Are You Amazed?
ARE YOU AMAZED?
Good morning and welcome. Yep, you got me again! I say this almost each time I’m up here, but I guess you could call this my disclaimer. If you are visiting this morning please come back when the Preacher is here. I’m just a member filling in his absence.
I believe it’s important for us from time to time to reflect on our walk with the Lord. A few years ago I did a lesson on this and I decided to reconstitute and update it.
Although this sermon is predominantly for those who are Christians, to those who may be considering it, this is for you as well. This should aid you to more fully understand what the Christian walk is all about.
We are going to do a little time travel to the past and work our way back to the present.
I want everyone to think back to when you were baptized.......
Now think back to just before your baptism........
As you read and studied God’s word, remember how those words seemed to jump off the pages and into your heart? How they filled what you then realized was a great void deep inside. How those words neatly fit into place like the last few pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and how accomplished you felt to set back and see what you just completed. How the words of Jesus made you complete. Remember how the words of Jesus brought out the flavor of each day. As you pondered your new found faith you were not only awe struck, you were amazed! Amazed at how it all makes perfect sense. And that’s the title of today’s sermon. “Are you Amazed?”
Those words gave you a peace you never thought possible. You could feel the love of God and His grace taking hold of your heart. I remember when I was a small child with an ear ache, and it seemed the only thing that worked to ease the pain was when Mom would hold in me her lap and wrap her arms around me and gently and lovingly hug me. How protected I felt.
Remember His words when He said, “I will be to you like a hen that wraps her wings around her chicks.” You were comforted and amazed at how protected the words of Jesus made you feel.
Many things we discovered amazed us and left us in awe!
Amazed that God loves you enough to send His Son Jesus to take upon Himself, your sin. To pay the penalty for those sins. You became amazed at the powerful gift of grace that was freely given. How our hearts seemed to gleam with this new found love. How all of us felt clean and new and fresh like when stepping out the front door on cool day after a rain and taking in a deep breath.
Coming up out of the water of baptism as a child of God! Knowing that we at that point were washed clean of sin and guilt. How our lives seemed to have meaning and purpose. You couldn’t wait to tell family and friends of the saving power of the cross and resurrection of Christ!
There was no dust on the cover of your bible. New discoveries were found in its pages every day!
You began to understand more and more about your Savior.
And your relationship with Him and the Father was growing in a real way.
Just opening the book of Mark you discovered what kind of man Jesus is.
1) He is a man of emotions:
He has compassion towards the leper who seeks Him, and He does what no other would ever do! He reaches out to touch him. Just think how that leper felt after not knowing for years the touch of another human and now felt the touch of God! He has compassion on crowds who need leadership and direction. Jesus became grieved over hard hearted people who resist Him and seek to find fault with the works of God accomplished through His hands. Jesus marveled at the unbelief of His own country and His own relatives. He felt compassion instead of malice towards them. Amazing control of His emotions. This gave us confidence to face any situation.
2) He is a sensitive man:
He shows individual attention to a woman that touches Him for healing when crowds were closing in around Him. He overhears those who tell Jairus that his daughter is dead and He stops what He is doing to speak words of comfort and encouragement to him. He knows when His opponents are thinking evil thoughts about Him and the works He is doing. Amazing sensitivity. We learned through this how to be towards others.
3) He is a powerful man:
He can face a legion of demons and cast them out of a man. He can rebuke the weather and the waves of the sea and they obey Him. He can even walk on water! He heals all who touches Him. He turns 5 loaves and 2 fish into a meal for 5,000 people. With leftovers!
He touches a dead girl and speaks a word and she lives again. Amazing power!
4) He is a man of devotion:
He would go to a peaceful place to pray. Sometimes all night. He was faithfully present in the synagogue for teaching and worship. Even though He is the Son of God, He still recognizes the need of worship! Through Him we learn the importance of worship. Amazing devotion.
5) He was a man of many relationships:
Jesus is home in the house of tax collectors and sinners. He speaks to kings and rulers. Neither God nor Jesus are respecters of people and their status. His message is not selective, it is for everyone. Any and all can have a relationship with the Father and Son. An amazing message open to all!
