What Does God Expect?
by David Truan
"Prove what I say is true, don't believe me."
PROVERBS 14:15 The simple believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps.
PROVERBS 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. In all your getting get understanding.
In these verses Christ is speaking of what we must do to be apart of the kingdom. Also that there will come a time when the door will be shut and we will be outside looking in. We must strive to enter the narrow gate. In the context of this passage of scripture. Dropping down to verse 34.
Christ cries out to Jerusalem. I would have gathered you up and protected you. I was sent, but you wouldn’t listen. Not willing to respond to what I had to say.
JOHN 11:34-38 This is the account of the death of Lazarus. It was obvious from the reaction of Jesus to the news that He loved Lazarus. He wept and groaned within Himself.
Do we ever weep and groan within ourselves?
Incident of the Vietnam veteran and the presidential election. ELDERLY FATHER--ONLY CHILD?
I don’t remember if the young man in question was and only child or the only son.
On the evening news after opening with all of the election maneuvering, a story was reported about a young man who was being awarded posthumously, a medal for valor. I don’t remember if the medal was the Congressional Medal of Honor or just what it was. He was credited for saving fifty to sixty lives during the Vietnam War. He was an air force medic who voluntarily let himself down, from a helicopter, into a battle to treat the wounded. During this action, he was killed. It was reported that he shielded the wounded with his own body while treating them.
The men, whose lives he had saved, petitioned the military or congress to see that he got the recognition that he was due. Thirty years or more after the incident he was finally recognized for his heroic action.
I cried. All the turmoil over the election, all the maneuvering to hold or gain the advantage and we are oblivious to the sacrifice that had been paid by this family. The important news of the day was lost or relegated to the back page.
In that moment I believe that I had some indication of how Jesus felt when He looked out over Jerusalem. He may not have been on a hill over looking the city, but I can imagine Him looking down from a hillside and lamenting. I cried for the state of affairs that we find in our nation.
If we can weep and groan over our lives and our nation, what about the rest of the world?
We are fortunate though. We know how the book ends. We have been allowed to see how it all comes out in the end.
If you remember the last time I spoke I talked about the attributes of God. His mercy and patience, His love. TODAY LETS ASK.
How did we get to where we are today? Individually and collectively.
We know what we can expect from God. That raises the question, what does God expect from us?
God can save, but our sins have separated us from Him. As Jerusalem would not listen to Jesus, we do not listen either. We go about our daily business as a nation and as people and we don’t listen. It is reported that Winston Churchill said "people stumble over the truth, get up, brush themselves off and go on as if nothing had happened."
As a people and a nation we don’t want to know what is going on, it might interfere with what we want to do. The lifestyle we want to pursue.
When someone dares to cry out, they are ridiculed and called extremist. The religious right. If the word of God is taken literally, we are labeled as fanatics, cultist.
It doesn’t really matter, God will understand. He will look over what we do. Brethren, I don’t believe that God will look over what we do. We have to live and conduct ourselves in a certain way.
We have just come through the christmas season. Can we be immersed in these days and be pleasing to God? Think about it.
As an aside. If you were trying to honor God with a celebration, and you weren’t sure what you should do. Do you think it would be more pleasing to practice some ancient pagan custom or pick some days out of the scripture, even though you weren’t sure what they meant? Which do you think He would accept?
We have a chance to witness and to cry out by the life that we live. Our life style, though it may be made fun of and ridiculed is a testimony to the word of God and of Jesus Christ. He expects us to live our lives in such a way that it glorifies Him and is a witness to the right way to live. He expects us not to take for granted His mercy and forgiveness. He expects us to be appreciative of His love for us and to respond accordingly.
When confronted with our sins, we must repent. We cannot afford to let our sins separate us from God.
We cannot afford to have a carefree or cavalier attitude toward our sins and attitudes.
ROMANS 7:13 Paul realized that he had to struggle daily to be the kind of person that he should be.
2 TIMOTHY 4:7 Paul had fought the good fight and he knew that there was laid up for him a crown of
righteousness. Are we confident that we have a crown of righteousness?
ACTS 2:37 says that those that heard Peter’s sermon were cut to the heart. What is our attitude?
When sin is brought to our attention?
