funny thing is long before they break, wear out, or are out of date the satisfaction the material item gives us is worn off.
    3. Know that I am in the battle to fight against materialism just like you. I am in the battle to seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness just like you. I fight temptations just like you.
    4. Last August I called Timewarner Cable in order to cut cable. As is usual they asked why and I said we did not get much for our money. We had a very basic package which they called the “starter package.” It included the locals and three cable stations. But I got off the phone with Timewarner having adding some sixty channels and faster internet for only ten dollars more a month. They got me. But I was excited. I could not wait to have those cable stations. I looked forward to Discovery Channel and Food Network and ESPN and cable news. A few days later Meagan and I were talking and we decided this was not necessary, we could save the ten dollars more a month. So, I took the girls to the park and Meagan stayed back and called Timewarner. I said, “Be careful they will get you.” It was funny. She got off the phone and I said something like, “Do we have home phone and a security system now?” She said something like, “No, but I didn’t cancel it. They gave us ten dollars off for a year.” So, we were now paying the same as we were before I ever called, yet we had 50 or so more channels and faster internet. But you know what? There was no contentment. That night I channel surfed all the channels and found nothing good on. I thought I would rather read, yet I cannot read when I am paying for all these channels. I looked forward to the channels, I wanted satisfaction in a materialism thing. But there was none. The following Monday I called Timewarner again to cancel everything but Internet. This time they did not let me cancel everything, but we did get back to where we started but twenty dollars cheaper a month than we were paying.
    5. So, things will not satisfy.
    6. We cannot serve God and money, things, stuff. Things cause anxiety.
    7. In the next few verses Jesus says that even the things we need will cause anxiety. So, we must not be anxious about even the things we need. Interesting that we are usually anxious about things we do not even need.
    8. So, three times in verses 25-34 Jesus uses the verb “anxious.” It is sometimes translated “worry” but this means “excessive worry.” Verses 25, 31 and 34 say not to be anxious.
    9. Jesus uses a “greater to the lesser” argument or “how much more” argument for why not to worry.
    10. We are not going to walk through it, but He says that
      1. Life is more than food,
      2. We are worth more than the birds,
      3. We are more important than the lilies and the grass.
      4. I want to park here and tell you to be encouraged. Jesus is telling us that God cares for us more than other things of creation. God cares for us more than birds, lilies and grass. I hope that encourages you as it does me.
    11. In verse 32, Jesus says that God knows we need these things. By the way, there is nothing wrong with asking God for things we need and planning. The birds do build nest, etc. but they are not anxious.
    12. What does Jesus tell us to? He tells us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto us.
      1. What are we seeking after? Remember verse 24 about serving God and money. Am I seeking the monetary things or am I seeking God’s Kingdom and God’s righteousness?
      2. Am I satisfied in Christ? I have had to think about that more and more lately. Psalm 42 says, As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
      3. I am increasingly convicted that I must pray that I search for God and that I am satisfied in Him and in Him alone.
      4. The missionary William Carey sought God.

I read about William Carey. And William Carey went to India with his wife and his children. And he found himself in a very remote part of India outside of Calcutta with no food, no shelter, no nothing, and really no money to buy anything. And never wavering in his faith, he just watched God supply and supply and supply. And first it was a little lean-to shack to live in. It was very uncomfortable and very difficult for his beloved wife and their children, one a relatively young one just born before they left. And it was about a five-month journey on a ship to get there from England.

And then things began to turn, and they began to cultivate the ground. They found a new place. And they began to grow food, and it flourished. In fact, he was so good, a botanist…he was so good at farming that villages began to arise all around his little farm on both sides of the river where he was. And then, in God’s wonderful mercy, he was offered a position of significance with a salary that was quite large, and he accepted that as the providence of God. He had lived through the testing of the lean times, and now God provided enough for his family, and enough for his ministry, and enough for translating the Word of God, which he eventually did into 11 languages.

      1. Seeking God is the cure for materialism and that drastically takes down anxiety.

But let me mentioned a few other thoughts.

  1. Let’s talk about a few other cures for anxiety.
    1. Phil. 4:4-9, let’s turn to this passage. Paul writes it in jail.
    2. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable―if anything is excellent or praiseworthy―think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me―put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
    3. From that passage we see the cure for anxiety is to pray and pray with Thanksgiving. We must also rejoice.
    4. 2 Cor. 10:5 says: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
    5. The cure for anxiety is our thought patterns.
    6. Lastly, seek help from prayer, journaling, counseling, friends. Don’t be afraid to seek help.

Fear, by the way, is a liar…fear is a liar. Fear tells you tomorrow is something to be afraid of. Fear tells you you’re not going to have what you need tomorrow. Fear tells you you’re not going to be up to it. Fear tells you if certain things happen, you’re never going to be able to survive it. Fear tells you that there’s terrible pain out there. Fear is a liar for the Christian because there is no thing that you’re ever going to go through, no trial, no temptation, that God will not provide sufficient grace to sustain you in.

