Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Benefit of Trusting in Jesus – Pt. 3

Good evening this week we will finish our short series on the benefits of belief of faith in Jesus Christ over the last few weeks we have looked at the comfort that he provides his followers in times of trouble His redemptive work on our behalf his bringing us freedom from our enslavement to sin and forgiveness of sin tonight we are going to look at a final benefit of belief the possibility of intimacy with God and with the people of God God’s Word is full of references regarding his intimate knowledge of us he knows the very hairs on our heads and the desires of our hearts equally his word is also full of admonition and encouragement for us to know God and to draw near to him intimacy is best understood as deeply knowing and being deeply known it comes in partnership with love our longing for intimacy comes from the desire to be fully known fully transparent and being loved and appreciated because of and in spite of that knowledge it seems that the desire for intimacy is a universal desire of mankind and it is clear from the word that God greatly desires intimacy with his people as well our first example of this is found in Genesis 3:8 they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden well we could look at this verse from a number of angles the question we want to ask tonight is why had God in human form left the glory of heaven to walk in the garden in the cool of the day it is improbable that he was simply sightseeing enjoying a stroll admittedly the garden was likely pleasant but more pleasant than heaven it is far more likely that he came into the garden not to enjoy the garden but to enjoy fellowship to avoid intimacy with his children to walk beside them and converse to share himself and to hear about the thoughts and activities this scene serves as a wonderful introduction to our understanding of God’s desire for intimacy with his people but there is much more to be found we can look to Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem in Matthew 23 37 and following saying this Jerusalem Jerusalem who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her how often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were unwilling the imagery here is one of closeness and protection of care and provision of tenderness and nurturing Jesus is moved to sorrow as he contemplates those whom he loves greatly and sacrificially turning away and rejecting his love and sacrifice on their behalf instead of coming together in joy and intimacy there isn’t Stan sorrow over the rebellion and difference God’s heart for his people is also on display when he speaks to his people who the Prophet Jeremiah say in Jeremiah 3:19 how I would set you among my sons and give you a pleasant land the most beautiful inheritance of the nations and I said you shall call me my father and not turn away from following me just a few verses later we see God’s sorrow as his people do indeed turn away from him as he contemplates the judgment he must bring upon them for them for their disobedience it is a sorrow borne out of his deep love for them and desire for intimacy with them here is God Himself speaking in Jeremiah 419 my soul my soul I am in anguish oh my heart my heart is pounding in me I cannot be silent because you have heard o my soul the sound of the trumpet the alarm of war you see he is bringing a conquering nation to take captive his people and to wreak havoc in the land he gave them he continued the thought in Jeremiah 818 saying my sorrow is beyond healing my heart is faint within me behold listen to the cry of the daughter of my people from a distant land is the Lord not in Zion is her King not within her where is God gone what has happened to our protector he continues why have they provoked me with their graven images with foreign idols for the brokenness of the daughter of my people I am broken by mourn dismay has taken a holder and finally we can look at Jeremiah 12 7 where again we see God’s heartbreak I have forsaken my house I have abandoned my inheritance now listen I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies we could spend much time just unpacking the truths of these few verses but can you can you not see in these verses the heart of God for his people his desire to hold them close to dwell with them in intimate fellowship such is his love that he mourns over the condition in their impending judgment a judgment that comes from his hand but it brings him no joy it comes with no gleeful vengeance it comes from his hand with a profound sorrow and sense of loss we can also see God’s desire for an intimate relationship with his people when we look at the imagery of Jesus as the bridegroom and his people as his bride is there a more intimate relationship than between husband and wife the Song of Solomon is filled with descriptions of marital intimacy and closeness that touch our hearts and fuels our own desires for intimacy in the same manner that a bridegroom desires intimate fellowship and closeness with his new bride so God desires intimacy and fellowship with us God’s heart toward his people is always desirous of intimacy of closeness it is never diminished it has never overcome it is never abandoned what is perhaps equally amazing and profound is that God desires animates provision for this same intimacy between his people his followers in John 17 jesus prays this holy father keep them in your name the name which you have given me that they speaking of the disciples may be one even as we are one I do not ask on behalf of these alone but for those also who believe in me through their word basically us that they may all be one even as you Father are in me and I in you that they also may be in us so the world may believe that you sent me Jesus prays that we as his followers would experience the same intimacy the same fellowship the same oneness as exists between God the Father and God the Son and this in part was the experience of the early church in acts 243 and following we read this they were continually devoting themselves to the Apostles teaching and to fellowship to the breaking of bread and to prayer everyone kept feeling a sense of oh and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles and all those who had believed were together and had all things in common and they began selling the property of possessions and were sharing them with all as any might have need day by day continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart praising God and having favor with all the people God’s desired for intimate involvement in each other’s lives is also clearly shown in the many admonitions to act in a certain way toward one another we are called to love one another pray for one better bear one another’s burdens exhort one another encourage one another be devoted to one another submit to one another care for one another serve one another be patient with one another be kind to one another forgive one another comfort one another stimulate one another to love and good works confess sins to one another and be hospitable to one another and I’m fairly sure there are others I may admit beloved we cannot put these things into practice without being intimately involved with an understanding of each other you see these things presuppose intimacy between us and it is an intimacy that our hearts designer and that God desires for us and yet if we are being honest we have to acknowledge a hard truth about ourselves we see this benefit this benefit of intimacy with God and with each other differently than those we have looked at previously you see that things we looked at earlier are things which we single-mindedly want God’s comfort his forgiveness his loving-kindness his hope our restoration his peace but intimacy with God and man is something quite different intimacy is indeed something everyone wants and at the same time no one wants it is our great yearning it is also our great fear if I am intimately known by someone they had the power to hurt me deeply rejection by an acquaintance is one thing rejection by someone we hold close and whose favour we deeply value that is something else entirely it is what brought such heartache to Mary and Martha in our study of a couple weeks ago do you remember Mary and Martha were struggling with Jesus decision to not kill their brother he didn’t come when they asked and they had an intimate relationship they were all loved by Jesus with both a brotherly love and affection and a sacrificial love how could this man who claims to love us not respond to our need and you remember Jesus words to Martha they were in essence Martha will you trust me can you still trust me now please hear this trust in God’s love for us is directly related to our ability to experience intimacy with him and with others we can only face the risk of intimacy when we are able to trust in God’s great love for us and know he will oversee the outcome Paul understands this well when as part of his prayer for the Ephesian believers praise this that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith and that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints and some of you are to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge as our understanding of God’s love for us deepens we come to trust him more to rest in that love it allows us to risk coming near to God whose ways are above our ways and in whose presence we are but dust it allows us to risk coming nearer to our brothers and sisters in Christ knowing that God loves us enough to provide the strength for our bearing our responsibilities to them and the comfort in the times when we are disappointed and hurt by them if we have little or no assurance of God’s sustaining work in our life and little or no apprehension of God’s incredible love for us a love that surpasses knowledge we cannot and we will not seek out the intimacy that he so desires us to have let us the with humility in sincerity of heart join Paul in his prayer that we might all come to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge let’s pray father it is a wonderful and blessed thing to be able to draw near to you to experience intimacy with the Creator God that is also our Father that desires our companionship father I would pray that you would create in us hearts that see after an understanding of you and see after an understanding and help us father to come to trust in that love to trust in your sovereignty to trust in the fact that you know all and see all and are ever present and let father be a foundation that brings us to a place where we are able to risk relationship with one another sharing deeply of our lives with each other and even more that it draws us to you our heart and your heart are as entwined together again father we ask these things in her son’s name believing he would create the same things on our path

 

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