Sermon at First Presbyterian Church Lockhart

"Keeping Focus On God"

Isaiah 55:1-9,Psalm 63,I Corinthians 10:1-13,Luke 13:1-9

March 7, 2010

by James Greene

 

†††††††††† In this season of Lent we are called to reflect, remember and remind ourselves who is The King in our lives and in the universe.It is our time to keep our focus on God and the gift of His Son for our salvation.Christ came to show us that we have life and hope through our trials.He came to show us Godís heart.He came to show us how to live in, and to be in Godís Will, and how to keep our focus as the People of God.

 

In Isaiah is the call of God to the people.It is for all who are thirsty, and all

who are hungry.It is a call that comes, with out cost.It is the free offering of Godís Grace, and Godís call,to come to God, because the price has been paid.God provides for his people and is seen in the themes of thirst, wisdom and repentance.

There is also the question asked, ďwhy spend money on what is not bread?ĒWe remember that the word bread is symbolic and a metaphor for wisdom.This helps us to understand the other question ďwhy should you labor on what does not satisfy?ĒIn Proverbs 9:10 we know that ďthe fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understandingIt is our instruction to keep our focus upon God.His Word is wisdom and bread for us.Bread will only satisfies hunger for a short time, where as wisdom feeds us through Godís provision.Wisdom is something that does not cost us.In our choosing to focus upon God in wisdom we understand His will for us in our lives.

 

The key words that punctuate the text are: Come, Listen, Hear, See, I Will, and Seek.These are all verbs that describe our actions in keeping our focus upon God, and ďseeking the Lord while he may be foundThis is all the focus of Godís call upon our lives to turn us toward God and to remember, that His ways and His standards are not our ways and standards.We are to look to Godís standards and directions found in Godís Word.†† In being Godís people, we will keep from wicked ways and evil thoughts, and we will seek and we will call upon the living God of the universe in that focus to protect us, and provide for us.It is a part of Godís plan and standard for our lives.†† This is reflected in Jeremiah 31:31-34†† "All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace.""I will put my law in their minds, and write upon their hearts I will be their God, and they will be my people."

 

Their temptation, like ours, was to not remember God.But when they focused upon God and remembering His providence that was and is, a part of His Will, for them.Then they remembered Ďwhose they areí and become a part of Godís Will. They remembered that God keeps His promises to his people when they are faithful.

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In being focused on His Will, we must be faithful to The One, who is our defender and shield.†† We being made in the image of God, must reflect the qualities of our Creator, in our thoughts and in our actions.We must rejoice in all the good things that God

has given us, and keep our focus upon his ways and his thoughts revealed in His Word.

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†††††††††† In Psalm 63 we see the metaphor of one who seeks and thirsts after God in a land that is dry of wisdom and understanding.It speaks about Godís ways, and how God is faithful and remembers and protects His people.It illustrates a picture of the person who is focused on Godís will and sings in praise of Godís ways.They call us to remember God and His righteousness, and to trust in Godís faithfulness.

It is the part of us, that resonates in us, that is, in focus with, the God of the universe.Our song and our praise is our response to that Divine spark, within us, described by John Calvin.

 

It is like the example of the 3 note chord struck on the piano, and our note vibrating in response to the harmony and joy of the Trinity in the creation.

When we hear God's call resonate in our lives, we cannot help but respond.

We are like the Psalmist, in our Praise and singing, we yearn to be, in tune with creation and the Creator.It is the right focus to rely upon God, because he is our defender and shield.We are satisfied in our soul with the focus on God in being fed by the richness of Godís wisdom.

 

In I Corinthians, is a review of Godís faithfulness to His people through history. It is an overview of the events the people of Israel experienced, when they lost their focus upon God and his ways.How we are to resist temptation and keep our focus on God.

We have a graphic example of bodies scattered over the desert when their hearts were set upon on evil ways; recalling the pagan influences that lead to idolatry and the loss of 23,000 in one day.We also have Godís promise to provide a way out in the midst of our temptation when we keep our focus upon God.

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In Luke is the message of the need to keep our focus upon God.We have Jesus asking if the disciples two questions; Did they believe, that the Galileans killed by Pilate, were worse sinners than all the other Galileans?Did they believe the people killed, by the fall of the tower of Siloam, were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

He strongly tells them no, and gives them a warning to repent and focus on God.Their eternal security is tied to being only focused on God.

The parable of the fig tree is a metaphor about Godís people.The fig tree is a symbol of national security, or national destruction.The vineyard was a symbol of Godís relationship with Israel, and with Godís people.The temple cult that was in control of worship in the Temple in Jerusalem was like the fig tree.They focused only on the leaves.

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There was an outward demonstration and appearance of a healthy tree, but with their traditions, they did not bear any fruit.The heart of their worship was focused upon tradition, and not upon God, and Godís standard.It was a choice of the wrong ideals.†† The focus is about choosing to do what is right, what is good, and what is honorable.It is a call to repentance, and to regain focus on Godís Will in their lives.

 

This is the fruit that Jesus is talking about when he is using the parable. The fig tree is the story about Godís mercy demonstrated and shown towards the fig tree when he allows the gardener to give it one more chance of bearing good fruit, before the decision is made to cut it down.

 

How we model Godís standards to those around us is a living example of our focus on God.It is in our choosing to demonstrate Godís love and Godís character, as a Child of God, that we, being made in the image of God, must reflect the qualities and behavior of our creator.†† In doing this, we live out our call-†† to live to, and to be an example of, a higher standard of behavior.This is the result of our focusing on Godís standard outlined in His Word,This is the example taught and demonstrated by Christ, the Living Word.He is The One who came and dwelt among us.

This call to repentance is Christís call, to us, to live in Righteousness.We are to be a priesthood of believers.We are to help establish the Kingdom, and bring it into the here and now, through our actions and character in our focus upon God.

 

Summary

 

†††††††††† We know that Christ has come to show us that we have hope.Our life in the Word shows us how God will be our shield and shelter through out all of our lives.He shows us how to endure through and overcome trials by staying close to The Word, and to staing focused upon Godís faithfulness and Godís heart for all his people.

 

It is in being faithful ourselves, and remembering that God is with us in and through all trials and temptations.Finally, we keep our focus and call upon the Lord to help us remember His Will, through these trials and temptations as we minister to each other and to the flock Ö

 

†††††††††† In the Name of Ö††† the Father,†† the Son,†† and the Holy Spirit.Amen

 

 

 

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