Today’s post is a copy of my preaching notes for today’s worship at Kishwaukee Community Church. If you would like to listen to the sermon in full, go to www.kishonline.org and click on the link to listen to Rus Howard’s Sermon. The sermon will be available on-line on Monday, Feb. 13.
Experiencing God, 3: God at Work In You
John 5:17, 19-20, John 6:25–29, Romans 15:17–19, Philippians 2:12–13
Story of God reach lifers in prison in Tennessee
II. In Bible God accomplishes His purposes through His people.
- God did not create the world and then abandon it to function on its own.
- God is working in His world to bring about the redemption of those who are alienated from Him and facing imminent judgment and destruction.
- He has chosen to accomplish His work through His people.
III. We must move away from egocentric Christianity
What is God doing for me
How God makes me successful
How God can give you your best life now
At the time God was about to deliver the children of Israel, the overriding concern was God’s will for Israel, not God’s will for Moses.
(Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 42-43)
IV. God is always at work reconciling a world to Himself
Blackaby story of church about to close in inner city, before closing chose to study, to watch, and to pray
At the close of the thirteen-week study, instead of disbanding, the church, now revitalized, began to minister powerfully to its community. Rather than remaining discouraged, the people realized they were in the center of God’s activity. He had been working in their neighborhood all along.
(Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 53)
V. My Question at Kish
“What is God doing in the middle of a corn field?”
God gathers and then disperses us
He has work out there and he places us where He wants us to work
- Plant managers
- Truck drivers
- School bus drivers
Our church in the middle of corn fields is a refueling post
Yes, there is work to be done in here, but most of our work is out there
VI. God is orchestrating history.
He is present and in the middle of human activity.
Listen to what Jesus said in John 5:17, 19-20
“My Father is working until now, and I am working.” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.”
In John 5, Jesus teaches God’s model:
- The Father has been working all along.
- Now the Father has Me working.
- I do nothing on My own initiative.
- I watch to see what the Father is doing.
- I do what I see the Father is doing.
- The Father shows Me everything that He, Himself, is doing.
- Affirmation – God is at work
- Confirmation – I see God at work
- Trust – God will show me
God is at work, even when I do not see the fruit, even when I doubt my efforts, even when I have failed, even when …
VII. We should look for where God is working
When we know where God is working
we know where and what God wants us to work
we can find our assignments
This is better than
Looking for what we can/want to do
Then asking God to bless it
God does not assign us tasks which cannot be accomplished
God assigns a task then gives the gift, not in reverse …
When God gives us a task and we obey,
God will carry out what He intended through our lives
VIII. Joshua entering the Promised Land
The land was promisED – work had to be done
Joshua 3:13 As soon as the priests . . . set foot in the Jordan, its waters . . . will be cut off.
We must learn to take God at His word and walk straight ahead
- Even when we can see no way to go forward.
- Because we are easily sidetracked by difficulties
- We expect to see barriers removed before we even try
Faith that goes forward triumphs. (Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. Streams in the Desert: (p. 71). Zondervan.)
Focusing on identifying gifts instead of determining what God’s assignment is can also be severely limiting for believers who base their future usefulness for God only on their past effectiveness. (Blackaby, Experiencing God, p. 59)
We often say:
I am not gifted, I cannot … because… I do not have experience, but that does not mean God does not, cannot, and will not use you
All of us make the mistake of embracing this false assumption.
Moses was certain he was unqualified for this assignment, so he argued with God
- Who am I
- Who are you
- Who will believe me
- Staff to serpent to staff
- Hand to leporous to cured
- Water to blood
- I cannot speak well
VIII. Cheney’s “God is no Fool”
Moses said, “Oh Come on now! Be sensible! Not me! I’m a terrible speaker. They’d never listen to me.”
And God said, “Oh, for crying out loud! O.K., I’ll use your brother to help with the speaking.”
And Moses led God’s people out of disintegration.
Jonah said, “Oh Come on now! Be sensible! Not me! I’m not the type.”
And after a rather unexpected vacation in a fish, just thinking things over, he talked to God’s people, and led them God’s way.
And Zacharias said, “Oh Come on now! Be sensible! Not me! My wife and I are too old to have any kids.”
And God said, “Oh shut up!” And he did shut up—for nine months. And John was born, and the way for the Christ opened up.
And I heard a child say, “I can’t serve God, I’m too young.”
And I heard a boy say, “I can’t serve God, I’m not good enough.”
And I heard a woman say, “I can’t serve God, I’m not skilled enough.”
I wonder if God ever gets any new problems.
Cheney, Lois A. God is No Fool (p. 154). Autism Today.
IX. Here is the pattern we see in the Old Testament:
- God gave an assignment to a person.
- The Holy Spirit equipped that person to perform the assignment.
- The person was able to complete the assignment effectively. (Blackaby, Experiencing God p. 61)
Moses’ success did not depend on his skills, abilities, likes, preferences, or past successes.
Stop assuming God only calls you or will only work through you where you are gifted.
X. My call into Hospice ministry
Lois Cheney’s question is poignant “I wonder if God ever gets any new problems.”