Summary: How God uses the bad times to shape us into the image of Christ
Choosing The Painful Will of God
CCCAG September 9th, 2018
Today I’m going to cover a difficult topic. (Title)
Scripture- John 12:23-36
Today’s message will have a lot of build up before we get to the meat of the scripture we are focusing on, but please bear with me because it’s foundational to where God is taking us as a people.
If I was a start out this morning by saying that we are blessed, what would that mean to you?
Does it mean that you have adequate food adequate shelter maybe even a few toys and some extra money in the bank?
Perhaps it means to you that you have a career that you love and have a dream job that you can't wait to get to every Monday morning.
Or would it mean that you're healthy and happy and the loved ones closest to you are healthy and happy?
Understanding God's blessing in those terms is not a bad thing. However, life isn't always like that.
Living life means that we will go through the Valley.
Many times that even means growing familiar the valley of the shadow of death.
Some of us in the past, or currently, or in the future may undergo unspeakable tragedy, unrelenting pain, and great obstacles in life.
During those times, it’s challenging to call ourselves blessed.
Why is that? It has to do with the American Church’s mindset regarding what being blessed means, and how God interacts with us as individuals.
It’s an interesting dilemma we face because our mindset is more similar to that of the 1st century Pharisee than what the bible tells us- that mindset is this- behave right and God has to bless you.
An example of this-
In the year 2000, the Prayer of Jabez book Became the fastest selling book ever. Christians from all over the world and particularly those here in America grabbed it off the shelf and gobbled up it's teaching of begging God for blessing and never knowing pain.
In my opinion, this idea which was spread by this book and many other self-help books disguised as Christian writings did more to weaken the church than anything else. You notice that around that time, the church began to lose its prophetic voice to the nation and entertainment replaced seeking God. Hollywood boldly put out shows mocking Christians and their religion, and gleefully covered things like the priest abuse scandal as if it were the norm.
In a scramble to strengthen it's authority, the mainstream church denominations turned to championing social and political causes to make itself relevant again, all while continuing to losing more and more of its prophetic voice and influence over the culture.
The church sowed to the wind of appeasing the modern culture, and now we are reaping the whirlwind of irrelevance to a new generation of Americans.
Pew research put out a study of people 18-30 years old and why they left the church- the reason is they don’t believe in God anymore and that they church’s message isn’t relevant to them. We lost them because we told them that God is only a God of blessing and when they hit a difficult time and God didn’t seem to come through- poof, there went their faith.
Therefore in 2018, we are witnessing the death of the Christian Church here in America. It is happening faster up here in the North more than it is in the South, but America has become a post-Christian nation, and will eventually reap the consequences of God’s judgement.
You Why am I starting off our time here on Sunday on such a cheery note?
Aren’t you glad you came to church this morning?
There have been many in the church throughout the different denominations that have been praying for a religious revival to come to this nation. This is good and shows god's faithfulness in preserving his remnant people.
I also believe that those prayers will be answered.
However, I don't think there going to be answered the way we think they are going to be answered.
Many of these intercessors are praying for a return of first century Christianity to America and to the entire world.
When we read the Book of Acts we see the marvelous things that these believers did in spreading the name of Jesus Christ in their entire known world.
What we gloss over is the fact that most of them became martyrs to do it.
So this morning, I want to talk to you about choosing the painful will of God.
As we watch the video for John chapter 12, There was a moment in the beginning when you saw Jesus bow his head, seemingly acknowledging that His time on earth was drawing to a close.
Jesus is entering into the Passion Week and is accepting the painful will of God for His life.