I I mention every now and then and I have Anna past couple of weeks that my goal was to put a pebble in your shoe and what I mean by that is is not this I don't mean that I want you to have this painful experience cuz sometimes that's what Pebble in the shoe means what I mean is more something like that something that causes you to think something to ponder on from time to time. Maybe a better analogy might be the idea that maybe I want to put a laugh and in your shell because when an oyster shell get sand in it that generates overtime and produces what we know as a pearl, so I want us to think on some deep thoughts this morning that we might carry with us in the future and Ponder and that might bear fruit in our life. So it's a little more of a teaching sermon than a preaching sermon, but if you will if you will indulge that I'm hoping some of these thoughts we can plant and they will bear fruit in our life as we move through them this morning. I want to talk about Obedience and Faith, but I want to start by looking at the background that says set up in our life God's holiness. His Central character in scripture is his set apart as his goodness in contrast to all other and all others and you can explore that more when you read Isaiah 6:1 through 8 kind of a classic text on the Holiness of God, but his other nests also includes his separateness as another being outside of you and me. So God is a person not simply an idea of force or convictions for even a spirit when we think of it as a non-person Hood Type entity. So are you tracking with me? It's only this includes his other Nest that we normally think of in terms of righteousness versus are unrighteousness, but his Holiness also include that other necessities in he's a separate being from you and I he's a person and so in other words God is person. He has thoughts Isaiah 55. He has feelings John 3. He makes decisions Genesis 6, he works toward goals John 5 few dresses himself as I and us as you he communicates to us through the scriptures and invites us to communicate back to him through prayer. Now, we might initially resist that sense of God being a person because those feel like human characteristics, but think about the chronology we were made in God's image. And so those things that we think of as human characteristics having thoughts making decisions moving towards goals. They aren't they did not originate with Humanity they originated with God in his personhood and then he created us to reflect his image. And so we reflect his image when we have personhood and person us when we have feelings and we make decisions and we pursue goals. All of that ability is a reflection of God's image that he created us in His image until God is personal in that regard God is A person and another we talked about the persons of the Trinity. So I'm I'm not suggesting person as in non Divine but I am suggesting person has a knot this nameless Boyd or force force or entity, but this other that we can relate to so there's a big and here that I add to that the illogical as we think about the nature of God, not only what I said so far, but and God seeks a relationship with us which is a huge and you can talk about the theological identity of God as this other who is both holy and also a separate being from Humanity might affect the author and creator of humanity in the beginning was God, but an additional radical Revelation in the scriptures about the nature of God is Not only is it is he that Holy other Divinity in the universe that created the universe that is the beginning of everything. He also seeks a relationship with us and sometimes that is so commonplace in our language that we don't let the impact of that hit us. It's stunning that the creator of the universe speaks a personal relationship with you. And I and you can see this revealed and all these little snapshots in scripture. Look at Genesis. 3:8 Adam and Eve says it says they heard the sound of the Lord God Walking In The Garden at the time of the evening Breeze and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God Among the Trees of the garden. Now, this is the moment where they send and they feel shame and they hide them self from God but what's implied in that verse is evidently it was God's desire maybe even his habit or custom to visit Adam and Eve in the garden and he says hey, where are you guys and they said we were hiding, you know, and that begins Lee the fall and God's plan to redeem us, but it's stunning that the maker of humanity was seeking fellowship and relationship with Adam and Eve. We see this reflected and James 2:23 when James is talking about the father of the faith in many ways Abraham, which you can read his story. Genesis 12 if you want to go back and read that but in this way talking about Abraham's faith in this way scripture was fulfilled Abraham put his faith in God and this was considered as making him up. Right and he received the name friend of God and that stunning that that's one of the calling cards that the Holy Spirit inspires in the inspiration of scripture and that God reveals in his self Revelation through scripture that Abraham is acknowledged as this this champion this model of faith and a big part of that is he was called the friend of God that God is pursuing that sort of Friendship with you and I get revealed in the end of Exodus where God has called Israel out and sometimes we get we get carried away with all the drama of Israel being rescued from slavery under the thumb of Egypt and then all the drama of the Temple of the intricacies of and they'll be Bible studies and I mean just big volume some people study for weeks and weeks about how big was this part of the temple what material was it made out of and they just get so fascinated with that and to me The the big moment and all of that passage isn't all those sorts of details that somebody can get kind of fixated on it's this moment after all of that is set up God reveals. Here's why I called you out of Egypt and here's why I set up the Tabernacle at all these sorts of things that you explain to your he says, then I will live among the people of Israel and be their God. The satisfaction that God feels it having drawn Israel out and orchestrated none of their rescue, but the Tabernacle and their ability to fellowship with him he continues and they will know that I am the Lord their God. I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the Lord their God and then amazing. He brought them out of Egypt he set it all up so that I could live among them Walking In The Garden in the cool of the evening. recognizing Abraham as a friend of God confessing this vulnerable