God of the Living

Posted on 10/29/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Good morning! Let's go ahead and get started. It's a joy to see all of you here today, and a true honor to be able to seek the presence of the Lord together with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let's stand to our feet and just take a moment to turn our eyes upon Jesus.

Lord, you said wherever two or three are gathered together in your name, you are there in the midst of them. Jesus, we are gathering here today in your name, seeing your presence, seeking a deeper fellowship with you.

We worship you today, Lord! We confess any sins right now that would hinder us from coming fully into your presence. Forgive us for those sins as we take a moment silently to confess them to you and to ask your forgiveness...

... ...

Thank you for your blood you shed on the cross, that blood that washes away our sins and makes us whiter than snow! Thank you that you remove our sins as far away from us as the East is from the West -- they are eternally separated from us, and you remember them no more.

Thank you for drawing us here together today, Lord, because you want to draw us into your arms and love on us, as we reach our arms out to you and give you our worship and praise.

Thank you Lord! Amen!

Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let's continue worshiping with song.


CELEBRATE JESUS

Celebrate Jesus, celebrate!
Celebrate Jesus, celebrate!
Celebrate Jesus, celebrate!
Celebrate Jesus, celebrate!

He is risen! He is risen!
And He lives forevermore
He is risen! He is risen!
Come on and celebrate
The resurrection of our Lord

I'VE FOUND JESUS

Well I hear they're singing in the streets that
Jesus is alive
And all creation shouts aloud that
Jesus is alive
Now surely we can all be changed 'cos
Jesus is alive
And everybody here can know that
Jesus is alive

And I will live for all my days
To raise a banner of truth and light
To sing about my saviours love
And the best thing that happened
It was the day I met you

I've found Jesus
I've found Jesus
I've found Jesus
I've found Jesus

Well I feel like dancing in the street 'cos
Jesus is alive
To join with all who celebrate that
Jesus is alive
Well the joy of God is in this town 'cos
Jesus is alive
For everybody's seen the truth that
Jesus is alive

And I will live for all my days
To raise a banner of truth and light
To sing about my saviours love
And the best thing that happened
It was the day I met you

I've found Jesus
I've found Jesus
I've found Jesus
I've found Jesus

Well you lifted me from where I was
Set my feet upon a rock
Humbled that you even knew about me
Now I have chosen to believe
Believing that you've chosen me
I was lost but now I've found...

BECAUSE HE LIVES

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!


Thank you Lord that because you live, we can face tomorrow, and we can face today; we can rest in your love, knowing that you not only live, you are the author of life, and you give us every single breath we breath.

Speak to us now through your Word. Give us ears to hear, and a heart that receives what your Spirit is getting ready to speak to us.

You may be seated as we continue to worship God by seeking a closer walk with him through his Word.

The title of my message today is "God of the Living."

There's a lot of controversy over the celebration of various holidays. Everyone has their own point of view. And yet if we speak of any holiday from the foundation and authority of Scripture, we just may begin to see both things we accept and things we reject in a different light.

I would like to read three short verses, talk about them with you for a few minutes, and then have a time of prayer, worship, and ministry before we go next door for fellowship.

In Matthew 22, verses 31 and 32 we read,
"...have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,  and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

Mark chapter 12, verse 27:
"He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living..."

and Luke chapter 20 and verse 38:
"For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him."

In our verse from Matthew, Jesus was talking with people who did not believe in the resurrection. According to them, once your body died, you were dead. And although they asked Jesus a question concerning marriage in heaven, Jesus knew their motives and knew the issue they were really discussing was not marriage, but death.

This religious group believed Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, Elijah, and all the prophets, kings, and people who came before them were dead. Therefore, according to them, the destiny of every one who is born is eternal death.

But Jesus answered them with a very important truth, yet another glimpse into the nature of God, the nature we should embrace as we allow anything in us that's contrary to that nature to die.

Jesus said, "Have you not read what God told you, 'I am the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

You see, that religious group was buying the goods of the flesh, and the products of sin. They were no different from the rest of humanity, who follows the paths of death, which is any path apart from God's narrow and straight path to life.

The other two verses I mentioned are different accounts of the same event. And they are repeated for a reason.

Mark 12:27
"He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living..."

and Luke 20:38
"For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him."

A few weeks ago we explored the beginning of creation, and saw how God's Spirit hovered over that which had not yet taken shape and meaning, and then he spoke his Word and all things we see around us were created.

God did not speak death. He spoke only life.

In Psalm 119 verses 49 and 50 we read,
49 Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.

And in John chapter 6 verse 63 Jesus says, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."

God IS life, and death comes only apart from him.

So as we keep him in the very center of our lives, and make sure everything revolves around him and anything which does not come from him is cast away from us, we will discover life begins to radiate into our thoughts, our mind, our emotions, our attitudes, our actions, our words, and everything we do.

I have no intention of giving the devil equal time. I'm quite politically incorrect when it comes to giving satan freedom of speech and expression in my life, my mind, my words, or my thoughts. In fact, Second Corinthians 10:5 tells us to "cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."

Do you realize today that when we celebrate something, we celebrate what is behind that something and what it stands for?

When we celebrate a wedding, we are not celebrating the pretty dresses and the handsome tuxedos, we are not celebrating the dancing and laughter, we are not celebrating the cake and fruit punch (although some of us may disagree on that); rather, we are celebrating love, purity, devotion, and a God-ordained union that is meant to last a lifetime.

And we should approach our next celebration with this in mind. Will we celebrate anything which is contrary to the nature of God? Will we make excuses and say we're just celebrating the cake, the dancing, the laughter, or the fun? Or will we look at what is behind every celebration and have the courage and faithfulness to have no part of death, fear, and darkness?

Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

Fear and death aren't cute, no matter how they're dressed. Ghosts and goblins, witches and faeries, spiders and couldrins, zombies and vampires; can we really join in the spirit of the celebration of things which have no part in the nature of God?

I'm not here today to tell you what you can and can't do. I'm here today to point to Jesus, and to share with you the nature of God as revealed by his Word.

I'm also here today to encourage you to stand up for what's right, what is noble, what is praiseworthy, and what glorifies God and everything for which he stands.

I'm here to admonish you to radiate the life and light of the Holy Spirit, having no part of that which represents anything other than what is of God.

In Philippians chapter four, verses eight and nine we read,
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthyŚmeditate on these things.
9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Do you want peace in your life? Do you want the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit to radiate from the center of everything you do, think, say, and everything you are?

Then remember the words of Jesus in John 10:10: "The thief has come for nothing but to steal, kill, and destroy; but I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it in great abundance."


Lord God, thank you for speaking to us through your Word. Thank you that you are the author of life, and that there is no death, darkness, or fear of evil in you.

Give us a boldness to stand up for what is right, and convict our hearts when we stray from your Spirit by participating in anything which is contrary to your nature.

Forgive us for making excuses for doing what we want to do, and give us clean hearts that beat in rhythm with yours.

Let's all stand to our feet.

This altar is open for prayer and ministry. The ministry team can come to the front as well. Everyone is invited to come to this altar, or kneel or stand where you are; let's seek God for awhile. Let's ask for his forgiveness, for his power to change, for his direction, for his wisdom.

Let's seek his presence above everything else -- above our requests, above our weaknesses, above our own selves, our own lives, and our own agendas.

If you need prayer or ministry, please instant message one of the ministry team. In a few minutes we'll go next door for fellowship, and I hope to see you there. Let's keep our eyes upon Jesus, and let him have his way here in us today.

Come.