Faithlife Sermons

Can You Count On God?

The Marks of a Faithful Disciple  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:54
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Introduction

When I was a young boy, my grandfather had a game he always played with me and my cousins. It was a kind of tickling game, but it was really a non-tickling game.
My grandfather would act like he was going to tickle us but then he would stop just short of the actual tickle. There was no actual physical contact allowed in the game. But still laughed and screamed with delight.
As we got older we would beg him to play the game with us and it changed. It became a game of wills. We would try to stay as still as we possibly could as he pretend tickled us all over. Of course we squirmed just at the thought of having to be still while somebody held their fingers just inches over our particularly ticklish spots.
In our childish boredom this game migrated home as my brothers and sisters played this game throughout our childhood.
At a recent family gathering stories were being told and all of my brothers and sisters joined forces against me and declared that I never could resist taking advantage of the tickle. I defiantly denied any such claim, but honestly, just between you and me, I just never could resist having a perfect tickle lined up in front of me without taking advantage of it.
See, at its core, this was a game of trust. The person lying there was trusting the other person not to tickle them. Now that trust was tested to be certain. They weren’t supposed to really tickle you, like my grandfather always resisted.
We have been working through a mini-series of sermons titled the Marks of a Faithful Disciple, taken from
These were the characteristics that we identified:
The Marks of a Faithful Disciple
Suffer for Christ -
Proclaim the Truth -
Fear Only God -
Trust in God -
Walk the Talk -
Deny Themselves -
Carry the Cross -
Bless Others -
Last week we looked at Fear Only God, and this week we will look at verses 29-31, Trust In God.
Matthew 10:29–31 NASB95
29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
[pray]
In the face of persecution and fear, Jesus is reassuring his disciples that God cares for them even when they find themselves in dangerous situations. He is reminding them that they should trust God for the outcome.
The idea conveyed here is that God is aware of everything that happens in the lives of His created beings, including the lowly sparrow. The presumption follows that if God keeps up with the whereabouts of the sparrow, then He should care much more about the events coming to pass in the lives of His servants.
Reading this passage reminds me of how often I fail to trust God with my daily troubles. Now I don’t really experience persecution in my daily life that causes me to fear for my life. Not like the disciples were being warned. But I do have things that trouble me and give me reason to worry.
Like many of you I worry about the mundane things in life. I worry about my family members. I worry about our house up in Fort Worth and how the repairs are progressing and whether it will sell reasonably quickly. I worry about my health. I worry about my mother and her health.
Some of these things are bigger and more worrisome than others. There are times that worry turns into anxiety and it keeps me up late into the night. I suppose I’m not the only one here who fights insomnia from time to time.
I think God cares about these things in our lives. In fact, I think that Scripture proves that God cares about these things. Even though worrying about these things cannot change them, we still worry. Don’t we? How many of you find yourselves worrying?
Unchecked worrying about these things can be a sign that we don’t truly trust God with out lives. I have discovered a few biblical solutions to these worries in life. Scripture gives us several good prescriptions for anxiety and worry.
Scripture gives us several good prescriptions for anxiety and worry.
The message today is Can You Count on God? I believe that Jesus was teaching his disciples here that you CAN truly Count on God and that God really does care for us much more than his other creations that he cares for every single day. So today I wanted to point you to several practices that can be found in the Faithful Disciple’s tool belt to put worry to rest and restore confidence in God’s power to handle anything that might be worrying to us...
The message today is Can You Count on God? I believe that Jesus was teaching his disciples here that you CAN truly Count on God and that God really does care for us much more than his other creations that he cares for every single day. So today I wanted to point you to several practices that can be found in the Faithful Disciple’s tool belt to put worry to rest and restore confidence in God’s power to handle anything that might be worrying to us...

