Sermons

Summary: How we have witnessed God work in the past can be the assurance we need that God, once again, will be with us and working everything for good.

I THINK WE’VE ALL HEARD THE PHRASE: “HINDSIGHT IS 20/20” MEANING WE DON’T REALLY SEE ALL THE DETAILS VERY CLEARLY UP FRONT AS THE EVENTS UNFOLD IN OUR LIVES. IT IS NOT UNTIL WE LOOK BACK AT EVERYTHING AFTER IT IS OVER THAT WE ACTUALLY SEE HOW ALL THE PIECES UNIQUELY FIT TOGETHER.

THE DISCIPLES WERE NO DIFFERENT. THREE YEARS, THEY FOLLOWED JESUS AND LEARNED FROM HIM DAILY IN “REAL TIME” AND WERE SEEING THE MANY RECORDED EVENTS OF SCRIPTURE AS THEY UNFOLDED FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME.

ALL THAT WE KNOW, THEY WERE GETTING “PIECE BY PIECE” FOR THE FIRST TIME. THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE “WHOLE PICTURE” OF HOW GOD WAS WORKING THROUGH JESUS. TIME AND TIME, AGAIN, THEY STRUGGLED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT EVERYTHING TRULY MEANT THAT JESUS WAS TEACHING AND SHOWING THEM.

MARK 9:31-33, JESUS FORETELLS HIS DEATH AND VERSE 32, TELLS US THE DISCIPLES “…DIDN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT HE MEANT AND WERE AFRAID TO ASK HIM ABOUT IT.”

IN LUKE 2:49-51, EVEN AS A YOUNG TEEN, JESUS WAS IN THE TEMPLE AND WHEN CONFRONTED BY HIS PARENTS, HE SAID, “DIDN’T YOU KNOW I HAD TO BE IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE?” BUT, HIS PARENTS WERE SURPRISED AS VERSE 50, SAYS “THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT HE WAS SAYING TO THEM.”

MANY TIMES WE SEE THE DISCIPLES JUST NOT “GETTING IT” OR PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER TO UNDERSTAND WHAT JESUS WAS TRULY TEACHING. LUKE 18:35, JESUS TRIED TO TELL OF HIS DEATH AND THE DISCIPLES, “… DID NOT UNDERSTAND ANY OF THIS. ITS MEANING WAS HIDDEN FROM THEM, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT.”

JOHN 8:26-28 AND JOHN 10:5-7, TELLS US IN BOTH OCCASIONS THAT THEY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT JESUS WAS TEACHING THEM ABOUT GOD THE FATHER AND THAT THEY DIDN’T GRASP HIS FIGURE OF SPEECH AND DIDN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT HE WAS SAYING.

HOWEVER, WE WILL “CUT THEM SOME SLACK” BECAUSE, IN DUE TIME, AFTER JESUS WAS GLORIFIED, THEY WERE FINALLY ABLE TO PUT ALL THE PIECES TOGETHER AND FULLY GRASP THE ENTIRE SIGNIFICANCE OF ALL THEY EXPERIENCED AND LEARNED FROM JESUS ABOUT HIMSELF AND ABOUT GOD THE FATHER. IN SOME REGARDS, WE COULD SAY THEY SAW “GOD THROUGH THE REVIEW MIRROR” OF THEIR JOURNEY OF FAITH. AND, THAT IS, THE TITLE OF TODAY’S MESSAGE “GOD IN THE REVIEW MIRROR” AS WE ARE THE RECIPIENTS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF DOCUMENTED AND HISTORICAL WRITINGS OF THOSE WHO EXPERIENCED THE TRUTH OF GOD’S PROMISES AND A LIFE FULFILLED IN JESUS CHRIST.

THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS ALONG WITH WRITINGS FROM NAMES LIKE: AUGUSTINE, CLEMENT, CONSTANTINE, IGNATIUS, JEROME, MARTYR, POLYCARP, AND MATTHEW HENRY. WE CAN LOOK BACK AND LEARN FROM THE MINISTRIES OF NAMES SUCH AS WESLEY, ROBERTS, ASBURY, SPURGEON, MOODY, GRAHAM, CRISWELL, MCGEE, MACARTHUR, WIERSBE, AND KENNEDY.

PROVERBS 3:13, “JOYFUL IS THE PERSON WHO FINDS WISDOM, THE ONE WHO GAINS UNDERSTANDING.” WE HAVE CENTURIES OF SUCH WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING OF LIVED-OUT FAITH FROM THOSE WHO HAVE COME BEFORE US AND WHO ARE STILL WITH US.

I WILL BE HONEST….I DON’T THINK WE COULD DEMAND MORE PROOF THAT GOD LOVES US, HAS INCLUDED US IN HIS PLAN OF BUILDING HIS KINGDOM, AND HAS GIFTED US WITH TALENTS, ABILITIES, PERSONALITIES, AND UNIQUE FEATURES THAT ARE HAND-CRAFTED TO FULFILL HIS WILL FOR US IN THIS LIFETIME. I DON’T THINK WE COULD DEMAND MORE PROOF THAN HEBREWS 13:5 THAT “…GOD SAID, ‘I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU. I WILL NEVER FORSAKE YOU’” OR THAT JESUS SAID IN MATTHEW 28:20 “I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE.”

WE REALLY ARE LEFT WITH NO EXCUSES FOR DOUBTING GOD OR HIS ABILITY TO FULFILL HIS WORD, PLANS AND PROMISES FOR US AND THIS WORLD. IN FACT, WE ARE MORE EMPOWERED WITH HELP, GUIDANCE AND ABILITY THAN THE DISCIPLES DURING THEIR TIME WITH JESUS.

JESUS STATED IN JOHN 14:9-17, THAT GOD WOULD GIVE US HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO LIVE WITH US AND IN US TO DO POWERFUL AND MIGHTY THINGS IN OUR LIFETIME….SO POWERFUL, THAT IF WE ARE WILLING AND WOULD BELIEVE IN JESUS, COULD NOT ONLY DO THE SAME WORKS THAT JESUS HAD DONE, BUT EVEN GREATER WORKS.

THAT IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO NEVER LOSE OUR VIEW OF “GOD IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR.” WE MUST NEVER FAIL TO LOOK BACK AT ALL GOD HAS DONE FOR US. WE MUST NEVER LOSE OUR PERSPECTIVE OF GOD’S CONSISTENT INTERACTION WITH HIS CREATION. WE MUST KEEP IN OUR HEARTS HIS PROMISES, PROPHESIES, COMMANDS, WARNINGS, TEACHINGS, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND THE MANY WAYS HE REVEALED HIMSELF AND MADE HIMSELF KNOWN TO US.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, I HOPE WE LOOK BACK AND NEVER FORGET WHAT GREAT LENGTH GOD WENT TO AND THE PRICE HE PAID FOR US TO SAVE US. WE CAN NEVER FORGET THE SACRIFICE HE MADE TO REDEEM US BY SENDING HIS ONLY SON, JESUS CHRIST, TO TAKE THE PUNISHMENT OF OUR SINS UPON HIM TO SACRIFICE THEM UPON THE CROSS AND TO COVER THEM IN HIS BLOOD.

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