August 16, 2020
Rose of Sharon Baptist Church August 16, 2020
Church Service Notes
Scripture: Psalm 9:15-17
As you read these verses and the rest of Psalm 9, it comes to life in a way that is familiar with what is happening in our country today. In verses 15 and 16, God is telling us there is consequences to our sins. If we pursue evil, the trappings of sin will ensnare you eventually. We have all sinned and can testify to the fact that when we did wrong, there were consequences. Not only is this true for the individual, but it is also true for the nation as these verses reveal. Nations are capable of forgetting God, of rejecting God, and pursuing wickedness. Often when a nation forgets God, it then tries to fill the role of a god. And when they try to fill the place of a god, it turns out badly, and that nation reaps the consequences. The Old Testament reveals this to us in the history of Israel. Anytime Israel forgot God or thought themselves mightier than God, negative things followed. This is not only true for Israel, but is seen in the history of many societies.
What about our country? Have we forgotten God? Over the next few weeks, we will look at what the Bible says about the things happening in our nation right now and discourse being debating across our land. As Christians, we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, without error, and valuable for all teaching and reproof. If we adhere to the Bible’s truth, as individuals, families, and as a nation; we will receive blessings as individuals, families, and a nation. This starts with knowing what God’s Word says. I fear there is a large segment of our nation that has forgotten, and even rejected God. How does a nation forget God? If you study history, you will see that America undoubtedly was based upon Christian Biblical principles. Today, we minimize our Christian foundation in history. This minimization of the truth of God’s Word in our nation starts in the home. When parents do not teach the Bible to their children, children will believe what is taught to them elsewhere. How many of us as Christians can say we have read the entire Bible? I am afraid too many of us across our churches would say we have not. Without knowing the truth found in the Bible, how do we discern the debates of the times? When we lack the Biblical foundation we tend to rely on on our feelings or our heart. Truth is not based on our feelings and the Bible tells us our heart will deceive us. We have to stand on the truth of God’s Word, and we have to read it and seek to understand it. We have to be people that study the Word of God, read the Word, and apply it. We have to embrace the Word of God and it starts in the home. If we want to see our nation change, it has to start with individual Christians emphasizing the Word of God and His truth to their families and to their circle of influence. Share the Word of God wherever life takes you!
The importance and ideal of a nation following God is seen in Deuteronomy 4:5-9. Moses is talking to the Israelite people. Moses informs people that the laws and statutes God gave the Israelites is their wisdom. Moses tells the people this before they were to enter the land of Canaan and engage pagan nations. It’s a warning to the Israelites to not succumb to the pagan influence but to remain in God’s truth for their benefit. But the obedience of God’s law was not only to benefit the Israelites but also to reveal the greatness of God’s way to the rest of the world! If the people of Israel would live by God’s law, the rest of the nations would see this people following God and witness God’s greatness. This is the ideal for a nation I I want to see America obeying God’s laws. If we are going to turn as a nation to God’s truth then we need to examine our way of thinking. Notice Moses tells the people their greatness is tied to their nearness to God. In America, we have started to redefine our greatness to be based upon luxurious homes, military power, our freedoms, economic strength, education opportunities, achievements, and more. All these things are subject to failure. We have to decide our greatness is due to nearness of God.
If our nation is going to start abiding in the Lord then we must know what God’s Word says. This applies to all aspects of our nation from our homes, schools, businesses, and government. This November we have an election with many positions across all levels of governments to be decided. Over the next several weeks we are going to look at God’s Word regarding the issues that are so important to our country today. By looking at God’s truth on issues of the day, we will be better prepared to vote in a manner pleasing to God. Matthew 12:36 says every person will have to give an account to God for all the idle words we say. I think we can read between the lines to conclude we will give account to God for all the actions and inactions of our lives. Voting is one of those actions. If we vote according to Biblical principles, it is casting a vote for righteousness and nearness to God. My prayer is that God will help us have a better understanding of how to vote as Christians. I want you to pray, study the Word of God, take notes, seek wisdom, and seek what the Lord would have you do. I will not tell you how to vote but I want you to have the knowledge of God’s Word so you can make an informed decision. In Ezekiel 3:17-21 and 33:1-9, we see the concept of a watchman. Ezekiel is to receive the Word of God and tell the people about sin and the consequences of sin as a warning. Hopefully the people would listen and avoid sin to save their lives. If they sinned they would be held accountable for their action. If they sinned with Ezekiel failing to warn them, then Ezekiel would also be held accountable. But if Ezekiel warned them and they ignored the warning, Ezekiel would not be held accountable. And if the people heard Ezekiel’s warning and heeded it then it would be a blessing and they would be spared. We need watchmen in our nation today and the best possible watchman is the church living by and teaching God’s Word. So we will embark on this study to know what God’s Word said about our country’s issues and politics before we vote.
