WYBIGB GENERIC

We’re in a series called “When You Believe in God, but…” In other words you can believe in God to a certain extent or to a point, but we sometimes get to a place where we really struggle to believe any further. It’s sort of like the picture we have chosen for this series. I can walk down the dock extending over an ocean and trust God fully, but what happens when I come to the end of the dock and God is still saying move forward. How strong is my belief at this point?

We have dealt with several topics in this series, where people will profess with their mouth that they believe in God, but their actions seem to say something different. We have looked at the God’s love for us, Forgiveness, and how God feels about the Church. This week we will deal with “When You Believe In God, But Don’t Think He’s Fair”.

People that “Believe in God, But Don’t Think He’s Fair” generally are upset or mad at God because they didn’t get the good things that they thought they deserved. They may be angry when bad things happen to good people. Their attitude and thoughts are wrong, but there is an element of truth to what they believe. Join us Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. as we discuss why people may believe that God is not fair.

Sunday is also a fifth Sunday, which means we will have our Fifth Sunday offering for our building fund as well as have a time of communion together.

 Print When You Believe In God, But Not In His Church. Believers Statesboro 8-24-14

We’re in a new series called “When You Believe in God, but… In other words you can believe in God to a certain extent or to a point, but we sometimes get to a place where we really struggle to believe any further. It’s sort of like the picture we have chosen for this series. I can walk down the dock extending over an ocean and trust God fully, but what happens when I come to the end of the dock and God is still saying move forward. How strong is my belief at this point? We are dealing with several topics in this series, where people will profess with their mouth that they believe in God, but their actions seem to say something different.

My hope and prayer is that we will learn not just to believe in God on a theological or rhetorical level, but on a heart level. That we would not only believe that His word is true, but that we would believe that the truths in His word apply to every one of us as individuals in our everyday lives.

I think we do believe in God… most of the time, but we need some help in some areas. It’s more like the Father in Mark 9 who brought his demon possessed son to Jesus to be healed. Jesus told the Father that everything is possible to those who believe. The Father did a quick heart and faith check in his own life and replied, Mark 9:24 … "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (NIV) I think that this is where we are today. This expresses what we are thinking. I do believe, I want to believe, and I want to completely believe, but I’ve got some “buts”. I’ve got some faith limits, so Jesus, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”

When You Believe In God, But Not His Church

I’ve heard it, you have heard it too, you’re telling someone or inviting someone to church and they give you the pre-packed response, “I’m just not into organized religion.” What they are saying is they don’t like to go to church. They are saying, “I believe there is a God, but I don’t believe in His Church.”

EX: Reason why people don’t like church. Hypocrites, all they want is your money, Sunday is for family time, I like to sleep in, I can catch it on TV or online.

The question that people are asking today is not, “Where should I go to church?” They are asking, “Should I go to church at all?”

Amidst the misconceptions and excuses, there are some valid concerns. So we have to ask ourselves…

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO CHANGE THE CHURCH?

1. We must BE the change we want to SEE.

We don’t just need to go to church, but we need to rise up and be the church! We are part of the greatest living organism, (not organization) in the world today. This was Jesus’ idea, His concept, His plan!

· If someone says, they don’t like our church; they are saying they don’t like us, because we are the church!

A lot of churches are giving off the vibe that we really, don’t care about lost people, they just care about themselves. People, all people, need to know that they are loved by Christ Jesus and they are loved by Jesus’ church as well.

It never ceases to amaze me how people are not welcomed in a lot of churches. The very people that Jesus loves and has an abundant life plan for them.

You say, Scott you are right about other churches, but Believers Church is a friendly church. They greet you at the door. But there is a huge difference in meeting people and getting to know people.

Meeting – Hello, how are you? Good, have a great day.

Getting to know someone – 1. My name is _______, what’s your name? 2. How long have you lived here in Statesboro? 3. What brought you here to Believers Church?

If we want to be a friendly church we need to be friendly people. If we want friends we have to show ourselves friendly.

1. My name is _________, what’s your name?

2. How long have you lived here in Statesboro?

3. What brought you here to Believers Church?

NEXT STEP: I will meet one NEW person each week.

