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Reality 1 - God is Always at Work Around You.

7 Realities of Experiencing God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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7 Realities of Experiencing God
Part 1
John 5:1-20

GOD IS ALWAYS AT WORK AROUND YOU.

Good Morning, Church.
It's a good day to celebrate God, especially what He has done for and through His people, amen?
After all, He has called us out of the darkness and into the His marvelous light. He has given us a godly purpose and surrounds by HIS miraculous love.
Let‘s pray.
Today, we begin a new teaching series called the 7 Realities of Experiencing God. For some, I believe this series will be a life-changing 7-weeks; for others, it will remind us of why we are here and what God is doing in our lives.
As my wife and I have traveled and attended many churches. We have seen that pastors and churches often get bogged down in life's situations, get used to the problems that come, concentrate on the stuff of life, and take their attention off and ultimately blinds them from the amazing things that God is doing around us. That is what has happened to us as we have been here. Can I be honest? We have kind of lost the sense of doing our ministry, and it can happen to everyone.
Often times people are told of what God is doing, maybe even seen it from time to time, some rarely equate it to His power and presence in our lives. I think that is where many people are today.
This sermon series is designed to help us see the work of God, see His power, but also to compel us to join with God in His incredible work.
If you have your Bible with you today. I ask that you open it with me to the New Testament Book of John chapter 5. If you are unfamiliar with where John is, you can find it as the 4th book of the New Testament Matthew, Mark, Luke, and then you will find the Book of John. John chapter 5 is where we will be this morning.
In Johns Gospel 17:3, Jesus is speaking, and He says, "THIS IS ETERNAL LIFE THAT THEY KNOW YOU THE ONLY TRUE GOD" This was the prayer that Jesus prayed when He was thinking about us, it's called The High Priestly prayer, and the people who Jesus was praying for and thinking of the most was us.
His desire and purpose was that every man, woman, and child would know the one true God. As Jesus prayed that one would know God not just by knowing more about God, not about facts or His names. When Jesus prayed, He did so so that we would experience God because that is how the word "know" is used. To know God is to be in fellowship with Him, to be in a relationship with Him.
Jesus' prayer is that every one of us would experience God. So that we could know and engage God in our lives. God gave us this thing called choice. We can either do His Will or to do our own will. We have a choice, and when we say yes to His will and no to our will, God reveals more about Himself to us.
So, my pray over this series is that we would see in our everyday lives where God is at work, and we will join Him. We will praise His wonderful name for the amazing things that He does each day.
Each week we will be discussing one of the Realities of Experiencing God By Henry Blackaby.
So let's begin. If you are there in the book of John, chapter 5, begin reading with me from verse 1.
This is the Word of God, and it begins like this;
"After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"
7 The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me."
8 Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews, therefore, said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed."
11 He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'"
12 Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."
15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working."
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel."
Can I ask you; When was the last time you were amazed by God?
Has it been a while? I want you to think about that question. When was the last time you were amazed by God and His work?
You see, The Pharisees were not amazed at the work of God, the paralyzed man walking. They did not care that God was doing things right in front of them. They did not care that the man who had been paralyzed for 38 years was able to pick up his mat and walk away. They did not see that as something to marvel at. They did not see that Jesus used this man for His work for the work of the Father. They were blinded by their anger and pride because Jesus broke the man-made Jewish laws of the Sabbath.
Think about that for a moment; you know, we often get so wrapped up in us that the tragedy is when God works in our lives, we don't see, we miss it.
I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel that we get in the way God because of what we want. We can get in the way of what God wants for us. You see, God has a greater plan for us than we can ever imagine.
That brings us to our take-home truth today:

Our Take- Home truth is The First Reality of Experiencing God, and that is;

God is always at work around me. (x2).

