First Mennonite Morton



  • Mar4Wed

    With-ness With God

    March 4, 2020
    Filed Under:
    Faith, God's Character

    Our current sermon series, “God of the Covenants” is intended to equip our congregation in understanding the narrative story of the Scripture – the journey from Adam to Jesus.  The means of accomplishing this is by looking at the five major covenants mentioned in the Bible. But above these covenants, there exists a glorious theme which displays God’s heart for His creation.  Do you know what it is?  Here is a brief overview.

    After God created Adam and Eve, “the Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of day” (Genesis 3:8a) and thus drew near to humanity, pursuing them even after they had sinned.  As God was establishing His covenant with Abraham, the Lord stated desire was, to be God to you and to your offspring after you” (17:7). As God was establishing His covenant with Israel through Moses, the Lord said, “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7a).  In the revealing of the new covenant, the Lord said,I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

    In the New Testament, we see a similar theme.  Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will make our home with him” (John 14:23).  Upon leaving the earth, he reminded his disciples that “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20b).  Finally, as Scripture describes the New Heaven and New Earth, a loud voice from the throne of God proclaims, “The dwelling place with God is with man.  He will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Revelation 21:3).

    Do you notice the overall theme which leaps from the Garden of Eden into eternity?  The theme appears to be that God desires to be with His people.  The Lord’s desire for “with-ness” is His holy, eternal longing for an intimate, personal relationship with those whom He has made “in His image.”  But here is the struggle, do we want the same thing?  Another theme throughout Scripture is that our Biblical ancestors typically answered with a solid “no.”

    As a dad of four children, I love seeing our kids grow in faith and maturity. I enjoy caring for their needs, giving them tools to succeed and providing a safe environment for them to flourish.  But, honestly, one of my struggles is resting and fully being present with them just for sake of relationship.  It’s much easier for me to keep busy than to play another game of Uno or toss the baseball in the backyard.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy relational moments, it’s that I am easily distracted by the work that I believe should be done.  Can you relate to that?  Now, perhaps for you it’s not with children, but instead with your relationship with your spouse, with friends…or your relationship with God.  Does busyness, or something else, replace “with-ness?”

    We have just entered the season of Lent – that six week period of time which counts down to Easter Sunday.  Traditionally, Lent is a season of re-focusing.  Some Christians do this by abstaining from various personal pleasures.  But the main point is to reconnect with God.  So, as we begin to turn our sights towards Easter, I encourage you to take some intentional moments to slow down, to re-focus and “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10a).  The Maker of Heaven and Earth desires a deeper relationship with you.  Right now.  It’s all possible through faith in Jesus and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.  Will you take the time to draw near to Him?  He is ready and so eager to be your good Father…today.

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