2. We must see the church as a NECESSITY instead of an OPTION.

Have you ever heard of “church night”? Does anyone here know what night of the week is “church night”? In America, Wednesday Night was always known as church night. You didn’t do or think about planning an event on church night!

· Now it’s just another night of the week, sports practice and games, events, open house.

· Now it’s been turned over to the world, not by the devil, the enemies of the church didn’t take church night away. We the people who say, “I believe in God, but not so much in His church.” We turned it over to the world, we surrendered it.

Church is seen as optional and this is what we are saying to our kids when an ECA (Extra Curriculum Activity) takes precedence over going to the greatest living organism in the world, worship and prayer to the God of all creation, to fellowship and encourage other Spirit filled believers, and to extent help, healing and salvation to those in need.

You may be saying, “Scott, why are you harping on Wednesday Nights?” Because Sunday morning are next! It’s not that Wednesday nights or even Sunday mornings are sacred holy days, but it’s the fact that we need a devoted time to the Lord and His work. We need to devote ourselves to Jesus’ Church. We need make it a priority in our lives. The key word is DEVOTION.

Acts 2:42-43 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. (NIV)

· Why don’t people like church? Because we are not devoted to church.

· Why don’t we see God doing more in the community through the church? Because we are not devoted to church.

· Why don’t we see God move more mightily in the church? Because we are not devoted to the church.

· When will people come and be filled with awe at what they see? When we get devoted to the church and start being the church that we are called to be. A church that is firing on all eight cylinders, where we are using the gifts and talents, where we are giving of ourselves, where we are preferring one another in love. Reaching people with the life changing message of Christ Jesus!

The National average of families attending church is quickly shifting from twice a month to once a month. But let’s say that you are coming to church half the time. How good of a church is it going to be if its members only show up half the time?

Next Step: I will attend church FAITHFULLY (every weekend) when I am in town.

3. We must see the church as a place for people to BELONG.

Statistic – 92% of Americans say that they are independent. Sounds like a good thing when you first hear it, but the problem is that we are not called or created to be independent. We are to be dependent on God and dependent on one another.

Romans 12:5 …so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (NIV)

Turn in your Bibles to 1 Cor 12:14-20.

BELONG BELIEVE BEHAVE

NEXT STEP: I will commit to being a part of a LIFE GROUP.

4. We must see the church as a place to LIVE OUT what we believe.

Church offers us a safe environment to discover and develop our Spiritual gifts and talents. Using our gifts and talents will help us grow, mature, and be healthy. Your Doctor tells you if you want to be physically healthy you must diet and exercise. The same is true for our spiritually lives.

Diet – Rom 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (NIV)

Exercises – James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (NIV)

You will love church when you get out of the stands and start being an active player in the game. You don’t just need more knowledge we need to exercise our spiritually muscles and serve. Be the church! Be who you were created to be!

firstserve.believers@gmail.com

I celebrate those who are already serving. Work hard, stay consistent, your labor makes a difference!

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)

NEXT STEP: I will find a place to SERVE consistently. firstserve.believers@gmail.com

We Can Change the Church!

We can change the church and the most qualified people to do it are sitting right in front of me. You are uniquely trained and equipped to be the church. “But I’m just ordinary, untrained”, you say, “How can I make a difference.

Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (NIV)

Greek word 62 agrammatos (ag-ram-mat-os); from 1 (as negative particle) and 1121; unlettered, i.e. illiterate: KJV– unlearned.

Jesus takes us, ordinary, unschooled, untrained, ignorant if you will, transforms us, uses us, and builds us into His glorious church!

If you don’t feel like God can work through you, then you’re EXACTLY what God’s looking for.

What is your answer today? Maybe? When I get around to it? If it’s something that I want to do?

NEXT STEP: I now realize that Believers really does NEED ME and I will make a positive difference in the church!

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

1. What is the most common excuse that you hear as to why people don’t go to church? What can we do to negate that excuse, how can we be the change that they need to see?

2. Why do you think so many people see church as optional and not necessary? What are they missing in this train of thought? How would you convince them that church is a necessity?