6) He is a teacher:
To those who come to Him seeking truth, Jesus reveals the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. We too discovered those mysteries that have been hid for centuries before Christ. Jesus the Rabbi who taught with amazing clarity and authority.
7) And most importantly - We discovered He is more, much more, than a man, He is God in the flesh! He emptied Himself and became a man. Just think of that. The great “I AM” became flesh. The Creator became the created. Jesus willingly left the Father’s side, left heaven to give us a way to heaven! How amazing is that? He sacrificed all at the Father’s command for us!
All that you discovered about Jesus just made you, and I, all the more amazed and awe struck…
What happened between our accepting Jesus as Lord, King and Savior, and now?
What happened to that fire we had burning in our souls when we came up out of the water of baptism?
Why have so many of us seemed to of lost that freshness we had for the teachings of the Bible? The wonderment of what we would discover within its pages and how to apply those teachings to our everyday lives. I’ve titled today’s lesson, “Are you Amazed?” but the goal is to “ rekindle” within us the awe and amazement once again!
As an example for our consideration that our amazement may be in need of rekindling;
Have any of us come to the point where we just take communion because it is passed before us. Do we, when we sing, do so without listing to the words, do we hope Terry will have a short sermon? (Or me)
Why do some of us not attend Bible class or spend private time with God’s word and prayer?
Why do we sometimes seem to be satisfied with where our relationship with the Lord is now, and not seek to further enhance that relationship? Have we come to a place where we are afraid that to do so would require more from us? That we just don’t want to move from our self imposed comfort zone.... Aren’t we glad Jesus did?
When we look at how much Jesus sacrificed for us, and know in our hearts that with God all things are possible, that is truly amazing! Why is it that we are not that excited about the joy we had found in Christ? I’m reminded of a trip Deb and I took to Maine. We went to the top of Cadillac Mountain while in Maine. What’s unique about Cadillac Mountain is that if you reach the summit just before daybreak, you will be the first one in the country to see the sun rise. What would be the point of driving to Maine and going just part way up and spending the morning in the shadow of the mountain? Isn’t it the same with our Christian walk? To just go so far and stop short of the summit of what our faith could be.
Could it be because we have lost the AMAZEMENT, the wonder, the awe, we once had? Matthew 18:3 - Jesus talking to his disciples; said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of God!” One trait that stands out with children is their amazement with the world and the discoveries all around them. They are thrilled by what we think are the smallest things. An ant hill, a turtle, just playing in a mound of dirt, (little boys at camp), learning to ride a bike, playing in a pile of autumn leaves, laying on your back and watching the clouds go by, or having a tea party with a group of dolls.
“Unless you become like little children.”.....
Jesus wants us to keep the wonder and amazement of all that has been revealed to us and done for us ,as part of our lives
Don’t you think it’s a good idea to now and then rekindle those flames? Stoke the embers of our heart so as to renew our amazement and awe?
It is clear from the four gospels that wherever Jesus went, people were amazed. Whether they were rich or poor, young or old, sick or well, friends or enemies - people were amazed at Jesus!
AND STILL ARE!!!
In the (N I V) Bible the word amazed is mentioned thirty-nine times, always referring to how people were amazed at Jesus. What is not commonly known is that there is an occasion where Jesus was also amazed. In Mark 6, Jesus returns to His hometown only to discover that many were opposed to Him. In this context Jesus too is amazed - amazed at their lack of faith......
The choice is ours - we will either be amazed at Him, or He will be amazed at us......
I fear that sometimes we become “desensitized” to who Jesus claims to be!
We need to, from time to time, stop and make a conscious effort to consider anew what it is that made us so amazed.
I have chosen a few verses to help us, as well as two short videos that we have seen before. I am sure we will find these inspiring towards our goal this morning.
Matthew 7:28 - “The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were “amazed” at His teachings.” Are we?
Matthew 15:31 - “so that the multitude marveled, (or were amazed), as they saw the dumb speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” Why? Because this was no mere man! That would be impossible! Are we?