Those that are coming to the truth of God and His word. Those that are responding to the call must be baptized and receive God’s Holy Spirit. It matters. I do not believe in this age that the Spirit is given before baptism. Baptism is a sign of our commitment to Jesus Christ and this way of life.
ROMANS 8:9 Do we want to be Christ’s or not? If we do, then we must do what He ask us to do.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:20 We are bought with a price. We are to glorify God in our body and spirit, which are Gods. Let that sink in for a moment. God owns us. He bought and paid for us.
When we respond to the calling of God, when we say yes Lord, when we go through the waters of baptism, and are forgiven our sins, we have indentured ourselves to the Eternal. We are no longer prodigal children, but are (besides being bought and paid for, indentured voluntarily) adopted sons and daughters.
God expects all of us to be committed to Him and this way of life. WE HAVE NOT JUST CHANGED FROM GOING TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY TO GOING TO CHURCH ON SATURDAY. This is a way of life. It affects everything that we do. It affects the relationships that we developed. It affects the activities that we engage in and when we engage in them. It affects what we eat. It affects how we take care of ourselves. IT IS A WAY OF LIFE. NOT A RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY.
There are different levels of understanding and growth in a church. Earlier I spoke of those who are just coming to the truth and studying and learning.
Now I want to speak to those who have been around for awhile.
We need to be making the progress that will allow us to help others come to a more complete understanding of this way. We should be able to discuss doctrine and the scriptures without causing division. We should be able to make changes and adopt procedures that will help the church to grow and do better without causing upset.
We need to be aware of the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When someone raises a point or presents an idea, it may be under the inspiration of the Spirit, we need to examine what is presented based on the purpose and in the light of the scripture. We shouldn’t attack the person or the idea until we understand the motivation and reason behind the presentation. After the presentation, if our idea is rejected we need to press on. If an idea is accepted and we don’t fully agree, we should contribute and do what we can to make it successful for the good of the church.
We need to be praying daily and fervently for the kingdom to come and for God to lead us until it does.
What is our greatest enemy? What will keep us from accomplishing these things?
Satan not withstanding, because he is our constant enemy. There is never a time he is not after us.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE HIS ABILITY TO HARM OR DESTROY.
What will cause us to let down our guard to give up?
I believe that the greatest enemy is TIME and the CARES OF THIS LIFE.
We have ahead of us many days and a person just gets tired. We become weary from the struggle. In battle soldiers go for days with no sleep. Time takes its toll and we just get to the point that we think we can go no farther. I have heard of people dying in the snow only a few feet from shelter because they became so weary that they could not or would not go a few more steps.
GALATIANS 6:9, 2 THESSALONIANS 3:13 and HEBREWS 6:11-12
Paul admonishes us to not become weary in doing good. That is the hard part. To press on when things are not exciting.
Y2K was exciting. We all waited to see what would happen. New things are exciting until the new wears off. Prophecy is exciting. We all want to know what is going to happen. Read the book. It tells us. It just doesn’t tell us when. Even Jesus didn’t know when. He just knew what.
To get along is hard. To love each other is hard. Husbands to love wives. Wives to love and submit to husbands. Brethren to love and be subject to each other.
To work to support family and ourselves.
To show up and support the church out of love instead of duty.
THESE THINGS ARE HARD.
Cares of this life. We have to be on guard. If we are fortunate and blessed by God and do well, we could get the attitude that we no longer need God. We could be so poor that we forget God and spend all of our time trying to survive.
Think about it brethren. We have cried out to God for something. When we get it, does it become our primary focus and motivation; does it consume us and take us away from God? Does it cause us to leave the church?
WHAT DOES GOD EXPECT FROM US?
God expects for us not to take His love and mercy and grace for granted.
God expects to be repentant and committed to this way of life. Not a sometime thing, but an all of the time thing. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty five days a year until the kingdom comes or we go to our rest.
GOOD EXPECTS US TO KEEP ON KEEPING ON, TO KEEP THE FAITH, NO MATTER WHAT.
If we do these things we can say: I have fought the good fight, I have stayed the course and finished the race, and I have kept the faith. There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give to me at His appearing.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON, IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT SOMEDAY.