Source: written by Edward E.Thomason Ė Preachtoday.com
Date preached: _______
place: Church of Christ
Sermon Plan Theme: Our
God is able to CHANGE us
text: Psalm 14
1. The Psalms are a wonderful expression of the greatness of our God! As Psalm 8 exclaims: "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" I am not sure that any heart can measure, any tongue can utter the half of the greatness of
God. GOD IS ABLE to do far more than our minds can begin to imagine.
2. The Psalms with their devotional elements remind us that: The creation is full of Godís glory! And the creation is radiant with the excellency of his power. As the Psalmist said, "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows us his
handiwork." (Psm 19:1.) There are many similar statements like this scattered through out the Psalms that acknowledge the greatness of God and the wonders of his work:
For example: Psm 104 explores the many different areas of Godís handywork:1) But it is interesting that he not only discusses how God created the world. He also discusses how God continues to be at work within
creation. Vs 14 says, "He causeth (present tense) the grass to grow for the cattle.." In other words, if it were not for God - the grass would not grow. His goodness and wisdom are manifested on every hand.
3. But this is no surprise because, as we learned last evening from Psm 139, God is everywhere. Explore, if you will, a new valley where no manís foot has ever trod - and the birds might be startled by your presence, the moss may tremble beneath your feet, but God is already there in a thousand wonders for you to
behold. Scientist might explore the unknown regions of Human DNA and discover as one scientist recently stated, "Man is just now finding out what God already new." Any place man looks - anywhere he goes - God is already there: Descend into the lowest depths of the ocean, where the waters have never been disturbed by man and where the sand lies motionless in quietness and even there the glory of God is present. Borrow the "wings of the morning" as the Psalmist says, and fly swiftly across the heavens and you will hear God being honored in everlasting song! Dive into the deepest regions of Hell itself, and you will find God justified by terrible vengeance.
(The Psalms teach us of both the goodness and the severity of our God) But in other words, with the most beautiful of poetic expressions, the Psalms declare that God is everywhere and our GOD IS ever ABLE (exceedingly able) to surpass even our highest expectations!
As Psalm 34:8 reminds us: "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." It is my prayer that we all might remember, that simple admonition each day of our lives, and truly "taste and savor" the goodness of God in our lives... and discover the joy of trusting in him with all our heart!
5. But having said all this, we know that in our world there are some who do not trust in God... and there are many who do not even believe in him. Psm 107:8 "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."
Oh if only that were the case! Many fail to notice Godís goodness. But Godís providential care... his divine bounty is enjoyed by all of his creation... even those who fail to notice. As the Psalmist said...-- Psm 107:43 "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord."
(His eye is upon both the sparrow and upon his children.) He blesses both the just and the unjust with sunshine and rain. -- But "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God..."
I. Turn with me in your Bibles to Psalm 14 tonight:
A. Some people are atheists by faith but others are atheists by practice. In other words, while some might not come out and actually say that they donít believe that God actually exists, their actions and deeds say the same thing more loudly than words ever
could. Again, Psalm 14:1 says, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God..." But a foolish person can be anyone that does not believe in God sufficiently to conduct their life in fear of Godís
wrath! If we were to number the atheists in this community, in accordance with their verbal denial of Godís existence, we might find only a small number. If, however, we numbered them in accordance to how many actually "fear God and keep his
commandments" we might have a long list of those who actually practice atheism. (Who live as if there were no God.)
B. As we began this new decade and century and the clock struck midnight ushering in a new
millennium. It seemed, at least for the moment, that we stood at the brink of new possibilities for mankind. People from coast to coast were celebrating with perhaps a little higher degree of expectation as they took a fresh look toward the future of mankind, our nation and
world. But some 7 months later, after all the fanfare and hiatus has begun to wane... and we began to put both feet back on the ground, we look around and see that mankind seems to remain the same or if anything, seems to be a little worse. In Psm 14:1-3, the psalmist tells it like it is when it says:
"They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good (morally perfect - as in the sense that God is good - morally perfect). The Lord looked down upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God. (And what did God find?)
