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Stay the Course (Part 2)

November 26, 2017 Speaker: Damian Mericka Series: The Power of Prayer

Topic: Stay the Course (Part 2)

Sermon Title: “Stay the Course (Part 2)”

Sermon Series:  The Power of Prayer

Date: November 26th, 2017

Speaker: Pastor Damian Mericka

Text: Genesis 3:8-13; 22-24 / Judges 6:11-27; 7:1-15        / 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Introduction

The Resurrection of Jesus changed everything.  Becoming the sacrifice for sin Himself Jesus has brought atonement for all who come for forgiveness.  After His Resurrection Jesus appeared before His Disciples and helped them understand further what His Mission truly was- and the ongoing role they would have.

Jesus then ascended to the Father sending the Holy Spirit to indwell His believers enabling them to accomplish the work He started- building the church.  You and I carry on this legacy today here in Cornerstone.  Together we live out the salvation, healing, and transforming power of the Gospel through the Spirit to prepare ourselves and the world around us for the Second Coming of Jesus.

  1. A Flashback to the Beginning (Genesis 3:8-13; 22-24)
  • This is the first time we see Adam talking with God; up to this time God had spoken and all His Creation, including Adam moved in obedience.
    • Adam moved in Disobedience (Note: Gen 3:1-7)
    • God Initiated the Conversation (Vv.8-9)
      • God comes to them
      • God calls to them
    • Adam responds to God as to the “why”, but God wants to go deeper and peels back his heart to get to the core issue: disobedience. (Vv.10-11)
    • Adam argues indirectly that God set Him up for failure; the buck is passed on to Eve and then to the Serpent. (Vv.12-14)
  • After revealing how their lives would change due to sin now being a part of it, God drives Adam and Eve away from the Garden to avoid the “Tree of Life” (Vv.22-24)
  • Since this moment, we find Adam’s descendants going in two different directions:
    • Doing life without God
    • Doing life with God (See & Note: Genesis 4:25 & 26)

Going Deeper: Looking back to this conversation between God and Adam, can you remember being a child knowing you did something wrong but were afraid to tell the “whole” truth? Maybe, like me, you dreaded that moment when your dad pulled in from work, walked in and your mom shared the deed.  A few moments later your name is called, and you deliver a very shaped account of what happened to attempt to gain sympathy, pass blame and receive a light punishment.  Did this ever work for you?  Were your parents able to see past your story and discover the truth?  How did this kind of relationship shape the person you are today? Do you find God to be that loving parent who seeks your best interest on the foundation of truth; or do you feel Him a tyrant eager to point out your fault?

Our perspective of God shapes the relationship we either do or do not have with Him.  Why does God punish Adam & Eve by sending them away from the Garden and Tree of Life?

  1. God Comes into our Circumstances to Call us into His Purposes (Judges 6:11-27; 7:1-30)
  • God comes to Gideon and affirms His presence.
    • Gideon challenges this affirmation by:
      • By looking at his circumstances which make God seem absent
      • Believing better days are behind them
    • God calls Gideon to lead his people out of this plight.
      • Gideon seeks to affirm this calling (Vv.18-20)
      • God accepts the offering and affirms His strength with Peace upon Gideon (Vv.21-24)
    • As God calls Gideon to take a step closer to Him, He also addresses Gideon’s fears.
      • God calls Gideon to destroy Ba’al’s altar; build one for Him. Gideon does at night due to fear. (Vv.25-27)
      • Gideon lays a fleece to further affirm God’s continued presence and purpose due to fear of His absence (Vv.36-40)
      • God calls Gideon to scale down his men and address’ his fear (meeting him in love and patient understanding) by displaying His Strength in a prophetic dream to further affirm God’s Purpose. (7:1-14)
      • Gideon worships God (v.15)
    • Gideon falls into the snare of pride and brings a sad end to an otherwise incredible experience with God. (Vv.22-30)
      • Makes an Ephod that causes the people to fall into idolatry.
      • Has many wives and concubines.

Going Deeper:  What a story!  Have you ever felt God was calling you to something beyond your immediate circumstances?  What are some things / reasons you use to not obey and follow God?  How has God overcome those fears?  Do you find God patient with your fears? Has God ever called you to give up something that was hard?  How did it bring Him Glory?  Even though Gideon accomplished great things for God, he had some moral failures.  How do we focus on the strengths of someone without throwing the “baby out with the bath water”?

III.  God is Leading Us into Life (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

  • Paul relates a Vision that a man had (believed to be himself). But because of this vision and the many others God gave him he was also given a “thorn in the flesh” to:
    • Prevent him from becoming conceited
    • Prevent the people from worshiping him instead of God
    • So, God’s presence could display strength in Spirit amidst weakness in flesh
  • God cares about us finishing this Journey with Him well.
    • We walk in this world doing life with God alongside those doing life without Him.

Going Deeper:  Arguably, Paul received more from God in Visions, Dreams and Prophetic leading than any other Apostle in the New Testament.  Yet, with such a relationship with God, Paul struggles as you and I do.  Knowing this, God allowed Paul to have a “thorn in the flesh”.  How come, the closer to God we come the further from our own strength, talent, and abilities we get?  How is Gods strength seen against the backdrop of our weakness a help in Gospel proclamation?  Paul prayed for this thorn to be removed three times; then he accepted it as a companion on his journey to aid him.  Do we view our thorns as gits from God?  Companions to help us stay the course and finish well?  Or do you find ourselves angry, bitter, and judgmental toward God because of them?  Is the Gospel worth the cost to you?

More in The Power of Prayer

November 12, 2017

Stay the Course (Part 1)

November 5, 2017

Not a Sword, but Authority

October 29, 2017

When Visions Collide