Teens, if you worked hard and creatively on a school project that was special to you, and a person sabotaged your project, what would you do? From your heart, would you ask the person, "What can I do for you?" If you worked hard to create a healthy dating relationship with someone you really cared about, and a person made him or her believe a lie about you, what would you do? From the heart, would you ask the person, "What can I do for you?" If a person unjustly and unfairly created a serious problem between you and your family, what would you do? From the heart, would you ask the person, "What can I do for you?"

Adults, if you worked hard and creatively on a project at work that was special to you, and a person sabotaged your work, what would you do? From the heart, would you ask the person, "What can I do for you?" If you worked really hard to build a healthy relationship with the man or woman you loved, and a person made the man or woman you loved believe a lie about you, what would you do? From the heart, would you ask the person, "What can I do for you?" If someone outside your family unfairly and unjustly created serious problems within your family, what would you do? From the heart, would you ask the person, "What can I do for you?"

Is your answer, "Don't be ridiculous! It would be stupid to be kind and considerate to a person who caused you trouble! Anyone who causes that kind of trouble deserves all the consequences they get!"

  1. When God created this world, He gave some incredible gifts (Genesis 1, 2).
    1. God not only gave the gift of life, but He gave everything necessary to sustain life in an ideal state.
    2. Included in the gift of life was the special gift of human life.
      1. God did something very special in the gift of human life.
      2. He made men and women unique; no other form of life possessed the qualities of human life.
      3. In fact, God made the first man quite aware that he was different.
        1. The first man viewed all the animals and named them.
        2. As he did so, he realized no animal's life was like his life.
        3. After that experience, God presented Eve to Adam; her life and his life were the same, ideally suited for companionship.
        4. God designed them to perfectly meet each other's companionship needs.
        5. In their ideal state their differences perfectly complimented their needs.
      4. God gave them both another gift: an ideal relationship with Him.
        1. They associated with God intimately.
        2. Their relationship with God was without fear, anxiety, terror, or negative consequences.
        3. God was their great friend who loved them.
    3. Then the first man and woman perverted every good gift God gave.
      1. They destroyed their ideal relationship with God.
      2. They destroyed their ideal relationship with each other.
      3. God created everything to be very good.
      4. Evil, through their choice, perverted every good gift God gave in His creation.
    4. However, instead of annihilating them, God gave more.

  2. In time evil drained God's good creation of all its good (Genesis 6:1-8).
    1. People became less and less what God created people to be.
      1. The situation became so evil that there was only evil and no good.
      2. Evil so totally perverted the "good creation" God made that God's Spirit constantly struggled against people.
      3. People became so evil that they thought no good thought.
      4. Even in their unspoken motives, every intention was evil.
    2. And God was deeply grieved for two reasons.
      1. Every good gift that God gave was destroyed by evil.
      2. People were exactly the opposite of what God created them to be.
      3. That which God made good became a source of intense grief to God.
    3. It is true that people paid the consequences for being evil.
    4. It is also true that instead of annihilating humanity, God gave more.

  3. More time passed, and God selected a man named Abraham to begin God's plan to again introduce ideal good into an evil world (Genesis 12:1-5).
    1. Evidence says God's selection was not based on Abraham's goodness.
      1. Joshua 24:15 suggests that Abraham and his forefathers worshipped idols prior to God's call.
      2. After Abraham chose to follow God, he made some notable mistakes.
        1. When he perceived that he was in danger, he intentionally deceived people about his marriage to Sarah (Genesis 12:10-20).
        2. When years passed and the son God promised was not born, he asked God to accept his solution (Genesis 15:1-6).
        3. When more time passed, he accepted Sarah's solution which became a disaster (Genesis 16).
      3. Abraham certainly was not perfect, but he always renewed his trust in God after he experienced an occasion of faithlessness.
    2. Though Abraham was not a perfect man, God still did more.

  4. Much time passed, and God produced the nation of Israel from the descendants of Abraham and Isaac [the son God promised Abraham].
    1. Abraham's descendants became slaves in Egypt, not a nation (Exodus 1).
      1. God with incredible, powerful acts rescued these slaves from Egypt (Exodus 7-14).
      2. Even though God did incredible things to reveal his identity to these rescued slaves, the adults rescued from Egypt were a horrible disappointment; they refused to trust God (consider Exodus 17 and 32).
      3. Their faithlessness and sinfulness offended God so deeply that God separated Himself from the adults who left Egypt (Exodus 33:1-3).
    2. But as huge as that disappointment was, God did more.

  5. With everything God did for Israel, Israel followed the same decline into evil that people followed long before Israel existed.
    1. Israelites in the period of the judges became increasingly evil (consider Judges 17 - 21).
      1. They forgot God and God's ways.
      2. Every person did what was right in his own eyes.
    2. Israelites in the period of the kings were deeply idolatrous and offended God through fundamental expressions of faithlessness.
      1. In the united nation of Israel, David was the only bright spot (1 Samuel 8 - 1 Kings 11).
      2. In the divided nation of Israel, there were very few bright spots (1 Kings 11 - 2 Kings)
        1. In the ten tribes who broke away, not one king ever followed or directed people to worship God.
        2. In Judah, very few kings tried to lead the people back to God.
    3. In the periods the prophets were active [they spanned many periods] a forgiving God repeatedly asked Israel to return to him.
      1. In love, He tried to awaken them to the fact that they were destroying themselves.
      2. But on most occasions, they refused to listen.
      3. In most periods, they said they had no problem.
      4. They rejected God and refused to repent.
    4. Israel was a huge disappointment to God in these periods, but God did more.

  6. In spite of Israel's failures, in spite of evil's reign in the hearts of humanity, in spite of the fact that God's own people did not know Him, God still sent ideal good back into the world.
    1. God sent His own son as the ideal good (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).
      1. He sent His son to be a living, human example of what it meant to be good.
      2. And God did more.
      3. He sent His son to use his life doing good for undeserving, evil people.
      4. And God did more.
      5. He let His son die for all the evil committed by all people.
      6. And God did more.
      7. He resurrected His son from death to prove that He, God, had the power to resurrect us from our evil and to resurrect us eternally.
      8. And God did more.
    2. God promised and promises that every person who will place his or her trust in His son will be recreated, right now, to live in the good that comes only from God (Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:9-11).
      1. God does not do that because we are good.
      2. God does that because He is good.
      3. God is the source of all goodness, and the avenue to God's goodness is Jesus Christ.
    3. And even with all that, God does more. Listen:
      Romans 5:6-10 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
      Romans 8:31-34 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
      Ephesians 2:1-6 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

  7. God wants to help us.
    1. If we let him, God will help.
      1. Whatever the mistake, the failure, the addiction, or the evil, God can and will do more.
      2. Consider.
        1. With all that God did in spite of human failure and evil,
        2. With God letting His son leave home,
        3. With God letting His son experience human rejection,
        4. With God letting His son die a horrible death for us,
        5. How can we possibly think that God does not care about us?
    2. For every person who trusts, God does more.
      1. Stop predicting God's actions, and let God help.
      2. Stop doubting God's ability to help, and let God help.
      3. Stop creating obstacles for God, and start cooperating with God.

God knows when I am trying to resist evil. God knows when I am lying to myself. God knows when I am faking, just going through the motions.

If we will do what we are capable of doing (trusting, repenting, committing), God will do more.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 10 December 2000

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