God Cares for You
I don’t know about you, but I am very exited today to start our new sermon series titled Design for Discipleship.
Over the past month we’ve explored why discipleship is so important, and now today we will begin our 36 week long journey!
If you’ve missed any of the 3 sermons on “Why Discipleship?” you can go onto our website, fccrb.org, and listen to them all to get caught up.
After the last year of going through the sermon on the mount and the book of James we will be taking a little bit different approach to the sermons.
Rather than going verse by verse like we have been (which is my comfort zone), we will be presenting multiple truths broken down into mini series’.
But don’t be fooled, you will need to bring your Bibles because we will be diving into Scripture each week!
Each week we will also present a verse or two, for those that would like to be challenged by memorizing Scripture!
I truly believe that over the next 36 weeks, if you’re willing and prepare your heart with prayer and study, we will all become more mature followers of Christ and more equipped to share our faith than we ever have been before.
Are you ready?!
LET’S GO TO THE LORD IN PRAYER
Today in our culture the inner self and ego is built up more than ever.
We have ads that specifically are designed for us to think highly of ourselves, and that we need the product they are selling, to do just that.
Pinterest, Facebook and many other sites online glorify perfection and that you are only special and unique if you can be like everybody else or complete a project that looks just like the picture.
Often times many people are left with feelings of depression and no value because they can’t measure up to the picture or project.
Well, God’s Word has something completely contrary to that.
In fact, God’s Word says this in Genesis 1:26-28
READ GENESIS 1:26-28
We are creatures, not the creator.
Today’s theme is that God cares for us.
We’re going to explore 4 truths that give weight to the fact that God cares for us.
God values and cares for his creation and he showed this by first creating us in the image of Himself, and also that he gave us authority, and choice over His created objects.
Why did God create us?
everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
John Piper says this about God’s glory, “God’s glory is the perfect harmony of all his attributes into one infinitely beautiful and personal being.”
One thing we need to understand is that God’s glory is not dependent on us.
God has always existed, even before us- this concept is hard for us to grasp as finite beings.
Here are some great verses to help us keep this truth in mind...
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.
An article from the “Answers in Genesis”website explains God’s timing so well,
“A study of this verse reveals that God created time, space, and matter on the first day of Creation Week. No one of these can have a meaningful existence without the others. God created the space-mass-time universe. Space and matter must exist in time, and time requires space and matter. Time is only meaningful if physical entities exist and events transpire during time.”
Now that we understand that God has always existed, we can see that God’s glory has always been in existence, regardless if we were created or not.
This is important in our understanding of our first truth today:
God created you.
God created us for His glory and He cares for us.
The way we live our lives and show thankfulness or not, portrays to others how we view whether we are grateful to God for our creation, and desire to give Him all the glory. (REPEAT)
The second truth is that:
God is present and knows you.
Many of us have received great comfort from Palm 139 over the years.
READ PSALM 139:1-8
God knows us better than we know ourselves.
He created us.
In the closing of the Psalm, David’s prayer was this:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Where are you today in this same prayer?
Are you asking the God, who not only created you, but knows your inner being, to search and cleanse you from within?
Since we are created beings, and created for God’s glory, we should make this prayer a daily practice in our lives.
Jesus explains the same concept this way in Matthew 10:29-31.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
God not only cares for us, and has created us, but he has a plan for our lives.
It is our job, as creatures, to trust and submit to His plan first in our lives.
Not understanding that we are His, and not our own, will warp this view and distort how we live our lives.
The third truth that we often take for granted and believe often only when we feel things are going right for us is that God loves you.
As believers we can get so caught up in our lives that we miss this important truth.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
The part of God’s love that is so complex for us to understand is not that He loves us in general, but it’s that while we were sinners, He still loved us enough to send His son to die for us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God wanted and wants life for us, not just temporarily, but eternally.
How do we receive this life?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Do you feel worthy of receiving God’s love?
Our own experiences of abandonment, betrayal and other negative events play into how we often view God’s love.
But regardless of how we view His love, it doesn’t change the truth about His love and His character.
He stays the same.
Jesus explains God’s love and His response to it in this way...
READ JOHN 10:9-18
What can we learn from these passages?
Jesus is the way to salvation and safety. (V. 9)
Satan desires destruction, Jesus offers life (V. 10)
Jesus is the good shepherd who cares for and protects His own (V. 11-14)
Jesus lays His life down for the sheep to have life (V. 15)
Because of the authority and love that God has given to Jesus, only he has the ability to lay His life down and raise again.
Jesus holds the keys to our salvation and the restoration of our relationship with God the Father. (V. 16-18)
God created us, He is present and knows us, He loves us and lastly...
The fourth truth is...
God has adopted us into His family.
Jesus touched on it in our last passage, but something we must understand is that God is the perfect father.
Jesus referred to God as Father in His well known prayer “Our Father...” in Matthew 6.
Something worth mentioning is that God is everyone’s creator as we started out today, but He is not everyone’s Father.
What do I mean by that?
It is a personal decision to recognize God as our Father.
First we know who He is and second we commit ourselves to Him.
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
According to Jesus, we either make God our Father or Satan.
If we have chosen God, then we are born into God’s family.
We are born into His family the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and begin to submit and live our lives for Him.
This adoption takes place right away in the moment of our salvation.
One of the best examples that hep us to understand this transition is from the life of Joseph.
Joseph was the “runt” in his family, 11 of 12 siblings, but often thought of as the dad’s favorite by his brothers.
Because of this he was beaten up by them, thrown into a pit and then sold into slavery.
Talk about a rough life.
Joseph, having worked his way up the ladder, with favor from God, became a close and trusted leader under Pharaoh’s authority.
There was a famine at that time and so Joseph’s brothers came to Pharaoh’s food storage looking for aid.
Joseph happened to be the guy in charge, but his brothers did not recognized him.
He told them they would be helped if they sent back their youngest brother Benjamin.
So, they did and eventually Joseph revealed who he was and invited the whole family to relocate and live in Egypt with him without any need.
Joseph could have taken another route and got even with his brothers but he chose love and compassion.
This is such an amazing picture of what God did for us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We deserve death because of our sins but through His son Jesus we are offered eternal life as well as a new identity and a new family.
We are adopted into God’s family in the moment of our salvation.
Our emotions change at the drop of a hat, life’s circumstances often make us waver but an important truth for us to realize is that God cares for us.
And specifically what we talked about today:
God created us.
God is present and knows us.
God loves us.
And lastly, God has adopted us into His family.
These truths pave the way for us- as we start this journey toward a life dependent on God, living as a disciple and following Jesus.
For those who would like to go deeper in study, I encourage you to buy one of these Design for Discipleship books that coincide with our sermon series.
Also if you would like to continue to challenge yourself to memorize Scripture, this weeks memory verse is 1 John 5:11-12.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Next week is all about Jesus; who He is, His humanity, prophecies fulfilled by Him and so much more.