THE PEACE THAT COMES WITH UNDERSTANDING HOW GOD THINKS AND REACTS
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THE PEACE THAT COMES WITH UNDERSTANDING HOW GOD THINKS AND REACTS

A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

29 MAY 1994

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Isaiah 1:2
           63:15-17
           64:8
Hosea 1:1-11
Romans 8:12-17
I Corinthians 2:14-16

When I sit down to put a service and sermon together, I try to have the theme of the day flow through the whole service in both words and music.

And in preparing this service, as I sat at my desk with my Bible and computer before me, I was contemplating all the things this particular Sunday should represent.

Today is Trinity Sunday; it is also Peace with Justice Sunday, and it is also Memorial Day Sunday.

I thought, what message does God's word have for us today that will tie all of this together?

And into my mind came 1 Corinthians 2:14-16.

14. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

15. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man.

16. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

We don't have peace and justice because we don't understand how God thinks and reacts, and act accordingly ourselves.

We celebrate Memorial Day because people in the past didn't accept the things of the Spirit of God.

It is our faith in Jesus Christ that opens us to receive the Holy Spirit, and with His instructions, we come to understand how the whole Trinity thinks and reacts.

But here in verse 16 we are reminded that we who believe have the mind of Christ.

So, if everyone in the world would have the mind of Christ, we would indeed have peace and justice everywhere.

But we don't!

Therefore, as Christians, our task is to constantly seek to better understand how God thinks and reacts in every situation, so that we can do the same as an example to the world around us.

Listen to what we are told in Isaiah 1:2.

2. Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth;

For the Lord speaks,

"Sons I have reared and brought up,

But they have revolted against Me.

If we are going to understand the ways of God, we must first realize that He considers us all to be sons and daughters, not just those who believe, but everyone else, too.

That doesn't mean, however, that we are all going to heaven, for many have revolted against Him and gone their own way into destruction.

And because so many have strayed, the Lord has allowed us to suffer in the mess we have made of His world.

Listen to what Isaiah says from his own heart and soul as he surveys Israel, and in his remorse cries out to God (Isaiah 63:15-17).

15. Look down from heaven, and see from Thy holy and glorious habitation;

Where are Thy zeal and Thy mighty deeds?

The stirrings of Thy heart and Thy compassion are restrained toward me.

16. For Thou art our Father, though Abraham does not know us,

And Israel does not recognize us.

Thou, O Lord, art our Father,

Our Redeemer from of old is Thy name.

17. Why, O Lord, dost Thou cause us to stray from Thy ways,

And harden our heart from fearing Thee?

Return for the sake of Thy servants, the tribes of Thy heritage.

Isaiah is feeling the pain and suffering of being rejected by God, even though he really isn't; but he feels this way because he is among those who have rejected God and are suffering for it.

He cries out and says that even Abraham and Israel don't recognize their own offspring, for they have drifted so far away from their beginnings.

But Isaiah continues to cry out that the Lord is our Father and Redeemer.

He's asking the Lord, "Why are You rejecting us?"

But then Isaiah asks,

Why, O Lord, dost Thou cause us to stray from Thy ways,

And harden our heart from fearing Thee?

Why does the Lord do this?

Our passage from 1 Corinthians tells us part of the answer: Because the people were worldly and didn't accept the things of the Spirit of God.

They thought these things were foolishness, and thus couldn't understand them.

In essence, because the people rejected God, He allowed them to live in their worldly ways, thus seemingly rejecting them; but as we know, only until they return to Him and submit to His ways.

And that is exactly what our preparation verse for this morning tells us (Isaiah 64:8).

8. But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father,

We are the clay, and Thou our potter;

And all of us are the work of Thy hand.

In the beginning, God made us to be His sons and daughters, but we decided we could make ourselves better.

In the process, we kill each other because we don't like the way others have made themselves, or in some cases, the way God has made them.

And then, we glorify the killing and those who have died, and forget to repent for our warring madness.

Unless we are prepared to let the Lord mold us, there will never be true peace and justice.

In the first 11 verses of Hosea, we see how hard the Lord tries to bring us back.

As we look at these verses, note carefully how the Lord feels, for He very clearly shows His feelings.

1. The word of the Lord which came to Hosea the son of Beeri, during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

2. When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry, and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the Lord."

3. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

4. And the Lord said to him, "Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.

5. "And it will come about on that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."

6. Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to him, "Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I should ever forgive them.

7. "But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses, or horsemen."

8. When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son.

9. And the Lord said, "Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God."

10. Yet the number of the sons of Israel

Will be like the sand of the sea,

Which cannot be measured or numbered;

And it will come about that, in the place

Where it is said to them,

“You are not My people,”

It will be said to them,

"You are the sons of the living God."

11. And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together,

And they will appoint for themselves one leader,

And they will go up from the land,

For great will be the day of Jezreel.

The people of Israel had sold themselves to worldly living, much in the same way that harlots sell themselves.

So the Lord tells Hosea to be as God before the people, by marrying a harlot, that the people might come to realize that God will again take them back if they turn from their evil ways.

But as we are told in verse 7, He will not deliver them with the tools of war.

If we look at verse 4, we see that the Lord tells Hosea to name his first child Jezreel, for there the Lord will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.

And again, in verse 6 He tells Hosea to name his next child Lo-ruhamah, for He will no longer have compassion on Israel, or forgive them.

But in verse 7, he says He still has compassion for Judah, for they have not turned away completely.

And then in verse 9 the Lord tells Hosea to name his third child Lo-ammi, for He no longer considers the Israelites His people.

In verses 10 and 11, after all of this anger and rejection, the Lord shows forth His true love and compassion for those who return to Him, no matter what they may have done in the past.

If we are willing, we can have the peace and justice the Lord promises, but not by going to war.

Violence only produces more violence, and never brings about lasting peace and justice.

Now let's take a look at what we are to do, and what happens when we return to the Lord, repenting and seeking to be molded into His way (Romans 8:12-17).

12. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--

13. for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

This ties right back to our opening 1 Corinthians verses.

If we live a worldly life, we think like the world and cannot understand the things of the Spirit.

But once we become transformed by faith in Jesus Christ, we put to death the deeds of the body.

14. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

And we can also say daughters of God, for all who believe are grafted back into the vine, or as the next verse tells us, we are adopted as sons and daughters of God.

15. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

16. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

17. and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.

I hope and pray that all of us understand how great a promise this is, for as joint heirs with Jesus Christ, we receive all that is given to Him, except the first Sonship of being God.

Live in the power of the whole Trinity, seeking not only peace and justice here on earth, but looking forward to that day of eternal peace in heaven.

Let us pray!

Amen.

Your Comments are welcome

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