Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Dec 20, 2015 Sermon

“The Creator of Everlasting Life”
Isaiah 43:15 – 19
Ted Jansen December 20, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        As you think about buying gifts this season how do you feel?  Do you have a sense of obligation?  Do you feel frustration because you cannot fully express all that you want to in a gift?  Do you feel pressure because of your procrastination? 
When you don’t love someone, or are not sure you even like them, you might wonder if you need to buy a gift.  But when you really love someone you tend to forget the budget and want to get a great gift!    
Gift giving comes with all sorts of emotions, perspectives and commitments attached to it.  It is now always clear what we should do. 
 
2.)        I did find this information helpful if you still need to buy a Christmas gift for your wife or husband.  Don’t buy your wife a frying pan, a blender or vacuum.  Don’t buy her a scale or perfume that you say really smelled good on another woman.  Don’t buy for your husband stationery, a Barbara Streisand CD, a red flannel nightshirt, or two tickets to an opera! (Humor for the Holidays)      
 
3.)        We celebrate a gift that God gave over 2,000 years ago.  What do you think God was experiencing when God gave the gift of His Son?  Do you think that God gave the gift out of obligation or frustration?  Did God give out of love and generosity?  
            We will look to some ancient words from Isaiah that will give us an insight in what prompted God in giving the gift.  
 
4.)        Isaiah 43:4 says, “You are precious and honored in my sight…I love you.”  Those are words that God was speaking, through Isaiah, to the people of Israel.  This verse is one that I discovered that helped me.  I am sure these words helped the people of Israel to know that God loved them.  We don’t always see a picture of a loving God in the Old Testament.  God loves us and sees each person as precious and honored. 
            These words from God are vital to hear and vital to know and to remember. 
 
5.)        Each of us need to hear those words of love.  We need to hear that we are precious, honored and loved.  Those words make us feel alive. 
            Maybe we have not heard those words in our lives, or we have heard the opposite words.  We have heard words that we are worthless, that we are despised and we are hated.  If words like those come into our spirit they make us feel dead, with no life.       
            I invite us to share words of blessing to one another.  I invite you to share the words, God loves you and share other words of blessing.  (Share a word of blessing to those around you.) 
 
6.)        God’s love was the motivation for the gifts and grace that God would give.  We hear these words as an expression of love.   
“I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.”   This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea,  a path through the mighty waters,  who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there,  never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.   See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  (Isaiah 43:15 – 19)
            In these words of love I discovered three statements that begin with I am.  I am the Lord.  I am doing a new thing.  I am making a way in the desert.  
 
7.)        I am the Lord.  This statement reminds us that in Isaiah’s day, when hope was diminished for the people, God was still in control.  It appeared that God was absent when the Promised Land was being attacked and God’s chosen people were being exiled and living in a foreign land.  God wanted the people to know that God is Lord, King, the Holy One, the Creator.  God knows all that was going on with the Israelites, the Egyptians, the Assyrians, all people.        
When Jesus was on earth the Romans were governing the world.  They appeared like they would rule forever.  They sought to crush any opposition to Caesar and the Roman way of life.  The Romans built a system of roads, water systems, leaders of the various territories so messages could be shared with the people of the empire.  The Lord was aware of Roman history so that when Jesus was born the message was able to be shared in a quicker fashion than at any other time in history, up to that point.    
            *We realize that Jesus is Lord of our world.  He uses world events for His purpose.  We wonder at times about the acts of terror the natural tragedies, the suffering and all the fighting that occurs.  Is God aware, is God doing anything, is God using the events of the world?  God’s love is what motivates God’s plan.  We have reassurance that God is working things out in history for His purpose.  God is working things out in our family, in our church, in our lives for His glory.      
            I am the Lord… I love you.
 