confession of God at the end of Exodus that here's why I did all of this so that I could live among you and we could know one another God is a person and He seeks a relationship with us which is stunning and of itself, but we want to keep building on our understanding we got so here's another big and in our discussion and Theology of God in your kind of getting a crash course, maybe a semester-long course in what scripture teach about teaches about the nature and character of God leading us up to where we are today and how we respond to God. So here's another big and in scripture God he God overcomes the Obstacle of our on Holiness himself. Now that's another stunner just like hearing that the Divine holy perfect uncreated Gods who created the universe in us seats our relationship with us that's stunning and jaw-dropping and then to discover that scripture reveals that God himself overcomes the on Holiness in our lives that is an obstacle about reconciliation to him. That should be another jaw-dropping Revelation in scripture. We look at it again. Sometimes maybe we're so familiar with it. We don't let it land on her ears the way it should be a God has provided a way and just as we see throughout scripture in snapshot after snapshot God's desire for relationship with us. We see this revelation of his provision to God's nature is revealed the scripture again against that he is good and loving and faithful. That's his nature. That's his character is the Hebrew word Hesed. Would you heard me use many many times? And by the way, if I spell it differently at different points in Plaid is because it's spelled differently in different resources. So I'm right up there with the scholars in terms of how I spell Hesed. But has it is the word used most often in the Hebrew Bible to describe the character of God and it speaks to this faithfulness on his part to the best interest of the other to be loving and faithful and kind toward us to care for us. We see it throughout scripture Exodus 34 when he revealed himself to Moses the Lord passed in front of Moses calling out Yahweh. The Hebrew word for God's the Lord the god of compassion and mercy, I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. That is God's self-revelation to Moses in 1st Kings 8 23 in this prayer and he prayed. Oh Lord God of Israel, there is no God like you and all of Heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your Covenant and show your unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted. Ocean that's a tribute to the character of God that they had learned. It's revealed these this Facebook compassionate loving one who is faithful to them. I pray the Lord my God and confessed. This is Danny Lord the great and awesome God who keeps his Covenant of Love with those who love him and keep his Commandments. We have sinned and done wrong. We have been Wicked and have rebelled we have turned away from your commands and losses and Daniel when they're confessing their failure before God's God, you are faithful and good and just and here's the reality. We have failed you as your people we have failed to keep your commands and look what he prays confessionally for the next 8 or 9 vs. All of their sins. He list to God confessing what they done wrong and then look at how he is this prayer in verse 18 He says hear our prayer give ear Our God and hear open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your name. We do not. Make requests of you because we are righteous but because of your great Mercy, do you see that Insight that Daniel had we confess our sins to you and are coming to you for forgiveness is not based on our righteousness. We're not saying. Oh look God we are we are better than the rest or we are fully devoted to you. He's just confessed that we have sinned and broken the command but we dare to come before you and seek your hearing and seek your restoration not because of us but because of who you are your hesi your character your goodness. God provides a way God's good and faithful and loving disposition toward us seeks our best interest. That's the nature of Hesed which our best interest is reunions and reconciliation with him. So when you look at that character of God, we see it most fully revealed in Jesus. He's the Revelation and the expression of God's character his headed toward Humanity that Jesus came as God In the Flesh to reconcile and to reunite us with him to pay the price for our on Holiness so that that obstacle is removed by the blood of Christ so that any who are willing Can come to God and be reconciled to him and United to him? This is that gospel in John 1 in the beginning the word already existed. The word was with God and the Word was God, then he continues and verse 14. So the word this is God write the word was God the word became human and made his home Among Us makes you think of access that in it. I just couldn't wait couldn't wait couldn't wait. So excited this in the angel go. Tell Mary don't tell her don't tell her that she's going to give birth to my son and he's going to say he's the nation's and the world could wait couldn't wait to get back to what Exodus was a little tiny glimpse of this living among us. And so the word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness and we have seen his glory the glory of the fathers one and only son and then continues verse 18. No one has ever seen God but the unique one who is himself God. That's Jesus is near the Father's Heart. He has revealed God to us. So Jesus came as the full revelation of the character of God is compassionate his love his faithfulness is Hesed and he revealed what God was doing all throughout history making a way for us to be reconciled to him. He took the initiative. And provided for our on Holiness to be covered by his sacrifice so that we could be reconciled to him because of his other nests not only as a separate person but his other nurse in terms of righteousness God took the initiative and provided the way that's the gospel. We see it again. And again throughout scripture is most clearly what we know most frequently for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life until God has provided that way for you and I So what do you give the God who has everything and who has done everything? Will you look at that history of his character and the revelation of his love toward us and what he has provided you respond to his health in his character with the one thing. He does not possess and I told you this before God is Sovereign over all the Earth and over all the universe except for one area. Do you realize there's one area which is sovereignty does not possess.