God is always at work around us, but often we are not looking for Him.
Did you know; That God is at work in your life?
I mean the one true God of the universe. He is aware of what is going on in your life right now, and you are in the midst of making history. This history I am telling you of is the history of God, His activity, changing and altering and moving for His purpose.
The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:13, "For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose."
I hope that you can sense the significance of being a child of God, that you will not live just an everyday life, ordinary life, but you will look for where God is at work and that you will join Him. The Bible tells us in John chapter 12, verse 26, Jesus said, "If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him."
In other words, where the Master is, the servant must be. If we are servants of God, our number one priority is seeking Him and being at work where HE is at work.
And I am sure you can agree with me that if there was ever a time that we needed to see God and His activity, it is in today's world.
I believe that the church is in a time of spiritual crises. The church is facing its own epidemic.
And as such we need to clearly and unmistakably recognize the presence of God and to put our lives where He is.
Jesus used this paralyzed man for a history lesson for us over 2000 years later, where He shows us that God is always at work around us.
Jesus knew the customs and laws of the Sabbath, Jesus was of course Jewish. He was brought up on the customs and laws of the religion. Yet He healed the man so that we would understand that God is always at work even when we think He is not. This story tells us that the Father has Jesus working and that Jesus cannot do anything without the Father.
I believe that there are four reasons for this healing.
1. For the man to be healed himself.
2. For the disciples to witness this incredible work of God.
3. To show the religious leaders that God is at work.
4. To remind us today that God is always at work.
Jesus knew how the religious leaders would react, and He set them up. Notice that after they got good and mad about Jesus breaking man's law of the Sabbath. Jesus said to them in verse 17, which is our key verse, "My Father is still working, and I am working also."
Then look at verses 19-20 "Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel."
The Old Testament tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord."
Although this was written thousands of years ago to Israel, God truly has plans for each of us today, and God's plans are greater than we could ever imagine.
I believe that God used each of those people we just celebrated to make an impact in our world. God used those great Americans we just watched to help us see greater things and how God worked in their lives.
In our scripture today, He used a man who was 38 years paralyzed, who probably thought he would never be healed. In fact, when Jesus asked if he wanted to be healed, he just said there was no one to carry me to the water. When he could have used a little imagination. Maybe low crawled or wiggled down to the edge of the pool and just fell in at the right time, but he was defeated. He knew the rest of his life would be the same. He accepted what was his future would hold as he sat there watching others getting healed. In his eyes, if there was no one to carry him, healing was not an option. Then comes Jesus. He used and healed this man for God's work.
Listen, folks, no matter where you are today, I want you to know; God has a greater plan for you than you can ever imagine.
Because of that I want to share with you three realities of how God is at work all around us and that we can join Him.

Point 1- God involves ordinary people like me to do extraordinary work.

Throughout the Bible, time and time again, God has used ordinary people to do extraordinary things. I am sure that most of the people used by God never thought that they would ever do extraordinary things for God.
Jesus used this man; look at verses 8-9 with me. "Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath."
This is a remarkable healing For someone who was nothing in the eyes of the community. Jesus used him for something incredible.
I am turning over to the book of Hebrews; you can turn there with me if you like the 11th chapter. This is called the Faith chapter, and it covers 40 verses of how God used ordinary people for extraordinary work.
The eleventh chapter begins by defining what faith in verses 1-3
"Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. 2 For our ancestors won God's approval by it.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by God's command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible."
The other 47 verses talk about ordinary people set aside through faith to join God in the work that He was doing.
"By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith, he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith.
5 By faith, Enoch was taken away so he did not experience death,
6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the One who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. (verse 6 tells us that God is alive and active in the lives of believers, and if we seek to be where He is, we are rewarded)
7 By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise.
11 By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the One who had promised was faithful.
13 These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth.
17 By faith Abraham,
20 By faith Isaac
22 By faith Joseph,
23 By faith, after Moses was born,
This is the roll call of ordinary people who become UN-ordinary because of their encounter with God and joining Him where He was at work. They all were primarily ordinary people, living out normal lives until they saw God.
God filled them and used them just as HE will do with us. Verse 33 reads: Who by faith-–conquered kingdoms- gained strength after being weak, out of weaknesss became strong.
Can you believe today that God is active enough in your life that you can conquer things- you can be strengthened through Him? But it can only come from Faith.
The Truth is:

"THE SIZE OF OUR GOD IS REVEALED BY HOW WE RESPOND TO HIM."

