What do you do when fear and worry overcome you? Cause let’s be honest, that’s been most of what the last year has produced in most of us. Tune in today to see how God wants something better for you!.Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give). Got kids? Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly) https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: What are your top worries or fears? Are you worried about finances? Some of you have businesses that have had to pivot and are barely holding on? Are you worried about your family? Some of you have been so divided by the past year and a half about masks, politics, and that your relationships are strained and you can barely talk to one another. Are you worried about being safe? Some of you have to worry about your safety and the safety of your kids because of the color of your skin. Some of you are worried that politically we are all being pulled and shoved around by politicians and the news and we’ve all been fed a huge load of garbage. some of you are worried that our entire country is falling apart…
Let’s be honest, I could go on all day with what worries us as Americans.
Can I just give you some perspective?
Ecclesiastes 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
There is nothing new under the sun…
I know it feels like the world you live in is so messed up and feels like it’s falling apart.
But so did the world Jesus lived in…
His world was full of political division and manipulation. Children assassinating father’s to rule in their place, leaders suppressing groups in order to exact their authority and rule…
Racism isn’t new… The Jewish people were completely suppressed by the Romans – they were regularly incited in order to be violently oppressed
The Jewish people themselves were racist against other groups…So much anger, so much division…
And financially? There was no governmental welfare, people lived and died by the work of their hand.
Taxation was overwhelming…People literally having to sell their children into slavery to make it…
Fear and worry is nothing new…
It is into this setting that God speaks these words…Isaiah 35:4 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution, he will come to save you.”
It was messages like this that kept Israel, as a nation, strong through some of the most terrible events in history…
God was coming to rescue them…
How will you know this time has come? Check out Isaiah’s description of this moment when God comes to deliver
Isaiah 35:5-65 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
This is why when John the Baptist has been put in prison and he’s trying to figure out what’s going on with Jesus – is He really the Messiah, Jesus doesn’t answer the question straight, instead, He answers it like this…
Luke 7:2222 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Jesus was telling Johnny B, the time was now! Here’s what’s crazy… This doesn’t match up with the idea of retribution and vengeance…
It sounded like God was going to bring riffle, but instead, he’s bringing a stethoscope
And it doesn’t make sense until Jesus…
Jesus brought vengeance and retribution against sin and the evil one and he brought healing to anyone who would turn to Him
I know you know this…
I know you know that Jesus was the Messiah
I know you know that He came in a way no one expected-they were all expecting someone to come with vengeance & retribution…
So, maybe you are thinking, that’s neat Kent, but what’s the point?
Here’s my question for you? If God has told us: 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come,
Why do we still struggle with fear? Why does worry still control our hearts?
ILLUSTRATION: So, if you don’t know, I write these sermons 3 weeks ahead. As I was writing that question, I got a text from Mike saying he needed to meet with David and I. My heart sunk, cause I just knew Mike was going to tell us he was going to leave.
Immediately, fear sunk in. Worry sunk in…
Lol, then I had to go back to writing this sermon and the last question I had written was, “why do we struggle with fear? Why does worry still control our hearts…”
That night, as I was praying, God took me to some verses that came before Luke chapter 7, and John the Baptist asks this question about if Jesus is the Messiah. It’s interesting because John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus is questioning if He’s the Messiah – when are you going to start bringing retribution and vengeance – remember, he’s in prison.
But right before this, Luke contrasts John the Baptist with a centurion soldier – a non-Jewish man whose servant is sick and has sent people to bring Jesus to his house, and this is what the guy says – he stops Jesus before He gets to the house, which sounds crazy – it’s the whole reason he sent for Jesus… But listen to what the guys say and then listen to Jesus’ response: Luke 7:6-10He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
This man trusted Jesus – He knew what it was like to be under authority and what it was like to wield authority.
And he placed his complete trust in Jesus’ authority
And that’s when God gently spoke to meKent, do you trust me?
See, I can’t magically get rid of my fear or wistfully wish away my worry.
But I can trust that my God will come through
My ability to not walk in fear is directly proportionate to my ability to place my faith in Jesus and His authority in ALL things.
CLOSING: Am I sad that we are losing the gifts Mike has brought to our church? 100%.I’m sad to lose his day-to-day friendship.
but when I step back and look at life through the lens of Jesus’ authority, through His redemption, I am more sure than ever that God has big things in store for Harmony because God’s Kingdom continues to march forward.
Let me ask you a question, What would happen if you took your fears/worries and put them in perspective of God’s eternal Kingdom?
Will they show up on your radar 5 years from now? What about 10? What about 100 years from now when you are in eternity with Jesus?
God’s question for me and for you has always been, “where’s your hope?” Is it in every circumstance that frustrates you being solved in a way that makes you comfortable, or it is your hope securely placed in the Jesus who can heal the blind, raise the dead, overcome every obstacle that is place in your way?
Let’s go out and take this world for the Kingdom!
Who’s ready to stand with me in faith in the God who comes?