Okay, enough about what God expects from us. What can we expect from God?
OCTOBER 7, 2020
Zach Van Dyke:
Okay, enough about what God expects from us. What can we expect from God? Let’s talk on Key Life.
This is Key Life. We are here to communicate the freeing truth that God’s not mad at his children. Zach Van Dyke is the teaching pastor at Summit Church here in Orlando. And he’s been teaching us all this week. If you’ve discovered that just trying harder, doesn’t make you better. Welcome to the party.
Zach Van Dyke:
Thank you Matthew. And thank you all for tuning in this week, Steve is on break this week, but he’ll be back on Friday with Pete for Q & A. I hope you will tune in, but if you’ve been tuning in all this week, you know, we’ve been talking about purpose and what can we find out about our purpose by going back and looking at the story of Abraham from Genesis, and that’s kind of where I’ve been living. And yesterday, we talked a little bit about how you and I can know our purpose, but there’s no shortcuts. That in fact, right at the beginning of Genesis 17 in verse one, God says to Abraham, he says, walk before me and be the blameless. And we talked a little bit about what that means, to walk before God and how it means that you and I, we’re designed to be with him, that we’ve got to be in relationship with him, we’ve got to be seeking him, we’ve got to be obeying him, that you and I, if we think we’re going to figure out our purpose, but we’re living completely counter to how he designed us, we’re living counter to what his law teaches us, then of course we’re going to be confused. Of course, we’re not going to know our purpose, because if God is our creator and he made us a certain way, he knows how we best work. And so when we approach kind of God’s law, when we approach how he designed us, it makes sense that when we obey, we are living more into our purpose. And so, if we want to find purpose, we first have to just acknowledge the fact that we were designed a certain way. And if we live counter to that, it’s going to be hard to understand our purpose. Then we also talked about how by walking before him, that also means to be in relationship. That means that we are constantly going before him that we’re interacting with him. That we’re not avoiding him. So often when people come into my office and want to ask questions about purpose and they’re just not feeling it. If I ask them like, well, have you been reading your Bible? Have you been praying? Most of the time. They’re like, well, not, not really. And again, this isn’t a checkbox thing. This isn’t like, you need to do these things and God will bless you. No, these are the ways in which God communicates with us. He has given us his word. He’s invited us into prayer, not as a checklist, but as a way for us to be able to understand who we are, who he is and what he’s called us to do. And so, we talked a little bit about that and then at the very end, I addressed that statement that God makes to Abram when he says, be blameless. Now, you know, Abram has not been blameless up to this point in the story. In fact, if you go back and you look at at Abraham’s life, you see a lot of mistakes. In fact, he is a man who, who, who, who was deeply flawed, but yet God says to him, be blameless. And I talked about how blameless in the Hebrew is really the word whole or wholehearted. And so to be blameless is not so much about perfection. It’s not so much about doing the right things. It’s about being wholehearted, being fully alive, to be fully devoted to God, to, to, to live into God’s purpose for you. And so that’s, you know, that’s kinda what God expects of us. Like if we want to know our purpose, that’s what he tells us to do. So, what can we expect from God? Right. I get it. All right, that’s the stuff we can do. Alright, but God, what are you going to do? How are you going to enter into our purpose? Well, we can expect God to remind us who he is. If you look at the story of Abraham, it’s a story of God constantly coming to Abraham and reminding him who he is, first God reminds Abraham that he is God almighty. The Hebrew is El Shaddai, essentially He says to Abraham, I can redeem anything for my purposes. And if you were to read the whole account of Abraham’s life, what would you see? You would see this man who’s known as the father of our faith, with lots of doubts. In chapter 12 of Genesis, God calls Abraham. He says, I want you to leave everything you know, everyone you love, your family. And I want you to go into this foreign land. This land that you know, nothing about. I want you to enter into the unknown and I’m going to give you that land. And in fact, I’m going to bless the whole world through you, but you gotta go, you gotta, you gotta go to this land. And we find that Abraham has tremendous faith. He does it. Right? Which is kind of crazy. You think how many times in our life are we willing to just leave everything? Everything that’s made us feel comfortable and secure and just say, all right God, I’m just going to trust you. Well, that’s what Abraham does. But the minute things don’t go, well, the minute things don’t go the way that Abraham thinks they should go. What does he do? His doubts take hold and he takes things into his own hands. He comes into a situation where there’s a famine in the land and he leaves the land that God told him to go to, he goes to Egypt. There he knows that his wife has become very attractive to the Pharaoh. And what does he do? He tells him, well she’s my sister. Yeah, you can take her into your harem. You know, he, he completely lacks