The Sermon Link: 1199795896
Our disappointment with God in the face of suffering or tragedy or injustice typically stems from our assumptions about how God is supposed to work in our world.
When God does not meet our expectations, we are disappointed, disillusioned, and confused.
The sweeping message of the Bible is not a promise that those who believe and do good will not suffer. Instead the Bible is largely a book about people who refused to let go of their faith in the face of suffering.
Three Foundational Ideas for this Series
#1. God has given human beings “dominion” over this planet. That is, God has placed the human race in charge of God’s planet, making us responsible for what happens here.
Genesis 1:27-28 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
27 So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. 28 God blessed them and said, “Be fertile, increase in number, fill the earth, and be its master. Rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that crawl on the earth.”
#2. What makes us human is our ability to choose good from evil. This ability is a gift from God.
8 The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east. That’s where he put the man whom he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all the trees grow out of the ground. These trees were nice to look at, and their fruit was good to eat. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil grew in the middle of the garden.
15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to farm the land and to take care of it. 16 The Lord God commanded the man. He said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden. 17 But you must never eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because when you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
Here is an answer to a lot of people’s question – Why did God put the tree there in the first place?
Answer – Free Will – What would we be like if we had no choice in the matters of life?
#3. A Predisposition to Stray from God’s Path-human beings have a predisposition, a tendency, to be drawn to do that which is not God’s will.
Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT)
Living by the Spirit’s Power
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
#1. God created us and gave US dominion over the earth – We’re responsible!
#2. Part of our humanness is freedom – so God planted the tree of choice.
#3. We have a sin nature that draws us to the dark side.
What does all this mean?
We as human beings are much more responsible than we ever thought for pain and suffering in this world.
It’s not that God is broken, humanity is broken!
“Our biggest problems can be traced back to an inadequate understanding of who God is.” Mark Batterson
The Presence of God
I have people tell me all the time when they walk into this building they can sense the presence of God.
- IF YOU DON’T ALWAYS FEEL GOD’S PRESENCE, YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
But I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you. 14 Why, O Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me? Psalm 88:13-14
(or why don’t I feel your presence?)
- MAYBE YOU ARE OVER SENSATIONALIZING IT.
So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?” John 6:30
Some people believe that God will always give them a physical, visible sign! (Scripture never promises this)(sometimes He does, He can anytime He wants)
2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Message (MSG) Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
- MAYBE YOU’RE SIMPLY DISTRACTED.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Luke 10:38-40
Jesus was right there and Martha missed it. Sometimes we are busy doing the work of God and we miss the presence of God.
We are the DISTRACTED generation –
The new drunk driving is driving and texting.
Nobody is watching where they’re going anymore, they’re looking down.
Man runs into a tree while tweeting – NO, it wasn’t me…
We are so distracted, take time to slow down and listen and sense the presence of God.
- MAYBE YOUR HEART HAS HARDENED.
You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Matthew 13:14-15
At some time something happened in your life and you hardened your heart to the things of God!
- MAYBE YOU’VE BUILT A WALL OF SIN.
Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. 2 But there is a problem — your sins have cut you off from God.
Isaiah 59:1-2 NLT96
Now let me clarify – if you’re a Christian and you sin, this doesn’t cause you to lose your salvation, no, no, no, no, no….
But your un-confessed sin hinders your closeness with God.
- MAYBE YOU DON’T KNOW GOD.
You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.
There are so many people who know about God but they do not know God.
3 PRESENCE PROMISES
It is great when you feel the presence of God but the truth is, you’re never promised a feeling. Faith is not a feeling!
You may not always feel His presence.
Walking with God is not about our feelings but it’s about our FAITH!
1) YOU WILL FIND GOD WHEN YOU SEEK GOD.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD… Jeremiah 29:13-14
All out pursuit of Him…
Not an hour on Sunday morning…
Read the Bible…Get in a Life Group…Follow my blog & I will help your seeking…Him
2) YOU CAN DO LIFE WITH GOD’S PRESENCE.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. John 14:16-17 NLT96
God is in you, act accordingly…
3) YOU CAN EXPERIENCE GOD NOW.
God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:27
Did what? Created the world and everything in it.
He is a relational God who loves you and wants you to love Him.
No matter my feelings, its not about feelings, its about faith.