3. Are you devoted to Believers Church? What would true devotion to the church look like in your life? What changes would you need to make? What would change in our church if everyone devoted themselves not only to Jesus, but to the church as well?

4. Did you grow up in a BEHAVE – BELIEVE – BELONG church or a BELONG – BELIEVE – BEHAVE church? Explain the difference.

5. Do you agree with this statement? “If you don’t feel like God can work through you, then you’re EXACTLY what God’s looking for.”

It’s time to bring in your baby bottles for Choices of the Heart. Please bring them to church on Sunday and drop them back in the basinet in the foyer. Thanks for your generous participation in this project for this wonderful organization!

Baby Bottle Project

Next Week Promo 8-24-14

I’ve heard it, you have heard it too, you’re telling someone or inviting someone to church and they give you the pre-packed response, “I am just not into organized religion.” What they are saying is they don’t like to go to church. They are saying, “I believe there is a God, but I don’t believe in His Church.”

The question that people are asking today is not, “Where should I go to church?” They are asking, “Should I go to church at all?”

Amidst the misconceptions and excuses, there are some valid concerns. So this Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. we will answer the question, “Why would people believe in God but not in His church?” We will also celebrate as people publicly declare their love for Christ as they are Baptized!

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When You Believe In God, But Won’t Forgive. Believers Statesboro 8-17-14

Watch or Listen Online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

I would bet that everyone here knows that as Christians we have to forgive others. We don’t have an option it is a commandment. But many of us believe in God, but we won’t forgive. Why? Maybe we think that our situation is an acceptation to the rule. Maybe we don’t think that we can forgive. Maybe we tried to forgive and just can’t do it. Maybe we are waiting for someone to apologize first.

We may not feel like forgiving someone, or we are afraid that if we forgive them it will give them permission to keep hurting us or if we forgive them that we will be saying that what they did was ok, when we know it wasn’t.

The problem is that if we don’t forgive, we have this thing grow in our lives called a root of bitterness that ends up hurting us and everyone around us.

Heb 12:14-15 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (NIV)

In other words we have to deal with unforgiveness or it will turn into bitterness. The scriptures tell us in 1 Corinthians 13 that loves bears no records of wrong. On the flip side bitterness does. And if bitterness is left unchecked it will end up hurting many people. We have got to set ourselves free from unforgiveness.

Back in February 2006 I shared an Ed Young story with Believers Church about unleashing forgiveness.

The story was about a Doberman that was leased to a park bench, pulled the bench off its base and drug that bench through traffic and did all kinds of collateral damage to the automobiles at the intersection.

A lot of us are like that Doberman. We’re leashed up to anger, resentment, and unforgiveness; and we’re dragging it around from relationship to relationship, and it’s causing all of this collateral damage.

The dog’s master chased the dog down, grabbed the leash, untied it, and led the dog to safety. And that’s precisely what God wants to do for us. Our God, our gracious God, has been untying a lot of us. He’s been unleashing unforgiveness, and he’s been leading us to freedom.

You see there are things that bind people together. Love binds people together.

Unforgiveness also can bind people together.

  • You’re a divorced woman, your husband committed multiple affairs, and you’re still leashed up to him. He’s on the bench, and you’re dragging him around from relationship to relationship. If you marry again, the poor man is going to have to marry you and your ex, because you are going to drag him into you new relationship.
  • Your best friend and business partner irresponsibly lost all of your life savings and destroyed your dream. You think about that guy every day and in your hate and bitterness you are connected.
  • You were sexually abuse as a child, or someone you love was abused by someone and you are still leashed up to that person.
  • Someone currently or continually causing you unnecessary hurt and pain, and you are tormented with resentment to that person so much that you find yourself thinking about them all the time.
    • God wants to free you up like the man freed the Doberman up.
    • God will lead you to safety emotionally and relationally if you’ll just trust him and allow
    • him to do it.

But because you believe in God, you will forgive…

WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HURT ME?