They all are gone aside, (not born that way - but chose to turn aside) Well that was a depressing verse to read.... Yes, this list -- of typical human conduct -- gives us a very depressing view of humanity, primarily because we know it is inclusive of even ourselves. The psalmist has just taken off our "rose tinted glasses" and made us look squarely at ourselves in the mirror of Godís word and we suddenly see the ugliness that we may not want to
see. The fact that no one is sinless - and that we all turn aside from the right way indicates just how helpless and needy creatures we all are. (Every one of us!) But just seeing ourselves as we really are may not be enough...
(We may soon forget what we have seen.) -- James 1:22-24 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
II Can anyone here tonight claim that they have always lived and conducted their lives in "moral perfection?"
A. As we look at our generation - at mankind today... do we see a lost world? But does this have to be? Is it actually possible that things can change? Now if we think that we can pull ourselves up out of the pit of sin all by our own bootstraps (so to
speak) and that we can change from creatures of vile habits and thoughts into creatures of righteousness all on our own - we are foolishly mistaken. The "do it yourself," - independent - mentality of our generation wants to glory in the creature not the creator... We would rather "do it ourselves or not at all" than depend upon God.
With conceit and pride we hear our generation saying: "If Iím going to change... Iíll do it on my own!" We take pride in our independence! But we are dependent creatures... and we depend upon God for the very air that we breath... and as hard as we might try, we cannot change on our own.
B. But our GOD IS ABLE to CHANGE US...-- I Cor 6:9-11, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of
you (note the past tense... they had changed! How? What happened?) ...but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our
God." God had changed these people... they had not been morally perfect... (some were drunkards, others extortioners) but they had been washed, cleansed, justified... in or thru the name (authority) of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. If God was able to change those people in I Cor 6, he is still able to change us if we will let him. (He is not a respector of persons - Rom 2:11 -- he will do for us what he did for them.) The good news of the gospel is that our lost generation can be washed... sanctified... and stand justified before God also! God is able to change us one precious soul at a time!
III We might ask: "How does God change us?"
A. (Did you notice that...) -- I Cor 6:11 says that the change takes place "by the Spirit of our God" In other words, "God is able to change us by his Spirit." This not a mysterious nor better felt than told experience that is being referred
to. It is very simple to understand how God changes us thru his Spirit.
You see Godís word is "the sword of the spirit" (Eph 6:17) :and it is "sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb 4:12). In Acts 2:37, When the apostle Peter, by the inspiration of the Spirit, preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, he wielded the sword of the Spirit, and those who heard were said to be "pricked in their heart" The Holy Spirit of God had convicted them thru the preaching of the word... -- it was like a two edge sword piercing their soul and
spirit. --They felt shame, they felt guilt, they felt sinful! But the Spirit does more than just convict thru the word. The spirit also instructs us as to how our sins can be washed
away and instructs how we can live and conduct our lives without bringing more shame and guilt upon ourselves. Even in Acts 2, when the people were pricked in their hearts... the conviction that they felt was not enough to make the change complete... they were still guilty of their sins and so they cried out "Men and brethren what shall we do?" At that moment, Peter (inspired by the Holy Spirit) wielded the sword of the Spirit once more and said "Repent...baptized...remission" (Acts 2:38).
They had looked in the mirror and seen the ugliness of their own sinful souls. But fortunately for them, they did not leave and soon forget the ugly sight. They became "doers of the word" and "they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there added unto them about 3000 souls."
(Acts 2:41). Today, GOD IS ABLE to changed us from sinners to saints when we also obey the same gospel commands that the Spirit guided the apostle Peter to preach in Acts 2.
-- Psm 32:1 "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."
B. Today, GOD IS ABLE to change us from servants of sin to servants of righteousness as we "obey from the heart that form of doctrine that has been delivered to us."--Romans 6:17-18 says: "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin (past), but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."
(When are we changed? When free from sin? --obey from heart...) And when we from the heart obey the gospel, we too become "washed in the blood (Rev 1:5), sanctified thru the truth (John 17:19), and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (I Cor 6:11).
