Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Is there a place where God’s grace ends?



July 23, 2008

Pastor Brian Matherlee

Tonight’s question: Does God turn away from Christians when they sin as He did when Jesus was on the cross? Is there a point where God turns away permanently?

Let me answer the question initially from Isaiah 53:4-6:

Isaiah 53:4-6, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

First, God’s interaction with His Son while Jesus was on the cross is the most unique human experience ever.

• Jesus death on the cross was necessary and God’s plan.

• Jesus was not sinful. On the cross He died a scapegoat’s death. Perfect in every way He died in the place of sinful humanity…not as one who had broken the law, but as one who fulfilled the law, deserved no punishment and therefore became a Redeemer.

• Whereas in verse 4 the thought of the people is that God has stricken Him, verse 6 those same thinkers come to the realization that God laid upon Him our sin. Our sin is what made Jesus stricken.

Secondly, in crucifixion experience it never says that God turned away from Jesus.

• In some measure it is implied because Jesus cried out, as Matthew and Mark record, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

• The nature of separation between the first and second persons of the Trinity is never explained in Scripture.

• We know though that God hates sin. We know that God is perfectly, supremely, absolutely holy. Was He hands off & removed from the scene of such terrible suffering?

• Does God turn away from others in other places of Scripture?

o In Job we see someone who appears forsaken and yet God has a greater purpose. He didn’t turn His back on Job.

o In Joseph’s life we see someone in a dark prison who seems to be forsaken and forgotten, yet God remembered him.

o Throughout the OT the Scripture does say explicitly that God will forsake people. But it is in response. The initial turning and forsaking is on the part of people.

• On the contrary God gave grand promises to His people that He would, “never leave you nor forsake you.” –Deut. 31:6

• So does God forsake people, turn away from people? Yes…but not quickly or easily.

5 Truths that apply:

1. God is aware of our sin

2. God is a pursuer

3. God gives every chance

4. God will not manipulate us to obedience

5. No one who feels conviction of sin is too far

6. Christians need to practice soul-searching and necessary confession every day

Conclusion—one thing about God’s grace that is troubling for many is a wonder if we’ve received it, possess it, remain in it. The following was the Crosswalk daily devotional from Charles Stanley on July 23, 2008:

The Landmine of Fear - Psalm 27:1-4

Fear has been a part of our emotional makeup since the fall of man. When Adam and Eve rebelled against the Lord, they hid themselves from Him and were afraid as recorded in Genesis 3:10.

Things haven’t changed much. Anxiety often affects our thinking. It controls our actions. Anxiety can keep us boxed in and unwilling to go into unknown territory.

Let the truth help you defeat fear. God is Almighty. Through the Savior’s perfect life and his sacrifice on the cross, our two greatest enemies have been defeated, Satan and death. Jesus set us free from slavery to sin. The Devil has lost control over our lives. What’s more, we no longer face eternal separation from God. Jesus’ physical death has become the gateway to heaven, where we can live with the Father forever.

God is always with us. God called Abraham to move away from all that was familiar. But God promised to remain nearby. In Matthew 28:20, we’re similarly reassured by Jesus. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, we as believers have God not only near us but also in us. Nothing can ever separate us from Him. That includes past mistakes, present circumstances, or difficult people.

God is actively involved. God promises His help. He always keeps His word. God knows what is happening in our lives. He can turn hardships into a time of spiritual growth and ultimate blessing.

God Himself is the reason we should not be afraid. Grasp the truth of His power, presence, and involvement. We should use them to disarm the landmine of fear.

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