Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning December 16th, 2018.
Psalm 46:1-10 NIV
1 God is our refuge and strength,an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give wayand the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foamand the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall;God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord Almighty is with us;the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8 Come and see what the Lord has done,the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars ceaseto the ends of the earth.He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;he burns the shields with fire. 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth.”
This year analyst predict that Americans will spend an average of almost $800 per household on gifts this year. The Christmas season is the strongest sales period of the year for retailers.
Why all the gifts? When we give a gift, what are we saying to the one who it is given too?
In the gift that God gave man, He clearly defines the purpose of the gift. In a so familiar verse we see God’s gift and His purpose:
John 3:16-17 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
God desires for His creation to know Him, to be in relationship with Him, to exalt Him. Psalms 46:8 says “Come, behold the works of the Lord”
God works, His gifts have been given in various ways at various times especially in the lives of His people - the Israelites. We see their stories throughout the Old Testament of how he provided for them, they were blessed, how He gave provision for life to them. He did this to show Who He was not just to them, but they were to live in such a way as to put His ways on display so that to the (heathens) the nations around them might see His works and know Him as well. But Israel did not always live in their God given purpose and reveal Who God’s character and His ways.
Ezekiel 36:23 NIV
23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
God has given us His greatest gift - Jesus Christ. We too can “Come and behold the works of the Lord” and receive this great gift of life that removes us from darkness, from the grip of sin and shame. The gift that conquered our eternal separation from God and restores us in to His glorious presence of love and peace. We too are called to live in His presence and reveal His love so that others may “Come and behold the works of the Lord.”
Jesus said this about those who receive this gift:
Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
When we receive Jesus as the Lord of our life, we are made alive by the Holy Spirit, Who gives us a Divine purpose. Again, it is the same purpose as we say in Ezekiel that God gave Israel. In this Godly life, we are called to reveal His glory and goodness everywhere we go in everything we do. In this, we are giving the gift of Jesus to everyone we encounter. Peter put it like this:
2 Peter 1:2-9 NIV
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Let’s pull out the key words and look into this passage a little closer.
In the first two verses here, we see the Holy Spirit at work. 2 Peter says:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Grace: God’s empowerment through the Holy Spirit in our life, transforming us to be Godly and doing this in such a way as to put His compassion, mercy and love on display. (Think fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23 - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.)
Peace: First of all, in this we need to understand the root word of peace. It means "to join." Peace is found when we “join to” God’s provision of life found is Jesus which provides security, safety, prosperity.
Because of God’s provision of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, we read on to verse 4 and it says:
4 Through these (His glory and Goodness) he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them (promises) you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
What are some of His promises that are fulfilled and being fulfilled for us as we put our faith in Jesus? The promises are are the fulfillment of the prophecies about Jesus, and His purpose.
>The Messiah would be the seed/offspring of a woman and would crush the head of Satan (Genesis 3:15).
>He would come from the seed/offspring of Abraham and would bless all the nations on earth (Genesis 12:3).
>He would be a “prophet like Moses” to whom God said we must listen (Deuteronomy 18:15).
>He would be born in Bethlehem of Judah (Micah 5:2).
>He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
>He would have a throne, a kingdom and a dynasty, or house, starting with King David, that will last forever (2 Samuel 7:16).
>He would be called “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” “Prince of Peace,” and would possess an everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7).
>He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, righteous and having salvation, coming with gentleness (Zechariah 9:9-10).
>He would be pierced for our transgression and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5).
>He would die among the wicked ones but be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9).
>He would be resurrected from the grave, for God would not allow His Holy One to suffer decay (Psalm 16:10).
>He would come again from the clouds of heaven as the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14).
>He would be the “Sun of Righteousness” for all who revere Him and look for His coming again (Malachi 4:2).
When we understand and believe these promises fulfilled Jesus our Lord, and live in/ walk in the grace and peace given by the Holy Spirit we escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Then Peter goes on to say:
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
ADD- Nourish your faith
1. goodness: virtuous course of thought, feeling and action
2. knowledge: an ever increasing understanding of who God is, what His word says and how to live in His ways. (STUDY)
3. self-control: putting desires, passions the sensual appetite in its conquered place, Gal. 5;24-25
4. perseverance: in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith even in the greatest trials and sufferings
5. godliness: reverence / respect (knowing who is Lord of your life)
6. mutual affection: to cherish others (to treasure life and the life of those around you)
7. love: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, affection, good will, charitable - (to show God’s compassion and merciful care)
When we walk in these ways, we reveal that gift that God has given. We show His good works, His compassion, love and mercy to a world in chaos, a world not joined to His peace.
Not to sound corny or trivial but: Jesus is the greatest gift that you can have and re-gift at the same time. May we join His great story of redemption in our lives and in the lives of others. Come and behold Him...
Read the Bible in 2019 Together
In just a few weeks (Jan. 1) we will start another journey of reading through the Bible together. We usually do this over a 90 day period. But, many don't complete it at that pace. So I decided to slow it down and see if more will stick it out and come along. Here is the link below. Click in and join up. Encourage one another along the way. Remember: STARTING DATE IS JANUARY 1