Summary: God is always with us. He is often seen through the people around us by their words and actions. There is a great expectation from us that comes through repentance. As God makes a total commitment to us, we must make a total commitment to Him.
Twenty-four Seven Three Sixty Five
“Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Intro: God chooses us not because we deserve it but because God loves us and wants us. Just like His covenant with Abraham and Israel, we the people of the church today are God’s representatives in the world.
When Israel failed God and turned to idols and admired and loved other worldly things, God allowed them to suffer the consequences of their actions. God permitted Israel to be sent away into exile and captivity. This pattern is repeated many times throughout the Old Testament. God’s chosen people would forsaken Him. They would go through a period of oppression. They would come to their senses and repent. Then with greatness and power that only God would have He would deliver them from tyranny and raise them up to a place of peace and prosperity. This cycle or theme is repeated over and over again in the bible. This was not an act of punishment. This was not an act of affliction but an expression of “freewill” and the ultimate principle of love.
One of the most wonderful words in the bible is the word “repentance.” A lot of people don’t think of it as a beautiful word because one of the meanings of repentance is guilt. I don’t know anybody who thinks guilty is pretty word. But it is really God pouring out His love, grace, and mercy upon us. The Greek word “repentance” in Strong’s Concordance μετανοέω (met-an-o-eh'-o) means more than just guilty it has this beautiful meaning to “think differently or to reconsider as an afterthought, one changes their mind for the better.”
Kitchen Nightmares is a reality television show where Chef Gordon Ramsay is invited by the owners to spend a week with a failing restaurant in an attempt to revive the business. The first thing Ramsay does is order three or four items from the restaurant’s menu. Most often the food is terrible. It is overcooked. It is greasy. I have seen him take his hands and squeeze the greasy out of the food. He will ask, “Is this fresh sea food?” They will say, “Yes, it is fresh frozen and then thawed in the microwave.”
The restaurant owner and the restaurant’s cooks are shocked when Ramsay sends the food back. They are like, “we love our food.” They are shocked and offended that Ramsay has insulted their food. The restaurant is failing. The seats are empty. They are losing four or five thousand dollars per week but the owner and the cooks think they have the best food in town.
Sometimes it takes Ramsay going through the refrigerators, throwing out old freezer burned food, stale and molded bread, and rotten vegetables. How long has then be in there? Would you eat that? No! Then why would you serve that to your guest? Then Ramsay asks them to take the one test question, “How has that been working for you?”
There is finally a moment of illumination when they begin to think differently, they begin to reconsider on second thought maybe the food isn’t the greatest. There will be a stuff animal’s head on the wall and a gnome sitting by the counter, etc. Maybe the service and décor is not aesthetically pleasing, maybe the ambiance is not what they thought.
It is the same thing with people you meet every day. Their life is a wreck. Their finances are upside down. Their relationships are broken. When you ask them if they have been putting Jesus first in their life they are shocked, they are offended, and they may be insulted. But then you ask them to take one test question. Without Jesus, “How has that been working for you?”
There is no promise that the minute you repent and become a Christian that everything will turn into a bed of roses. But the bible does say, “Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10 There is something
about knowing that God is with you “Twenty-four Seven Three Sixty Five.”
Yes, a change must take place! Jesus demands Lordship over everything in our life. If there is something in your life that you are not ready to give up then Jesus warns us that we will not be received into the Kingdom of Heaven. Don’t try to just do it part way because it will never work. The most miserable people I have ever met during my entire ministry are people who straddle the fence. The term means: no commitment to either position. There is no joy in hanging half way onto a new life and still being dragged along by your half way old life. Don’t say, I will give up some of my sins but I am going to hang on to some others parts of my past. Bill Engvall the comedian would say, “Here’s your sign.”