C. God is not only able to change a sinner to a saint, he is also able to change a weak and erring Christian into a strong and faithful Christian! The New Testament is filled with admonitions which remind us to be faithful and steadfast - not wavering in our faith or obedience to God. Passages like 2 Peter 1:5-8 teach us how to strengthen our faith by reminding us to "add to our faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. If I were to tell you tonight, that I am going thru a
change. Several things might come to your mind. You might wonder... is Ed having a mid life crisis? Is he changing jobs? changing where he lives? What does he mean? I am going thru a change... every day I change - hopefully for the better. I am not the same person I was thirty years ago... (Linda might say "Amen and thank
goodness".) I have grown and matured spiritually in many ways. I am still changing as I grow in Godís grace and knowledge, becoming a better man, husband, father, son, neighbor, preacher, friend and brother...(And so can you... so must you!) With apostolic authority Paul wrote to his brethren in Rom 12:1-2...
imploring and commanding... he said: -- "I Beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, and be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove (or demonstrate) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of
God." As Christians, we are to demonstrate Godís "good, acceptable, and perfect" will before the world. WE ARE TO BECOME GOOD EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIANITY BEFORE
OTHERS. Our actions, words, our lives are like a shining light/ a city set on a hill that cannot be hid. But when we fail to do "our reasonable service" / when we become "conformed to this world" - then some around us will perhaps never see a "living demonstration" of Godís will... being put into
practice. And sadly, we, as children of God sometimes do stumble or falter in our Christian duties and example before others.... and we become stagnant in our spiritual growth and
progress. But the good news is that we can CHANGE.... AND GOD WILL HELP US. -- The blessing of forgiveness is available.
-- If we will acknowledge our sins, repent and pray for Godís forgiveness as taught in Acts 8:22, then we can know the joy of forgiveness
Isnít our God good? "Oh taste and see how good our God is..." We have talked a lot this week about what God is able to do. The skeptics of our generation mock us, when we speak of an all powerful God. They ask: Can your God create a rock so big that he canít lift it?-- If he canít create such a rock then he is not all powerful...-- If he can create something that he canít lift - then the fact that he canít lift it shows that he is not all
powerful. It is true that the Bible teaches that God is ALMIGHTY. But the Bible also teaches that God is rational, intelligent, and morally good. All God does and can do is in harmony with his divine nature of goodness and intellect and prerogatives. And our God is a rational being... unlike some who mock him. It is wrong to think that Godís powers are unrestrained by intellectual reason or
morality. If God did the absurd, then he would be absurd. If he did that which is irrational, then he would be irrational. For example: God cannot both "be and not be" at the same time. Because that is absurd. God cannot make a 4 sided triangle or square circle. Because such is absurd, self-contradictory and ridiculous by all standards of intellectual reason and good sense. Like wise, he cannot make a rock so big that he cannot lift it. (Such is irrational)
Often the purpose of such questions is to try to attack and impugn the character of God. Such questions remind me of the lawyer who asked a defendant to answer yes or no to one last question:
-- "ARE YOU STILL CHEATING ON YOUR WIFE?" To answer that question with either a "No" or a "Yes" is to incriminate yourself even though you are innocent. The question is designed to entrap not establish truth. People think they are clever and shrewd when it comes to "trying to corner God." - But the absurd is just that - its absurd.
-- I Cor 1:25 "The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." No God is not able to do the absurd nor is he willing to do that which is contrary to his divine nature and purpose. But we can be certain that OUR GOD IS ABLE to change a sinner into a saint, and an erring brother into a faithful
brother. And he is able to do far more than just that - although his grace is sufficient.
-- GOD IS ABLE TO CHALLENGE us to trust in him more and live for him daily
-- GOD IS ABLE TO COMFORT us when we face the heartaches of life, and...
-- GOD IS ABLE TO CHANGE us... if we will only let him!
In the twinkling of an eye, God is able to change our mortal bodies of flesh into immortal and incorruptible bodies on that final day of judgment. (I Cor 15:52) And God is even able to change our
address. We can chose to taste and see just how good our God is and some day enter the joys of the Lord and live in the mansions that God has prepared for us.
1. I hope you are choosing to let God do that which he, and he alone, is able to do...
Let him change you... and keep changing you --- but remember - you must be willing to be changed. Not just a hearer of the word... but a doer!
2. And I hope that when the invitation is offered this evening that you will respond in obedient faith to Godís word tonight?
3. Again thank you for your attention - you have been a very gracious audience all week long and I appreciate you very much. MAY GOD BLESS
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