Andrew Fountain - The True Seeker

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Full sermon notes - The True Seeker

Seeking God

  • “History teaches us that people of all times, races and cultures have tried to find God.”
  • Is that true?

Questions:

  • How can I connect with my Creator?
  • What must I do to please God?
  • How can I resist the temptation to do things I later regret?

The Basic Quest

  • A fourth-century African called Augustine said:
    “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you, O God.”
  • the French philosopher Pascal said:
    “Within every human heart there is a God-shaped vacuum.”

World’s religions

  • laws, standards or rituals to follow.
  • Most seekers see God as remote and disinterested.
  • He can’t be reached because he is too far away and too far above us.
  • Many people see that their own hearts are unworthy.

Attracting God’s Attention

  • Religious rituals
  • “Do not bring any more meaningless offerings; I consider your incense detestable! You observe new moon festivals, Sabbaths, and call holy days, but I cannot tolerate sin-stained celebrations! … When you spread out your hands in prayer, I look the other way; when you offer your many prayers, I do not listen, because your hands are covered with blood.” Isaiah 1:13-15

Attracting God’s Attention

  • Law keeping
  • Paul: “I was advancing in the Jewish religion beyond many of my contemporaries in my nation, and was extremely passionate for the traditions of my ancestors.” Galatians 1:13-14
  • Later wrote “For no one is declared righteous before God by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20
  • Are there any other ways?

Who is the True Seeker?

  • God is the True Seeker
  • God will not stop until he has found lost people and brought them to himself.
  • This is the heart of Jesus’ message.

The Old Testament

  • Adam & Eve
  • Abraham
  • Samuel

The True Shepherd

  • For this is what the sovereign LORD says: “Look, I myself will search for my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will seek out my flock.
  • “I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a cloudy, dark day. I will bring them out from among the peoples and gather them from foreign countries; I will bring them to their own land.”
  • “I myself will feed my sheep and I myself will make them lie down,” declares the sovereign LORD. “I will seek the lost and bring back the strays; I will bandage the injured and strengthen the sick” Ezekiel 34:11-13a, 15-16a

Jesus the Good Shepherd

  • “I am the good shepherd. …and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-16

Jesus told them this story

“Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it?

Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’

I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents [turns to God] than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.” Luke 15:3-7

The Lost Son

  • Jesus tells a story about a rebellious son
  • “It was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:32

The Problem

  • Something is very wrong with this world
  • Why is there so much injustice and extreme poverty?
  • Why are there wars—based on greed, or desire for power, or hatred for those different from ourselves?
  • Why is there so much sickness, even with modern medicine?
  • So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned Romans 5:12

God’s Rescue Plan

  • For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17
  • “I tell you the truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
    “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, can he?”
    What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’ John 3:3-7

How Jesus did it

  • Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
    We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
    For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. Romans 6:8
  • For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10

New Life

  • There is a new power inside: the life of the Spirit of God himself who leads us to love others and not put ourselves first.
  • There is a new relationship as children of a loving, caring Father God as we talk to him in prayer and he answers us.
  • There is a new joy of not having to “perform” in order to be loved and accepted, and of having all our sins forgiven.
  • There is a new freedom from old controlling habits and patterns of living.

Our Response

  • Recognize that you have nothing to bring to God
  • Simply come to him in prayer and give your life to him
  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
    Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
    For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”
    Matthew 11:28-30

Updated on 2012-05-21 by Andrew Fountain

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