Messes, dirty laundry and the real Christian life Part 1
Take a look around the church this morning….
What do you see?
Many people come into church after that have been through a rough week, month, or year and believe…everyone has their act together, everyone is so perfect
But if you really spent time with any family you would hear real stories of messes, dirty laundry and everyone learning to trust in God’s faithfulness on a daily basis.
The statement on the wall in the lobby says, “we do real” here and I know the enemy would like to condemn you, make you feel imperfect, make you feel as if you can never attain to being the person God has called us to be…
Even the Apostle Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament knew God had more work to do in him
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Philippians 3:12
But we have this hall of faith, this cloud of witnesses to live up to. How can we ever live up to them?
Well let’s take a look at them
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5 By faith, Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this, he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Able and Enoch we really don’t know enough about for today’s teaching but Noah, we have a lot of information about.
Here is how we are introduced to Noah
“This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.”
We know the story God was going to destroy everything Noah said no problem I’ll build an ark and the animals came two by two. Rain for 40 days and nights…He and His family were the only people left on the face of the earth.
Do righteous people, godly people do stupid things?
No, not truly righteous and godly people….well you better think again
One day he (Noah) drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent.
Let’s hear from Noah today
Noah comes walking on the stage obviously drunk maybe interacts with a few people
Noah: Ok…OK don’t judge me, the grapes just got a little fermented who knew they would taste that good…For a little over a year I shoveled manure, lived in a cramped space with every animal DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT’S LIKE?….lions roaring, kangaroos hopping, skunks spraying… you get the picture. Starting out the new life I had a little trouble, not as good with raising pigs as I thought…I thought I’ll talk to Joe the pig farmer then I remember Joe’s dead…ran into the same problem with shearing the sheep…never did it before would like to have asked Earl the shepherd how to do it but Earl’s dead…don’t get me wrong (Noah still staggering and slurring his words) I’m so grateful God protected me and my family…I love Him you know…I just miss everyone so much I have PFTD you know that’s Post Flood Traumatic Disorder it makes it hard to cope. (Noah makes his way back to the prayer room and passes out there at end of lines, no one can see) Excuse me I think I’m going to be sick and pass out now, just not sure which I’m going to do first. Wow, these clothes are really uncomfortable!
OK, OK we don’t know exactly why Noah got drunk just he was still a righteous man…did he get drunk all of the time? No, but any of us can blow it, grief does funny things to people
As Christians when we lose a loved one, lose a job, lose a friendship, go through a divorce, have a miscarriage, lose a dream, or some other devastating thing, grief can set in.
We want to put on the smiling face and just get through it or we want to break down and cry, get angry, or just get depressed for a while then we feel guilty or others make us feel guilty for not being the “good Christian”
That being a good Christian thing is what trips us up. Perfection is sometimes what we believe we are to obtain but that is not God’s plan for us…His plan is for us to become perfect in him and that only happens by learning to be real, honest, and surrendering daily to Him.
Being a good Christian means going through stuff, letting God be God in our lives
Let me ask you something
Is the Bible God’s word?
Is everything in the Bible true?
If so then let’s look at what the Bible has to say
When I am counseling people who have just lost a loved one I will remind them of Jesus words.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4
First, something we need to realize it is OK when we have a loss, regardless of what it is or how important or unimportant it may seem to others it is OK to mourn that loss
Mourning here means to experience great loss. It is not “Christian” to hide the pain and hurt of the loss…it is Christian to walk it through and trust the Lord to bring the comfort
Jesus is saying here in “Blessed” “how fortunate are those that mourn” why because as we mourn, whatever the loss is, we will have the Holy Spirit meet us in a very real place and He can in our pain, despite our pain, through our pain pour the fruit of the Spirit to get us through it.
Speaking of getting through it Remember Isaiah 43:2
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,”
Being a Christian does not mean that we go through life oblivious to pain, struggle or trial. Can you imagine what Noah and his family went through in very practical ways….
-what do you feel like with just one rainy day let alone 40
– what would it feel like that everyone you knew was dead mother, father, aunts, uncles, neighbors
– living in a confined space with all those animals and their bodily fluids and cleaning constantly, feeding nonstop, and the noise
– We know when they got off of the ark, they had no idea how many months days or years it would be
We sometimes mourn things thinking we have missed God’s plan when in reality what we are going through, as uncomfortable as it may seem, is God walking us through the fire and the flood.
God does not normally cause things, we would interpret as bad to happen but if we are willing, He will use them to give us strength, wisdom, courage and to help us build trust with Him.
Don’t allow anyone to belittle your grief…don’t feel you are not a good Christian because you are grieving some kind of loss…instead, use your time of grieving to allow the Lord to teach you more about himself.
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
In the midst of our loss, our sense of grief, our mourning the Lord can be there and minister to you when you are ready and when you are willing…he can teach you about His strength, His help and watch and learn what it is to walk in His righteousness.
In the middle of your loss, he will come and bring life to you when you feel the most at loss
Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.
Grief over a job loss, dream loss, a loved one, a baby, a relationship, or anything is real and Christians even good ones go through it but that is the point of it we must allow the Lord in His gentle, unique way to take us through it and then walk us out of it.
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
He gets it…He really does…The enemy also gets it and wants to keep you there…there is an appropriate time for grieving, mourning, and feeling the loss and then it is time…because He understands exactly what we are going through to allow him to start lifting us out of it pouring out the grace that we need
Today we want to do that…if you are ready then we want to pray that the Lord lifts you out of that burden you have been carrying for so long
If you aren’t ready…that’s OK come and allow someone to pray with you that you can sense his comfort with you right this moment right in your grief and so you can sense His help, His strength, His love, Jesus wept with those that mourned once the weeping was done He took action…let us help you get through the mourning
If you are feeling depressed, angry, frustrated, loss, confusion, all of these may be signs of mourning Come let the Lord meet you there!