A God Who CaresSeries: Once Upon A Time. James Dewhurst December 8, 2019
Once Upon A Time
A God Who Cares
Today, we are excited to be continuing in a series for the month of December called – Once Upon A Time! Although there are countless stories throughout human history, some fiction and others non-fiction, that have entertained us, motivated us and even moved us to tears, there is one story that changed the course of the entire world!
Throughout this Advent season, we are taking a look at the different reasons why the story of Christmas surpasses every story that has ever been told. His name is Jesus!
Today, as we jump into week 2 of Advent, I want to talk to us about:
A God Who Cares!
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. (ESV)
Benjamin Franklin, who was not only a Founding Father and the one who forged the Declaration of Independence, his face also adorns our coveted U.S. $100 bill. Although he was a great philosopher and foundational in establishing the articles of our great nation, Ben believed something about God that was not only troublesome but untrue.
Benjamin Franklin was a Deist! Deism is a form of Monotheism in which it is believed that one God exists, but that this God does not intervene in the world, or interfere with human life. It posits a non-interventionist creator who permits the universe to run according to natural laws. This, in turn, suggests a theology in which God created the universe, set it in motions governed by natural laws, and then retired from the scene.
The only problem with this belief is a biblical doctrine known as the Incarnation. The Incarnation teaches us that God himself came down to earth and entered our world through the womb of Mary, and became flesh through the birth of the Christ child.
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (ESV)
The word Immanuel literally means God With Us!
God didn’t wash his hands OF US, he allowed them to be pierced FOR US!
The question that I want to answer today is, what did God do while he was with us?
Humanitarian Projects – Over the past several decades there has been an explosion of interest in our country towards humanitarian projects. People come out of the woodwork to give clothes, food and time to help those in need. Recently, World Vision identified a huge humanitarian crisis and decided to do something about it. They found that there over 65 million displaced people in our world today. After partnering together with 31 significant donor organizations, World Vision set out on a 3-year mission to raise $1.2 Billion to provide food, clothing & shelter for these wandering people!
As incredible as this story is, it doesn’t even compare to what happened in Bethlehem!
The greatest humanitarian project in the history of the world was a baby wrapped in a manger!
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (ESV)
1 Peter 5:7
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV)
One Sunday morning the Sunday school teacher noticed Johnny painting a picture of an old man in class. “Whose picture are you drawing?” She asked. “I am drawing a picture of God,” Johnny replied. “But no one has ever seen God. No one knows what he looks like.” The teacher responded. Johnny replied, “Well, they are going to as soon as I finish this picture!”
At the time of Jesus, there were about 6,000 religious Pharisees who tried painting a picture of God as a strict, hard, distant, unloving legalist. The good news is, Jesus showed up just in the knick of time and took their paintbrush!
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)
For the first time in human history, when Jesus came into the world, the world finally knew exactly what God looked like!
(A distant God doesn’t send his only son!)
> To the Humanist God is the innate power of good!
> To the Hebrew God is strict righteous law!
> To the Buddhist, God is a cosmic spirit!
> To the Hindu, God is truth and bliss!
> To the Scientist, God is natural law!
> To the Christian, God is love!
1 John 4:9-10
9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (ESV)
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)
The reason the story of Jesus is the greatest story ever told is not that God sent Jesus to love Christians, but because He sent Him to love liars, addicts, and thieves!
Jesus didn’t just preach love, He lived it out so we could see it, touch it and feel it.
During the three-year time span of Jesus’ public ministry, he didn’t just preach temple sermons, sign Dead Sea scrolls, and walk around getting photo ops. Jesus drove evil spirits out of people who were tormented. Jesus healed a man dying of leprosy. Jesus healed a paralytic who lived begging for money on a mat. Jesus touched and healed a man’s withered hand. Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead. Jesus healed a woman who was bleeding for 12 years. Jesus fed 5,000 hungry people with five loaves and two fish. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus gave sight to blind Bartimaeus. Jesus even healed the ear of the soldier who was arresting him for his crucifixion!
If you want to know what God looks like, just take a look at His son!
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (ESV)
God doesn’t just leave us to fend for ourselves, he cares about every detail of our lives!
13 For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (ESV)
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 4:4
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (ESV)
-You need to know that God cares about your depression!
-You need to know that God cares about your addiction!
-You need to know that God cares about your abuse!
-You need to know that God cares about your fears!
-You need to know that God cares about your loss!
-You need to know that God cares about your pain!
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (ESV)
10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
Jesus didn’t just come to save your soul, he also came to hold your hand!
The Bible tells us that Jesus was sent by God to do three specific things for us:
1. Jesus came to Identify With Us!
Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”
2. Jesus came to Reveal God To Us!
Jesus didn’t become human to understand us. He did it so we could understand God!
Any picture we have in your minds of God that doesn’t look like Jesus is the wrong one!
3. Jesus came to Give Himself For Us!
Luke 22:19 “This is my body given for you.”
He came to forgive us, redeem us, defend us, heal us, restore us and hold us!
Ministry: Offer a prayer for anyone needing God to touch them today!
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