Matthew 21:20 - “And seeing this, the disciples were amazed, saying, how did the fig tree wither at once?” Amazed at His power over nature! Are we?
Mark 1:27 - “And they were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, what is this? A new teaching with authority, He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him!” Are we amazed?
Mark 9:15 - “And immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed, and began running up to Him.” Are we?
One more - Luke - 2:47 - “All who heard Him were amazed at His understanding, and His answers!” Are we?
Let me ask... Is it possible to fully describe Jesus Christ, our King?.... As many words as we have in the English language, bye the way, it was just recently reported that we are now over one million words, there are still not enough to adequately describe the character and goodness of Jesus, our loving Lord and Savior. Is that not amazing?
When Moses asked God, after being given the command to, “free my people”, Who should I tell them, sent me? Remember what God said, “I am that I am” sends you! ( think about that!) I am that I am - wow! That’s all encompassing. Or when we read in Revelation, referring to Jesus, The Alfa and Omega, the first and the last! Again all encompassing.
We can’t so easily define the Father and Son. They are all and in all. And that all there is, is because of them, and without then all isn’t!... This shouldn’t discourage us, or confound us, but should amaze us!
One of the best attempts ever made to describe our King came from a wonderful preacher, Dr. S. M. Lockridge. This short video that we have seen before uses Dr. Lockridge’s eloquent and powerful words. His words and this video touched my heart strings and I am sure they will touch yours as well.
Wow! I hope you found that amazing! It sure is powerful. There is actually too much information in this video to absorb after listening to it only once. I liked when Dr. Lockridge asks, “Do you know Him Today?”
I have one more short video for us to watch, and after it we will have a few closing remarks.
Are you amazed? What else can we say?
Our goal this morning has been to once again rekindle our hearts towards the amazement and awe we experienced when we first came to accept Jesus as Lord, King, and Savior.
I am sure that we never really lost it, just misplaced it.
Or because of our busy lives, moved it down our priority list a few notches.
I hope this has helped us to move Jesus back up where He belongs.
HAVE A PRAYER
Let’s join our hearts in prayer - Our Father and God, we come before Your thrown, humbled at Your love for each one of us, thanking You for that all encompassing care. We pray that the amazement and wonder will once again be kindled in our hearts. That Jesus will take center stage in our lives. That our worship to You will be our first priority. We pray for Your strength and Your guidance, for we fully admit that we are weak and are in need of the loving saving grace of Your Son and our Lord. We are so amazed that Jesus came to earth and experienced life as we know it. That He sacrificed so much for so many that don’t merit forgiveness. But yet, He, while His life’s blood flowed from His wounds looked up and uttered, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That through the work of the cross we are saved! That He is now our Lord, our King, our Redeemer, the bridge between your heart and ours. We are amazed that through the power of the cross and Your love toward us, in spite of our weaknesses, that we are even considered your children. May our gratitude never waver, Amen!
Our lesson today also has another purpose, to those here that have not as yet accepted Jesus as Savior, Let me ask.....Do you know Him today?
If your honest with yourself, your answer is YES!
We will be singing a song in just a couple of minutes. This song is for you. It’s an invitation song. As we join our hearts and voices, think over what you now know about Jesus. And how amazing He is. Amazing in that all He has done, He has done for you. He suffered and died on the cross to take upon Himself your sin. He paid your penalty. All you must do is accept Him as Lord of your life. And just as Jesus died and rose again, you too through the waters of baptism die to self and rise out of the water a new creature washed clean of any and all sin. You immediately become a child of God. God adds you to His family, His church! It won’t always be easy, but your new life will be filled with wonder and amazement.
God offers you this free gift, why, because He loves you. And just as a child is filled with awe and anticipation in opening a birthday gift, you can have that sense of wonder as you open your heart and let God in!
All you need do is walk up to the front during this song, set on one of these chairs as we sing and we will then ask you if you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and will allow Him to work in your life. After saying yes, we will baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of your sins. And at that point, God will have added you to His Kingdom.
Isn’t that amazing??
Let’s stand and sing!