It is your free will. It is your human part and God honors our personhood and our identity and our Free Will and invites us to hear the good news about his has in his character his provision through Christ and invites us to respond to choose to respond to his goodness. He is kind and loving and gracious to us. We talked about this back in May I think or maybe early June that we respond to God and serve God not for blessing but from blessing he has already revealed his heart sacrificed himself on the cross. And assured us of his unconditional love and forgiveness and it's from The Amazing gospel and his amazing grace that we respond to God so we don't respond to God for blessing he got if I do this, maybe you will like me they got if I go to church every Sunday, maybe I will be in good standing with you. There's no way in our own efforts that we can never cross that distance and be in good standing with God on our own effort and God knew that from the beginning and provided for us. He himself overcomes the Obstacle of our on Holiness that separates us from him and simply invites us to give him the one thing that he honors in the universe that he lies to be separate from his sovereignty our free will our hearts any invites us to respond to him to his goodness. We don't respond in order to get his Goodwill in order to get his goodness. Honest we respond because he is already made that known on the cross as an internal public display of his willingness to die rather than risk living without us. Do you see the magnitude of the Gospel as the foundation of all of scripture? Jesus said to the lawyer who came to him and said, how do we summarize it all how do we summarize the law? What does it mean? What does it look? Like? He says you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul. And with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And so what God ask of us or what we are asking the moment when we understand the reality that God has provided for our on Holiness to be covered through the blood of Christ when we see that gospel truth that reality was asked of us is will you love God
Will you respond to his character? That he has loved you and provided for our on Holiness to be covered. Listen Grace bats last. No matter what's going on our life. No matter how we have failed. God has always provided for us and always will. On our deathbed we can say well finally got I I really want time live. I guess I'll come to you and God says great. awesome
His love is that good that unconditional he desires to be reunited to be reconciled with you and I so much so that he in the sun provided the son's sacrifice on the cross. That's the heart of God revealed and our invitation is to respond by loving him by loving him. One of the most consistent images used by God to describe our relationship with him. Is that of a loving father and an obedient child? That's the image throughout scripture or with Jesus. It's off an image of a teacher in a student's but the relationship is still one in which the student is following and obeying the teacher that's one of the core images and so as we wrap up I want to make this really practical and talk about what means our response to God our loving God is through faith obedience. They are not two separate things. Okay. This is important to get if we want to apply this Grand truth of God revealing himself in scripture and showing us his heart and inviting us of her own free will to choose to love him. Then we need to understand. What does it mean to love God, right? Don't you want to know what it means to love God? How do I love him with all my heart soul mind and strength if it's true what you said if he's provided if my on Holiness is covered if Grace saves me. Got no longer holds my sins against me if I'm not marked if I'm forgiven if I'm free because of Jesus Christ that I want to know. How do I love God he's provided for my salvation for my forgiveness is a sure and secure thing right Romans 8 once there's no condemnation. For those who are in Christ Jesus, it is a sure thing in response to that amazing Revelation throughout scripture and through the Life of Christ itself of God's amazing heart and Amazing Grace how I love God. What does that look like to love God and his food faith and obedience to respond. It's important understand that faith is more than consent or even affirmation of Truth. We slip into thinking of Faith as simply confessing. I believe that Jesus is the Christ simply consenting to the true statement. I believe your statement of beliefs your doctor's statement. I believe all the right thing. I will affirm those Troost. It is more than that faith is more than that and if that's all you have in your understanding or definition of Faith you are missing out royally on what God is calling us to
If Faith was simply think about the logic of this is Faith was simply consent or affirmation of belief God would be reduced to a non-person and idea or a set of convictions or mere inner voice to hear and not a Divine and Holy Father to relate to or respond to do you understand the logic of that if I reduce my faith to just saying, okay, I'll believe all the right things. I'll say yes to all those statements. I will believe those things now. Let's just get on with my life. Then we produced God to Simply as a set of statements that we affirm and move on and we've already laid the foundation God is not simply an idea or concept or force or even a spirit. He is a person. Who loves you and I and it's paid the price for you and I and invites us to respond to him as our loving father to respond as his child with faith and obedience faith is like swimming like riding a bike or learning a foreign language it intrinsically includes action it both grows out of and governs action. So you cannot say what I'll just read an article on swimming and now I know how to swim we know that it is intrinsically intertwined with the actions of swimming that we suddenly learn how to swim maybe we jump in and we may have read all the articles in the world but we jump in and we might go straight out of the water and we're flopping all over the place trying to figure it out and then suddenly we get a little bit of floating going on and I say we start to remember what we learned and suddenly we were swimming but it's only when that