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Summary:

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THE PRESENCE OF GOD IS SUFFICIENT TO NEGATE EVEN THE MOST EXTREME CASE OF LONELINESS

I. THE PAIN OF LONELINESS -- OF DESERTION AND ISOLATION

EXTREME EXAMPLES

A. The Example of Christ -- John 16:31

not just deserted by a bunch of casual acquaintenances; these were his hand-picked disciples in whom He had invested an entire ministry of training (cf. The Training of the Twelve)

not just disciples, but friends John 15:13-15

B. Example of Apostle Paul -- 2 Tim. 4:16-18

In his first trial, no one had taken Paul's side.

especially imp. in light of the necessity for corroborating testimony;

what type of sacrifice and risk had Paul taken for others?

This was during his first Roman imprisonment or a prelim hearing;

Cf. the difference to now:

Demas had deserted him (4:10) and "all those in Asia"

had turned away from him (2 Tim. 1:15). But Onesiphorus had come from Asia and Luke remained faithful

Importance of forgiving those who let you down: "may it not be counted against them" -- Paul felt abandoned, but not vengeful

Insufficiency of human aid

C. Example of Job -- Chap. 16-17

recognizes the sovereignty of God behind the desertion he has

experienced (both comforting and painful)

D. Example of Hagar -- Genesis 16

Sarah despised her and treated her harshly

E. Example of Elijah -- 1 Kings 19

The Fear associated with Loneliness

F. Example of Joseph in prison -- Genesis 39:21 no complaint

II. THE REALITY OF GOD'S PRESENCE -- WHAT SHOULD IT MEAN TO ME?

A. What did it mean to Christ? "Yet I am not alone"

relat. He enjoyed as a Son to a perfect Father

there are times children need their father present a time to draw even closer to God

B. What did it mean to Paul? the Lord stood with me and strengthened me Phil. 4:13

purpose for this strengthening was not just to enjoy the good life, but to be empowered for continued ministry -- don't let loneliness divert us from the ministry God has called us to

C. What did it mean to Job? 42:5-6

importance of the fear of God

need for repentance of any bitterness and complaint

D. What did it mean to Hagar? "Thou art a God who sees"

E. What did it mean to Elijah? experienced the presence of God

F. What did it mean to Joseph? no deviation from faithfulness

CONCLUSION:

The example of Christ on the Cross: the extreme pain and suffering when His Father turned His back on Him. We will never have to experience that type of loneliness and pain

SONGS:

Lonely Voices Crying in the City

Blest be the Tie that binds


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