Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This sermon looks at how even though times our tough, God is there as our refuge. Also takes a look at how we can trust God for His promises to our life.

In 1989 a devastating earthquake flattened the country of Armenia, killing over 30,000 people in less than 4 minutes. In the midst of the confusion that followed, a father left his wife securely at home and rushed to his son’s school, hoping for the best but fearing the worst. When he arrived, he discovered to his horror that his son’s school had been flattened by the massive earthquake.

While surveying the rubble, he remembered a promise that he had made to his little boy. “What ever happens, I’ll always be there for you.” The situation looked hopeless, but he just couldn’t take his mind off that promise. He remembered that his son’s classroom had been in the back right corner of the building, so he rushed to that spot over there and started digging through the rubble. Other grieving parents arrived, crying for their children. Some tried to pull the man off the rubble saying, “It’s too late! They’re dead. You can’t help.” Even a police officer told the grieving Father to go home.

But courageously he proceeded alone because he needed to know for himself whether his boy was dead or alive and because of his promise. “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you.” He dug for 8 hours, then 12, then 24, then 36. Finally on the 38th hour he pulled back a large boulder and among the remaining rubble he heard his son’s voice. He screamed, “Armand!”

The little voice answered him, “Dad, Dad, it’s me.” Then the boy added these priceless words: “I told the other kids not to worry. I told them that you would save us because you promised Dad. You promised me that that no matter what happened you’d always be there for me. You did it. You did it, Dad!”

I promise is a phrase that seems almost meaningless in this day and age. We’ve grown accustomed to hearing campaign promises cracking even before the election is over. Often when we make a promise, we do our best to keep it, but often we fail to do so. We don’t mean to, but it just happens. A Father tells his son that he’ll always be there for him, but then that Father has a massive heart attack and dies, leaving his son fatherless. He didn’t mean to do it, but the promise was broken because he was limited in power.

In the scriptures, we read about a loving heavenly Father who has made to you many precious promises. Promises that tell us that our needs our taken care of, that our sins our forgiven, that we will never be overwhelmed beyond our ability to bear, and he has promised the gift of everlasting life. What sets these promises apart is that God is the One who has made them. God has the power and the integrity to fulfill each and every promise He has made. And like a loving Father, God cares for each and every one of us and He has promised that whatever happens He will always be there for us. Even as the world around us quakes and crumbles, our Heavenly Father stands by His promises.

As we continue in our series “Who is like our Lord?” I want us to see that God is like a loving Father who cares for His needy children. Isaiah 58:11 says, "The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. "

If you will please turn to Psalm 9, the text that was read to you earlier, and we want to go through this text and be encouraged by God’s word. The first thing I want you to see here is that even in a turbulent world, God offers to us in Himself a sanctuary of refuge. Look at Vs 9. Psalm 9:9 “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble.”

One of the first things you notice from that verse is the fact that we live in a difficult world filled with troubles and oppression. There seems to be so much to worry about these days. Rick Majerus, head basketball coach for the University of Utah recently captured the concern of our nation. He said, “Everyone’s worried about the economy this year. Hey, my hairline is in recession, my waistline is in inflation, and all together I’m in depression.”

The Reality is that life is hard. No where in scripture are we promised that it will be easy. Life is hard. Bad things happen to good people, to bad people, and everyone in between. Now, so far this seems pretty depressing. I thought this was supposed to encourage us…but before we get to the really good news, we have to face the bad news. I live in a real world, and I want a religion that deals with reality. Don’t you? I don’t want a religion that plays, "let’s pretend." I want a faith that can stand up to whatever the world has to give, and still come out on top.

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