Sermon: Shelter from the Storms, John 16:33, January 20 2019.
Rooted 3 – “Peace in the Storm,” John 16:33
6th grade camp lean-to story. Our self-built structures of safety will fail when the real storms of life hit. We need a great deal more than a lean-to!
CIT/CIS: The only lasting shelter is the power revealed in the Word of God.
And what does God’s Word reveal about shelter from the real storms that blow into our lives? This morning I’m going to consider just three storms that we all face. (1) The Cyclone of Sin. (2) The Downpour of Disappointment. (3) The Hurricane of a lack of Hope.
The Cyclone of Sin. The cyclone of sin is everybody’s problem. You think you’re fundamentally a good person and it doesn’t affect you? I think I’m essentially a good person because if judged on a scale I surely do more good than bad? If we’re to take God’s Word seriously, we better guess again!
We are not fundamentally “good” people when it comes to God’s Word but that’s not bad news. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12 NIV84) Now, why would I remind of such a dreadful thought as this? Because to be rooted in Christ, properly grounded in the truth of God’s Word, we must begin at our imprisonment in order to recognize our ransom! We who were lost are now found! We who were imprisoned by shackles of shame and sin have been set free! Grace. Faith.
McLaren. John 3:16. There is a lake, a river, a pitcher, and a draught. The lake is the grace of God in Christ. The River is its flow and offer through the preaching of the Gospel. The pitcher is faith by which we must lay hold of Christ and the drought is the sinful land where people choose to perish dryly rather than live under submission to God with thirst quenched.
Romans 5:8-11. “We joy in God! I think this is one of the most wonderful statements we have in Scripture. It means that right now, wherever you are, whatever your problems are, my friend, you can joy, rejoice, in God. Just think of it! You can rejoice that He lives and that He is who He is. You can rejoice because He has provided a salvation for us.” (JVM)
The Downpour of Disappointment. We need a formidable shelter because this life can get really tough! I don’t have to elaborate of this much for it to have meaning do I? We are all ships at sea routinely battered by the slapping waves of disappointment. We need a real hope with power to give us the strength to keep getting up with the sea of life knocks us down.
It has been stated that “Disappointment, parent of despair.” (John Keats) We need more than an umbrella of light happiness for this downpour. We need shelter. We need a foundation. Francis Roberts points us in the direction of a right attitude concerning disappointment. “Out of every disappointment there is treasure. Satan whispers, “All is lost.” God says, “Much can be gained.” Every closed door gives space for God to open another. We’ve got to get out of the way and let Him work. (Mt. Hope-ME)
The Hurricane of a lack of Hope. Have you ever seen a photo or video footage of when a hurricane comes through and just decimates a housing development or something like that? It just smashes everything in its path!
Hurricanes don’t just happen do they? Not in an instant without warning. We know months in advance when the conditions are ripe for a good hurricane season. We hear news about warm Caribbean or South African waters stirring, getting ready to brew up a few good storms. Modern technology tracks them, and usually with at least a fair amount of accuracy.
The hope robbing hurricane smashes us a little at a time as it looms out there in the form of rumors, slanders, doubts, and fears. Only, unlike a natural hurricane, it smashes us a little at a time until the devastation is as complete and unbelievable massive as when Katrina hit in the low areas.
That’s what’s happening in society today isn’t it? So many people live desperate lives devoid of hope because they lack meaning. Our reasonability is not to tear them down while they endure life in the storm with no reliable shelter of truth. Our reasonability is to lift them up and invite them to the Master’s house – if they come or not isn’t up to us…
“Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” (Luke 14:23-24 NIV84) Salvation in Christ isn’t a religious game. It’s an offer of grace to find shelter from the storms. It’s a treasure for sharing, not for hiding.
[Felicity’s cardboard house illustration] We need real shelter. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV84)
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25 NIV84) We have real hope. We have a lasting shelter.