1. I Will Forgive Because I Have Been FORGIVEN.

Col 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV)

Qualifiers! Don’t you hate them? I mean it would be easier to live the Christian life if God were vague and we could interpret His commands to suit our wishes. But God is specific and adds qualifiers.

· Just like Jesus told his disciple at the last supper, John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. A new command? What made this a new commandment? Jesus had told his disciples to love one another many times before. As a matter of fact love was the essence of the greatest commandments. But this time it was the how that made this commandment new. Love in a worldly way? In a superficial way? When it is convenient? No, this is how I want you to love each other… As I have loved you, so you must love one another. Jesus puts a qualifier on His commandment to love. He said, “Love one another. As I have loved you. Jesus doesn’t say this would be a good idea, or they might consider doing this, He adds, so you must love one anotheryou must do it my way, as I have loved you.

Now when it comes to forgiveness, God’s word puts another qualifier on forgiveness. Don’t just forgive when it’s convenient, when you feel like it, when the person tells you they are sorry, when the offender straightens us and stops hurting you. No Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV)

So I Will Forgive Because I Have Been Forgiven.

How did Jesus forgive you? Completely, totally, but also first……

You will never have to forgive others more than God had forgiven you.

You are forgiven. I hope you know that and I hope you feel forgiven. Because when you feel forgiven it makes it easier to forgive others.

Preemptive Forgiveness – As a believer, all I have to do, all you have to do, is consider the cross. Consider what Jesus Christ has done on the cross for us. Consider the preemptive forgiveness that he did before we even asked for it. And that should motivate us to forgive others just like he forgave us.

· Jesus took the initiative. He died on the cross for my sins and your sins, and he rose again before we ever turned from our sins, before we ever did our part.

We should involve ourselves in preemptive forgiveness as well.

· I should live such a life of forgiveness that I forgive others before they even do their part. I should forgive others even if they never do their part.

· Preemptive forgiveness. But a lot of people say, “Well, you know what? I can’t forgive, Scott, until I feel like forgiving.” But 99% of the time, I don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like dropping it. I don’t feel like releasing the person. I don’t feel like canceling the debt, because I say to myself, “You know what, if I did that, I would minimize what they said about me. If I did that, I would kind of take away the hurt and the pain.” But forgiveness doesn’t minimize what they have done.

· When I forgive myself, it’s not so much about giving them a gift; I’m giving myself a gift that money can’t buy!

· When I forgive someone—yes, I’m giving them room for God to work in their lives, for God to take care of them—but also I’m giving myself an amazing gift. I’m giving myself the opportunity to be the kind of person, relationally, that God wants me to be.

2. I Will Forgive Because RESENTMENT Doesn’t Work.

Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple. Job 5:2

The word “resentment” means “to think again.” It means to rehearse something over and over. It means to think about it, to take care of it, and ponder it. And the more we do that, what happens? The more our emotions become stirred up and the more miserable we become. And when I become miserable, do you know what I want to do? I want to make you miserable, too. “HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE!”

Realize that resentment does not work. It will not get you where you want to go. You will not get back at the person.

a) The person who hurt you probably doesn’t even realize they’ve hurt you.

b) Even if they know they’ve hurt you, they’re out having a good time and doing this or that while we are in the corner licking our wounds, while we’re saying to ourselves, “Oh, I can’t believe they hurt me. I’m just all leashed up to them.”

Release them. Forgive them. Say, “God, you take care of them. I can’t get them back, God. I know you’re going to take care of it; you’re a better judge than I am.”

Eph 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)

There’s one of those qualifiers again! Forgive each other; just as Christ God forgave you!

3. I Will Forgive Because I need FUTURE Forgiveness.

Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (NIV)

Why forgive? So that in the future when you need the Father in heaven to forgive you again, he will because you get it, you have been walking in forgiveness with others.

a) I know I’m going to sin in the future and so do you. I need forgiveness. I need grace. I need mercy. You do, too.

b) And because of that, I should release you. I should forgive you. I should walk in forgiveness in my marriage, with parenting, in my position here at Believers Church, and with friends.

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” Matthew 6:15 (The Message)

HOW DO I FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HURT ME?

1. Reveal my HURT.

The first step to forgiveness is to admit that you are hurt. Admit it. Let it out.

