Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God provides a place of refuge near to his heart in Jesus.

1. God made an interesting provision of “the City of Refuge” in Deuteronomy 4; Numbers 35 which was played out in Joshua 20

• Murder was a violation of the Commands of God (Exodus 20, et al) and resulted in capital punishment

• What about the accidental death by an individual?

• Avenger of blood could pursue

• If the accused could get to a city of refuge, he could find safety with the elders of the city and tried – usually pronounced “innocent”

• 6 cities of refuge were designated in Israel

• This was a demonstration of the heart of God – Ultimate fulfillment in Jesus

2. We often feel the pressures of life and the consequences of our unintentional sins

• We need “Refuge” – 93 times the bible refers to God as “Refuge” Psalm 31.1-2

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;

let me never be put to shame;

in your righteousness deliver me!

2 Incline your ear to me;

rescue me speedily!

Be a rock of refuge for me,

a strong fortress to save me!

• David Needed Refuge at Times

o Saul’s pursuit of him in the wilderness

o Absalom’s rebellion

o Consequences of his sin with Bathsheba – 1 Year of Running from his guilt

3. 2 Samuel 22.1-7; 17-20

• He begins with the LORD as his rock/protection/refuge

• He states the reason God rescued him – he delights in him – v. 20 (He delights in you, too)

• His response of worship for protection in 22.50

4. Some Questions about Refuge:

I. Who Needs a Place of Refuge?

A. We All Do, Though We May Not Realize It

1. Many enjoy “smooth sailing”

2. BUT storms are coming

3. Ships may have smooth sailing in good weather but sometimes need a harbor for refuge from the storm

B. Storms (Problems) We Face

1. Issues of Sin – Our only refuge is God

• On behalf of our sins, HE endured the consequences

• Our place of refuge – “In Christ” – Galatians 3.26-27

26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

2. Issues of Life’s Troubles and Disappointments

• “I have no troubles/disappointments.” You will, just live long enough.

• [Even Disappointments in Church: As a young preacher, I remember being disappointed when church people did not behave as the bible teaches. NT Epistles are all about correcting problems of misbehaving church members (people who did not know the scriptures); Disappointments comes and God keeps patiently working with us.

3. Grief and Sorrow

• First Holiday without a Beloved Spouse or loved one

• Despondency – need a refuge

4. Being Tired and Weary – Matthew 11.28-30

II. How Do We Find God’s Refuge?

A. Call Out to Him – Psalm 91.15

When he calls to me, I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will rescue him and honor him.

1. Moving from Independence to Dependence; From Pride to Humility

2. Calling on the LORD – outsiders – Acts 22.16; insiders – privilege of prayer

B. Pour Out Our Hearts to Him – Psalm 22.1

1. Lay it on the line with God

2. I don’t understand; I hurt;, etc.

C. Reach Out to His Places of Refuge

1. Church should be a place of help, hope, heart

• NOT a place of judgment and criticism

• [Gaining weight at a weigh-in at Weight Watchers – expect criticism but receive encouragement

2. Home Group

3. Close Christian Relationships

4. Prayer Times and reaching out/up to God

5. Example of Jeremiah

• Called at a young age – Jeremiah 1

• Preached for many years with two converts – an Egyptian and his own scribe

• Punished by the people – Jeremiah 20.7-8

7 O LORD, you have deceived me,

and I was deceived;

you are stronger than I,

and you have prevailed.

I have become a laughingstock all the day;

everyone mocks me.

8 For whenever I speak, I cry out,

I shout, “Violence and destruction!”

For the word of the LORD has become for me

a reproach and derision all day long.

• His despondent response – Jeremiah 20.14

14 Cursed be the day

on which I was born!

The day when my mother bore me,

let it not be blessed!

• God stood with him – Jeremiah 20.11a

11 But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior;

therefore my persecutors will stumble;

they will not overcome me.

III. What is the Result of Finding God’s Refuge?

A. Deep Sense of Blessedness/Happiness – Psalm 5.11

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.

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