Summary: God has a perfect plan for your life: 1. Be forgiven (vs. 8-12) 2. Be in His family (vs. 13-16) 3. Be His follower (vs. 17-18) How can we follow God? By giving Him reverence, by relying on His covenant, and by remembering His commandments to do them.
God’s Perfect Plan for Your Life
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Oct. 4, 2009
*We are here today all because of Jesus Christ! God’s Word tells us that Jesus is “The Almighty, The Alpha and Omega, The Author of Life, The Author of Salvation, The Bread of Life, The Creator of all, Deliverer, Emmanuel -- God with us, Faithful and True, Firstborn from the Dead, The Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep, The great I Am, The Judge of the living and the dead, King Eternal, The Lamb of God, The Light of the World, Lord of All, Our Protection, Redemption and Righteousness, The Resurrection and Life, Our Rock, Our Savior, The Son of God, The Way, the Truth and the Life.”
*We are here today because Jesus is the Mighty God! -- And He has a perfect plan for your life.
1. First: God wants you to be forgiven.
*Vs. 8-12 give us a compelling picture of God’s abundant mercy, and the forgiveness He richly gives to all who trust in Him.
-In vs. 8 the LORD is slow to get angry with us because His “mercy” is so great. The NIV tells us it’s because God’s “love” is so great. The whole idea in the original language was God’s loving-kindness. You could call it His “merciful love” or His “loving mercy.”
*Next, in vs. 9, God may get mad with us, because we richly deserve it, but He doesn’t stay mad.
-And in vs. 10, we see that the LORD has not given us what we deserve: “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.”
*If we got what we deserved, most of us would have been in hell a long time ago.
-And all of us would have gotten there by and by.
-But God has NOT given us what we deserve, because His mercy is so great to those who humbly worship, love and serve Him.
*God’s mercy is so great that vs. 11 tells us that it’s as high as the heavens are above the earth. And in fact, His mercy is so great that He sent His Son Jesus Christ all the way from Heaven to earth for us.
-Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins.
-Then He rose again, so that He could be our eternal Savior and Lord.
*If we will “fear” or “reverence” Him, if we will humbly worship, love and trust Him, He will forgive our sins.
*And vs. 12 tells us that He will take our sins away “as far as the east is from the west!”
-How far is that? -- It is infinitely far away!
-Go east in the universe and never stop going.
-Go west in the universe and never stop going.
-That’s how far Jesus takes our sins away from us, when we turn to Him.
*Herb Hubbard once shared a testimony about God’s love and the length to which God will go to get someone saved. Herb heard this story from a co-worker named Jimmy. Jimmy’s son, Jay, had been witnessing to one of his friends for a long time, but had seen no response.
*These two friends were big duck hunters. And as they drove out one day, it was obvious that Jay’s friend had been thinking about everything. But he felt like he needed a sign, and he said, “You know, I’ve never shot a duck with a tag before. If I shoot a duck with a tag today, that might be a sign from God.”
*That young man shot 3 ducks that day, and the third duck did have a tag. When the friend cut the tag off, he was absolutely amazed that it said “Jesus loves you.” And yes he did trust in the Lord.
*God has gone to amazing lengths to let us know about His love and forgiveness.
-He wants you to be forgiven.
2. And God wants you to be in His family.
*Vs. 13 reminds us of this great truth, because it says: “As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him.”
*You may not know that the Hebrew language of the Old Testament and the Greek language in the New Testament were both based on word pictures.
-Verse 13 tells us that the LORD is like a father who “pities” His children. The word picture for “pities” there is “touching or holding someone with tender, gentle love and affection.”
*Think of a small child who is hungry or hurting or frightened. Then his loving father tenderly reaches down to his small child and gently picks the baby up to comfort, soothe and help. That’s the kind of father God wants to be to you, and this is not just a figure of speech or an illustration. It is the life-changing reality for all who trust in the Lord!