Some try to:

· Repress it. Pretend it doesn’t exist.

· Ignore it. Put the hurt out of mind and think about something different.

· Suppress it. It’ really not that bad, not that big of a deal.

We should confess it. Admit it hurts and if you bare harboring resentment and unforgiveness ask the Lord to forgive you.

2. Release the OFFENDER.

Matt 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

(NIV)

Forgive as many times a necessary! And if you don’t forgive you remain leased to that person or situation and you drag them through life with you causing all kind of collateral damage!

You need to take a step of faith and allow God to unleash unforgiveness, when I allow God to take care of that person, give the situation to God saying, “God, you are a better judge than me. You can settle accounts. You can settle the score much better than I can.” This takes some serious faith.

  • Unleashing unforgiveness is unnatural.
    • We don’t like to do it. But when we are leashed up to unforgiveness, it can mess up not only the present day situations and circumstances, but also our future.
  • The moment you harbor a hurt or resentment or unforgiveness, you’re saying to that person, “Hey, you control my life. I don’t want to control my own life. I don’t even want God to control my life. You control my life.”

Who is sitting on your bench? Who?

NEXT STEP: Consider who is sitting on the bench that you are leashed to. Write their name or initials here. ______________________________________________________________.

3. Replace my hurt with God’s PEACE.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” Colossians 3:15

“Put your heart right, reach out to God…15 Then face the world again, firm and courageous. 16 Then all your troubles will fade from your memory like floods that are past and remembered no more.” Job 11:13-16 (GNT)

NEXT STEP: Forgive and unleash that person right now. Set them free, let them go.

Everyone say with me, “I Believe in God, and I will forgive.”

Life App Group and Family Devotional Application

(Let’s agree not to use NAMES as we talk about forgiveness and those that have hurt us.)

1. As a Christian we are commanded to forgive others. Why is it so hard? Why don’t we want to forgive others?

2. Do you ever struggle with these forgiveness misconceptions. – Forgiving is saying what they did was ok. – Forgiving is giving them permission to keep doing it. – Forgiveness is saying that they were right and I was wrong. – Forgiving is more for their benefit than mine.

3. Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” In your own words, what is a “root of bitterness” and how does it affect people?

4. In light of Jesus’ forgiveness of us, how well do we “Forgive as the Lord forgave you”? (Col. 3:13)

5. You were given three steps to help you FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HURT ME? Explain what each of those steps involve and give some person examples.

1. Reveal my HURT. 2. Release the OFFENDER. 3. Replace my hurt with God’s PEACE.

WYBIGB Next Week Promo

As Christians we have to forgive others. We don’t have an option it is a commandment. Even though many of us Believe in God and know this commandment, we still won’t forgive. Why? Maybe we think that our situation is an exception to the rule. Maybe we don’t think that we can forgive. Maybe we tried to forgive and just can’t do it. Maybe we are waiting for someone to apologize first.

We may not feel like forgiving someone, or we are afraid that if we forgive them it will give them permission to keep hurting us or if we forgive them that we will be saying that what they did was ok, when we know it wasn’t. If we don’t forgive, we allow this thing to grow in our lives called a root of bitterness that ends up hurting us and everyone around us.

Heb 12:14-15 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (NIV)

In other words we have to deal with unforgiveness or it will turn into bitterness. Join us at Believers Church Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. as we discuss what happens “When you believe in God but won’t Forgive.”

New to Believers? THIS IS FOR YOU! Join us this Sunday after the 11 AM service for our Newcomers Lunch! Great food, great company and a great time to find out more about Believers Church and how we got started. Call the church office at 681.1440 to RSVP. We will have childcare for ages 10 and under!

newcomersdinner

Sunday August 17th we are excited to have Baby Dedication! If you would like to have your child dedicated in one of our services, please call the church office.

Baby Dedication

Life App Groups are continuing with our new series “When You Believe in God, but…” Join a Life Application Group that meets throughout the week for a discussion sparked by Sunday’s sermon, this is your opportunity to get deeper in the Word of God and make good friends along the way! Find out more at http://believersstatesboro.com/connect/life-groups/!

