Summary: God’s Blessing brings the joy of His presence in and through our lives!
HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!
SEPTEMBER 8, 2002 PM SERVICE
INTRODUCTION: One morning R.C. Chapman, a devout Christian, was asked how he was feeling. "I’m burdened this morning!" was his reply. But his happy countenance contradicted his words. So the questioner exclaimed in surprise, "Are you really burdened, Mr. Chapman?" "Yes, but it’s a wonderful burden--it’s an overabundance of blessings for which I cannot find enough time or words to express my gratitude!" Seeing the puzzled look on the face of his friend, Chapman added with a smile, "I am referring to Psalm 68:19, which fully describes my condition. In that verse the Father in heaven reminds us that He ’daily loads us with benefits.’"
F.E. Marsh has enumerated some of God’s blessings:
An acceptance that can never be questioned. (Ephesians 1:6).
An inheritance that can never be lost (I Peter 1:3-5).
A deliverance that can never be excelled (2 Corinthians l:10).
A grace that can never be limited (2 Corinthians 12:9).
A hope that can never be disappointed. (Hebrews 6:18, 19).
A bounty that can never be withdrawn. (I Colossians 3:21-23).
A joy that need never be diminished (John 15:11).
A nearness to God that can never be reversed (Ephesians 2:13).
A peace that can never be disturbed (John 14:27).
A righteousness that can never be tarnished (2 Corinthians 5:21).
A salvation that can never be canceled (Hebrews 5:9).
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for tonight speaks of the reality of God’s blessing. But often it does not match our materialistic mind set. The power of the blessing of God is His incredible presence in our lives. Truly this is the blessing of God, but when will it be enough for us? When will we succomb to the thrill of the very presence of God being our all in all? Our text explains just how God will bless and it is in us, around us, and through us!
THESIS SENTENCE: God’s Blessing brings the joy of His presence in and through our lives!
AFTER PRAYER AND FASTING 70 YEARS: A HAPPY FUTURE IS FORETOLD:
I. WE WILL BE JOYFUL AND GLAD [THE HOLY SPIRIT IN US (v. 19; 7:1-3) oracle #1 THE INITIAL BLESSING OF GOD]
A. FROM FASTING…
Should we continue to Fast? 7:1-3
1. Fasting is needed and important, it is obedience.
2. Will we always Fast? NO! After great times of Fasting, there must be celebration! God demands it!
3. Tangent: Why fast? Verse 13 and 14 of chapter 7!
ILLUSTRATION: Matthew 9: 14-15 “Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
4. Things are different now Zechariah says, “Now is a time for joy and gladness!!”
B. TO FAITHFULNESS
But what is the difference? TRUTH and PEACE
a. EH’ METH: 8:3, 8, 16 x 2, 19. = 5 times used BY one author. b. Which is defined as: Stability, certainty, truth, trustworthiness; establishment: faithful (ness), right, sure, true: FAITHFULNESS!!
c. BE FAITHFUL NOT FASTFUL!
a. SHALOM: SAFE!!
b. Defined as: Well, happy, friendly: also welfare i.e. health, prosperity, peace! All total: wholeness
C. TO FULFILLMENT:
70 years of mourning: FASTING lead to joy and gladness!!
1. Do we fast? Do you fast?
2. God rewards those who ask and seek (search, as for buried treasure, and knock)!
NOT ONLY ARE WE NOW DIFFERENT FOR THE EFFORT, IT HAS A COMMUNITY EFFECT! 1st BLESSING OF GOD!!
II. THEY SHALL COME [THE HOLY SPIRIT AROUND US (v. 20; 8:20-22) oracle #2 2nd BLESSING OF GOD!!]
A. LET’S GET THE WORD OUT (PRIMACY AS MEDIUM OF REVELATION)
1. The role Jerusalem and its people were to have was that of revealing WHO GOD WAS/is!
2. Something was to be different about this City and People
3. Remember, truth and peace! They equal Faithfulness and wholeness. 4. The real power here is that people want to come without an invitation! Or is it that the invitation is implied?
B. IT’S AN INVITATION TO ALL (Pilgrimage of the Nations!)
The Nations will come and have come, but for what reason now?
3. God’s wrath on the nation for sin!
4. God is bringing SALVATION: Not Judgment from God or By God either way, Jerusalem or the foreign nation!
5. Now, Salvation is open to ALL!
6. The Gentiles are now welcome in the Kingdom.
ILLUSTRATION: ISAIAH 2:1-4 “This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out form Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. The will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” Micah 4: 1-5 tells the same story!!