IT'S RAINING, IT'S POURING! PUT AWAY YOUR UMBRELLA!

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IT'S RAINING, IT'S POURING!
PUT AWAY YOUR UMBRELLA!

A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
AND
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

3 JUNE 1990

By Frank L. Hoffman

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Isaiah 43:25-28,
          44:1-8
Joel 2:28
John 7:37-39
1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Preparation Verse: (Joel 2:28)

“And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

Youth Story:

Did you see the title of today's sermon?

“It's Raining, It's Pouring! Put Away Your Umbrella!”

That doesn't make any sense, does it?

What about when you take a shower?

Don't you think it would be a good idea to use an umbrella there?

Just think about it. If we are careful, we wouldn't even have to get undressed; and when the shower was over, we would just get out, and we would already be dry.

Don't you think that's a good idea?

But maybe that's not such a good idea; for after a little while, we would begin to stink.

Then why do we want to put up our umbrellas when it's raining?

Think of all the showers we could save.

When it rains, we could go out and soap ourselves up, and let the rain rinse the soap off, right?

That's not such a good idea either, is it?

But we act just as silly sometimes with God.

We put our umbrellas up when they should be down, and we leave them down when they should be up.

Do you remember our preparation Bible verse for this morning from Joel 2:28?

28. "And it will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions."

This is the time when our umbrella should be down, but we all too often want to put it up.

Sometimes God speaks to us in very simple ways. He tells us what is right, and He tells us what is wrong; and inside we know the difference, don't we?

This is like being in a shower. God wants to wash away the dirt of what is wrong and clean up what is right.

But sometimes we don't want to hear this voice of God through the Holy Spirit, so instead of picking up a bar of soap and getting into the shower, and getting clean, we pretend we are taking a shower, but we really have put up our umbrellas, because we want to do what we know to be wrong or do something against God's will.

When we do this, we are not fooling God. We are only making ourselves foolish in the eyes of God, for He knows the truth.

Let the rain of the Holy Spirit drench you through and through and wash you whiter than snow.

Hymn: Whiter Than Snow.

Homily:

If we are honest with ourselves, when we put up our umbrellas to prevent the rain of the Holy Spirit from falling upon us, we also find that there is something missing from our lives.

This feeling manifests itself in several ways:

We are dissatisfied with something, and can't really put a finger on it and correct it.

We are lonely or unhappy and don't know what to do about it.

It's as though we are really thirsty but, instead, we eat in order to try to satisfy ourselves.

What really is missing in all of these times is the Holy Spirit.

Listen to John 7:37-39, as Jesus explains about this thirst.

Scripture Reading: John 7:37-39.

37. Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.

38. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.' "

39. But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Homily:

The last day that is being referred to here is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, which occurs between the 15th and 23rd days of the seventh month, our September - October period.

And as part of this celebration, for the first seven days of this feast, water was carried from the Pool of Siloam and poured into the basin before the altar of burnt offering; but on the eighth day, it was not brought.

The water that was brought was to symbolize the water that flowed from the rock in the desert where Israel dwelt in tents.

Jesus was saying a startling thing to the people, for it was the 8th day, when no water was brought; and He was saying to them: Come to Me for living water that leads to everlasting life.

He was also encouraging them to drink of it, for once they drank of it, it would continue to flow from them like rivers.

And from the first Pentecost until now, and until the Lord calls the Church home, this living water from the Holy Spirit has been and will be poured out upon and into every believer.

We are not true believers until we have the faith to enter into and receive this outpouring without our umbrellas.

Israel and many of us today fail to recognize who and what it is that Jesus was referring to.

Let's remind ourselves by looking at 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.

1. For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

2. and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

3. and all ate the same spiritual food;

4. and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

Homily:

Jesus was letting the people know that He was this rock from which the living waters flowed; and if they drank of Him and of the Holy Spirit who was to be poured out after His Ascension, then they would have everlasting life.

This happens only when we put away our umbrellas.

The Holy Spirit sensitizes us to the presence of God and to all of His creation, so that we feel its pain and suffering and do everything we can to help end it; and He witnesses to us of Jesus Christ.

So, when we come to that point in our lives when we are willing to put away our umbrellas, and allow the Holy Spirit to rain upon and into us, we will also find that our lives have been changed.

