Summary: God's mission is on track because God is sovereignly overseeing it.
God’s Mission Is On Track
In his book “Joy Unspeakable," Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones illustrates the normal Christian life like a son walking hand-in-hand with his father down the sidewalk of life. The son feels the firm grip of his father, he looks up to his father and as his father looks down at the son he has a sense of settled confidence. No words are spoken but there is a trust and hope that is expressed from the son to the father. Martin Lloyd-Jones describes this as the normal Christian life.
But then there are times when the father sweeps up the young child in to his arms, he hugs him tightly. Then the father pulls the son away just enough so they can look face to face. And that son sees in his daddy's face a look of complete love and acceptance. And the Father says, “I am so glad that you are mine – I love you and I will always be there for you.”
Our son, Trevor, who we adopted into our family when he was 2 ½ months old, from the time he could understand language I would speak these words to him, “You are God’s special gift to me, I'm so thankful you are my son – I love you very much.” Just last week I had to discipline Trevor for a disobedient act, but then after I disciplined him, I took him up in my arms and said, “Trevor – you are God’s special gift to me, I'm so thankful you are my son, I love you very much.” And I kissed him on the forehead.
Lloyd-Jones says those times when God sweeps us off our feet, embraces us firmly and speaks words of love and acceptance to us and gives us a kiss of affection, that’s what the Bible describes as the infilling of the Holy Spirit. When His presence wraps us up and envelopes us. It’s what Jesus described in verse 8 that we looked at last week – you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses.” Last week we saw when you are filled by the Spirit, it is a powerful moment which produces a bold witness in your life. That bold witness is a result of God expressing his presence and love for you in unmistakable ways through His Spirit.
I want you to consider another image this morning. Imagine this same father and young son, walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk in the same way. Again, this represents the normal daily Christian life, you walking with God. And as you are walking along suddenly you see walking towards you a very wild looking man. His hair is a matted mess, his eyes glazed over and piercing - he looks right at you, the little kid, and says, "Hey stupid - still holding on to your mama's hand?"
As a little kid, you're terrified. Tiny kid looking up at a wild-eyed maniac who's speaking to you in threatening ways. As you look away from his terrifying face, up to your father's face, what do you want to see in his face as he looks at this wild man? You don't want to see the same face you were enjoying a minute earlier, the face of love and acceptance, kindness and tenderness he had when he held you close and affirmed his love for you. You want to see in your father strength, confidence and indignation. Why? So you can know you're safe & secure. As a young child you want to know that your father will protect you in a threatening or hostile situation.
These two aspects of a father's character and role in the life of a young child illustrate two aspects of God's character. We have a heavenly father who loves us, and when we draw near to him he draws near to us; he whispers to our soul through his Word and His Spirit words of love and acceptance. What a comfort it is to look into the face of our God and see that we are fully loved, forgiven and accepted. But by the same token, when we go through hardships, difficulties, trials - when it looks like the world around us is going to hell in a handbasket, we want and we need to see a God who is in control; to see a God who is not swayed by these circumstances that toss us about; to see a God with a confident resolve moving forward. That's the face of God we see in this passage and that's why I've entitled this message, "God's Mission Is On Track."
Let's read the text and then see if it reveals to us the resolute purpose on the face of God.