Friday, October 31, 2014

SERMON: What’s God’s greatest gift?

By DAVID BILDERBACK, Special to The Ottawa Herald | 3/14/2014

I previously discussed the story of a woman who came to Jesus while he was in a crowd and, from behind him, touched the edge of his cloak and was healed. In Romans 8:28, we read the following words from the pen of Paul the Apostle: “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” This is a difficult text to separate from the other verses around it, but I believe there is value in doing so.

God loves all people in spite of our disobedience and sin. This text qualifies where God works. He works for good in the lives of those who love him.

I previously discussed the story of a woman who came to Jesus while he was in a crowd and, from behind him, touched the edge of his cloak and was healed. In Romans 8:28, we read the following words from the pen of Paul the Apostle: “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” This is a difficult text to separate from the other verses around it, but I believe there is value in doing so.

God loves all people in spite of our disobedience and sin. This text qualifies where God works. He works for good in the lives of those who love him.

The woman in the story was called to Jesus through the Holy Spirit by virtue of her weakness. Contrary to the world view, we are actually the strongest when we are the weakest. The woman had exhausted all her resources seeking a cure. She was at her lowest point. The woman no doubt heard of Jesus and perhaps listened to his teaching, but to this point effectively had rejected him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, she receives the inner call from God and is drawn to Jesus and healed when she touches the edge of his cloak.

You see, it is this inner call that allows God through the Holy Spirit to perform what he intends. The pews in the church are full of people who receive the outer call from sermons and scriptures, but reject it for one reason or another. They have a knowledge of God, but lack a love for God. This is one of the main reasons the church struggles.  

So what does a love of God, which allows him to work in our lives, look like? It is a separation of our life from the ungodly, the unholy unto the Godly and the Holy. In Isaiah 55:8, we read, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord.”

We cannot understand God in our current state before regeneration. To attempt to do so is to attempt to bring God out of heaven and down to our level.

We are called according to the purpose of God, not our own purpose. God is at work in your life and mine. Through the regeneration of our heart, God works in our lives, changing our thoughts and ways to match His.

What greater gift could one receive than the call of God?

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