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Sermon – 5/11/03 –
His Word, His Will - Isaiah 66:1-2

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His Word, His Will

Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool; where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?  For all those things My hand has made all those things exist, says the Lord.  But on this one I will look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word’” (Isaiah 66:1-2)

Just a short time ago, we were privileged to be a part of another Kairos ministry inside the razor-wire of a federal prison.  Men’s and Women’s weekends took place simultaneously, each lasting from Thursday to Sunday evenings, in the chapels of the women’s “camp” and in the men’s prison.  It was an honor to be a part of the lives of people who had lost - everything.

But for awhile, it did not look like I would be allowed in with the ministry team.  On Tuesday, it was discovered that the “Beckham” on the approved list for the prison was actually my wife.  The prison official had assured Rick the “Rector” (weekend lay director) that all on the “list” were OK, but with two days to go, it was discovered that “Genevieve” is not in fact “Ron.”

I initially prayed “Thy will be done,” understanding that God’s decisions are better than mine.  I also completed a missing form and faxed it to the prison as requested.  Then it was sent again the next day, because the first one disappeared.  Then more prayer, this time asking for entry, for that now seemed to be the “right” prayer – the one in His will.

I rode to Victorville with my friend Don on Thursday, understanding that I would travel right back to Long Beach, if not allowed entrance.  On our arrival, I walked toward Rick the Rector.  I thought from his lack of expression that I was “out.” But he smiled and said, “You’re on the list.”  “Last minute” approvals at prisons typically don’t happen.  It was God’s will.

It was now time to really prepare for the weekend!  Oh yes, the clergy schedule had been done, emailed, and then re-done and sent again.  The “talks” had been roughed-out.  But all this was comparatively minor.  There was a much deeper need for the prisoners.  They must meet God through Jesus and receive His Spirit.  Only the Lord can fill their hearts with love enough to sustain them during years of confinement.  It is important to see that He does not need our efforts at all.  He asks the question, “where is the house you will build for Me?” (Isaiah 66:1).  Those in various kinds of prisons need God’s Word and His will, not simply our well-meant efforts.

With that in mind, I looked again at the meditations, homilies and talks to be given, which had to contain more than just ideas.  They must hear of Him, for His Word is what they need.  God had more in mind than I had previously seen.  With something like a holy fear, all was done again, for only He could reach the need.  All on the team were praying for this weekend.

And He did reach the prisoners.  At one point during the weekend, we asked the participating inmates to raise their hands if they loved the Lord and had received Him.  Most raised their hands, but some did not.  At the end of the weekend, all of them, in holy fear and the joy of the Lord, expressed trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In our Scripture for today, we learn that we can do nothing for God.  He has done it all.  He created you and me.  Whatever brains or abilities we have, He gave to us.  He offers us the opportunity to be “born again” in Christ Jesus (John 3:3, 7) “of the Spirit” (John 3:8).  We are re-created in Him.  We merely receive - what could we possibly do for God?  As it says in “our” Scripture for today: “on this one I will look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word’” (Isaiah 66:1-2).  What we can’t do, He CAN! – He leads; our job is to listen and follow.

The reason we respond to Him, is not because we have to.  When you consider the cross and the resurrection, what Jesus Christ has done for you and me; it makes sense to shout "Hallelujah," dance for joy, and follow Him - forever.  Our hearts become filled with reverence as we find the joy of the Lord, just like David before us.  Acts 4:25-26 attributed Psalm 2 to David, who advised, “Worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11), and he also said, “How blessed (happy) are all who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 2:12).  Paul advised the church to “rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).  Others will see Him in us and will want Him, too.  Just FOLLOW the Lord!

Jesus lived His life on this earth in response to the Father’s will.  He laid aside His abilities and “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient, to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:6-8).  Jesus, the Son of God, offered Himself completely, utterly trusting in the very same Holy Spirit who is offered to you and me.  His will is that you listen and respond – to Him.

Accepting Jesus Christ, we are given His Spirit, and through Him, the Word of God is alive in us.  We previously responded to mere human logic, but we now follow the Spirit of the living God.  We understand His will through His Word, in the power of His Spirit.

I notice a kind of "fear" that accompanies what we call a "witness," or when a "teaching" is given, or simply in the clean-up after a church service, or in doing ANYTHING the Lord would have us do.  We should act and speak in holy fear and love, delighting that the Lord has led us to act for His kingdom.  When you speak, it isn't you the world longs for, but instead the will of God, expressed through the Word of God.  Pray that you will hear Him and give out HIS Word; in the power and love of HIS Spirit.

You say you don't hear the Lord?  Chuck Boucher, a team member during the prison weekend, answered that concern.  He said, "When we pray, we’re talking to Him; when you read God’s Word, guess who’s talking to you?"  God always speaks.  It’s simply that many don’t listen.

What can you do for God?  Be “poor and of a contrite spirit, and... tremble at (His) word” (Isaiah 66:1-2).  As Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29).  Just trust.  Look to Him.  You will understand His Word and see His will.

Father, we do “tremble” at Your Presence.  There is a holy fear in representing You to others.  Not because we are afraid of You, but because we reverence You.  We want to serve You honestly, with everything we’ve got, in Your will.  Please show us the way, that we may trust in You, sharing YOUR Word and not our own.  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)

 

 
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