This is the keynote from the Sunday Night opening of Encounter 2012. I was not the creator of this lesson and am only presenting a series of notes that I took from Rob’s sermon.
You Are Lost and Found
Psalm 139 (Taken from the 1984 NIV Holy Bible published by Zondervan)
“You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand- when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
We, as humans, fall into the trap of “if only I could be…”. It is similar to the beginning of my “After God’s Own Heart series where I shared that women especially say things like, “If only I could be: taller, shorter, blonde, brunette, funny, smart, pretty, athletic, popular, fashionable, etc.”
In Genesis 3 we read about Adam and Eve and how they were happy in the Garden of Eden. When they fell into the temptation of eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve felt shame for the first time. This is apparent through their actions as they hide from God.
The same shame that Adam and Eve felt on that day long ago is the same shame that we feel today. We are afraid of who we are. I am afraid that I won’t be good enough. I lie. I cheat. I have impure thoughts. I fail to show kindness to others. I am disrespectful and rude to my parents. I gossip. I SIN. And so do you.
Think of it like this. If you take a rose and cut it from the roots, you have cut it off from the life source that allows it to be living. It is able to survive for a period of time before it shrivels up and dies.
In the same way, sin that we face on a daily basis separates us from God!
I don’t know about you, but I look at my sins in a different way than God does. I validate my sins by saying that they COULD BE worse. It isn’t THAT BIG of a sin. Hear it here people:
THERE ARE NO “NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL SINS!”
WE ARE ALL SINNERS!
My little white lie can easily turn into a slew of word vomit that hurts myself and others around me. My sin of cheating on one small homework assignment can easily lead to cheating on a bigger assignment such as a test or final exam.
Every sin is the same in God’s eyes.
The cheating, lying, adultery, murder, gossip, abuse, stealing, jealousy, lust, and using God’s name in vain,
in God’s eyes, it is all the same!
It is vitally important that we recognize our sins and strive to live a life sin free. We will all fail, we are only human after all. But we can’t ignore the sin in our lives!
If we don’t recognize how bad the bad is then we can’t recognize how good the good is.
Sin sucks the life right out of us. Sin, separating us from God, sucks the life right out of us. Satan tries to play on the worldly concerns that we view as important and make us sin because of those. Satan whispers “your NOT good enough,” “who would wan’t YOU to help, YOUR not _______ enough.” God knows that we aren’t perfect. He understands that we will sin! Satan uses our insecurities to make us stray away from God, from our life source.
One example that Rob used was that of a serial killer. He murdered a mother and father and their young child. This man was the first to be sentenced to death by gas chamber. The professionals working on this means of termination estimated that the gas chamber would take 10-13 seconds to complete the intended task. The day came to execute this murder and they strapped him to a chair inside this chamber. When asked for his last words, the man should “I don’t deserve this, I am not an animal!” As the chamber was sealed and the gas was released, the man continued shouting this phrase. Over and over again between deep breaths of this intoxicating gas, he shouted “I am not an animal!”. The chamber that was supposed to work in 10-13 seconds took 3 1/2 minutes to terminate his life. This man’s sin sucked the life out of him through his worldly consequences.
John 11 (Taken from the 1984 NIV Holy Bible published by Zondervan)
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
“But Rabbi, they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Noe Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, the followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fall at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in the spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See hoe he loved him!”
But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
At the time of Lazarus’ death, it was common to believe that the spirit of a deceased person lingered for 3 days and then on the 4th day the spirit left the body. That is why it is essential to note that in this story, Jesus brought him back to life after the spirit had left on the 4th day.
It is also to notice the use of the words “deeply moved”. It means more than extreme sorrow. Jesus’ spirit was angered and troubled greatly in this story.
Jesus calls for Lazarus in a “loud voice”. These words are also used in the story where Jesus calms the storm. That must really be a loud voice!
God calls out to us to stop sinning and to live a Christian life that was modeled by Jesus. Unfortunately, satan can use this to make us believe a terrible lie: “If I work hard for God’s love THEN Jesus will love and save me.” IT’S NOT LIKE THAT!
We are rebellious. We are sinful. We are dead!
Ephesians 2 says “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us who lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace that you have been saved. . . . For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Taken from the 1984 NIV Holy Bible published by Zondervan)
Through Christ we can try to overcome the worldly temptations that Satan throws our way. Because Christ made us in HIS image, we can know that we are more than enough, BECAUSE OF HIM!
If you have any questions about the story of Jesus, the lesson notes posted, the Bible, or just want to leave me a note, please feel free to shoot me an email at creativelyloving.wordpress at gmail.com.
Also, be sure to visit again tomorrow to see what else happened at Encounter 2012!