faith that God will actually do what he says, but then, you know, he he’s found out and what does he do? He goes back and he repents, in chapter 14 or chapter 13, it’s all about him repenting and saying, all right God I’m messed up. And God says, alright, know that I’m going to be faithful to you. I’ve promised you this. And then God gives him victory and a battle scene in chapter 14, that makes no sense, he shouldn’t have won, but he did. God says, see, I told you, I’m going to take care of you. And then in chapter 15, God makes a covenant again with Abraham and he tells them to look up at the sky. And there’s more, there’s more stars in the sky than you can even imagine. And he says, you’re going to have descendants even more numerous than those stars. But then in chapter 16, because he’s old and his wife sold and she’s barren, he doesn’t really believe that God’s going to give him descendants. So what does he do? He sleeps with his wife servant, and then we come to chapter 17, which is what we’re looking at really this week. And what is God doing? He’s coming to Abraham again, and he’s reminding him who he is and that he can do anything that he’s capable of doing anything. Now, God had every right to say to Abraham, you foolish, man, how dare you doubt me. But what do we see God do, again and again, he comes to him and he says, you can trust me. We can expect God to remind us who he is. In Abraham, we see our struggle, the struggle between condition and calling, between seeing things as they are and seeing things as they should be. Faith is always needed to bridge the gap between our reality and God’s promises to us. See, when you and I, when we see the conditions around us, it’s hard to trust in our calling. It’s hard to believe that God is really up to something. So some of us just need to be reminded again and again, who God is, that he is God almighty, El Shaddai. One of the reasons we name our kids after literary characters, is because I love to associate them with some truth that came through the story that they’re based on. I have a daughter named Alice, and I love the Alice and Wonderland stories. I love Alice, because of her curiosity about things, but there’s this one particular interaction that Alice has in the book, The Looking Glass with the White Queen. And the White Queen asked her, she says, how old are you? And Alice says, I’m seven and a half exactly. You need not say exactly, the queen remarked. I can believe it without that. Now I’ll give you something to believe. I’m just 101, five months and a day. I can’t believe that, said Alice. Can’t you?, the queen said in a pitying tone, try again, draw a long breath and shut your eyes. Alice laughed. There’s no use trying, she said. One can’t believe impossible things. Well, I dare say you haven’t had much practice then, said the queen. Why, when I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I believed in as many as six impossible things before breakfast. You and I, we’ve been invited to believe the impossible, because we have a God who is El Shaddai, because we have a God who has all mighty. We have a God who can enter into any circumstances and make it right. And we see that again and again, in the life of Abraham, it seemed impossible that he would get land from other nations, powerful nations. It seemed impossible, that he would be able to have a child in his old age with his wife who was also old. It seemed impossible, but not with God. With God, all things are possible. How often do you and I come before God or go to church, forgetting that we are seeking the presence of God almighty, that we are in fact, worshiping a God who can redeem anything for his purposes. One of my favorite verses is Acts 4:31, which says this,
And when they had prayed, the place they were meeting was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Man, I want that every week, but how often I don’t expect it, but when you and I, when we walk before God wholeheartedly. When we walk before God seeking dependence on him, we can expect him to remind us again and again and again and again, that he in fact is God almighty, that He is El Shaddai, that he can redeem everything and he will redeem everything, because in the end. It really is all about grace.
Zach, that was pastor Zach Van Dyke, teaching us about finding and living in our purpose and exploring the idea of what we can expect from God. Zach will wrap up the series tomorrow. Do not miss that. So I don’t know about you, but I love new things. New year’s day. Love it. New cars and that new car smell, yes, please. So you can understand why I’m very excited to tell you about the brand new keylife.org. This new version was more than two years in the making. It now has a cleaner layout. It loads quicker, and it has a simpler navigation. It has never been easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. And to discover new content that you’re going to love. Check out the station finder tool that lets you know what nearby stations will be playing Key Life and Steve Brown Etc. Also brand new transcripts for Key Life. So now everything you hear, Steve and Zach teach, you also have it in print. In addition to all of that, all your favorite stuff is still there, our just released digital magazine, sermon videos, Key Life Connection, and even more audio content. All of it also is still free, thanks to the generous support of listeners, just like you. If you’d like to donate the Key Life, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. Or you can mail your donation to
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