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Merle Shenk - July 19, 2020
God's Goodness: Encountering the Jesus of the Bible
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still the Good News! John 14:6 (NKJV) 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. God had open relationship with Adam and Eve in the Garden and they walked daily experiencing His Goodness. He wants that with us still today! The Garden of Eden was the place that was created to be the home for humanity. The Nursery of learning trust, relationship and protection that was to grow out from there and fill the whole earth. Ex. 23:29 God wanted to have open relationship with the children of Israel in the Promise Land. He wanted them to experience His goodness. He wants that with us still today! Moses interceded on behalf of the children of Israel when God wanted to bring severe judgement on them and start over with Moses. So God relented. Now more than ever we need to stand upon 2 Chron. 7:14 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Then Moses had another encounter with God again at Mount Sinai where God told him that He would send an angel with them to lead them into the Promise land.Exodus 33:1-3 (NKJV) 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, To your descendants I will give it.’ 2 And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” God is still Sovereign.Exodus 33:15-19 (NKJV) 15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” 18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” 19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” The Glory of God is His Goodness!There is a movement today to make God into our image instead of allowing our lives to be shaped into His image. Encountering Jesus in the Bible (Not the Jesus of popular culture). When reading the Life of Jesus I have come to a conclusion that Jesus was not worried about being politically correct or worried about trying to please man. 1 Peter 2:7-8 (NKJV) 7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. Examples of difficult verses: Matthew 15:21-28 (NKJV) 21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” 23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 9:27-28 (NKJV) 27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” 28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” John 6:53 (NKJV) 53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. which led to: V.66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Matt. 23:33 Why am I going to great lengths to show these particularly hard verses? Because people try to characterize Christ for their own purposes. They wrestle to make God into their own image. God is not afraid to offend people - When Jesus shows up He doesn’t come to weigh arguments and take sides. - He comes to take over. And in His wake, is His Goodness. God is sovereign and must be served as such His goodness is for those who will come to Him on His terms, not their own terms. Exodus 33:19 And God said, I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim My name, THE LORD, before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy and loving-kindness on whom I will show mercy and loving-kindness. God will accept us the way that we are but God will not allow us to stay that way! He expects you to start to look like Him!Our model and blueprint to follow is Christ. God is not trying to offend us all the timeBut we must come to Him on His Terms. His Terms… The way forward through the challenge of this season is to Humble ourselves, seek His face, turn from wicked ways, admit that God’s ways are not our ways and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts? God desires for living, active, encountering relationship with Him. This is why He sent Jesus! This is why He gives us His Holy Spirit!One of the first things we must realize when desiring to encounter the Jesus of the Bible is that we must humble ourselves and submit to Him and His ways and His definitions of things. Joel 2:11-14 (ESV) The Lord utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it? 12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. 14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? Habakkuk 2:1 (NKJV) 1 I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected. They knew that they were dealing with God on His terms as He saw fit, not as they saw fit. There is only one posture when dealing with Jesus, Humility and Submission. What if I have never encountered God’s goodness? What if I have never experienced Jesus the way that you talk about, or I have never experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit the way you describe? What if I haven’t experienced the blessings that the Bible talks about. Are you ready to stop trying to deal with God on your own terms? Do you want God’s presence enough that you are willing to humble yourself maybe even be misunderstood, made fun of, misrepresented? Let go of our pride and self preservation. Walking with God and experiencing His Goodness requires that we are committed to being in relationship with Him and being committed to change. Just like the children of Israel Luke 18:9-14 (NKJV) 9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV) 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. John 1:12 (ESV) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, Why and How can we trust that coming to Him is worth it?Because He is Good! Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Notes:
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