Summary: We as the people of God have been healed, saved, and freed to be those who bring healing and salvation to the world
God has always wanted a relationship with humanity. If we look from the beginning of our faith history, from the account of creation to the very end of the scriptures, in Revelation, it becomes apparent that God desires to have his dwelling with us. This is the story of the tabernacle, this is the story of the Solomon's Temple, this is the story of the Second Temple, this is the story of the Synagogue, this is the story of Jesus Christ, and it is the story of the Church. God wanting to be in a relationship with you and I, and with the whole of humanity beyond these walls. This brothers and sisters is the reason Jesus was born, lived, taught, died and rose again. So, that we, all of humanity, can know that we are loved by our God.
A. There are times that we shy away from God. Times when we are scared, ashamed, or just overwhelmed by think we know of God. Much of this though, is really about our misconceptions of God.
1. The Story from the Gospel of Matthew is really illustrative of this very real problem.
A. Jesus crossed over the Sea of Galilee or Tiberius if you wish to the Decapolis region, on the east side of the sea, and here Jesus encounters two men possessed by demons.
1. Jesus, at the request of the demons, sends them out to a herd of pigs.
2. Two men returned to their families and friends, freed from their own torment, and pain
A. You'd think that the people of Gadarenes would have rejoiced about this turn of events.
B. You'd think that their family, friends, relatives, business associates and neighbors would have rejoiced at this news.
3. But rather they were scared, terrified, and fearful.
A. Their friends had been returned to them, their fathers, brothers, husbands, cousins and yet, they feared
B. Perhaps it was because they lost their herd pigs, no doubt a large investment of the community, but still their friends had come back to them, those who had been dead were alive again.
B. What happened, here? It may be hard to say, but what we know is that they had encountered the living God. And they became fearful. Why?
1. Perhaps they encountered the Holy God, and were faced with their sinfulness
2. Maybe they saw power, and it overwhelmed them
3. It could be that they felt inadequate to be God's presence
4. Some may simply have not realized what had happened
2. It seems to me that this too could be our story today.
A. At times we too become embarrassed when we, sinful people face holy God
1. Our response to sinfulness, is always repentance and confession
2. In 1 John we are told that if we confess our sin, God is faithful and Just and will forgive us our sin
3. So, this does not need to be a fear for us, so we can approach our God without fear
B. Maybe we too are scared of the uncontrollable power of God
1. At times we become scared because we cannot control God
2. Considering the way that pray, we often try to control God, but we cannot
3. What we really need to do is to come to trust our God
C. It could be that we just feel inadequate
1. I've heard people say, I've just sinned to much, and there is no way that God can forgive me.
2. I don't feel worthy
3. God's love is given not, because we are worthy, but because God loves us
A. This is never something we earn, something we buy, something we work for B. But, God's love and forgiveness is what God gives to us freely
D. Others have simply just not realized what has happened
1. Brothers and sisters, it is important for you and I to open our eyes and see just what has happened
2. God has come close!
II. God has freed us to have a relationship with him, and this has always been the agenda that God has been pursuing. .
A. If we look at the Revelation of John, we receive a very powerful picture of consummation of this relationship that God is calling us to.
1. John wrote, 1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared s a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
A. As we look at this imagery, this is what God is preparing for us, this is the dream that God is holding out for us to see, to taste to feel and to participate in, if only we will.