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LEARNING TO ENJOY YOUR SALVATION
Intro: A Hindu merchant in India once asked a missionary, What do you put on your face to make it shine?
With surprise the man of God answered, I don't put anything on it!
His questioner began to lose patience and said emphatically, Yes, you do! All of you who believe in Jesus seem to have it. I've seen it in the towns of Agra and Surat, and even in the city of Bombay.
Suddenly the Christian understood, and his face glowed even more as he said, Now I know what you mean, and I will tell you the secret. It's not something we put on from the outside but something that comes from within. It's the reflection of the light of God in our hearts.
Far too many believers lack the shine of joy on their faces. So many of us seem to believe that to be truly spiritual, one must wear a sad expression and be gloomy, solemn and pitiful. For some reason, we equate frowns with spirituality. Many allow the troubles of life, the insensitivity of other people and personal misunderstandings to undermine their joy. It seems that many have forgotten what God has done for them. Today, I want to discuss the issue of Learning To Enjoy Your Salvation.
These verses have a primary interpretation to the nation of Israel. God is promising Israel that He will sustain them, deliver them from their captivity and ultimately gather them together in His millennial Kingdom. Even though these verses were written for them, there is still tremendous application here for you and me. In these verses, we encounter certain reminders that are designed to teach us Learning To Enjoy Our Salvation. Lets take a few minutes to consider these precious reminders.
You can enjoy your salvation because you have:
I. v. 1, 3-4 WE ARE REMINDED BY OUR PASTS
A. Most of us would just as soon forget our pasts. None of them are anything to brag about! However, it is the very past that we wish we could forget that makes the present so wonderful. (Ill. The Context – God reminds Israel of what He has done for them, Ill. v. 3-4!)
Ill. Thank God for His love for us! He says that He vies us as precious. This word means, to be esteemed, the hold as very valuable. We were of such value that He gave His Son to redeemed us from our sins, John 3:16.
B. Notice 3 great ministries God has performed for every believer in the past.
1. v. 1 Redemption – I have redeemed thee – Ill. The price He paid for Israel!
Ill. The great price the Lord paid to save our souls – Rev. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:18-19.) Ill. We are save because 2,000 years before we were even born, the Lord Jesus willingly died to save our souls. And, when we came to Him by faith, He was willing to receive us just as we were and through pure grace forgive us and save us.
2. v. 1 Renewal – I have called thee by thy name - When God says He called them by their name it implies an intimate knowledge of who they were. It also implies that He knows what they are now! When they became His, He changed their name because He had changed their character.
Ill. The same is true with us. When we came to Him, we experienced a renewal, 2 Cor. 5:17; John 3:3, 7.
Ill. Mark 11:1-3. The Lord changes everything He touches! (Ill. Lepers, the blind, the deaf, the dead, etc.) He takes what we give Him and when He gives it back, it is far better than it was when He got it.
· Give Him your crabapple and He will give you back a golden delicious.
· Give Him your acorn and He will give you back a mighty oak.
· Give Him an Abram, a lost pagan, and He will give you back an Abraham, a mighty man of faith.
· Give Him your Jacob, a schemer and a trickster, and He will give you back an Israel, a Prince of God.
· Give Him your Saul of Tarsus, a mean, cruel man, and He will give you back a Paul, a mighty Apostle of God.
· Give Him you Simon, a weak, vacillating man, and He will give you back a Peter, a rock for Jesus.
· Give Him your broken, sin-scarred life and He will give you back a new start, a new life and a home in Heaven! Ill. What we were called – lost, children of the devil, sinners, the wicked, the children of wrath, the damned. Ill. What we are called now – Saints, Children of God, The Redeemed, Saved, Citizens of Heaven, etc. When we think of what we were and what Jesus has made us, it ought to cause us to enjoy our salvation!
3. v. 1 Reception – Thou art mine - God reminds the Israelites that He has taken possession of them and they are His alone.
Ill. When we came to Jesus, we were received just as we were, John 6:37! At the very moment of salvation, Jesus took possession of our lives and now, we belong to Him – 1 Cor. 6:20. By the way, nothing can ever change that status – 2 Tim. 2:14, Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
C. When we take a moment and look back at where He brought us from, it should encourage us and give us great joy in our salvation. (Ill. This may be why Isaiah reminds us to look to the pit from which we were dug – Isa. 51:1.) (Ill. Eph. 2:1-4; 11-13)
I. We Are Reminded By Our Pasts
II. v. 2 WE ARE REMINDED BY HIS PROVISIONS
A. In this verse, God reminds the Israelites that He has met their need since day one and that He has pledged Himself to continue to do just that.
Ill. These circumstances reference famous events in the history of the nation when God intervened and provided their need.
