Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pentecost 8 - Proper 12

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. In the course of a conversation when it appears that a Christian is going through a rather difficult time of testing I’ll say, “stick out your hand…you have five fingers. You can be reminded of the last five words Jesus ever spoke to humans before He ascended into heaven…”I am with you always.” Or, I might say to that person, “remember God’s promise to you – this is for my good…” And yet, the cynic inside of us can use another five word sentence that says, “It stinks to be me!” In a real sense all three phrases are true. We can be assured of Christ’s presence in our lives. His promise is for you, ‘I am with you always.” Nothing will happen to you without His perfect will being played out in your life. We can conclude, “This is for my good.” And at the same time we know that when we are in the midst of a battle, ‘It stinks to be me!”

God brings His children into difficult and fearful situations to strengthen their faith in His presence and power only to deliver them from ultimate peril. During these difficult times especially in times of hardship you need to know of Christ’s presence and power to save.

1. God sometimes sends His people into fearful situations.
A. Jesus sent the disciples into a perilous situation. (Vv.45-48)
B. God sometimes sends us into difficult contexts.
C. The question is why God would do this.

2. God sometimes appears to pass us by in the time of peril.
A. Jesus appeared intent on passing by the disciples in their time of peril. (v. 48b)
B. It can appear to us that God isn’t paying attention to us in our time of need.
C. The question is why Go would do this.

3. When God’s direction brings us hardship and He appears to neglect us, we often respond with fear and despair.
A. The disciples failed to trust Jesus’ presence and power to deliver them (Vv.49-50a. 52)
B. When our obedience to God’s direction brings hardship, we doubt God’s presence and his gracious purpose.

4. But God’s purpose is to use this experience to benefit us.
A. God shows how powerful He is by delivering us from that which would destroy us.
1. Jesus demonstrated to His disciples His presence and power to save. (Vv.50b-51)
2. Christ rescued us from the ultimate perils of sin, death, and hell by His sacrificial death and victorious resurrection.
3. Christ delivers us from the need to fear or doubt.
B. God uses these experiences of hardship to strengthen our faith.
1. The disciples were awed and amazed at Jesus’ power (V.51b)
2. WE are awed at God’s grace and power to save.

Everything that is happening to you is ultimately for your good. Christ can not fail you. He is with you always! Even when it stinks to be you!

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