8.)        I am doing a new thing.  This statement reminds us that God changes the methods on how love is expressed.  Isaiah speaks about how God brought about the salvation from the Egyptians through the Red Sea miracle.  God parted the sea and the Israelites went through the water.  Then the water engulfed the Egyptians as they tried to cross.  God brought about the salvation of the people in this method. Isaiah reminds the people to forget the past, and not dwell on it.  God is doing a new thing.  I am doing a new thing to express in a new way, the love for the people.  Don’t look for the sea to open and for your enemies to be drowned. 
            Something new and different will be revealed in this earth that you will know about my love in a personal way.  
            Jesus, when He came to earth taught people in a new way.  He healed many people of many diseases.  He multiplied the fish and bread for a meal for many.  He had a fish produce a coin in its mouth so that Jesus could pay taxes.  Jesus walked on the water.  He did things in new ways.      
            *We realize that God uses whatever method works best to show His love for people.  We are all different and we hear and respond in different ways to love.    
            Dr. Gary Chapman has written a book called, “The Five Love Languages.”  The premise of the book is that there are five ways to communicate love and receive love.  We are all different and so these five have a different impact upon us.  The five are: Words of affirmation, Acts of service, Receiving gifts, Quality time, Physical touch. Which language do you best receive the message of love?  God uses different ways to let us know that we are loved.      
            I am doing a new thing… I love you.
 
9.)        I am making a way in the desert.  This statement remind us that God brings new life out of the dry, barren places, like the desert.  The people in Isaiah’s time knew about the wilderness and sand.  The Holy Land was a mixture of trees, grass and desert climate.  This idea that God would make a way, bring life, in the desert was something that was not expected.  The only signs of life in the desert are around the springs of water that would come from the ground or come out of the mountains after a rain.  Isaiah used the phrase in 43:19 that said, that streams would come from the wasteland.  God was going to bring new life, water, from the desert places.      
            Once when Jesus was here on earth he stopped at a well.  (John 4)  It was most likely in an arid, dry region.  The well that Jesus stopped at was in Samaria, a place that Jews did not go to.  This well was a source of life for people.  At this well Jesus began talking to a woman about living water.  In this barren and dry place new life was coming to this woman.  The stream of living water was not just flowing to the woman but to all in the village who listened to Jesus and loved him.  Jesus brought new life to her and to her friends.  It was a stream of living water in the desert, the wilderness.    
            *We realize that God does the unexpected in our lives.  God works to bring new life in our dry places because He loves us.
Do you know that the driest place on earth is the Atacama Desert in Chile?  It averages about a half of inch of rain per year.  In some places it has not rained for four years.  In some weather stations located in various places in the desert there has never been any recorded rain.  Some evidence suggests that no measurable rain fall had been recorded from 1570 – 1971.  This is a dry, dry place, a desert, a barren wilderness.  (Here is a picture).    
Yet, something happened in 2015 in the Atacama Desert.  It rained twice in one year in this dry desert.  Then after the rain the desert floor blossomed with beautiful flowers.  These desert flowers can bloom about once every 5 – 7 years, only if the rains come.  Yet, twice in 2015 the entire desert was filled with flowers.  The seeds for those flowers can wait for up to ten years before the right amount of rain comes.  They bloomed this year and life came out of the desert.  (Take a look at this picture of the flowers.)    
If you would have looked out at the vast dry desert you would not have believed that a single flower would be able to grow.  Below the surface, the seed that is waiting is nourished by the rain and a miracle of God is seen in the beauty of the flower, blooming in the desert.      
            God’s love will make beautiful things grow where it appears that no life is possible.  That is the message from Isaiah. 
            I am making a way in the desert… I love you.
 
10.)      God knew a tax, a census, would be decreed and that Mary and Joseph would have to travel to Bethlehem, a city around a desert and wilderness place. 
            God knew that a new way of expressing love for all people would take place in that town, with Mary and Joseph, humble servants of God.  God knew that salvation, redemption, restoration would be revealed in a new way to all who would open their eyes. 
            God knew that in the wilderness, the desert, that beauty, new life, love would come. 
 
11.)      “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And everyone went to their own town to register.   So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”  (Luke 2:1 – 7)
 
I am the Lord.  I am doing a new thing.  I am making a way in the desert.  I love you.