Introduction: We continue our series, Experiencing God.
- The way to know and do God’s will is organized into 7 Realities.
- The realities reflect the way God invites His people to join with Him in His work.
- Today’s message focuses on the first Reality (truth), which relates to God’s Work.
- Theme verse: John 5:17 (NLT)—But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.”
- The full statement of Reality 1: God is always at work around you. (Believe?)
- The premise of this truth is God is continuously pursuing His will for our world.
- God has a plan and purpose that He is carrying out, even if we are unaware of it.
- We are using Moses’ experience with God to identify the realities. (Exodus 2:11-25; Acts 7:23-29)
The Background (Exodus 1-2):
- Exodus 1 tells us the Israelites multiplied greatly in Egypt, which threatened the Egyptian king (Pharaoh) so he enslaved, oppressed, then ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill the Hebrew boys, but they feared God, so they refused.
- Exodus 2 tells us when Moses was born; his mother, (Jochebed; Exodus 6:20), hid him by placing him in a waterproofed basket in the reeds at the edge of the Nile.
- The king’s daughter discovered Moses and adopted him, so he became a prince.
- [Screen] Exodus 2:11–12,15 (NLT)[P48]—11 Many years later, when Moses had grown up [age 40; Acts 7:23], he went out to visit his own people, the Hebrews, and he saw how hard they were forced to work. During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Hebrews. 12 After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. …
15 And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. …
- Moses tried to help his people on his own initiative, in his own strength, but it was disastrous!
- [Screen] Acts 7:25 (NLT)—Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn’t.
- When we attempt to work for God on our own, instead of working with God, according to His will, at His invitation, our efforts are sure to fail.
- [Screen] Exodus 2:23-25 (NLT)[P48]—23 Years passed [40 more years], and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. [Genesis 15:13-16; Acts 7:6-7]
- The point of this passage is that God had not abandoned Israel, though they thought He had, during their 400 years of enslavement.
- God was working, preparing Moses and the Hebrews to be led out of Egypt waiting until the time was right.
God’s works include...
- #1 - Constantly pursuing His plans. (Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 46:10-11; John 5:19-20; 14:10)
- God had promised Abraham 500 years before that He would deliver his descendants from bondage and give them a land of their own—and He had not forgotten. (Genesis 12:1-9; Genesis 15:13-16; Acts 7:6-7)
- God was at work preserving, then preparing, a leader—Moses—for many years before the encounter at the burning bush.
- [Screen] Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)[P526]—You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. [Isaiah 46:10-11]
- God’s will, His purposes, will be carried out in His time and in His way—and we must cooperate with Him, not ask Him to cooperate with us and our plans!
- Even Jesus, who was fully God and fully human, carried out the Father’s plans.
- [Screen] John 5:19-20 (NLT)[P856]—19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing. …”
- Jesus did not come up with His own plans, He watched what God the Father was doing and joined in the work!
- [Screen] John 14:10b (NLT)[P867]—“…The words I speak are not My own, but My Father who lives in Me does His work through Me.” [John 4:34]
- If that is how Jesus functioned in this world, don’t you think we should as well?
- APP.: Do you believe God is continually working in this world to carry out His plans and purposes—and He wants you to join Him?
God’s works include...
- #2 - Continually reconciling people. (John 6:44; Romans 3:10-11; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Timothy 1:9)
- Because of sin, humanity has been separated from a close relationship with God, but God is working to bring separated people back into relationship with Him.
- God’s covenant promise to Abraham was to bless all the families on earth (Genesis 12:3)—and that promise includes us, who have become children of Abraham by faith. (Galatians 3:6-8; Romans 4:16-17)
- God decided to redeem us out of sin through the sacrifice of Jesus; He guaranteed eternal life through the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Timothy 1:9)
- The Bible tells us ways to recognize when God is at work reconciling people.
- [Screen] Romans 3:10–11 (NLT)[P905]—10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. 11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God.”
- When people are interested in God, it indicates that He is at work.
- Humans are self-centered, concerned with themselves, so we must pay close attention when someone wants to know about the Christian faith.
- ILL.: Young lady from Siberia, living in Sweden, sitting with us on a train from Florence to Venice, asked where we were from and what we did, then she began asking questions about God; she had no one to ask, they became offended.
- [Screen] John 6:44 (NLT)[P858]—“For no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them to Me, and at the last day I will raise them up.”
- We waste a lot of time and create significant frustration trying to convince disinterested people to believe; such witnessing will be fruitless.
- Rather, we should respond to those who are interested in spiritual matters.
- APP.: Are you aware of people displaying spiritual interest? Are you responding?
God’s works include...
- #3 - Calling and equipping people to participate. (Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 12:7;
2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Philippians 2:12-13; 4:13)
- God is actively at work redeeming a lost world—and He invites us to be involved in His redemptive plans. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
- [Screen] 2 Corinthians 5:18b,20 (NLT)[P932]— 18b …God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him.… 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” [Ephesians 2:10]
- When we see where, and in whom, God is working, we are invited to join Him.
- Many of us want God to give us an assignment, preferably a high-profile one; but He begins by offering us a love with Him.
- God is more interested in our relationship with Him than what we accomplish for Him.
- When you do not seem to be receiving assignments from God, or hearing Him speak, focus on your relationship with Him and wait for the assignment.
- When we participate with God in what He is doing, we experience Him accomplishing His work through us (John 15:5), which deepens our relationship.
- At new birth, God gives us the Holy Spirit (paraklētŏs, intercessor, consoler, advocate, comforter, counselor, helper), who enables our relationship with God.
- The Holy Spirit, who is a gift from God (Acts 2:38), gives us spiritual gifts (specific abilities) to enable us to fulfill the tasks God has given us. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
- Since the Holy Spirit does the work through us, we must continually rely upon our relationship with Him, not rely on our spiritual gifts or abilities, to be effective in the ministry He gives us. (Philippians 2:12-13; 4:13)
- Spiritual gifts can change according to the tasks we have received from God.
- “God hasn’t given me any gifts.” Have you accepted, and are you attempting, to fulfill a divine assignment? If not, you don’t need to be spiritually equipped!
- Biblically, God always gives the assignment first, then equips the person by the Holy Spirit to accomplish what He assigns.
- “I need help hearing God’s call to service!” We had a PLACE workshop yesterday which offers a coach to help you pray and discover where God is calling you to serve; another class scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, 9 AM-3PM.
- Only God can tell us what He wants us to do through our lives, we can’t discover God’s activity on our own, He must reveal it to us.
16. APP.: Will you ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to see where God is at work and equip you to accomplish what He assigns?