We no longer want to participate in anything, or eat anything, or wear anything that is the product of pain and suffering; we desire to be the peacemaking children of God that we are call to be.

Unfortunately, sometimes we, who have received of the Holy Spirit and begin to see with new eyes, once again put up our umbrellas.

We do this because we don't trust God.

We do this because we don't want to give up something we think we still want.

We do this because of fear – fear that comes because we don't trust God enough to replace all that is washed away with the good things that will give us far more joy than anything we were afraid to lose.

Don't be afraid to be rained upon.

Don't be afraid to let the Holy Spirit sensitize you to the glory of God, and the whole of His creation.

Don't be afraid to become a truly sensitive person and to love as Jesus loves us.

Listen to how the Lord speaks through Isaiah of this cleansing action of the Holy Spirit and the results. Let's begin with Isaiah 43:25-28.

Scripture Reading and Homily: Isaiah 43:25-28.

25. "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.

The Lord is telling us to put away our umbrellas and let Him clean away all of the sins in our lives.

He is saying that He will do this not just for us, but for His sake as well; for once we are clean, we will truly glorify God.

And when this happens, the Lord tells us that He will no longer remember our sins.

26. "Put Me in remembrance; let us argue our case together,
State your cause, that you may be proved right.

Quit fussing and fuming about the conditions in our lives, and quit speculating about what God will and will not do.

Just put God in remembrance, discuss the matter with Him, and He will respond.

And if you think you are in the right and in God's will, then so state it; and God will redirect you or will prove you right.

27. "Your first forefather sinned,
And your spokesmen have transgressed against Me.

Each and every one of us has sinned, for we are all descended from Adam.

And so have those who are our leaders and who are behind our pulpits.

So in God's eyes, we are no better or worse than these; therefore we are urged to go directly to God with our own petitions, for those who lead us may not all truly represent us and, in fact, may be transgressing against God.

28. "So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary;
And I will consign Jacob to the ban, and Israel to revilement.

God looks upon religious leaders with greater judgment, for they are responsible for the souls of those in their care.

Seek the Lord yourselves without your umbrellas, and then in the power of the Holy Spirit discern those who are of God from those who are not.

And then see the results as we continue with our reading from Isaiah 44:1-5.

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 44:1-5.

1. "But now listen, O Jacob, My servant;
And Israel whom I have chosen.

2. Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you,
'Do not fear, O Jacob My servant;
And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

3. 'For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring,
And My blessing on your descendants;

4. And they will spring up among the grass
Like poplars by streams of water.'

5. "This one will say, 'I am the Lord's;
And that one will call on the name of Jacob;
And another will write on his hand, 'Belonging to the Lord,'
And will name Israel's name with honor.

Homily:

The name Jacob in these verses not only represents his descendants but, more accurately, those who, like Jacob, were deceivers in their younger years but eventually came to belong to the Lord.

And the names Israel and Jeshurun are the upright ones who have changed from being Jacobs to being followers of God.

Just like our churches today that are filled with both those who truly believe and others who don't, God’s promises are offered to both.

Those who receive of the Holy Spirit will lovingly proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ to everyone, and will even call upon the deceivers to repent.

Christians are not to be slow in their growth with God, as so many of us are. We are to be bold in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to grow like a poplar tree, 4 to 6 feet per year, which is much faster than most other trees.

And in the process, we should not be afraid; for the Lord is with us.

When we do this, we will hear Him speak forth as in Isaiah 44:6-8.

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 44:6-8.

6. "Thus says the Lord, the king of Israel
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts;
'I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.

7. 'And who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it;
Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,
From the time that I established the ancient nation.
And let them declare to them the things that are coming
And the events that are going to take place.

8. 'Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are my witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.' "

Homily:

If we live in the comfort and assurance of the Holy Spirit, we will not have fear, for the love of God within us will overcome it.

And God will put to shame and silence all those who think they are something in their own right, for we are all created by Him, and no one is able to instruct God.

There is no other source of the living waters of eternal life than the Lord Jesus Christ, our Rock and our Redeemer.

Just put away your umbrellas and let the sweet, sweet Spirit rain upon you.

Amen.

Your Comments are welcome

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