Summary: What do you do when life doesn’t make sense?
SERIES TITLE: The Life God Promised
SERMON TITLE: God Is Not The Thief
SERMON TEXT: John 10:10
John 10:10 - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
I remember times in South Louisiana when the fog was so dense that I couldn’t see the hood ornament on my car from my seat behind the steering wheel. On two occasions the fog was so thick that State Troopers shut Highway 23 down to all traffic.
There are times when life is foggy. It’s like trying to see our image in the bathroom mirror after a hot shower. Paul expressed this dilemma when he wrote, "We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist" (1Cor. 13:12, TMB).
. Do you have a perfect understanding of what’s happening in your life or is it a bit like looking through a fog?
. Do you have a clear understanding of what God is up to or are you guilty of speculating?
Are you confused about where you are and what to do next?
. Do you know what you ought to do next, with a deep, settled confidence that it will work out?
QUOTE: Wallace Stevens said, "The way through the world is more difficult to find than the way beyond it."
For many of us life is like driving through dense fog in unfamiliar territory. The good news is that it’s difficult but not impossible.
The ship’s captain must rely upon his instruments, not his physical senses. The airplane pilot must rely upon his compass, horizontal indicator and altimeter. If he loses his instruments he must trust the directions given to him by the air traffic controller. Likewise, the believer experiencing life as a dark fog must come to rely upon God for direction. The big question is ARE WE WILLING TO TRUST HIM? Are we willing to place our life—past, present, and future—in His control? Are we willing to allow Him governing authority over our life?
We are told by people and scripture that God cares, but the experience of life causes us to doubt God’s intentions toward us.
· The three foot grave at the cemetery where my grandson’s body rests is a reality check.
· Joe’s untimely death left three children without a father and Mary without the husband she loved.
Events such as these erode our belief that we are part of something grand and good, and reduce us to a survivalist mind-set. Experience gives birth to the question, "Are God’s intentions towards me good?" If so, then why didn’t He…
· heal my mom, or
· save my marriage, or
· keep me from going bankrupt,
· or whatever?
QUESTION: Which is best, to interpret God through our circumstances or to interpret our circumstances through God?
Could it be that our conclusions are based upon distorted images seen through the foggy mist? We interpret God’s intentions through our pain or through our incomplete understanding—"now we see in part". We question, "If God is good and in charge, then why is this happening to me?"
ILLUS: When Lori’s marriage was falling apart a friend asked how he could pray for her. She replied, "That we would have eyes to see what’s going on." Isn’t that what we need? Eyes to see! Isn’t that what Jesus offers us—recovery of sight for the blind (Lu. 4:18)—the ability to see past the fog. I need to know the God who is, not the God I perceive through the foggy mist.
PRAYER: Jesus, take away the fog and the clouds and the veil, and help me to see…give me eyes to really see.
In John 10:10, Jesus tells us, "I have come that you may have life, and have it so full that it overflows."
Some have interpreted this statement of Jesus via the foggy mist and concluded that Jesus was referring to eternal life—because of the death of Jesus you can go to heaven when you die. While that is true it is not the truth shared in this verse. The term eternal means unending not later. Eternal life is not a life waiting for us after death, but unending life. Jesus is offering us life, and that life starts now.
· Jesus declared Himself to be "the bread of life" (Jn. 6:48).
· John tells us, "In Him was life, and that life was the light of men" (Jn. 1:4).
· The Psalmist declared, "I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Ps. 27:13).
· Luke quotes Jesus as saying, "I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life" (Luke 18:29-30).