Storeroom Sermons of David Chadwell
All of us tend to exaggerate our loveableness. First, we exaggerate our personal
loveableness by asking what each of us considers a rhetorical question: "Why
shouldn't anyone love a person like me?" We tend to think "everyone should love
a person like me!" If I love me, why shouldn't you love me?
Second, we exaggerate our personal loveableness by citing all our good qualities: "I am this, and I am that; I do this, and I do that; this person is blessed by me, and that person is blessed by me." Most of us tend to have a very good opinion of ourselves! If I convince you to look at only my good qualities, deeds, and characteristics, I can make you see a pretty good person.
Third, we exaggerate our personal loveableness by citing all the good things we do. "Look at all the good organizations I am a member of! Look at all the good things I do in those organizations! Look what I did for him! Look at the ways I helped her! Look at what I did for that family! Look at how much I give and what I give to!"
By doing those things, I can control the way you see me and all my goodness. Inevitably (if I succeed in determining the way you look at me), when someone else is in conflict with me, you say, "I do not see how anyone could have problems with (him or her). (He or she) is such a nice person and does so much good to so many!"
Do something (honestly with yourself) that likely will make all of us feel very uncomfortable. Honestly list all your worst characteristics (in your mind). Honestly admit to yourself all your weaknesses. Honestly confess to yourself all your flaws. Honestly admit how many times your wife or husband, your children, and your friends had to forgive you last month. Honestly admit to yourself your biggest goofs. Honestly admit to yourself what others would see if they saw you at your worst.
After doing all those things, ask yourself why should anyone love you?
Listen or read with me Ephesians 2:1-10: 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, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
The object of Christian obedience is not and never has been earning anything.
The idea that humans can place God in any form of obligation through any human
act fails to deal with the reality of divine nature.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
God is God--He can do what He chooses to do. God does not have to consult with us or depend on us in any divine act He chooses to take. God does not need us. We need God. A basic distinction between an idol and the living God is the independence of the living God. An idol has to depend on a human act for everything--it can do nothing independently. However, the living God is independent--He cares for Himself. We depend on Him for existence--He does not depend on us. That is Paul's point in Athens to idol worshippers in Acts 17:24, 25 and 28, 29.
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, "For we also are His children." Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.
Christians obey God to express appreciation for what God has done and continues to do for them in Christ. Christian obedience says, "Thank you," to God. It is an expression of faith for those in Christ. It is not some form of hell insurance. If obedience is viewed as a means to obligate God, it is horribly misguided. Nor is obedience a way of getting God to act favorably toward us without our having to place trust in God.
Before we ever loved God, God loved us (Romans 5:8). There are two ways we show God our love for Him in what He did. First is by accepting Jesus as the Christ. Second is by obeying God as His children.
How do you express your love and appreciation for God in all He has done and does for you?
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