Renewal

Renewal

This Week’s Message: The Great Emergence: Renewal

Download the Small Group Discussion Guide HERE.

Sermon in a Sentence: When we actively wait in anticipation and expectation of his coming help, putting our complete and confident trust and hope in him, our lives, which at times may seem to be in ruins, will be renewed, brought back to life, and he’ll cause them to vibrantly flourish again.

Text(s): Isaiah 40:28-31; Ezekiel 37

  • Israel’s need for a reminder of the Everlasting God was caused by their complaints about the physical evidence.
    • At the time of Isaiah’s prophecies, Israel was in shambles. The northern kingdom had been overtaken by the Assyrians. The southern kingdom was under threat of the Babylonians who would eventually take them into captivity. The oracles of Isaiah speak of the present and impending doom but also of the powerful saving arm of Yahweh
    • As God’s people looked around them – they saw ample evidence that perhaps their God had forsaken them – that their “way” was hidden from Him. Maybe He had abandoned them – stopped watching out for them. They were saying, “Why is our cause ignored by God?”
    • They Israelites weren’t speaking TO God, they were speaking ABOUT God. Their deep depression had distanced them from personal interaction with Him. They were convinced that surely God was nowhere to be found in the midst of their circumstances. 
  • Isaiah reminds them, “Do you not know? Have you not heard?”
    • God is eternally present at all times in every situation and circumstance.
      • He doesn’t come and go. He is everlasting. When the suns wears out – when the stars burn down – God is always present. No – he has not abandoned you because He can’t. When everyone else gives out, falls through, or gives up – God lasts.
    • He is the Creator of the whole earth.
      • Yes – our calamities are great. Our catastrophes overwhelming. But we look not to a God of limited ability – but to the Creator of all things. We know that He is able – that he has the power and ability to not only set all things in motion, but to also uphold it by his strong and mighty hand.
    • He never becomes faint or weary.
      • He doesn’t need to “pause and catch his breath.” (MSG) He’s in it for the long haul with you. When the rest of your friends and family have collapsed in exhaustion – He will still be the same strong and dependable rock that never fails.
    • No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
      • He knows what it is you’re going through and he knows how to lead you through it. He IS wisdom. There is no limit to his understanding.
    • He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
      • The word “weary” means “failure under life’s pressures,” and “Weak” means “lack of innate strength.” Yes, there is a physical strength He offers, but it seems to be even more related to internal, emotional weariness.
    • But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength
      • The meaning of waiting on the Lord means “to wait with expectation.”
      • But this kind of waiting does not imply inactivity. Waiting doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t have a part to play in the recovery of our lives. Yes, there are times to “be still and know that he is God,” but there is no need to sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Help is on the way, so get up and get busy doing what God has given you the ability to do.
      • Renew” in the original language means, “to change, to alter, to revive, to flourish again.” You can visualize it as life coming back to a fallen and decaying tree. 
  • Be Renewed!
  • Not unlike Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry Bones, we may look at the chaos and destruction caused by either the global shutdown or a pandemic, or the spiritual and relational disasters that life itself may bring, and we too may look around and ask, “Can these dead, dry bones live? Can this life be put back together?”
    • ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! Ezekiel 37:4b-5 NLT
    • ‘…these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones-all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’
    • It’s their word against His. They say, “it’s hopeless.” But what does God say?  ‘Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Ezekiel 37:11-12 NLT
  • …just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:10 ESV
  • …let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:23 NLT
  • God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 CSB
  • I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, Ephesians 3:16 CSB
  • “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 ESV
  • …he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore…when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 CSB

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