Faithlife Sermons

2020.05.17 Weathering The Storm

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John 14:15–21 NASB
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 “After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
The Word of God for the people of God
THANKS BE TO GOD
1 Peter 3:13–22 NASB
13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
The Word of God for the people of God
THANKS BE TO GOD

Weathering The Storm

Explain TV show a bit: “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
As the family has gathered to say their final farewell to their dad, whose health decline has come to its finale, Zoey sits down to talk with her dad’s caregiver, Howie. Howie’s words rang very familiar to me as his role shifted and he asked, "Is this when we have the talk about what death is like?" "Death is hideous and ugly and grotesque and wildly, wildly unfair," he says. "Or maybe death is beautiful and spiritual and transcendent and sometimes a very necessary and very freeing escape from our physical bodies when they are no longer habitable."
When people think of you, of course they think of your physical appearance … when your time comes to lie in a casket and be spoken of but not really there, is your physical appearance what you want them to talk about and remember? When you think of your SELF, not yourself (one word), but two words your self…who you are … what makes you you … how much of that revolves around your physical body? I would predict, not much. When you think of your self, you think of your personality traits, the things and people you love, the activities that breathe life into you, the skills and talents you share with the world…I hope you think of the soul that resides inside your body and connects you to the eternal.
Let me ask you … how much do you spend on your physical body? Not just money … how much time, effort, energy, concern, money do you spend on your physical body? Do you take effort to look younger? Why not? Do you purchase products to help you look better … decent clothing … deodorant … perhaps perfume or cologne … keep your hair cut (when it’s legally allowed) … keep yourself clean? Why wouldn’t you? Do you hone your skills and talents to grow better at them? Of course. (Especially those of us over 40…) Do you eat better to maintain a healthier weight and lifestyle? I know I do … at least in cycles. :)
Now, let me ask you … how much do you spend on your spiritual body … your soul? How much time, effort, energy, concern, money do you spend on your soul?
In the TV show, the caregiver’s second option is correct in a biblical perspective: “…death is beautiful and spiritual and transcendent and,” listen to this part closely, “sometimes a very necessary and very freeing escape from our physical bodies when they’re no longer habitable.”
1 Peter 3:14–18 NASB
14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
Suffering is temporary, yet we do everything we can to avoid it. I understand that, I don’t know anyone who would invite suffering in their life.
Yet, are we pouring any real effort into our spiritual health?
John 14:15 NASB
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” says Jesus in today’s Gospel lesson. I don’t know about you, but I’m much better at making excuses for why I don’t keep his commandments than for making a plan to help me keep them. Does that mean I don’t love him?
Jesus knows it’s hard. That’s why he immediately tells us:
John 14:16 NASB
16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
The Holy Spirit is planted in every believer to help us … to help us grow in our faith … to help us maintain a healthy soul! But he won’t do it for us!
Jesus calls him a Helper … other translations use the word “Advocate”. The Greek word there,
parakletos, means “one who helps, by consoling, encouraging, or mediating on behalf of”
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 141). New York: United Bible Societies.”
The Holy Spirit is given to believers because it’s too easy to focus only on the physical aspects of life.
But real life begins when we assume room temperature. Real life begins when we’re given that “freeing escape from our physical bodies when they’re no longer habitable”.
We seem to want to hold on to the storm of this life to the detriment of the eternal life. How are you spending your quarantine time? Do you know all the restrictions to keep yourself and others safe when you go to the grocery? Have you read up on the requirements as things open up in stages? It’s reasonable to know those things.
But what about the non-physical you? Have you spent this quarantine time preparing and growing your soul at all? Are you better prepared for eternity than you were before you had all this expendable time on your hands? Please don’t hear me laying a guilt trip because you spent all of your time in Candy Crush or Netflix rather than in Scripture and prayer and meditation. I’m not laying a guilt trip … I’m telling you it’s not too late!
Maybe you did great through this and your soul is soaring with the Lord. If that’s the case, well done! Maybe you’ve squandered this time with wasted energy in your bathrobe and slippers. If that’s the case, it’s not too late.
For both categories of people, let me give this encouragement…don’t neglect your soul-care and spend a bunch of effort on your body-care. As thing start to open up, we are being given a very unique opportunity.
Reset button
The world has hit the reset button for us! Whatever ‘normal’ used to be … we most certainly will not return to that version of normal again! The world has changed … and it changed all at the same time for every one of us. That means no one will be surprised that you’ve changed, if you have.
Your unique opportunity is to reset to the ‘normal’ you WANT instead of the normal that fell into your lap before. How will you use that opportunity? Will your soul take a higher priority than it did before? Daily reading; prayer; study; meditation; spending time with God and godly people to grow closer to him? If you wasted the quarantine time, there’s still a chance. It’s not really squandered time … unless you return to the same unhealthy life you lived before.
Does the eternal take a higher priority than the physical on your calendar … in your daily schedule … in the habits and routines of your life? Now’s your chance. Will you take it? What will your ‘new normal’ look like?
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