Andrew Fountain - Stories of God's Faithful Love
Full sermon notes - Stories of God’s faithful love
“WTC smoking on 9/11”
Image source: Michael Foran
World changed forever?
“People say ‘the world changed forever on 9/11’
The world really didn’t change… they came face to face with a worldview and a system of ethics that was incomprehensible to them
and that is radical Islam.” (Michael Edens, ETS 2009)
- Anglican bishop: Isn’t religion supposed to teach that we should be nice to one another?
Rights and Freedoms
“Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.” CCRF§15
- No basis in science (eugenics)
- Not universally accepted in every culture/religion
- The Bible: God is like that, and we must be like him
- Soldier hacked to death in London recently
- Was that wrong?
- It depends on what kind of God you believe in!!
- Allah is a “monad” a monolithic singular spiritual unit
- beyond knowing, best described by the numeral 1
- no direct interaction with creation (Qur’an delivered by angels)
- no direct involvment with people—that would demean his exalted “otherness”
- Christians see Adam and Eve created in the image and likeness of God
- To Muslims this is blasphemy
- In Genesis 3
- God is obviously displeased and upset with Adam’s behaviour
- The relationship with God is damaged and needs to be restored
- In the Qur’an this is absent
- it is purely factual
- When the good Muslim wants to live a pious life, he meditates on the life of Mohamed.
- It is Mohamed, not Allah, who provides an ethical source.
- Motivation for ethical behaviour derives from the community: honour or shame.
A God of Faithful Love
- A Releational God
- He created beautiful place for Adam to live (Gen 2:8–14)
- He created Eve because of love for Adam (Gen 2:18)
- He had a daily relationship with them (Gen 3:8)
- He did not destroy them after they sinned, but promised a Saviour (Gen 3:15)
- He even showed compassion to Cain
- Enoch “walked with God”
- Relationship with Noah
- Abraham —a God who is faithful
- A land (didn’t own it)
- A people Descendents (only saw a few)
- God was faithful, even though Abraham was weak
- Lot Gen 19:19 even though he had not followed God
- One of the words is Chesed
What Chesed is:
- faithful love
- e.g. Jacob made them promise not to bury him in Egypt but to take his bones back to the Promised Land—“promise this chesed to me” Gen 47:29
- love that never gives up, but hangs on to the end
- loyal love that will never betray us
- love we can count on, that will never let us down
What Chesed is not:
- Opposite: “What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your chesed is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes early away.” Hos 6:4
- Difference between chesed and agape (love)
- agape is undeserved giving, like giving a banquet to a homeless person
- chesed is a relationship
- chesed is taking them home for the rest of their life
- chesed is committing to care for them to the bitter end—a love that will “never let them go”
Stories: Joseph (Gen 39)
- Sold by his brothers into slavery (not much chesed!)
Slave in Egypt, betrayed by his master’s wife (…) ditto
- Joseph’s master took him and threw him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. So he was there in the prison.
- But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him chesed. He granted him favor in the sight of the prison warden.
- The warden put all the prisoners under Joseph’s care. He was in charge of whatever they were doing.
- The warden did not concern himself with anything that was in Joseph’s care because the LORD was with him and whatever he was doing the LORD was making successful.
Israelites in Egypt: Ex 2
- During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God.
- And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
- God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
- God hears your cry to him
- God “knows”
- He understands your situation, he cares, he is not a distand “Monad”
- For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,
but my chesed shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
It is the best news we can possibly have:
- Ps 51:1 David sinned with murder and adultery
- Have mercy on me, O God, according to your chesed
According to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
- It is based on a covenant with God
- He offers it to us: Isa 55:3:
- “Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure chesed for David.”
- So what does God’s chesed, his faithful love, depend on ?
- Is is for everyone ?
- Is it for those who are good enough ?
- no or it would not be chesed
- Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Mat 11:28
- Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, an let the one who believes in me drink.” John 7:37f
- Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6
- “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Mat 7:24
- “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb 13:5
Updated on 2013-06-18 by Andrew Fountain