Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sermon 1/8/2012 "The Power of the Word" (Part 2)

Find sermon here.

Find Part 1 here.

This "me centered" theology continues throughout the message. At about the 15:55 mark the question is posed, "But what would happen if the disciples would have disobeyed Jesus?" He infers that they would not have received the promised Holy Spirit and would not have turned the world up-side-down. He backs this up with several examples from the Bible where God disciplines those who disobey. Let's take a look at just one of those examples, Jonah.

JONAH <--Click to go to Book of Jonah

The word of the Lord came to Jonah to preach to Nineveh. (1:1) Jonah ran in the other direction. (1:3) Then, after a series of events, including being swallowed and then vomited up by a fish, God again tells Jonah to go to Nineveh. (3:1) This time, Jonah obeys. (3:3) Or does he? Perhaps he does on the outside, but his heart is not in it. (4:1-3)

The point is, when God wants something done, it will get done. Do we really think that by our disobedience we can thwart God's plans? Or do we see God as the one who is sovereign and will accomplish His plans regardless of us and our behaviors? (Prov. 16:9  "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.")

Perhaps one of the more frustrating statements, at least for me, came around the 17:20 mark. He states, "When we pull away from God through disobedience, it is like pulling an electrical plug from an appliance out of the wall outlet. We are disconnected from the power source...It is very important for us to understand that there is a direct link between our obedience to God and our being plugged in to the power of God." Is this what the Bible confirms, that our disobedience disconnects us from God? Or, is it a lack of faith? Jesus never said, "Your obedience has healed you, but he does say "your faith has healed you." (Mt 9:22, 15:28, Mark 5:34, 10:52, Luke 8:48, 18:42. Also, see Acts 3:16 and 14:9) As far as obedience is concerned, there were none more obedient than the Pharisees, yet Jesus called them a "brood of vipers" and "white-washed tombs." What about Peter's disobedience in denying Christ 3 times? Yes, he felt guilt and remorse, but it did not disconnect him from God. Or the Rich Young Ruler, who told Jesus that he had kept all of the commandments, yet would walk away when asked to sell his possessions and follow Him, Scripture says that "Jesus looked at him and loved him." (Mark 10:17-22)

Or consider for a moment the parable of the Prodigal Son. While his disobedience cost him greatly, it never disconnected him from his father. One of the big points of the parable is that even in his disobedience, the father still loved and longed for him, In fact, if we look at the cultural implications of the son's request, we find that the son asking for his share of the inheritance was an extreme slap in the face to his father, one for which his father could have had him stoned! Yet instead, he hands him 1/3 of the estate! (For a more detailed rendering of this parable, read Tim Keller's book, "The Prodigal God.") And at the end, what earns the son a place back in the family? Nothing that the son does, for the father runs to him when he sees him at a distance, long before the son can ask forgiveness and a place as a hired hand. That is beauty. That is the Gospel.

Next post: Something I agree with!


Kansas Bob said...

Ann and I will be reading Keller's book with a small group starting in a few weeks.

Don G said...

You will have to let me know what you think. I shared it with a friend, and he loved it too.