Faithlife Sermons

Sermon Tone Analysis

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Anger
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Social Tendencies
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*Waiting on God*
by Todd Turner
/Text:/ Romans 8:23-25
/Topic:/ What are the implications of waiting on the Lord
/Big idea:/ Waiting on the Lord is fundamental to our faith.
/Keywords:/ Trust, Unanswered Prayer, Waiting
 
*Introduction: *
·        No one likes to wait.
-     /Illustration: Ortberg tests the congregation with a humorous multiple choice quiz, demonstrating our natural, ungodly responses when we are forced to wait./
/-     Illustration: Ortberg touches on the common heart of frustration by quoting Lewis Smedes who summarizes the inevitable waiting that accompanies life./
* *
*Waiting on the Lord is an act of obedience.*
·        God commands us to wait upon him.
-     /Illustration: Ortberg expounds upon biblical stories where God told his people to wait, including Abraham, the Israelite nation, Simeon, Anna, and the disciples./
·        Contrary to popular opinion, waiting is not irresponsibility.
* *
*Waiting on the Lord requires a trusting heart.*
·        Waiting requires patience.
-     /Illustration: Ortberg jokes about an ingenious economist who thinks he’s discovered a loophole in Scripture that might make him rich, only to discover that God uses the same loophole to teach the man patience./
-     /Illustration: Ortberg picks up on the theme of trust by relating an Henri Nouwen story of the absolute faith of the trapeze artist who must hang in midair, waiting for his partner to catch him./
·        Waiting requires confident humility.
·        Waiting requires inextinguishable hope.
* *
*Waiting on God*
by Todd Turner
* *
How do you feel about waiting?
Do you enjoy a nice, long wait?
I don’t like to wait.
I don’t like it when I have to stand in line at the bank or the post office.
I don’t like being at a stoplight sitting behind an accelerator-challenged driver when the light turns green.
I don’t like it when I pull into a gas station and all the pumps are occupied, and I have to wait for somebody to pull away.
How good are you at waiting?
I thought I’d give us a pop quiz.
I’m going to walk you through a few scenarios and ask you to think through how you would respond.
Here’s the first one: You are at a tollbooth.
The driver of the car in front of you is having an extended conversation with the tollbooth operator.
Think for a moment about how you would respond.
I’ll walk you through a few possible responses.
A: You are happy.
You observe they are doing the tollbooth in community.
You think about forming a small group—with you and the other driver and the tollbooth operator.
B: You think of things that you’d like to say to the tollbooth operator.
Invite him to the Christmas Eve service perhaps.
Or, C: You attempt to drive your vehicle between the other person’s car and the tollbooth.
Second scenario: You’ve been sitting in the waiting room of your doctor’s office for an hour.
How do you respond?
A: You’re grateful for the chance to catch up on the 1993 Reader’s Digest.
B: You tell the other patients you have a very highly contagious and fatal disease in an attempt to empty the waiting room.
Or if you have little more flair for the dramatic, C: You force yourself to hyperventilate to get immediate attention.
Now, these are fairly casual kinds of waiting, but we put up with them.
However, there are other, more serious and difficult kinds of waiting.
There’s the waiting of a single person to see if God has marriage in store for him or her.
There’s the waiting of a childless couple who desperately wants to start a family but day after day, week after week, their prayer goes unanswered.
There’s the waiting of someone who longs to have work that’s meaningful and significant and seems to matter, but it doesn’t happen.
There’s the waiting of a spouse that’s trapped in a hurting marriage that seems unable to change.
Lewis Smedes puts it like this: “Waiting is our destiny.
As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light.
We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write.
We wait for a ‘not yet’ that feels like a ‘not ever.’”
*Waiting on the Lord is an act of obedience.*
Waiting is the hardest work of hope.
When we turn to the Bible, God himself - God who’s all-powerful, all wise, and all loving - assures us over and over to wait.
Psalm 37:7: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”
Wait for the Lord, the Psalmist goes on, keep to his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land.
God comes to Abraham.
Abraham is 75 years old and God says, “Abraham, you’re going to become a father.
You’ll be the ancestor of a great nation.”
But it won’t happen today, it won’t happen tomorrow.
You know how long it was before that promise came true?
Twenty-four years.
Think about being 75 years old and being told you’re about to become a parent—and then waiting 24 years.
That’s how long Abraham had to wait.
God told Israel, his people, that they’d be a nation, able to leave the slavery of Egypt and be independent, but they had to wait 400 years.
And then God told Moses he would lead the people to the Promised Land, but they had to go to the wilderness and wait 40 years.
Then came the great promise that the Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer from God, would come.
God’s people waited.
They waited generation after generation, century after century, when God seemed silent.
Then, strangest of all, when the Messiah came, he was only recognized by a few.
He wasn’t at all what they thought they were waiting for.
In fact, he was only recognized by those who were waiting for him.
Luke 2 tells us about two people who recognized the Messiah because they were waiting on God.
The first is a man named Simeon.
Luke 2:25: “Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,” and then verse 25 says he was, “waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.”
Waiting can be translated either “waiting for” or “looking forward to.”
    
“It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him into his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Master, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.’”
I’ve been waiting my whole life; now my wait’s over, God.
Verse 36: “There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of 84.
Year after year, decade after decade, this amazing woman, a prophet of God, never left the temple, but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.
At that moment she came and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for” (or looking for, again, it is the same word that’s used earlier and can be translated either way) “the redemption of Jerusalem.”
So the Messiah came, Jesus lived and taught, and his disciples kept waiting for him to bring in the kingdom the way they expected, to right all the wrongs.
But he was crucified.
He’s getting ready to ascend, and so they ask again, “Are you going to restore the kingdom?
Is our waiting over now?”
    
Jesus had one more command, in Acts 1.
He says, “Don’t leave Jerusalem, but wait.”
So they did.
They waited in the upper room, and the Holy Spirit came.
But that didn’t mean the time of waiting was over for the human race.
Paul writes in Romans 8, “We ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
For in hope we were saved.
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