HPC – You Are God’s Home 17/02/19
The Successful Life. What do you believe?
Reading John 14:23 – 27
How are you? How are you really? How are you coping in these most difficult of days?
How would you describe your life right now? Would you describe your life as a success? Are things going the way you want them to go ?
How many of you would describe Zimbabwe as your home? Does it feel like home? Do you really feel like you belong, are safe, wanted, valued – a contributor to the greater whole – to your family? Is Zimbabwe your family.
Without it being my intention, I often feel like I’m waiting for something to happen before I can really get on with life. Something has to change – maybe the new monetary policy, if that ever comes out – maybe that will be what I have been waiting for, looking for, and then I can start living again, looking to the future.
And I keep having to remind myself that, that something has already happened – and that something is Jesus Christ. Something has already changed, and He is the only thing by which I can truly start living. Jesus changed everything, even for us today. He has taken care of my past. And He is my present, and my future.
Putting Zimbabwe aside, are things going the way God wants them to go in your life? Because that is something that happens on the inside regardless of what is happening in the world in which we live. And I keep having to remind myself of that.
Zimbabwe is without doubt one of the craziest, hardest and most uncertain places in all the world in which to live – I bet you’ve figured that out by now. Please, never underestimate how much that stress can hurt you – if you let it. We are so used to, just dealing with living in Zim in any number of ways – we no longer appreciate just how stressful normal is to us. We have coping mechanisms we don’t even realize are there anymore – there so we can just push through. Keep your head down and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. NO! I have to keep reminding myself to look up, and see the beauty, see God in all that is just so amazing in this country.
And one of the most amazing things about this country, is you. Zimbabwe is the most special of people. Tough, resilient, ingenious! Zimbos are world leaders in doing the impossible, making a plan.
God wants you to know today and He is especially fond of you. He loves Zimbabwe. He is working His plan in the hearts of Zimbabwe people, even in all the chaos. He says – my peace I give to you, do not be troubled, do not be afraid.
Do do not hang your heads. Now more than ever, we need to keep our eyes on God. We need to look up, into His eyes. Close your eyes right now and see yourself looking into the eyes of Jesus! What do you see there?
Over the last number of weeks, we have been looking at what God calls a successful life!
We have seen that it all starts with what you believe! And what you are looking for!
We have been asked – do you believe you have a future in God – and, what does God want?
Last week we saw that if you are struggling with unbelief, doubt, fear – God is not disappointed in you, He is not angry. He is saying, let me help you – this is something we have to do together. He does not leave us to try and figure these things out on our own and then come to Him with our achievement or correct answer – we can not do it without Him – and it is His delight to be part of every little thing in our lives. In our belief, and even in our unbelief He is there with us and for us!
We do not have faith in our faith, as if we have to prove something to God – we have faith in God, because He has already proved everything to us. Faith is a full relationship with God that never ends. God is with you through it all – not just when you are getting it right – but most especially when you are getting it wrong.
Last week we saw that;
1 Cor 12:27 Now you are the Body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
You are the Body of Christ – there is never a time when you and I are not the Body of Christ. And as the Body of Christ, we each have our part in building God’s Kingdom.
What does success look like to God? Your Kingdom come, your Will be done – we pray it, do we really believe it?
Do you really want, before all other things, for the Kingdom of God, and for His Will to be done in your life. God’s Kingdom starts in me, in you!
We have seen that – one day we will be with God. He will make us fully complete – but until that day we have three things to do to lead us to that perfect union with God – three things for a successful life by God’s standards; trust (believe have faith) in God, hope unswervingly, and love extravagantly. (1 Cor 13 MSG).
We can not be the Body of Christ without love. We can not do the work He has given us without love.
So, what does God want?
As I was praying, asking God what He wanted to say to us this Sunday, I started thinking about Valentine’s Day, and God led me to start looking at verses in the Bible that talk about love. Of course there are all the obvious ones – but then God showed me John 14:23 – 27.
I must have read these words many times – and yet missed the most amazing thing that Jesus says.
John 14:23 If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
You are the home of God! You are home to Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit who is mentioned in the next couple of verses.
You are the home of God! Have you ever thought of yourself like that? Is it not just the most incredible thing for Jesus to say? God thinks of you as His home! There is no place He would rather be than at home with you! You are a His family. That is what God wants before any other thing, for you to be His family.
I think, so often, we think about going to be with God one day – but His desire is right now to make His home with you.
Jesus says – if anyone loves me! Anyone! Are you an anyone! This message is for everyone, it is for you. If anyone loves me, we will come and make our home with them.
Do you love Jesus? I realized in studying this scripture and testing my heart, that this is in fact a very difficult question. For me, it somehow seems easier to say – I love God, than I love Jesus? Do you love Jesus?
The word Jesus used here for love – agapao – is to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly, to be well pleased with, to be content with.
How do you feel about Jesus – is He very real and personal to you, as the God who gave up Heaven to serve you, and serve you on the Cross, to save you, to give you life and walk with you every step? Do you know this Jesus, and love Him in that He is the One you welcome, and entertain in every part of your life, are fond of, well pleased with, fully content in – do you love Him dearly?
Is the answer, yes, I do love Jesus? I think for me the answer is, I want to love Jesus, I know I should love Jesus. There are times when I truly seek God with all my heart. When I spend a lot of time with Him, in His Word, praying, listening – not because I want something from Him, but because I just want Him, to be with Him – at those times I know more that I do love Him. Other times I am so focused on life and other things, I take my eyes off God, and then when asked, do I love Jesus, I wonder if I really do love Him. But it is a good question to keep asking ourselves, because it reminds us to keep our focus on Him so that we might love Him.
Jesus say – if you love me, then you will obey my teaching. It’s like a test – if I find myself wanting to obey Him, then I know I love Him. Not obey out of fear, obey because I just want to from a joy and love in my heart.
Obey my teaching, something is lost in translation here – the KJV says “keep my Words”. “Obey my teaching” seems a little impersonal, but “keep my Words”, is intimate and very personal.
Keep – is to attend to carefully, to take care of, to guard, to observe, to protect. It’s not so much to obey as we understand obey today, as in do everything exactly as instructed through fear – but rather keep as in cherish. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. 1John – perfect love drives out all fear.
His Words are life, and if we love Jesus we will keep His Words as the most valuable and precious of all things. Obey is like a legal requirement, keep is relational. I will do things the way I know Jesus likes them because I know Him, I am in relationship with Him – I love Him.
So, what were Jesus’ Words? What were the things He said? What has He said to you? His Words to you are to be to you a treasure that you store in our heart. And so you need to spend much time, studying God’s Word, to hear what He is saying to you. It is this Spiritual nourishment by God’s Word that sustains us, keeps us fully alive as we keep them, gives us the strength to keep our heads up, even in the most difficult of times.
John 1:1 – 2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Jesus is the Word, the Word of God – Jesus and the Word are one and the same thing. Jesus tells us that if we love Him – we will not only keep His Words, we will keep Him, and He will make His home with us.
John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
God does not leave us alone in all this. And I think that’s the whole point, that we miss so often – God never leaves us alone. He gives us of Himself, to dwell in us – and He will continue to teach us, and to remind us about Jesus and His Words – His Words of love – so that we can love Him – so that we can keep Him.
Have you ever thought of yourself as the home of God? Does God belong in you, is He safe, wanted, valued? There is no place He would rather be, than at home with you.
Do you want to love Jesus.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.
Prayer – Jesus help us to love you, teach us to love you. Come home Father Son and Spirit, here you are most welcome.