I. The Disciple’s Response to Preoccupation is Prayer -

Philippians 4:4–9 NASB95
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Actually I see several things in this passage that can help to restore your confidence in God.
Philippians 4:6–9 NASB95
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
1. An attitude of joyfulness goes a long way to stopping worry before it ever wakes you up at 3:30 in the morning.
1. An attitude of joyfulness goes a long way to stopping worry before it ever wakes you up at 3:30 in the morning.
Philippians 3:1 NASB95
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
Paul beat on the theme of joyfulness like a drum in the book of Philippians. He is saying here that an attitude of joyfulness actually serves to protect us from worry. Paul calls it a safeguard here.
An attitude of joyfulness actually serves to protect us from worry. Paul calls it a safeguard here.
2. A gentle spirit sets the mind for a gentle response rather than a harsh rebuke.
2. A gentle spirit sets the mind for a gentle response rather than a harsh rebuke.
2. A gentle spirit sets the mind for a gentle response rather than a harsh rebuke.
Proverbs 15:1 NASB95
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Prov
When we live an angry life with harsh responses, it causes a constant low-level of stress in us and eventually begins to wear on our body and degrade our health.
3. Prayer is the secret weapon against worry.
Paul mentions three kinds of prayer here in v 6:
Petition - praying on behalf of others
Supplication - asking God for something
Thanksgiving - thanking God for something
Prayer is absolutely the best way to handle our preoccupation.
Whenever I find that something is beginning to trouble me or take up more space in my mind than it deserves, I make it a matter of prayer.
That means I begin to pry my hands off of whatever it is that is worrying me and release it into God’s hands. If my car is breaking down and I don’t know how I’m going to pay for the repair, You might hear me say a prayer like this:
God, I thank you for this car. I know that this is YOUR car, not mine. You provided it and you are so generous to let me use it. God, your car is broken and needs to be repaired. Father, I ask that you would provide the funds necessary to repair your car or I ask that you would show me who you want me to take it to so that you can provide for its repair. Amen.
When I recognize God and His power over the trouble in my life, then I am glorifying His name and relying on Him for that solution rather than trying to change something in myself to resolve the problem. Now this of course assumes that I must consider the car as a gift from God.
The result of all of these three: joyfulness, a gentle spirit, and prayer all work together to bring the peace of God into my life… and that’s a good thing, no matter how I look at it.

II. The Disciple’s Response to Trouble is Trust - Romans 8:28-30

Romans 8:28–30 NASB95
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Rom 8:28-
Now this is one of those passages that you either believe or use to browbeat your Christian brother when they lack peace in their lives. [Don’t do that!]
This is really a verse that we should use to remind ourselves when we encounter trouble. It is a verse that reminds us of two things:
First we must be called according to God’s purpose
When we fulfill that, we know that God will the events in our lives according to His purpose.
This also brings us a sense of peace and trust. When we submit to the belief that God is in control of our circumstances, we know that there is purpose in all that we do.

III. The Disciple’s Response to Doubt is Dependence - Romans 8:31-38

Romans 8:31–38 NASB95
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
Rom 8:31-38
When we hand our troubles over to God in joyful and gentle prayer, and we trust Him to take care of our troubles according to His purposes in our lives, and we KNOW that God is for us, we find ourselves depending upon God in a way that will totally and completely transform our lives.
Look back at v32...
Romans 8:32 NASB95
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
We absolutely MUST recognize that God can take the worst situation of all, the death of His Son, and work it together for the good of all the saints in His service. Won’t He do the same for each of us?
We have to remind ourselves that there is no trouble on earth that is big enough to separate us from the love of Christ.
I am reminded of Henry Blackaby’s story where he learns that his wife has been diagnosed with some horrible illness. As he sits in the waiting room at the hospital listening to the doctor explain the treatment of her illness, Dr. Blackaby realized that he has two possible responses. He could wade into the depths of despair and simply give up. OR he could recognize that this illness changes nothing about the fact that Jesus died on the cross in order to save his sins. Dr. Blackaby recognized the love of Jesus Christ and chose to trust God to take care of his wife.
What he did there was to remind himself of the most important thing. He banished his doubts and firmly placed his dependence upon the work that Jesus Christ completed on the cross.

IV. The Disciple’s Response to Problems is Perseverance - ,

James 1:2–4 NASB95
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
This verse is one of the most counterintuitive verses in the New Testament. We as humans are taught to avoid trials and troubles. But James here says to consider it joy. Why? Trials and troubles are growth opportunities. They are opportunities to prove ourselves to God.
James 1:12 NASB95
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Instead of running away from trial, we should be running toward trial. We should not be seeking to interrupt the painful moments in our lives, but seeking God to see how we might grow through these painful moments and come out stronger for having endured them.

Conclusion

Let’s look at these again...
Our task is to:
1. bring our worries to God in prayer
2. entrust God with the outcome
3. depend on God to care for us through the trials
4. persevere and grow in faith
THIS brothers and sisters is the formula for spiritual growth and personal peace.
But let me remind you that these responses to trouble and worry in life ONLY work if you are a disciple of Christ.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior OR if you are living outside the will of God for your life, then you cannot count on these responses to have the same result in your life.
What do you do?
So if you’re in this situation—without Christ in your life—what can you do about it?
Well the first step is to make Jesus Christ the first thing in your life. You have to believe in Him and the work that He accomplished on the cross, then make Him your Lord.
Let me give you a few quick steps if you’re here today without Christ as your Savior.
The first thing you must do is
Admit that you are a sinner, who lives separated from God.
Accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Believe that He came to earth and chose to die on the cross in order to take your sins away.
Repent of your sin and ask God to forgive you for your sin.
Ask Jesus Christ to save you.
Determine to follow Jesus and allow Him to transform your life for His purpose.
You can do that right there in your seat or you can respond publically when we sing together. I would ask you to come share your decision with me as we sing.
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