The Scripture Reading starts at 24 min 00 secs:
The Sermon starts at 26 min 15 secs.
3:16: Believers Shall Not Perish
Pastor Todd Buurstra
Some toddlers don’t care to be held or cuddled. When picked up these tikes keep pawing the dirt and squirming so that they can get away. I go! I GO! is their mantra. Taken to the extreme as adults these independent cusses spend their lives telling God to leave them alone. And at the moment of their final breath, he honors their request. But, Max: How could a loving God send sinners to hell? He doesn’t. They volunteer.
Just like the Jews, in verse 31, were already fingering those rocks circling Jesus. For which of my good works are you going to stone me? They snarled, That’s not why we’re going to stone you, it’s because of blasphemy—you called yourself God, but you’re just a man! When God reached down to hug his children in Jesus, even the Chosen ones squirmed out of his arms. Indeed, 13% of Jesus’ teaching was about hell. He called it Gehenna after the smoldering garbage heap just outside of Jerusalem. Eternal Hell.
But most babies and toddlers thrive in Mommy and Daddy’s arms. They feel safe, warm and happy. Pretty soon Johnny will gain such confidence in Daddy’s arms that he’ll learn to run and climb the slider. This is the way Jesus describes his chosen believers S3b vv. 28, 29… Listen to me: God has chosen you. You are God’s beloved. That’s why the benediction reminds us that Jesus is beneath you to carry you. You are ever safe in the Father’s hand. Nothing can snatch you away from the Father’s hand! Eternal Salvation.
So what does God’s gracious grip have to do with today? A lot. For God so loved the world that whoever believes will not perish—now or ever. We experience little deaths or hells on earth, but the Father still holds us. And so, we get up and leap in faith again.
Take Ignite! I believe God gave us a dream of a daughter church, but it didn’t grow fast enough to sustain itself. So, sadly, we had to let Ignite! flicker out. Tough lessons we can share at the Annual Meeting, but I asked Ignite! core … did God bless you in this risk?
God’s hand keeps us safe in eternity and risking in time. Brenda, the checkout girl, told Kurtis, the stock boy, No. As a beautiful 26 year old she was used to 22 year old men hitting on her, but she was through. After her husband left her with two children, one a Downs Syndrome paraplegic, she couldn’t risk another relationship. But Kurtis wouldn’t give up. He offered her a ride on the way home from the supermarket. When she gave the excuse that she couldn’t afford a babysitter to go out with him, he offered to pay. But when Kurtis showed up Brenda stopped him at the door because the babysitter canceled. So he insisted on taking the kids along. What could she say? When he picked up her son out of his wheelchair to lovingly take him to the bathroom Brenda knew she had found a special man. Indeed he is. A man of faith secure enough in the Father’s hand to take risks. You know him as Kurt Warner quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals in this evening’s Super Bowl. What risk is God calling you to take from the safety of the Father’s hand?
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