 

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When You Believe In God, But Aren’t Sure If He Loves You. Believers Statesboro 8-10-14

Watch or listen online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

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God is Love. I bet you’ve never heard that before. Of course you have and you believe it.

You believe in God and you believe that God is love and He loves people. We teach this, here at Believers, to our preschoolers and right on up to our youth and adults. I would guess that everyone in this room had heard that God is love, all of your lives.

But let’s be honest, here is the problem, a lot of us here today believe that God is love and He loves others and He will do for others and He will heal others and take care of others, BUT… “I’m not sure that He really loves me.”

We’re beginning a new series today called “When You Believe in God, but… In other words you can believe in God to a certain extent or to a point, but we sometime get to a place where we really struggle to believe any further. It’s sort of like the picture we have chosen for this series. I can walk down the dock extending over an ocean and trust God fully, but what happens when I come to the end of the dock and God is still saying move forward. How strong is my belief at this point?

We are going to deal with several topics in this series, where people will profess with their mouth that they believe God, but their actions seem to say something different.

My hope and prayer is that we will learn not just to believe God on a theological or rhetorical level, but on a heart level. That we would not only believe that His word is true, but that we would believe that the truths in His word apply to every one of us as individuals in our everyday lives.

We’re not approaching this series with the attitude of what’s expressed in Titus 1:16.

Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (NIV)

I agree that at times my actions and your actions seem to say that we don’t really know God. But what Titus is talking about here are disobedient worldly people that are living lives for themselves, yet they claim to know God.

That’s not us. For us I think it’s more of we do know God, we do believe God… most of the time, but we need some help in some areas. It’s more like the Father in Mark 9 who brought his demon possessed son to Jesus to be healed. Jesus told the Father that everything is possible to those who believe. The Father did a quick heart and faith check in his own life and replied, Mark 9:24 … "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (NIV)

I think that this is where we are today. This expresses what we are thinking. I do believe, I want to believe, and I want to completely believe, but I’ve got some “buts”. I’ve got some faith limits, so Jesus, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” Can we make this our prayer during this series? That we will honestly look at our “When we believe in God, but…” thoughts and let Jesus help us overcome these buts in our lives?

NEXT STEP: This week I will ask God to show me every “I believe God, but…” in my life and pray that Jesus will help me overcome my unbelief.

When You Believe In God, But Aren’t Sure If He Loves You.

Now back to the fact that God is love. We have a hard time comprehending how or why God would love us. Not only, God, but if we are honest with ourselves we may have a hard time believing that anyone would want to love us. Therefore we hide our real selves from others, not letting them know who we really are because we don’t want them to reject us. But we also try to hide the real us from God too, because, “There’s no way God could love someone as bad and evil as me. I don’t deserve to be loved by God.”

EX: Hanging Wall Paper in the Green house. Love turned into I don’t know if I love you anymore.

How could a person who claimed to love God, love people, and love her, act that way?

How could Janet love someone like that? Worst still, how could God love someone like that?

You might be thinking, that nothing, I’ve done far worse things than that. Well I have too and that was part of my problem, if Janet didn’t love me because of the wall paper incident, what if she knew about all of the other bad things that I had done or thought. What if she saw all the things that were hidden in my heart? She couldn’t, so I had that working to my advantage, but God… God could see all those things and He does see them. So why in the world or how in the world could God possible love me?

So I did what all men do that want to be married, I apologized and tried to live my life proving to myself that I was worthy of Janet’s love and God’s love.

Well that story was back then, in the old days, I’m a pastor now, I’ve been married to Janet for 34 years, and I’ve got it all together and there is nothing unlovable about me…. Don’t we all wish that was true. There are still things about myself that displease me and I know displeases God. There are things that I don’t want you to know about me and there are things that you don’t want me to know about you, because we are afraid that if we knew, we won’t even like each other anymore.

So here is the BIG QUESTION. How can God know everything about us, and still love us?

The Closer I Get

Job 42:5-6 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (NIV)

Do you ever feel that way? The closer we get to God, the more we know how bad we are. The more we see God and learn about Gods holiness the more we realize our lack of holiness.

