Summary: When we experience God like Job, we begin to 1) understand God, 2) understand live, and 3) understand ourselves.
“A First-Hand Experience with God”
Illustration: A story is told of a Welsh woman who lived in a remote valley in Wales. She went to a great deal of trouble to have electrical power installed in her home. They noticed she didn’t use very much electricity at all. In fact, her usage was minuscule. They sent a meter reader out to check on the matter. The man came to the door and said, “We’ve looked at the amount. Don’t use you electricity?” “Oh, yes,” she said. “We turn it on every night to see how to light our lamps and then we switch it off again.”
This sounds like the way the way many Christians apply the power of God in their lives.
Many Biblical Examples of encounter with God: Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, David, Job.
Job was a man who, according to the Bible, experienced life’s greatest turn of events. He went from riches, to rags, and back to riches again. And all of this was allowed by God so that Job could prove his faithfulness and experience more deeply a relationship with Him.
CIT: When we, like Job, have a FIRST HAND experience with God several things happen.
I. We Understand God (v.2)
A. The Bible says that the just shall live by “faith.”
Well, Faith in God can only come when we come to experience the truth of Job’s statement: “I know that you can do all things....”
It signifies Job’s confidence in God’s ability.
B. And, many of God’s people do not live with this confidence because they have not “experienced him first hand” as Job had.
Illustration: In fact, most Christians today perceive God like one person noted: God is a lot like our pastor. I don’t see him through the week and I don’t understand him on Sunday.
C. Matthew 19:16-26 (key verse: 26)
Is that your experience with God?
When you experience him first hand, as Job did, you begin to understand God as an all loving and all powerful God.
II. We Understand Life (v.3)
A. If there is one thing certain today it is that too many people, too many Christians, do not understand the meaning of life.
Illustration: One evening this week at Falls Creek, Cindy waited for James and I outside the tabernacle. She shared with me her observation as she watched all the young people as they interacted with one another. Her observation was this: They don’t have a clue as to what life’s about!.
And most Christians are that way.
1. Most people fit the character of Charlie Brown when it comes to understanding life.
Illustration: In one “Peanuts” comic strip, there was a conversation between Lucy and Charlie Brown. Lucy said that life is like a deck chair. Some place it so they can see where they are going; some place it so they can see where they have been; and some place it so they can see where they are at present. Charlie Brown’s reply: “I can’t even get mine unfolded.”
2. Illustration: A man in Burbank, California, seeking to repair an outdoor light, brought it indoors. He was working on it, when his wife called out “Are you sure you know what you are doing.” An instant after she said that he touched a couple of things together and the shock sent him skidding across the floor, leaving his rear-end engraved in the shag carpet. The real-life householder who goofed and got floored by 220 volts is Tim Allen of Home Improvement.
Charlie Brown - couldn’t get it right.
Tim Allen - thought he had it right.
Where do you fit?
Are you like Allen or more like Charlie Brown?
B. But when we experience God FIRST HAND, and I mean experiencing him in spiritual growth, we come to understand life itself.
III. We Understand Ourselves (v.6)
Illustration: Little Suzie finished her prayer and said:
Before I finish, I want you to take care of mommy, take care of daddy, take care of my sister and my brother and please, God, take care of yourself, because if you don’t we’ll all sunk. Amen!
A. Little Suzie understood a very important lesson about herself....she was totally dependent upon God.
B. That is an important lesson that everyone here needs to know.
1. John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.”
Our fruit bearing as a Christian is totally dependent upon our connection with God.
2. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
We cannot afford to forget this important truth!
Illustration: A young seminary graduate came up to the lectern, very self confident and immaculately dressed. He began to deliver his first sermon in his first church and the words simply would not come out.