Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World

If My People...

November 08, 2020 Pastor Dave Tucker Season 4 Episode 22
Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
If My People...
Chapters
Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
If My People...
Nov 08, 2020 Season 4 Episode 22
Pastor Dave Tucker

God is placing God’s healing of the world in the hands of Christ followers around the world...  God is expecting Christians, around the globe, to humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways. Then and only then will God hear, forgive, and heal this broken world. 

Show Notes Transcript

God is placing God’s healing of the world in the hands of Christ followers around the world...  God is expecting Christians, around the globe, to humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways. Then and only then will God hear, forgive, and heal this broken world. 

IF MY PEOPLE…
2 CHRONICLES 7:14

         My heart has been heavy for a while now. Witnessing the division in this country, and the contempt people have been demonstrating toward each other in the name of politics really saddens me! What is even more tragic to me is the realization that a lot of this contempt and division is being perpetrated by those who have taken on the name of Jesus Christ… Christ-ians. 

         I am deviating from my sermon series this week because I really believe, in the deepest part of my heart that what this world needs right now is healing. This world needs peace. This world needs LOVE! When we, as Christians place ideologies, politics and theologies in front of ‘love for neighbor,’ we take the name of the Lord in vain. We take on the name of Christ, but we don’t live into the grace of Christ.

         The scripture that I am about to read, in my opinion, has been tossed around in wrong and dangerous contexts for way too long. Christians have used it to force those who haven’t yet come to know God’s grace, into compliance. When Christians do that, they participate in the oppressive shenanigans of the religious leaders of Jesus time. I want for us to spend this morning unpacking this passage in its context and exploring what it means for us today. Before we begin, let us pray the prayer of illumination as we ask the Holy Spirit to guide our time together this morning.

Prayer of Illumination  

2 Chronicles 7:14

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

         As we begin to unpack this passage, and explore the context of who God is speaking to and why, we discover that God is appearing to King Solomon right after the dedication of Solomon’s Temple. This is a message originally meant for God’s chosen people, the Hebrews. By the way of a bit of trivia, This temple was the largest, most beautiful temple ever built. However, is was built on the backs of slaves, AND, Solomon’s Palace, which was built simultaneously with the temple, was exponentially larger… to the point at which this huge temple was literally dwarfed in comparison to Solomon’s palace. 

         With the understanding of context, we can see that God is speaking, in vision, to King Solomon a message to be shared with God’s people… The Hebrew people. This message wasn’t designed for the gentiles or for anyone outside of the land God had given the Hebrews. This is NOT a message for America. It is literally a message tied into the covenant that God had made with the Hebrew people. YET, this message has implications for us today and is appropriate in our present context…. Just not in the way you might expect. As we dig deeper, we need to understand that in our present context, this message can only be seen as a message for Christians. Please stay with me here… In order for us to be faithful to the text, we need to see it as a message for people who have come to understand the love and grace of God… To put it simply, God is placing God’s healing of the world in the hands of Christ followers around the world.  In today’s context, God is expecting CHRISTIANS, around the globe, to humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways. Then and only then will God hear, forgive, and heal this broken world. 

Let’s spend the rest of the morning bringing this text closer to home by looking at each point individually. The first thing God wants to see Christ followers do is humble themselves. Humility is a difficult thing to be sure! This world rewards self-made men and women. And yet, as we go back to our message from last week, Jesus says that those who seek to exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted. And Jesus certainly exemplified that humility by washing the disciples’ feet at the last supper and becoming obedient to death on the cross.

The second thing God wants to see Christ followers do is pray. Friends, we don’t spend enough time in prayer… and when I say we, I’m talking to myself here. There have been many times… too many to count, when someone comes up to me out of the blue and opens up to me. I’m serious! It’s like I have a beacon on my head or something. I could be minding my own business at the gas station and someone will just walk up to me and start talking. I know it’s the Holy Spirit at work but it still amazes me. The last time this happened was a couple weeks ago. Lucresia was with me, she can confirm this! When the guy left, I heard the voice of God, clear as day, ask me. Why didn’t you introduce me to him? Why did you let him go without praying with him? What would this world look like if we spent more time praying for each other. Here’s a thought! What if we spend more time praying for those who believe or live differently than us and spend less time talking behind their back? OUCH! I just stepped on my own toes again! Scripture tells us that Jesus would pray all night… And yet somehow, we fill our days to the point where we haven’t prayed once the entire day.

The third thing God wants to see Christ followers do is seek God’s face. What does that mean?! Seek God’s face? I remember Moses on the mountain talking to God and asking the question, “Can you let me see your face?” I remember God’s response being, “If you see my face you will get dead!” But yet God passed by so that Moses could see His back. The Bible says that even with that brief encounter, Moses’ face shown so brightly that the people begged him to cover it up! Perhaps, seeking God’s face is more like seeing God in everything and everyone. What would happen if one day we woke up and saw the face of Jesus in every person you interacted with? How would that change the way we treat others?

The third thing God wants to see Christ followers do is turn away from our wicked ways. [PAUSE] This is hard stuff here friends! We have studied how the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul and the second is like the first, love your neighbor as yourself. We talked just last week about how these commands form a perfect triangle, Love God, love others, and love self… and when one of the points get out of whack in our lives, the entire model goes wonky. If love of God, neighbor and self are the greatest commands, what is the greatest sin we can commit? HATRED! When we hate others, we harm ourselves as well because we are all connected! That is how God created us. There is evil in this world… a wickedness. And the only thing that can heal this world is Christians acting Christlike by creating heaven on earth through LOVE!

These principles are what comprise a kingdom of God understanding. God’s kingdom is upside down from the kingdoms of humans. The principles of the Kingdom of God are counter intuitive to our human nature. This much I know Presidents and Kings come and go. Empires and kingdoms rise and fall. But the one true constant is, the kingdom of God stands forever and God is always on the throne. The directive from the throne room? LOVE!