knowledge and action are combined together that we are actually swimming. I would never want to be stranded in the middle of the ocean with someone who said oh I know how to swim in are both get rid of fall apart. We know we're going into the water. That's great. Cuz I'm not a great swimmer. Oh, yeah. I have read an Olympic book on swimming. Have you ever been in the water? No, never have I ever swam? No. No, I'm not trusting my life in your hands and face includes obedience to God faith. Rest not on signs or site. But in the insurance that God is who he is upon the reality of God his other miss his character revealed in Hesed or christlikeness. So responding to the reality of God's character his Hesed is loving him believing in him. I'll bang him. Those are inseparable realities and I wanted to give you this lead up this framework because I didn't just want to announce the sermon this morning is to tell you that you need to obey God. Because our mind will immediately fill in all the blanks do I know if I don't have a God, I'm not a good Christian. I know if I don't have a God, I'm not in good standing with him. I know if I don't obey God, he's not going to bless me know the foundation is God has already provided your blessings your salvation your forgiveness. It is secure. What I'm inviting us to do is to believe that truth about God that his character as good and faithful and compassionate and unfailing in his love and forgive. The his character is revealed in the gospel in Christ on the cross and that that revealed character reveals that he can be trusted. It's a week and gladly respond to the invitation to love God to obey God because we know he has proven himself already to be seeking our best interest to love and care for us so much so that he died for us. So trusting him giving our life to him is the wisest smartest easiest and some ways most self-interested act that we can do. If you love me Jesus says in John 14:15, and I'll invite the worship team to come forward at this time. If you love me, look what he says if you love me obey my Commandments If you love me obey my commandment now, he's not saying no to be blessed by me in order to be loved by me. You need to love me. What are you saying is if you understand who I am if you understand my character if you understand that I gave my life for you. I'm giving my life for you. If you understand how much you can trust me how much I have your best interest at heart how much I love you if you understand that if you know who I am if you love me then.
Cuz they're all for your own good. They're in your best interest. God is saying to us I can be trusted. I can be trusted. I think scripture and history and the life and death and resurrection of Christ. Is this eternal proof of the character in the reality that God can be trusted and were invited to know that truth and Obey him 1st. John 5:3 says for this is love. This is the love of God that we keep his Commandments. That's what it means to love God to obey him if we want our faith to grow and to increase then it means taking steps of obedience toward God. Proving that his trust that trusting him is merited scripture says that if you if you leave your family for the sake of the Gospel, you'll receive back a hundredfold. If you give up money for the sake of the Gospel, you'll receive back a hundredfold scripture has promise after promise, but the way we discover that reality of that promised the way our faith grows is by taking that step of Abby. Some of us have never known that God will provide when we give up resources are career or time or money because we've never taken that step of obedience that step of faith is dead. We've held on to those things and said, I'll manage my own security. I'll manage my own life. I manage my own future gods and we're missing out. On the Glorious reality of God answering our prayers and our request for missing out on the reality of his character being revealed in our life when we do that simple thing. Obey him. Obey him. That's the nature of being a Christian. You believe that God is who he says he is and you will be him. Some of you may be saying this is the simplest lesson you've ever taught I knew this before I walked in the door and some of you might be saying I have never thought of it this way before. I thought of my relationship with God is coming to church and doing the things that I'm supposed to do in order to maintain good standing with God and you're telling me all of that is provided. So that even at a greater level than simply attending church God invites me to trust him with my life. and Obey him to give him my children one day who he might call to the mission field and to celebrate that. To give him my fear about not having enough money in the bank to secure my own future and instead giving it to the kingdom. To give him might my fear of serving others and getting in relationships that are complicated or Messi so that my life isn't what I want to manage it to be. Think of all that away and say God I trust you. And that belief that faith that trust is going to be demonstrated in my obedience. Maybe it's ending a relationship that you're in that you should not be in. And the challenge is to say I trust God. I don't have to make things happen in my own effort in My Own Strength. I'm not fending for myself. I trust God and I'm willing to in that relationship and trust him for what will be needed to replace it. There could be dozens of different things on her heart right now. But the invitation is for us to take that next step whatever, you know, it is in your heart The Next Step that you know, you need to take that is obedience to God the spring. Father we thank you for your word. We thank you for your character. And we pray Lord that we would exercise our faith that we would trust you and that we would obey you that we would know the reality of Christ's sacrifice on the cross that we would celebrate the securing us of our salvation and out of that confidence out of that celebration that we would without fear. Obey you in in witnessing to others. Obey you and sharing our resources. Obey you in pursuing relationships that honor you and distancing ourselves from those that do not
father renew our faith in who you are that we might trust you. And that obedience would Mark our lives in Jesus name. Amen.