1. Pass through the waters – The Red Sea – Ex. 14
2. Pass through the river – The crossing of the Jordan – Deut. 4
3. Walk through the fire – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – Daniel 3.
B. What does this mean for us? Just that God has not changed! What He did for Israel, He can be counted on to do for you and me! After all, He is no respecter of persons – Eph. 6:9.
C. There is no possible way that God will fail to fulfill His promises to you. As you face the storms, walk through the valleys, endure the dark nights of life, remember that He is the same God now as He was then and He will never fail you! He will, meet every need you have for His own glory – Phil. 4:19; Matt. 6:33; Psa. 37:25.
D. There are several reason why we can count on God to supply us.
1. He is Able – Eph. 3:20 (Ill. His great exploits in the past –
a. In clothing Israel in the wilderness – Deut. 29:5
b. In feeding Israel Manna in the wilderness – Ex. 16 (Ill. There daily provision was approximately 240 boxcar loads of Manna per day!
c. In feeding the widow of Zarephath and Elijah for 3 ½ years – 1 Kings 17:10-17.
d. In feeding the 5,000 – John 6
e. In doing the same kind of things more times that we can even begin to mention!
2. He is Willing – Luke 12:32 – God wants to meet your need more that you want Him to! (Ill. His great promise – Matt. 6:25-33)
3. He is Faithful To His Word – 2 Cor. 1:20; Heb. 6:18; Rom. 4:21.
4. He Is Always Near – (Ill. v. 2; 5 – Ill. He isnt just going to be there; He is there, all the time! Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5.
E. Whatever the need, God stands ready, willing and able to take care of that situation. We should be able to enjoy our salvation and we can when we learn to leave the worrying to Him – Phil. 4:6-7!
F. Note what the Lord says in verse 2. When thou passest through and when thou walkest through. These two phrases remind us that the trials, battles and problems of this life are temporary. One day, they will all pass away and trouble the saints of God no more, Rev. 21:4!
I. We Are Reminded By Our Pasts
II. We Are Reminded By His Provision
III. v. 5-7 WE ARE REMINDED BY HIS PROMISES
A. In these verses, God reminds His people that they have a bright future. He promises to gather them together and bring them back to their promised land. In the millennium this will become a reality. Israel will again rest in peace and he chosen people of God will occupy all that is theirs. What a day that will be for them.
B. While these verses speak primarily to Israel, again, there is application for you and me. We too live under the hope of His promises.
1. There will be a Gathering – 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; John 14:1-3. One day, Jesus will return in the clouds and receive His people unto Himself.
(Ill. That crowd that listened to Harold Camping! What fools! Mistaken since no man knows the hour – Mt. 24:36.)
One day, a day known only in the omniscience of Almighty God, Jesus is going to come again and all His people will be leaving this world to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. (Ill. In light of His coming, what are we to do?
a. Be Ready – Matt. 24:44
b. Be Looking – Luke 12:37; 2 Tim. 4:8; Titus 2:14
c. Be Pure – 1 John 3:3
d. Be Telling – Mark. 16:15
2. There Will Be Glory – Verse 7 reminds us that Gods purpose in the creation of man and again in his redemption is to bring glory to Himself. However, one of the greatest ways that God will ever bring glory to Himself is by bringing us to glory!
a. We Are Heaven Bound – John 14:3; Rev. 21:4
b. We Are To Be Glorified – 1 John 3:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:53. (Ill. Heaven is a city said to be transparent in its appearance – Rev. 21:11, 18-23. Imagine that city with all those multi-colored stones and materials with the glory of the Father and the Son shining through it. Then, add to that the same brilliance bursting forth from the glorified bodies of the redeemed! Truly, God will glorify Himself in us!)
c. We Shall See Him And Be With Him Forever – Ill. The Atmosphere of that city. Our world is a world of trials, depressions and anxieties. Heaven, however, will be a place of endless praise and ceaseless worship of a worthy God. (Ill. Rev. 4:2-11) (Ill. What will Heaven be like? Notice the 24 elders – Rev. 5:8, 14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4. Heaven will be about the praise and worship of the King!
C. Are you ready for this promise to become a reality? I hope so, because it will not be long now.
Conc: Lets think back over what we have heard today.
1. God saved us in the past.
2. God provides for us in the present.
3. God has a beautiful plan for us in the future.
With these thoughts in mind, dont you think we have the right to enjoy our salvation?
I certainly do!
When I look behind me, around me and ahead of me, I see many reasons for joy in the Christian life.
So, lets get on with the business of enjoying this wonderful thing called salvation that God has so graciously given to us.
If you are saved, you have one reason for praise, worship, joy and rejoicing that can never be taken away from you, Luke 10:20.
Are you enjoying your salvation today?