Sun and Rain

Posted on 03/10/2013 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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I WALK BY FAITH

I walk by faith
Each step by faith
To live by faith
I put my trust in You
I walk by faith
Each step by faith
To live by faith
I put my trust in You

Every step I take
Is a step of faith
No weapon formed against me shall prosper
And every prayer I make
Is a prayer of faith
And if my God is for me
Who can be against me


YES LORD YES

Yes, Lord, yes, to Your will and to Your way
Yes, Lord, yes, I will trust You and obey
When Your Spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I'll agree
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes!


YOU ARE CROWNED

You are crowned with many crowns
And rule all things in righteousness
You are crowned with many crowns
Upholding all things by Your word

You rule in power
And reign in glory
You are Lord
Of heaven and earth

You are Lord of all
You are Lord of all
You are Lord of all
You are Lord of all


WORD OF GOD SPEAK

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice



*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


You know, springtime is right around the corner. And I don't know about you, but I love watching everything come to life. You know, when the trees start to bud, and then when the first flowers start to bloom. It's almost as though the scent of a new and vibrant beginning starts to fill the air.

And I am so very thankful that we have God's promise in Genesis 8:22 that summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, will not end as long as the earth remains.

Genesis 8:22 (NKJV)

22 "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease."

I believe that when God made this promise, he was not only talking about earthly seasons, but about seasons of life, seasons of love, seasons of prosperity, and seasons of the heart.

Have you ever felt as though you're totally alive, completely ablaze, like the middle of summer, and that you can accomplish anything? Other times I'm sure you've felt as though you were in a dry place, watching and waiting for the rain to fall. Still other times you might have felt as though everything in your life seemed cold and frozen, and you've probably longed for the sun to melt the ice away.

Then comes the spring. The sun shines down and, with its gentle warmth, melts away the ice, and thaws your frozen heart. The fruit of seeds you thought you had wasted begins to push its way through the earth, as leaves bud on the trees and flowers begin to surround you with their sweet perfume.

I don't know in what season of your life you are, but the sun is coming, the gentle rain will fall, and the springtime is on its way. Just keep on moving day by day, one step at a time, and in God's perfect time and in His perfect way, He will bring it all to pass.


Today's message notes are taken from a message I preached in March of 2009, and my message title is "Sun and Rain."

Let's read from the book of Matthew, chapter five, verses 43 through 48; Matthew chapter five, beginning with verse 43: (Jesus said)

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Now, the verse from which I got the title for today's message is verse 45, which says, "He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

First, I'd like for us to think about that statement for a little while, and then we'll take a closer look at the context so we can apply it to our lives.

He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. I think sometimes we get a bit frustrated by this fact. Perhaps we see wicked men become wealthy, while we can barely get by.

But God's sun rises on the evil and on the good, and His rain falls on the just and on the unjust. And if you take the time to find out how the wicked man became wealthy, you'll most likely discover that He used the tried and proven principles of prosperity.

Some are born with a gift for wealth. Some strive with a greater-than-average determination because of the low circumstances from which they have risen. And yes, some lie and cheat their way to riches.

But the same sun and rain that is sent to them is sent to us as well. We cannot blame the rich for our problems, nor should we expect that their success somehow obligates them to do something for us.

Looking for a handout is like begging for bread and water, while dilligence and personal responsibility is like planting the wheat, harvesting the crops, baking the bread, crushing the grapes, killing the calf, and having a feast out of the bounty that God has provided.

He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends His rain on the just and on the unjust.

These are the blessings of God. This doesn't say He sends bread, steak, potatoes, and wine on the just and the unjust; but rather He sends sun and rain, those things needed to produce bread, steak, potatoes, and wine. There is work involved, there are losses ahead, there is dilligence required, and there is a great reward, not just of outter gain, but of inner satisfaction and contentment, when we persevere through good times and bad, and boldly take action, not to demand something from others, but to produce that which we need, realizing that the fruit of our labors is a gift from God as well.


Sometimes the sun shines without the rain. And while many of us THINK that's what we want, the ground will begin to grow dry. We will begin to feel faint. And this happens for both the evil and the good.

Sometimes the rain falls without the sun. We will start to feel as though we are drowing, sinking in gloom and despair, as though the sun will never shine. And this, too, happens for both the just and the unjust.

But these are cycles, seasons, and if we keep moving forward, we will come out on the other side.


Our passage today begins with these words: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

Jesus was once again reminding us that, just as verse 48 says, we are to strive to be perfect, just as our Father in heaven is perfect; in other words, He is our example after which we are to model our actions, our attitudes, and our life.

And if God sends sun and rain to the good and evil alike, how can we refuse love to those who have done us wrong? Even we who are washed in the blood of the Lamb have done things against God that are worthy of eternal punishment and separation from Him; and it was while we were still practicing those things, that Jesus poured out His blood for us.

He sent His Son to rise for the evil and the good, and He sends His rain of grace and of His Holy Spirit upon the just and the unjust.

