Summary: A sermon about God's love and desire for relationship with us.
“The One Who Knows Us Best”
Johnny was a lost child.
He didn't like himself.
In order to find identity and self-worth, he ran with any crowd that would have him.
The crowd that took him under their wing were even more lost than Johnny.
They found promise in him.
They led him further and further astray.
Along the way Johnny learned to hate himself even more and fear and hate others.
He got into a mess of trouble.
Pretty soon it seemed like Johnny was locked up in chains.
He was addicted to alcohol and drugs.
He had practically no self control.
Then he failed out of school; and yes the chains were on.
Johnny could not go where he wanted to go, he was led by the chains of his addiction, the chains of his self-hatred, the chains of his lost friends, the chains of his growing anger, frustration, rage and pain.
Johnny tried to land jobs, but when he got a job he would talk back to his boss's because he had been taught to fight authority.
He had been made to believe that this was a sign of strength.
And it always got him fired.
Soon Johnny found himself on the street with a bottle in his hand.
He planned to kill himself, he just hadn't yet figured out the exact way he would do it yet.
His hope was that he would simply die in his sleep.
Every morning that Johnny awoke, his first emotion was disappointment.
His next emotion was anger.
Then one day Johnny met someone who had lived a similar life as his.
And they got talking.
This new "friend" could relate to Johnny's plight and Johnny could relate to him.
This new friend of Johnny's though was unlike any friend Johnny had ever had.
This friend was happy.
Instead of complaining all the time, this friend had a positive outlook.
Instead of trying to be a "tough guy," this friend wanted to be a good, loving guy.
As time went on, Johnny found himself wanting what his new friend had.
And so Johnny spent more and more time with his new friend.
And Johnny went to church and Bible study with his new friend.
He also volunteered in some of the outreach ministries of the church.
Eventually, Johnny decided he didn't want to have anything more to do with those old chains that had kept him bound.
When Johnny read in the Bible that Jesus had come to "preach good news to the poor..."...and..."proclaim release for the prisoners" he decided to take the Lord up on His promise.
In doing so, Johnny became a new man.
He no longer felt like a "lost child."
His anger melted away.
And although it took some time, his addictions no longer had a hold on him.
He became a follower of Christ, a child of God.
He claimed this as his identity.
And far from wanting to die--Johnny wanted to LIVE!!!
Because Johnny now had so much to live for.
The question of identity…of “Who am I?” is one of the urgent questions of our time.
And it’s not only teenagers who struggle with a sense of identity.
It’s also the parent whose children are all away from the home for the first time.
And it’s the retiree who has nowhere to go in the morning.
It is also the wife or husband whose spouse has died.
One way or another, at one time or another, we all ask: “Who am I? What is the meaning of my life?”
Psalm 139 informs us that even when we don’t know who we are we are nevertheless fully known and eternally loved by the Lord Who has “created [our] innermost parts…"
…knitted us “together while [we were] still in [our] mother’s womb…
…and Whose “eyes saw [our] embryo [s}”!
We belong to God, “body and soul, in life and death.”
Psalm 139 invites us to receive an identity rooted not in the things we might say about ourselves or the labels that others give us, but in the God Who knows us more deeply and more lovingly than we could ever know ourselves!!!
How awesome is that?
The Psalmist insists that whether we are aware of God or not, we are known completely by God, and that before we know or name God, God knows and names us!!!
In Jeremiah 1:5 the Lord proclaims, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”
Our knowledge of God comes from God’s knowledge and self-revelation to us.
And we are invited to trust the God Whose grace encompasses us in ways that are beyond our ability to fully understand.
The Psalmist writes: “Lord, you have examined me.