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Sermon 5/9/10
Psalm 90:1-2 - Everlasting

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Everlasting

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God” (Psalm 90:1-2)

Thousands of years ago, God made a “covenant,” a contract with humanity as represented by the nation Israel.  He spoke words through the prophets including, "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people…" (Exodus 19:5). The people of Israel thought that such promises were for them only, which made the Gentiles, other nations, jealous.  Paul the Apostle later noted the feelings of apparent outsiders to the promise of God, saying: “At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12). 

Then he continued, “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).  No one is forgotten in all of this, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility…” We are “reconciled,” as he said, becoming “one body through the cross” (Ephesians 2:14-16).  We are offered peace with God and with one another through Christ.

We have been given this covenant by God - that the barriers between differing groups of people and between God and humanity are ended through the cross.  We have been given free access to heaven and we can receive the love of God.  The promises from the Lord to the people of this earth are yours in Jesus Christ.

As we have continued our look this year into the character, the nature of God, we have seen that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, utterly good, and infinitely more.  He knows our thoughts, our words and our deeds, and He rewards us anyway; not because of our cleverness or physical strength, but through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  It isn't our mental abilities that will please the Lord, and it isn’t about our physical attributes, givenby God through birth.  It’s about FAITH in the Lord, HOPE in His return to rescue us and LOVE, not only for Him, but we can also love one another.

To have the love of God in us is our greatest need.  Paul the Apostle said, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing…” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

We are commanded to love (John 13:34-35), but like humanity’s failure to keep the 613 or so commandments of the Old Testament, our love is limited.  We are to care for one another, receive strangers, even love our enemies in the Name of God.  But the reality is that if someone runs off with our spouse, steals our money, receives the inheritance we thought we deserved or gets the job we wanted, “love” may be gone. Paul complained about his own weakness in relation to the law, finding he could not please the Lord through his own efforts. He said: “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hateI agree with the law that it is goodI have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Romans 7:15-18 & context). We cannot sustain what is needed, even love, in our own strength.

Paul shouted, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” But he continued, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!... There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ JesusGod has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not dosending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sinin order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit…” (Romans 7:24-8:4).

The faith, the hope and the love that is within the people of God is really HIS love is us.  This is the “mystery hidden for ages and generationsbut now revealed to His saintswhich is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26-27).  When He comes into us, literally enters the center of our being, He brings faith, hope and His love with Him.  We are not “Christians” in our own strength, but instead we need Him, which brings us back to our Scripture for today: “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God” (Psalm 90:1-2). He is everlasting and all that He offers is ours forever when we trust in Him.

It is reported that there are three very large gates that lead into the Cathedral of Milan, in Italy. Over one gate there is an inscription in marble under the image of a beautiful flower bouquet that says, "The things that please are temporary." Over the second gate there is a cross with this inscription: "The things that disturb us are temporary." However, over the central gate there is a big inscription saying, "Eternal are the important ones."  The things of this world are less important than that which is eternal.

The word for “eternal” or “everlasting” in the Hebrew language of Psalm 90 is “olam” (o-lawm), a word that means “without end” or “time out of mind” or even more literally, “to the vanishing point.”  That’s the word deliberately selected by the Holy Spirit through Moses, the writer of that Psalm.  I’ve mentioned before the words of Henry Van Dyke, comparing our departure from this earth to a ship that sails out to sea until it can no longer be seen, but even as we no longer see the one who is gone, there are those on the other side who give the glad shout, “Here she comes” on the other side! It is God who gives us eternal life.

This “eternity,” where everything and everyone is “everlasting” is a place that is probably much larger and infinitely more wonderful than our thoughts of the place often called “heaven.” There is no time in what we might express as “forever.”  The place of God has no beginning, no end, and is simply, endlessly, inexpressibly wonderful.  An invitation has been extended to each one of us, and we are to “RSVP” ("répondez s'il vous plaît") - to reply to His invitation by saying “Yes!” to the Son of God.

On earth, here in this universe, everything is changing all the time, including our languages, our morals, our concept of right and wrong, our values – everything. We change our minds constantly, and you have to wonder from our perspective, since everything seems to be transformed, does God change?  Will He forget or change His mind about the promise, the covenant, the contract He has offered each one of us here on this earth?  The answer is emphatically – no!  He will never change His mind.  He will ever love and protect you and me.  We will always be accepted by Him if we merely TRUST in the Lord, the Son of God.

As Scripture says about the Lord, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). And we learn about our own lives, our own unending future, “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). He is from “before the mountains were brought forth” and we are His “to everlasting (for He is our) God.”

Lord, thank You for everlasting life in Christ Jesus.  We give You our hearts and our lives.  We trust in now and praise Your Holy Name.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

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