Sun and Rain
Posted on 01/28/2018 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
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HOLY IS THE KING
by Benjamin R. Faust
He is worthy, and we proclaim
The name of Jesus
is far above every other name
He is holy and we declare
His glory fills the earth
and there's rejoicing everywhere
He is mighty, and sovereign over all
He's coming for who's ready
when they hear the trumpet call
He is Jesus, the ruler over all
And every soul in worship
to the King will fall
Holy, holy is the King who reigns
The Son of God,
heaven and earth proclaims
In joy we bring to you our offering
(In spirit and - in truth we sing)
(And so to you - our lives we bring)
(As a li - ving offering)
NOBODY LIKE YOU
by Benjamin R. Faust
(There's) Nobody like you Lord
Nobody like you
Nobody like you Lord
You are worthy
You alone are King of Kings
You alone are Lord of Lords
You alone are worthy there is
No one else like you
Every knee on earth will bow
Every tongue confess that you are
Lord above the heavens,
There is no one else like you!
I SURRENDER ALL
by Judson W. Van DeVenter
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow;
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***
Well, 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 talking only about earthly seasons, but also 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.
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 ponder that statement for a few moments, 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 diligence and personal responsibility is like planting the wheat, harvesting the crops, baking the bread, crushing the grapes, 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, green beans, potatoes, and wine on the just and the unjust; but rather He sends sun and rain, those things needed to produce bread, beans, potatoes, and wine. There is work involved, there are losses ahead, there is diligence required, and there is a great reward.
And that reward is not just outer gain, but it is the inner satisfaction and contentment that comes when we persevere through good times and bad, and boldly take action. And it comes when, instead of demanding something from others, we 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, without the rain, the ground begins to grow dry. We begin to feel faint. And this happens for both the evil and the good.
Sometimes the rain falls without the sun. We start to feel as though we are drowning, 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 and seasons. They come for a short time and then vanish away. And if we just keep walking in Presence with God, 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 alike.
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 yield 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 withhold 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 are walking in the ways of the world, we are 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 Good News with you? Whether if it was through a television, a radio, a website, or Gospel tract, or a kind word, or a live witness, we should thank God they didn't wait until we were worthy of the sun and the rain! We should not 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 whether anyone sees.
If we love our enemies, we will pray for their good and their salvation in private when they use and persecute us, rather than 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 withhold 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, for it is they who often need it the most. We should shower blessings and kindness on those who treat us the worst, earnestly praying for them to come to the cross and be forgiven, be filled with peace and Joy, and be totally set free.
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 Paradise so many years ago.
But why is there comfort and gladness? Why is there smiling and laughter? Why is there dancing and love?
It is 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, the ups and the downs, the heat and the cold, that will fill our attention after we die; instead, it will be the face of God and the brightness of His Eternal Presence that will captivate our unending Joy.
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.
We can focus on hatred and darkness in others, and our eyes will be full of evil; or we can dwell in the Light and Love of the Presence of God, and our eyes will be full of life.
So wake up today to the Life and Love in this Present Moment. And as our attention is saturated with His Presence and His Love, we will see that Love when we look at someone else, and that Love will flow to them as well.