Sermons

Summary: Love, sex and marriage- especially for younger people.

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The Big Issue?

What is the question?

When we go to a Christian meeting, we may be hoping to receive answers to our questions. Sometimes we may leave disappointed because what is said seems completely irrelevant to our needs, right here, right now. Why does this happen?

It may be because the speaker is not up to much and God’s Spirit is not obviously at work; the Bible is not properly expounded, so hearts are left unwarmed by Christ and His Good News. But it may also be that we have come to the meeting with preconceived ideas about what we need and what questions we need addressing. We may be thinking…

• Why isn’t my work going very well, despite my best efforts?

• Why do my family not get on?

• Why are these other Christians so useless, hypocritical and uncaring?

• Why don’t I ever seem to have enough money for what I’d like?

• Why won’t God heal me?

• How could God let me be so hurt?

• Why can’t I find someone to love who will love and accept me for who I am?

• Any others?

It may be that God has an entirely different opinion on what questions we need answering, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8). We should never forget “He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). Remember too that “your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8) and that “the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11). Many of the questions above are expressions of dissatisfaction with our present condition. But God doesn’t seem to want to change our circumstances nearly so much as He wants to change our character within those circumstances: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2,3). If we are dissatisfied primarily with our circumstances, are we not saying to God that we do not fully trust Him to provide for us? Rather, we should be dissatisfied chiefly with our sin and those things that separate us from our Lord. Developing godly character is far more important that orchestrating a happy lifestyle.

What is God’s will for us? Our happiness? Yes, but not in the way we think. “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (1 Thessalonians 4:3), or set apart for Him. God wants us to become more like our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). This, as the disciples were to discover, involves not only “the power of his resurrection” but also “the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10). Being a Christ-follower means becoming like Christ; it means denying yourself, taking up your cross daily and following Him, even into the grave (Luke 9:23).

So, at the beginning and end of each day, and all the way through it, ask not what your Father in heaven can do for you, but what He can do through you and in you, as His master craftsman, the Holy Spirit, works on you every day to become more like the Son. The first line of the Lord’s prayer is: “Our Father in heaven Your will be done!” and the last line is “for Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen”. It’s all about God, His kingdom, His desires and His work (Rev.4:11). The sooner we die to self, the sooner we may begin to live for Him, and be “transformed into his likeness with ever-¬increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). What we want is not significant (even if we could get it, would it be good for us?). Pleasing the Lord is our supreme concern: “find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10). Then we will be truly blessed, and happiness (or rather joy) will be a natural by-product of fulfilling our creation purpose by obeying our Creator.


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