Notice with me in Hebrews 11 what the Bible tells us that God did through common people who responded to Him.
In my own life, I have seen what God can do with ordinary people, He took me an under-ordinary person, and He made me a pastor, preacher, teacher, leader, He Healed the sick in front of me, He has healed my wife, He healed our grandson of brain cancer, He healed one of best friends of cancer, HE used me to revitalize several churches. He has made me His mouthpiece in the Greater Detroit Area for 6 years, using me to help guide 50 churches in Detroit and Canada. He uses me each week to encourage other pastors, to pray for other pastors. He used me to help celebrate as the primary speaker at a large church that is celebrating its 100th year anniversary. He has used my wife in miraculous ways, reaching women, speaking to women, praying for people, and singing His praises. We have spent the last 18 years of our lives ministering to men, women, and children through foster care, church ministries, and reaching out to the hurting and needy. We just stepped into where God was already working, and HE made the ordinary extraordinary.
And He can and will do that with you if you are willing.
God is at work all around us, and HE calls each of us to join in where He is working – often, that is out of our comfort zone. God isn't calling us to attend HIS church. He is calling us to be HIS Church.

The reality is God is at work all around us.

First, God involves ordinary people to do extraordinary work.

Second, God empowers ordinary people like me to do His work.

Notice verses 10-11 with me; the Pharisees questioned the man.
"He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'"
12 Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?"
This man's healing was for the work of God.
Christ empowers ordinary people to the work of the Kingdom of God by giving us His authority. Jesus picked 12 ordinary men to be his disciples, and remember what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus said, "all the authority has been given to me in Heaven and on earth."?
Then He tells us to Go, Make, Baptize, and teach under His authority. Christ Jesus's authority is so powerful that it has overcome death. It is so powerful that it covers the heavens and the earth. His authority is so powerful that when He heals people, they are not just healed of the physical ailments of life, but He heals people of true spiritual death, which allows them to be under His authority in heaven.
It is clear that God is at work all around us, involving ordinary people to do extraordinary work through the empowerment of Christ.
The Bible tells us repeatedly that we can't do anything without Christ.
John chapter 15, Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. The One who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me."
He not only gives us life, but He also sustains us so that we can produce the fruit of Him.
In Philippians 4:13, Paul tells the church that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens us."
So, we can't do anything without Christ, and we can do all things through Him who strengthens us. We cannot join God in the work that He does without being empowered by Christ and His authority. The difficulty is often not in the task but instead having the attitude of completing the task with the strength of Christ.
If Jesus gave me the authority, if I see where God is working, then I can join in under the strength of Christ because I can do all things.
You might be asking yourself, how do we receive the authority of Christ and strength of Christ? We found that answer in Hebrews 11 its by faith. It comes to anyone who will open their heart to Him and call Him Lord.
The Bible tells us in the book of Romans: "for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Once we have become saved, we then find out where God is at work then we join Him there through the authority and power of God the Son. AMEN?

The reality is God is at work all around us, and He wants us to join Him in His work.

By being involved in doing God's extraordinary work, as we are empowered by Christ Jesus.

Then Third - God equips ordinary people like me to do the work.

God the Father is at work, The Son of God, gives us all authority and the strength to work where God is working, and God, the Holy Spirit, equips us to do the work.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 tells us about one of the roles of the Holy Spirit by saying, "a demonstration of the spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial."
We often hear that the Spirit gives the gifts, but we fail to see that the Holy Spirit is the Gift.
The Spirit reveals Himself to each member for the common good of the body. We have it all backward. The Holy Spirit is manifested through the works of the body. He prepares us for the work ahead through gifts, but again the true gift is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and when we fail to see where God is working, we fail to be used by God in the area of giftedness the Holy Spirit is quenched by us.
The key here is that the Holy Spirit is given to each person:
1 Cor 12, “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. 7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:
To one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith, gifts, performing miracles, prophecy, and it goes on.
The Holy Spirit works in the body of Christ so that the body can be built up and strengthened.
The Reality is God is at work all around us, and He wants us to join Him in that work.
#1 God the Father involves me in doing extraordinary things.
#2 God the Son empowers me to do His work.
#3 God the Holy Spirit equips me to do His work.
My job is to see where He is working and join with Him and marvel at the incredible works of God.
Invitation-
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