The Son of God was raised up on the cross to die for our sins, and he was raised from the dead so we could have a brand new life; and the Holy Spirit rains on us all, convicting us of sin and drawing us to the cross.

And just as we must do something with the sun and the rain if it is to give us more than warmth and water, so the wicked must turn from wickedness and accept the Son, and the unjust must yeild to the drawing of the Holy Spirit, if they are to gain more than a little bit of comfort and a little bit of physical life.

And who are we to withold the Son and the rain from those we consider our enemies? James 4:4 says that friendship with the world is enmity with God, so when we were walking in the ways of the world, we were God's enemy. And yet He sent His Son to rise upon us, and His rain to draw us to Himself and to bring us life. We must do the same.

Was there not someone who shared the Gospel with you? Even if it was through a television, a radio, a website, or a Gospel tract? Thank God they didn't wait until we were worthy of the sun and the rain! We cannot wait either.

We need to shine the love of God and give living water to the dry and thirsty around us. We need to love our enemies. We need to bless those who curse us. We need to do good to those who hate us. We need to pray for those who spitefully use and persecute us.

If we love our enemies, we will genuinely bless them when they curse us.

If we love our enemies, we will do good to them when they hate us, regardless of who does or doesn't see.

If we love our enemies, we will pray for them in private when they use and persecute us, and pray for their good and for their salvation, not in public as a means of telling everyone what they've done.

Then in verse 46 we read, "If you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Don't even the tax collectors do so?"

It's easy to say a pleasant good morning to the guy or gal at the office who is kind and treats you with respect. But what about the grinch whose face is frozen in a permanent scowl and who never has anything nice to say? Don't withold the sun and the rain from someone just because you think it's wasted or they don't deserve it. Be perfect -- spiritually mature and complete -- just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

We are to genuinely shine the sun and freely give the rain to those who we think deserve it the least, showering blessings and kindness on those who treat us the worst, earnestly praying for them to come to the cross and be forgiven for all the wrong things they've done against us.

That's a rather tall order, isn't it? And yet if God tells us to love our enemies in these ways, He will be faithful to empower us to obey His word. Amen?


Another area to which this passage applies is in our tendency to question God's goodness, or even His existence, because of all the evil and suffering in the world.

And yet, are those who do not believe ever tempted to question their own doubts because of all the good and blessings in the world?

Yes, there is pain and suffering in the world, the result of sin, going back to that simple act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden so many years ago.

But why is there comfort and gladness? Why is there smiling and laughter? Why is there dancing and love?

It's because, even in this world filled with suffering and pain, the result of our sinful separation from the source of good, God causes His sun to rise on the good and the evil, and sends His rain upon the just and the unjust.

The one who asks, "Why do bad things happen to the innocent?" should also ask, "Why do good things happen to those who reject God's sacrificial gift of love?"

After all, haven't YOU, at some time in your life, rejected Jesus by not submitting to him as Lord? Haven't you ever done something your own way instead of God's? And yet you don't have only bad in your life, but you are blessed every day with God's sun and with His rain.

It's not this short journey, this vapor of time, that will fill our minds after we die, but it's what eternal destination we choose during this life that will matter in the end.

And during this short time on earth, God will continue to make his sun rise on the evil and the good, and He will continue to make His rain fall on the just and the unjust.


Let's close this service with a time of prayer, worship, and ministry. This altar is open, and you're invited to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front.


I hope something in this passage has spoken to you today. Perhaps you've not been loving your enemies, blessing those who curse you, doing good to those who hate you, and praying for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

Come get things right with God.

Perhaps you've been slack in working with the sun and the rain and their cycles in your life, and it has resulted in some type of lack, and you want to be more dilligent and apply yourself more fully.

Come get things right with God.

Perhaps you haven't been walking with the Lord like you should, and you've let the friendship with the things of the world create a separation between you and God.

Come get things right with God.

Perhaps you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and today you want to ask Him to forgive your sins, and come into your heart and give you a brand new start.

Come get things right with God.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, you can instant message one of us, or if you're listening outside of Second Life, you can go to almcyberchurch.org, click Pastors' Offices, and contact one of us there.

Whenever you need to go, you're free to do so, and if you can stay for a little while after this time at the altar, you're invited to make your way to the room up the stairs to your left after you're done here, and we'll meet there in a few minutes for a time of fellowship.

Let's all gather at the altar and seek a closer walk with the one who sends his sun and his rain to warm and give life to all.


Lord God, we thank you for your word, simple and to the point, yet so deep and full that we learn more from even the same words as time goes by.

I ask today Lord, that these words would not fall to the wayside, but that we would all ponder how we can put them into practice in our lives, and then that we would do so.

We thank you that you send your sun and your rain upon all mankind, just as you send your Son, your S-o-n, and your grace, upon the just and the unjust. Give us Your heart, so that we see this lost and dying world through Your eyes.

And we ask these things in the precious name of Jesus.

Amen.