So just shoulder the burden of today. Enjoy the grace that God gives you today. And leave the future to God. What happens happens. Don’t cripple the present by worrying about the future. You just destroy your joy, and then you lose the present. God will be there in the future. He’ll be there when it all comes crashing down. And he says, when it does, count it all…what? Joy, because God is doing a perfecting work.1

Close:

Proverbs 30:8-9:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;

give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you

and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’

Or I may become poor and steal,

and so dishonor the name of my God.

What are you thankful for? What do you worry about? What causes anxiety?

We know for a fact that anxiety is on the rise. Remember what I started out with? We are thankful for things, but yet things make us anxious don’t they. Teenagers are on anxiety medicine in record numbers, and if you are on anxiety medicine I am not saying to stop them. I am saying to help them by seeking first God’s Kingdom and God’s righteousness and being content “in Christ.”

Below is another thought:

Are you thankful for salvation?

Look at Psalm 51:12:

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Maybe that verse and its application is a first step in getting rid of anxiety. Seek First God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. Allow yourself to be satisfied in Christ.

So, as you go to your Thanksgiving dinner, seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness, be content in His provisions, trust that He will provide, give God the thanks.

On Sept 16, 1620 2 ships set sail from Plymouth Englnad, The Speedwell and the Mayflower. The Speedwell encountered much difficulty as they began their journey springing many leaks in the ship. So when the 2 ships went to Port in Plymouth England, the Speedwell decided to go no further and 42 passengers from the Speedwell joined the 60 passengers and 30 crew members aboard the Mayflower..

Of the 102 passengers on board the Mayflower the majority were devout Christians. They were coming to America to shake lose from the bonds of the church of England so they could worship God as they believed scriptures taught.

And with great excitement and expectations that set sail for a new land… It wasn’t long before the trip became difficult for several reasons, as noted by William Bradford an historian on the Mayflower, who would later became Governor of the colony for 33 years.. Many of the passengers became sea sick as huge waves would crash over the deck of the ship… The nights were cold, damp and dark… Remember there was no indoor plumbing or electricity. And to make matters worse one of the crew, a very large man would constantly curse and abuse those who were sick… saying he was going to throw them overboard and steal all of their possessions… Bradford records, “BUT IT PLEASED GOD BEFORE THEY CAME HALF SEAS OVER, TO SMITE THE YOUNG MAN WITH A GRIEVOUS DISEASE OF WHICH HE DIED IN A DESPERATE MANNER.. AND SO HE HIMSELF WAS THE FIRST THROWN OVERBOARD. THUS HIS CURSES LIGHT OWN HIS WON HEAD, AND IT WAS AN ASTONISHMENT TO ALL HIS FELLOWS FOR THEY NOTED IT TO BE THE JUST HAND OF GOD UPON HIM..”

But their problems were far from over yet, they encountered many fierce storms which shook the ship with tremendous force. So fierce that many times they could not even keep the sail out and the force of the wind — eventually cracked and bowed the main beams when they had just went over the half way point across the Atlantic. And although the passengers and crew wanted to turn back, Christopher Jones, the ships Master, assured all the vessel was “strong and firm under water.” He ordered the beam to be secured. It was hoisted into place by a great iron screw that, fortunately, the Pilgrims brought out of Holland. AND Upon raising the beam, they “committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed.” These 100 people; cold, wet — on wooden ship in the middle of the ocean — put their hope, trust and lives into the hands of God. The battered ship finally came within sight of Cape Cod on November 19, 1620. Two had died at sea and two had given birth. The Pilgrims scanned the shoreline just to the west of them and described it as, “a goodly land wooded to the brink of the sea,” William Bradford writes, “AFTER LONG BEATINGS AT SEA THEY FELL WITH THAT LAND WHICH IS CALLED CAPE COD; AND THEY WERE NOT A LITTLE JOYFUL…”

Before going ashore they decided to write a document know as the Mayflower Compact.

At the heart of the compact lay an undisputed conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order and the law without a moral base is really no law at all.

The day the Pilgrims signed the May Flower Compact, according to William Bradford, “they came to anchor in the Bay, which was a good harbor…and they blessed the God of Heaven, who brought them over the fast and furious ocean… and a sea of trouble. And they read the following from the Geneva Bible (the Bible the Pilgrims used) “LET THEM, THEREFORE PRAISE THE LORD, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD AND HIS MERCIES ENDURE FOREVER.”

This coming thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day… Many will be busy cooking turkeys, making stuffing, baking pumpkin pies…. and watching football games. And that is fun stuff — it is important to get together with loved ones… But that is not what thanksgiving is really about — it’s not about food and fun… it is about giving thanks to the Lord God Almighty.

We usually picture the first thanksgiving in America, as the time when the Pilgrims and the Indians got together for a great feast (though I really don’t know how they could of eaten pumpkin pie without cool whip). But I tend to look at that time when on the sea battered Mayflower anchored in the bay at Cape Cod, a group of weary and worn men and women were on their knees praising their God in heaven for bringing them safely through the treacherous sea to this new land, as the real first thanksgiving.

First do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray