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Forget not His benefits

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My final sermon as pastor

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Forget not His benefits

What comes to mind when I say this is my last time to preach for you? What goes through your mind? The Holy Spirit has made it clear to Marci and me that we need to go work in Iowa. So, we want to be pleasing to God and if the Spirit is saying it is time, then it is time. But, I'll speak for myself now, I really do love this church. And I am not talking about the building. I love you, the people of Immanuel. I know you. You are my friends. This is the 3rd longest I've lived anywhere in my adult life and the longest single job I have had in my life. It is not easy to think about leaving you.
Yet, leave I must. So, back to my original question, what does a preacher preach for his last sermon? What words could possible leave what I hope is my legacy at Immanuel? How do I sum up what God has done here and is still doing here? Well obviously it must come from the Bible. That has been my focus my entire time here. I could pick the easy passages like - All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, - that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Or - I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: - preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. - For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, - and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.,
Or even - For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. But I did that last week. So, instead of leaving you with words of exhortation, I want to leave with a word of encouragement.
Read
Isaiah 40:28–31 ESV
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
and PRAY...

Forget not His benefits

and PRAY...
If you have been in my office, you may be wondering which came first, my love for the Scripture verse, or my love of eagles. And the answer is eagles. I have collected them for years and because I love eagles and God's Word, people give me things that have and eagles on them. I like it.
Are there ever times when you feel more like a worm in mud than like an eagle in flight? Are there times when you feel like you would have to reach up to scratch an ant's belly? If you go through those low times, this passage is for you.
Are there times when you wonder if God is ever going to answer your prayer? Are there times when you think this Christian life is just too much and you feel like giving up? If you go through these kinds of times, this passage is for you.
When we are in times of trouble, we need God's help. We need to know that there is someone stronger and full of energy when we get to the end of our energy. In this passage, we will see 3 benefits of God's help in times of trouble.
This passage and, in fact, this whole chapter is written to the Jewish people who were suffering. Their own sin had led them to be punished by God. And they were probably wondering where God was in the punishment. Remember in - For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. The Jews were feeling the discipline of the Lord and they did not like it. So Isaiah gives them this chapter of encouragement to remind them that God is still in control. To encourage them that God has not forgotten about them. To lighten their load because God would bring them through. And, I think that is just exactly the kind of message Immanuel Baptist Church needs today. So, let's look at these verses and we will see 3 benefits of God's help in times of trouble.
1. The first benefit of God's help is that He is ever present.
Isaiah 40:28 ESV
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
1.1. God doesn't give up. God doesn't run out of energy. And God knows what you are going through. He is there He is with you. In the Great Commission, Jesus said, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. He is always with you. There may be times when you feel like He has pulled back from you, but He hasn't. He is there. If you were an Israelite exiled in a foreign land, would it not bring you great comfort to know that God is with you?

Forget not His benefits

1.1. God doesn't give up. God doesn't run out of energy. And God knows what you are going through. He is there He is with you. In the Great Commission, Jesus said, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. He is always with you. There may be times when you feel like He has pulled back from you, but He hasn't. He is there. If you were an Israelite exiled in a foreign land, would it not bring you great comfort to know that God is with you?
1.2. But let me bring it to today. You are not only my church family, but you are also my friends. And I have been with you in difficult times. I have seen you struggle with feeling alone. I have prayed with you. And more than anything else, I have tried to remind you that God has not left you. He has not abandoned you. He is with you. And it is a message I don't want you to forget. God knows when you feel like giving up. God knows when you are feeling tired. And He is there, ever present.
2. The first benefit of God's help is that He is ever present, and the second is that He is ever plentiful.
Isaiah 40:29 ESV
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
2.1. Strength to those who are wearing out and power to those who are weak. He takes where we come up short and fills it up. He takes where we don't have enough and makes it enough.

Forget not His benefits

2.1. Strength to those who are wearing out and power to those who are weak. He takes where we come up short and fills it up. He takes where we don't have enough and makes it enough.
2.2. There are times when we are busy doing what God has designed us to do and we run out of gas. We get tired. We get weary. Or, perhaps, we feel inadequate to get the job done. God fills up those short comings. He gives us the energy we need to finish what He called us to do. We can always remember what Paul said in - And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. He gave you the vision of what to do. He will give you the strength to see it through.
2.3. And because He is ever present, He knows just when you need that extra fill up. He knows when you reach the end of yourself. And He is ready to fill you up. He is ready to give you plenty. He is waiting to with all you need.
3. The first benefit of God's help is that He is ever present, the second is that He is ever plentiful, and the third is that He is ever powering.
Isaiah 40:30–31 ESV
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
3.2. Isaiah takes it a step beyond what we looked at in verse 29. He talks about the young ones. The ones who should have the most energy and be able to work the longest. When they get tired. And when the young men stumble from fatigue. When the strongest of the strongest start to falter. What happens?
3.2. Isaiah takes it a step beyond what we looked at in verse 29. He talks about the young ones. The ones who should have the most energy and be able to work the longest. When they get tired. And when the young men stumble from fatigue. When the strongest of the strongest start to falter. What happens?

Forget not His benefits

3.2. Isaiah takes it a step beyond what we looked at in verse 29. He talks about the young ones. The ones who should have the most energy and be able to work the longest. When they get tired. And when the young men stumble from fatigue. When the strongest of the strongest start to falter. What happens?
3.3. If they will wait on the Lord, they will gain new strength. When you are tempted to give up, wait on the Lord. When you are tempted to just throw in the towel, wait on the Lord. When you are tempted to forget the whole struggle, wait on the Lord. He will renew your strength. We will make the rubbery knees firm. He will make the gasping for air regular breaths. He will make the pounding heart start beating. But He doesn't just give enough strength. This picture is so beautiful in how it shows God's sustaining grace becoming more and more sustaining.
3.4. Think about it. For an eagle to fly, it must have a burst of tremendous energy to get it up into the air currents. But once it is up there, flight becomes an exercise in conserving energy. The eagle twitches a feather to adjust course as he floats on the winds aloft. So, a short burst of energy is all that is required to soar on wings like eagles.
3.5. But the runner, he needs more energy. Runners in the ancient world were usually messengers. And they would run as fast and as long as they possibly could to deliver the message. Much energy required, but running does have its limit. Runners often talk about the “wall” where the mind and the body conspire against the will to stop running. Yet, even the longest race known to man, the marathon, is over in less than a day. So runners need more energy than that eagle in flight, but it is still a burst of energy and then rest. We don't expect anyone to run all day, every day. They will finish the run. And, according to this verse, they will not be tired.
3.6. But they will also walk and not grow weary. Walking is the actually the hardest of the 3. Whether you fly or run, the scenery changes fairly quickly. But when you walk, it seems like you are moving forever, but you are not getting anywhere. Your body may not give up, but your mind grows weary. And it is here that I really want to focus this morning.
3.7. In the coming days, you will appoint a pastor search committee. You will probably do a pastor profile where you answer questions to know what kind of pastor Immanuel wants as a whole. Then you will ask for resumes and the floodgates will open. You will receive hundreds of resumes for men wanting to come and be pastor here. They won't pay attention to the salary that Immanuel can pay. Many of them are frustrated in their current ministry and just looking for an out. As you wade through all these resumes, you may start to grow weary. Just remember, wait on the Lord. Then you will have your strength renewed.
3.8. The last time this church was without a pastor, it was nearly 2 years before I came. The process could get long. The frustration may grow. But in those days remember this verse. Wait on the Lord. You need to walk through the process. You need to walk and not grow weary. Trust God. He will give you what you need and more. He will be ever powerful if you will simply trust in Him. Wait for His timing and be amazed at what He does.
In conclusion, the first benefit of God's help is that He is ever present, the second is that He is ever plentiful, and the third is that He is ever powering. You must wait on the Lord for the renewed strength. You must trust that He is present and will provide plentiful power. What I am saying is we need to live according to Proverb 3:5-6
- Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. - In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
I am asking you to trust Him. I am begging you to trust Him. But I am begging those who have professed Jesus as Lord of their life. Those who have committed their lives to following Jesus. Have you done that first step?
You see, all the promises of the Bible are not for anyone to claim when it is convenient. The promises are given to those who obey God. Those who have committed their life to Him. Those who are true Christians. Not just a word, but a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Does that describe you this morning? If not, why not? Perhaps today is the day when you need to give your life to Jesus. You say you don't know if this whole Jesus thing is for you? Let me read some passages from Paul's letter to the Romans.
- for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Forget not what He did for you

Those verses summarize what it means to be a Christian. A Christian knows that Jesus died on a cross in order to pay the price due for sin. And not just for one sin, or two, but for every sin ever committed ever. He was the only sinless man. And His death paid the price for the rest of sinful man. He did it for me. He did it for you. Would you commit your life to Him this morning? You pray to God in a few moments when we all pray. Tell Him that you want to give your life to Him.
Immanuel Baptist Church. My friends. Today I want you to remember to waist on the Lord. To trust in His guidance. To completely and totally trust Him to take care of all your needs, both as individuals and as a church. Commit to it this morning. Then, in the coming days when things might get tough, you can remember this day and the commitment you made. And God will be glorified in you as you wait for Him to renew your strength.
Let's PRAY....
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