Friday Study Ministries- The First Church on the Internet




Friday Study Ministries
 
 
 
 
 

Go to Home Page

Sermon – 7/20/03
The Seeker - Isaiah 65:1

Email
Listen to Sermon


The Seeker

I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am’ to a nation that was not called by My Name” (Isaiah 65:1)

On the day after our return from Washington, DC and New York, it was a surprise when my mother suddenly needed to go back to St. Mary’s Hospital.  We were having lunch with her, when the out-patient nurse from St. Mary’s suddenly appeared, asked several questions, and my Mom volunteered that she had two or three “falls” in the previous few days.  Off we went, back to the hospital.

During a few hours in the Emergency Room before my Mother’s admittance, a tall black woman with blonde hair was pacing up-and-down the hallway, periodically demanding, “Get me out of here,” along with asking, “Why are they taking so long?”  The staff was annoyed, but exhibited patience, and finally a lady came out and announced, “All right, Susan, you’ve got what you want, it’s time to go; you can leave now!”  Susan became upset again – For whatever combination of reasons, she didn’t want to leave.  “No, it’s not time yet”, was her response.  In her fear, Susan was trying to control – everything!

Susan wanted what she wanted, preferring that things be HER way.  Not unlike Susan, MANY people would like to complain to God about what’s happening (if they knew how to talk to Him), and most would still be upset if things were different.

In recent years, lots of surprises have filled my life.  I did not expect to be married, or be ordained and become a pastor, or have an internet ministry (www.FridayStudy.org -www.firstchurchontheneg.org and www.BlessedHands.org) that would reach 40,000 a month in 50-countries.  It was a surprise to become chaplain of the Agent Orange Widows Awareness Coalition (www.AOWAC.org) and visit congressional offices in Washington, DC, on behalf of cancer patients, as we did a few weeks ago.

Actually, thinking back over many years, I did not even EXPECT to ever trust in Jesus Christ in the first place.  I was remembering all that just the other day, during a discussion with a young man who was somewhat embarrassed to have the first name of “Christian”, because he is an aggressive atheist like I once was.  I was among “those who did not ask” (for God) or “seek Him” as in today’s Scripture.  In my case, God, as He often does with people, said “Here I am” to someone (me) who did not even want Him.

The 1960’s and ‘70’s were times when many denied reality and professed atheism, which is a philosophy for those who simply do not want God.  The word “denial” is appropriate, for God certainly does exist and it is necessary to pretend He does not, in order to maintain such ideas.  In Romans 1:18, God the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, observed the “ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”, noting our tendency to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” – even to ourselves.  During the 60’s, I was like a child in a pretend world, and worse, I wanted others to “pretend” with me.  “Christian” the atheist, seems to be much the same.

Somewhere down inside, we all know that God is true and finally, after a number of years, I could no longer maintain the lie of atheism. Then I incredibly turned to another lie; that of “Eastern” religions, where the real God is ignored in favor of a false system that is worse than useless, because it leads us away from the truth.  Do you want the truth? – Jesus IS the truth! (John 14:6).

It was in a “Hindu” monastery that God “spoke” to my heart, directing me to His Son, Jesus Christ.  When I had no interest in Him, He was reaching out to me.  My heart aches for the man named “Christian,” for in his angry isolation, he reminds me of me, thirty years ago.  I pray that Christian and those like him will hear the Lord.

God wants you to be His.  There is not some “elite” group that God likes better than other people, for in fact, He is “Not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  God says, “Here I am” to those who do not want Him, and He has revealed something of Himself to all who have ever lived.  Salvation is not based on our intelligence, favorable situation of birth or any outward circumstance.  Abraham knew very little about God, but he placed his faith in what (in Who) he knew, becoming “the father of (the model for) all those who believe” (Romans 4:11).

The natural state of humanity is actually indifference to the God who created us and then loved us enough to die in our place; and there’s a reason we are that way: Like Susan at St. Mary’s Hospital, and “Christian” the atheist, we want to run things OUR way.  People are so insistent on personal autonomy, the “freedom to choose” (a phrase we often hear), that multitudes deny reality just to get their own way.

Down deep inside, we all know that God is real.  We understand that He expects us to give up our failed ideas and utterly place our trust in Him.  It isn’t that we must be “clever” and find Him; because it actually is the Lord who is continually revealing Himself to us.  We are merely to accept Him, who has delivered us from sin and death.  He knows Who and what we need and we must eventually breathe “yes” to Him, or face an eternal debt that can never be satisfied.

God is real, and we don’t change that by denying His existence.  Someone once said, “The atheist can’t find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a police officer.”  And the Scripture, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) is especially interesting: While we did not like God or want Him or care about Him in any way, Jesus Christ died for you and me.  God is patiently wooing us with His love, whispering, “Here I am,” even to those who aren’t interested at all.  He did it with me, and if you are like I was, He’s doing the same for you.  Let’s pray:

Father, we understand that Your Hand of Mercy is reaching out to us right now.  To at least some extent, we have all rejected You, even though we know You are true.  Lord, I confess my sin of denying You, and I trust in You now.  Thank You, Lord, for saying “Here I am,” and reaching out to me.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.


Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

www.FridayStudy.org
www.FirstChurchontheNet.org
www.BlessedHands.org
E-mail: Ron@FridayStudy.org
Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

 

Back To the Weekly Bulletin