Rejoicing In The City | Sermon Notes
We must realize that idols cannot be removed. They must be replaced.
We need a living encounter with God. Jesus must be the “over mastering positive passion”. The core foundation of our life.
Let’s go back to the story of Jacob…A couple of weeks ago we discussed Jacob’s issues. Dysfunctional family. Competition. Looking for sex and companionship to solve his issues. Jacob wrestled with his brother in the womb. He fought for his father’s love. He enslaved himself to Laban to find love in Rachel. He even had a religious experience. Nothing worked. He was empty and scared for his life and family. He decides to leave and head back home. He hears that Esau is waiting for him. Tomorrow would be the last battle.
Jacob wrestles with God and says he will not let go until He is blessed by God. (not a 10min wrestling with God at the altar after the sermon. We will pray with you, but we are talking about a life time of sticking to God.)
Jacob realizes that his whole life he has been looking in all the wrong places. The Blessings of God. From God. I don’t care if it costs me my life, I am going to reach out to you until you hold me close.
God blesses him. What must that have been like. Think of an experience with God that fills the gap of family baggage, sexual frustration, the craving for acceptance. God we need you to bless us! God still blesses!
God told Jacob. I accept you. We don’t know exactly what He said to Jacob or what happened, but we know it was sufficient to repair the damage of years of pain. (Jacob still has to live with a few of the earthly consequences of his sin. His own sons sold his other son into slavery.
Once we realize the deity of Jesus Christ, we must HOLD ON. We hold onto the Gospel. We don’t run after other solutions. (even churchy type solutions).
Why would God fake weakness to keep from killing Jacob (who completely screwed his life up and deserved death)? The answer to our question comes later in the Bible, when the Lord again appeared as a man.
- In the darkness with Jacob, God fakes weakness in order to save Jacob’s life.
- In the darkness of Calvary, the Lord appeared as a man and became weak to save us.
When facing the Cross, though he could have turned aside, Jesus held on in obedience at the cost of his life, in order to gain the blessing, not for himself, but for us.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
THE BLESSING THAT WE NEED TO REPLACE IDOLS – “You are my beloved child in whom I delight.” – an endless source of joy and strength.
A blessing that we continually try to find in many other sources (idols). Yet, those things fail to completely deliver the line.
That is the blessing that Jacob finally received from God and it is the same blessing that we all receive when we come to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came to the earth so that everyone of us could hear that same line from God. Even though we do not deserve it. Even though just like Jacob we have been looking for love in all the wrong places.
Just like Jacob it often takes injury to our body, pride, or family life before we get to the point of desperation and GIVE UP. We finally realize that all of our efforts to attain satisfaction and peace FAIL. We try God. We taste and see that the Lord is good!
Once we have an encounter with God, we have to remember that idols cannot be removed. They must be replaced.
WE REPLACE IDOLS BY REPENTING AND REJOICING
Repenting of your idols is important, but we need to realize that repenting alone doesn’t do it. Will power to trying and live differently doesn’t work.
Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raise with Christ, set your hearts on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Set Your Mind and Heart on Things above where your life is hid with Christ!
Appreciate, Rejoice, Rest in what Jesus Christ has done for you. Jesus Christ must become more beautiful to your imagination, more attractive to your heart than your idol.
If you uproot your idol and fail to plant the love of Jesus in its place, the idol will grow back.
Rejoicing in Jesus and Repenting to Jesus. Repenting and Rejoicing Replaces your idol.
You need both of them together. Repenting without rejoicing leads to despair. Rejoicing without repentance is shallow and will only provide passing inspiration instead of deep change.
Most of us get repentance. Let’s talk about rejoicing… Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say REJOICE!”
Rejoice is a old term. We don’t use it anymore. “I rejoice whenever the bobcats score.” “I was just rejoicing with my wife the other day when I got the raise.”
The biggest problem is not that we don’t use the word, but that we don’t actually rejoice in Jesus. It doesn’t mean to be happy.”
Rejoicing is not being anything. It is doing something. It is not a noun an adjective. It is a verb!
Rejoicing-to treasure a thing, to assess its value to yourself, to reflect on its beauty and importance until your heart rests in it and tastes the sweetness of it.
We want the blessing of God “you are my child in whom I am well pleased” to be an absorbing truth that captures our heart and imagination.
How do we rejoice in the gospel message: the blessing?
Our spiritual disciplines: private prayer, corporate worship, meditation, devotion/scripture reading. Instead of prayer and devotion being all about us getting an answer from God, it is about us re-centering our life around him. We do that with communion (we will take next week), however, our daily connection with Him should be all about His love for us! These disciplines take cognitive knowledge and make it a life-shaping reality in our hearts and imaginations.
You can figure out Jesus with your head, but you need to pray Him into your heart.
This takes time. This is a process.
You have spent your whole life hearing the lies of the idol:
- Your job is your provider
- Your boss or customers are your provider
- Your spouse or mate is your source of pleasure, approval, security
- You need more money
- You need more sex
- You need the acceptance of your father
All of our life we have been programmed to think that peace and rest are found in these things. We actually rejoice in these things without even realizing it.
We to treasure them. We assess their value. We reflect on their beauty and importance and our hearts chase after their reward.
Now we are presented with an encounter with Jesus and he says, “I love you. I accept you. You are my child in whom I want to be with. Not because of anything you have done. Just because you are my creation. I forgive you!”
We rejoice in that. We dwell on that. We follow spiritual discipline so that THIS NEW TRUTH will be absorbed into our mind and heart.