Paul, an apostle, who wrote two thirds of the New Testament, had to deal with some negative feelings about him too. 1 Cor 15:9-11 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them– yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. (NIV)

If we don’t lean into the Grace of God, our sense of guilt will prevent us from truly believing that God loves us.

Insignificance

Come on Scott, there are six billion people in the world that all have real trouble and problems in their lives, why would God care about me? I’m not that significant!”

You and I are not the only people who struggle with significance. Look at some of the Bible greats!

Moses – God called him to deliver the Children of Israel out of the Egyptian Bondage. How did he response to that good news! Exod 3:11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" (NIV)

David – 1 Chr 29:14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! (NLT)

Gideon – Judge 6:15-16 "But Lord," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." 16 The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together." (NIV)

There may be six billion people in the world but God loves each and every one of us and we are all significant to God! He loves us all!

EX: My Children show me that you can love equally! God’s love for you, his child. He is crazy about you!

Ps 139:13-18 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them

came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count

them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. (NIV)

God is Love

People who believe in God, and God’s love for others, but aren’t sure if God loves them, struggle with the thoughts that Gods loves other people, who are less sinful or more important. But here is the thing we need to all understand.

Love isn’t something that God does. Love is who God is. And because of who God is, God loves you. Period!

I Jn 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (NIV)

This means that God doesn’t pick or choose who He loves- He can’t! God is love, and we are all loved, all six billion of us undeserving people are loved by God! And it is not in response to our love for God, God loved us first!

Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)

There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. And there is nothing you can do to make God love you less.

Love Covers

God loves you and that is the truth, but all of us are painfully familiar with the feeling of being distant form God as a result of our sin. Here is some good news.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (NIV)

There is no deeper love than God’s love and no matter what you’ve done; God’s love and forgiveness are bigger than your sins! As a matter of fact, Jesus loves you so much that He will forgive you of your sins!

I Jn 1:8-10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (NIV)

I John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (NKJ)

Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. (NIV)

Romans 3:24 Yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away or sins. (LB)

Do these verses sound like they are talking about someone who loves us or doesn’t love us?

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

EX: Flower game. He Loves Me… He loves me not.

When we have a good day at work – He loves me. When we lose our temper at work – He loves me not.

We help someone in need – He loves me. When we walk by a person in need – He loves me not.

I got a raise at work – obviously He loves me. I lost my job – He loves me not.

Conditional Love

One of the reasons we struggle with God loving us no matter what is because we are very good at conditional love. Our world operates and functions on conditional love. If you do what I want, say what I want you to say, please me, bring me pleasure, do for me, and then I will love you. But if you don’t all bets are off.

Marriage vows until death do us part, doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

I will always love you… or at least until someone better comes along.

Faithless love, conditional love. I know I said I loved you but…

Life has trained us to think of love as temporary and conditional.

But God’s love is different. God’s love is permanent and unchanging.

Jer 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. (NIV)

Nothing is going to make God stop loving you!

Rom 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

John 3:16 “For God so loved (insert your name) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Why would God love you? Because that’s who God is. God is love. And you are the loved by Him.

So let’s say it together. I Believe In God, And I Am Sure That He Loves Me!

NEXT STEP: This week I will make this my confession. “I Believe In God, And I Am Sure That He Loves Me!”`

Life Group and Family Devotional Application

1) Which do you struggle with the more – believing that God could love someone as bad as you, or believing God could love someone as insignificant as you?

2) According to Hebrews 8:12 God will not only forgive, but will remember your sins no more. Why do we have a hard time forgiving and forgetting the sins that we have committed?

3) What things tend to undermine your ability to believe in God’s love and forgiveness?

4) On the flip side, what reassures you and helps you believe that you are truly loved and forgiven by God? (For example: biblical truths; personal experiences, etc.)

5) I Jn 4:16 “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” What does that mean to rely on the love of God?

6) When and how has God communicated to you that He loves you? Give some examples or maybe there was a significant event that occurred in your life that showed you God’s unfailing love for you.