Summary: Christianity is a pursuit not an arrival. What do I mean by that?
Following God: Understanding His ways
Today we start a new series, following God. There is also going to be something we will need to remember along with this series. Christianity is a pursuit not an arrival. What do I mean by that? Phil. 3:12-14; Heb.12:1-2; 12-14; 13:15; (continually). 1 Pet 1:13; (gird your mind for action); 2 Peter “grow in grace”; And in our pursuit we are said to be “following God”; Now there will be times in our following God we will be right behind Him so to speak. There will be ‘growth spurts”. Other times we will be distracted and all of a sudden look up and we will not be following Him but another path. We are going to look at some people in the N.T. that were called to follow God by faith. They were not perfect people far from it, but they did prove to be faithful people. Their race is finished, their pursuit is over, they have crossed the finish line, so I believe we can learn from them about following God by faith, and by the way it is by faith not by sight. We will look at some of their battles, some of their doubts and most important of all their surrender, (not commitment but surrender). His call is still come and follow me. I hope we are encouraged to imitate their faith. Today we are going to look at John the Baptist, and his journey of following God.
One of the biggest obstacles I believe for all of us in following Him is UNDERSTANDING HIS WAYS. God just does not do things the way we expect or the way we would, have you found this to be true? His way is through the Sea, dying to live, humility the way to exaltation, receiving instead of achieving, giving to gain, loosing to win. None of this makes sense at times to us. So what we are going to do today is see three truths about God’s ways that may help us in our pursuit of God.
John the Baptist, a prophet that served as a bridge between the old and the new.
Born in 5 b.c. six months before Jesus, began ministry around ad26 and died ad29; Trained all his life for one purpose to announce the messiah; Two issues keep surfacing in his life as he struggled with God’s ways, surrender and trust. Surrendering to his ways and trusting God’s ways.
The first truth about God’s ways I learned:
1. GOD’S WAYS REVEAL HIS NATURE; (OTHER REF. 1 PET 1;10-12)
a. Look at His plan. Mal. 3:1, This is 400 years before it happened, but it goes back further than this; In Gen. He speaks about His seed, He calls Abraham and makes a nation out of him; over and over again Satan tried to subvert his plan to redeem and restore and reconcile but as Nebecanezzar learned, nothing can thwart the purpose of God. When Jesus was born the enemy tried to kill Him, but God had a plan. What God prophesied would take place. God’s honors his word above his name. So as we look at His plan and it is about to come together what does that tell us about His nature? HE WILL CARRY OUT HIS PLANS WE CAN TAKE THAT TO THE BANK. If God’s plan is for MCC to continue to heal hurts and renew minds no one can stop it. He is bigger than our plans, and dreams. To build a building if this is God’s plan it will not be stopped. But most of all when it comes to God’s plan, for us to be conformed into the Image of His son, He will carry out that plan. What he starts he will complete. He does not procrastinate. He is constantly conforming us. He plan is to work good from everything in our lives. This should encourage us today, we might be right in the middle of a plan coming together, right at the beginning or right in the middle, but GOD WILL CARRY OUR HIS PLAN. WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO HE WILL DO. Isa.44:6-8; Psalm 2; His nature is revealed in the:
b. PEOPLE HE USES; Matt. 11:7-10; John the Baptist as described by Jesus. Now if we did not go back in to his background we would not know much about the nature of God when it comes to people. The most important message in the world and what kind of person would he entrust with that message?
a. note the parents; Luke 1:5-7; barren woman; a priest just being faithful to his duty; faithful even through the barren times; does not mean they were sinless but faithful; they were very old, they did not have a divided heart even though they did not have a child; these parents were faulty but they were faithful; David a great example of faulty but faithful, Moses another;