The watchman intercedes into society to share God’s truth to save people from their own sins. I want to close by sharing with you the greatest intercession we have ever known as a world. That is the intercession of Jesus Christ. The Lord considered all people and our sins. God loved us so much He made a way for us to be saved from our sins. There is a reality that if we die with no forgiveness of our sins, we are condemned to hell. God loves us so much, He did not want a single person to end up in hell. Someone had to die to pay the penalty that you and I owed because of our sin. And that is where Jesus interceded for us! Jesus came and lived as a perfect person. He stepped in for you and me in this great act of intercession to be beaten, tortured, humiliated and then crucified for us. Jesus did this because He loves us. They buried Him, but three days later He arose and there was victory over death and the intercession completed. The Bible tells us, if we commit to Jesus as Lord and Savior and accept His gift of salvation, surrendering our lives to be obedient to God, we can have eternal life through salvation. I pray you would consider giving your life to Jesus if you have not already.
Scripture: Job 1 & 2
To recap our previous looks in Job 1 and 2 we started with a look at Job’s personal being and what allowed him to have faith through the suffering he experienced. Job was a man of integrity, he avoided temptations and evil, and he sought God daily. We would do well to commit to live as Job lived, seeking God first and daily now in our lives prior to suffering and in the midst of suffering. Next, we looked at Satan’s role in the book of Job and what it reveals to us about evil. Satan embodies evil and Satan is also defeated by God. Evil is not God’s equal and it is not a force that must maintain balance with the good of the universe. Satan and all workers of evil are under God’s sovereign authority and can only do what God permits. Satan tries to usurp God and steal God’s glory but he will not have the victory. We learned how God only allows Satan to go so far. Whatever evil Satan does, God takes that evil and moves it for our good and for His glory. It means the evil and suffering that comes into our life does not get to win and claim victory. We still have hope. No matter what we are going through, we are still a part of God’s triumphant, victorious working.
Tonight, we are going to begin to look at Job’s response to the suffering that comes into his life. Chapters 1 and 2 reveal how much Job lost and the suffering he endured.
Job loses all his wealth. The way of his life is gone. All that he had worked for is gone. The economic security he had is gone. Great financial lost is a suffering. Some may say that Job was so rich why does it matter if he has to live poor for a time, after all many live their entire lives poor? But Job truly lost all – and losing what you have is a painful thing. Job also lost his servants. Surely among those servants were friends and he lost those relationships. The servants were also the means Job had to make income, without those servants Job had no hope to regain what he had lost. He had no means to hire new servants since all his wealth was lost and he had no means to reestablish business without workers. Again this lost of a way forward is a painful thing. For a modern example, imagine a multi-generation farmer who loses his land. Without land how is a farmer to move forward? All the means he knows forward are impossible without the land and this is what Job was experiencing. Job also loses his family with the death of his sons and daughters. The loss of loved ones is so, so hard. Losing one’s child has to be one of the most painful experiences in life and Job lived through all his children’s deaths. Not only were the relationships lost, but the support system Job would need in his old age was lost. The elderly were so dependent on their children in the ancient time, without children Job was facing an existence of lonely begging in his final years. Job’s wife gives up on him, encouraging him to curse God so he can die. The loss of a spouse’s support is a hard thing too. Job’s friends who come at the end of chapter 2 will turn against him. Job had to have been overwhelmed by loneliness and abandonment – this suffering is all too real for so many today. And then the physical pain Job faced. The pain in his body leads him to scrape his skin with broken pottery. He is under such an extreme attack his friends do not recognize him.
All these sufferings Job faced. Each of these sufferings is traumatic. Perhaps you can identify with some of them. Maybe you are enduring some of these sufferings even now. What do we do in the midst of this type of tragedy in suffering? In Job 1:20-22, we see Job’s response. Job rents his garment and falls on the ground. This was a way of mourning. In chapter 2, we see Job mourning as he sits in ashes and in silence, in signs of grief and mourning. When tragedy comes, many of us feel we have to be a super-human person. We may feel that showing mourning is a sign of weakness or that it may hurt our witness for the Lord. Scripture tells us there is a time to mourn. People need to be given time to mourn, and grieve, and deal with the sufferings. The Bible tells us we are also to bear one another’s burdens. Sometimes we are well-meaning and feel we need to give others a pep talk when they are feeling down, but sometimes what is needed is just to sit in silence. We do not have to have a response all the time for everything. We have to allow people to deal with grief in their own way.
In the rest of verse 20, we see Job’s other response: he worshiped. A lot of times when we have trials and sufferings, worshiping may not be our first response. That is Job’s first response along with his mourning. If you are going through suffering, I would encourage you to look at where you are with worshiping the Lord. Like Job seek God daily and put God first. If we already have that habit and mindset in our life to seek God first as Job did, when suffering comes, it will be automatic for us to turn to God and worship. We must avoid challenging God, bargaining with God, or denying God. We must also avoid turning to sinful things to numb, forget, or distract us from the suffering. Instead we are to abide in God. When you worship God, you are abiding in God.
That is what Job did in worshiping. As we worship God in our suffering, we have to learn to still give thanks to God. We can be thankful that Jesus made a way for our sins to be forgiven and gave us the hope of eternal life where there is no more suffering or pain. You can have eternal hope now. The brokenness and suffering we experience in this life was never part of God’s plan. Sin leads to the brokenness. The world is suffering as a whole because of all humanity’s sin throughout the ages. We will never be able to fix the brokenness. The only hope we have is through Jesus Christ. Grasp that hope today – give your life and the sufferings you endure to Jesus!