Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

04/22/2018 A.M.

 

The Steadfast Love Of The Lord

Lamentations 3.17-26

 

Well...There are times when life seems to tumble in...

• A time when our hopes are crushed... Dreams and ambitions disappear...

• The people we depended upon for strength and encouragement are gone...

• The voice of those who... Led us... Guided our path... Can no longer be heard...

• The shepherd who rescued us when we fell is no longer here...

• We feel... Overwhelmed... Abandoned... Lost...

 

So...We find ourselves asking... Is life worth the living?... Why the effort?... Is there any use of going on... putting up with the pains of life?

 

Have  you been there?... Perhaps with what is happening around us... We are there even today?

 

Go with me... To the time of Jeremiah... To Jerusalem... The year is 586 B.C.  It was just such a time for the prophet and the people of God...

 

Lamentations is a five chapter lament for... Jerusalem... The people... the temple.

 

Nebuchadnezzar breached the wall in April of 586... Those inside fled by night only to be killed or captured by the Babylonians.  A month later the Temple Fell... The City Burned.

 

Chapters one and two tell the story... Jeremiah writes through his tears...

• The city is gone... Her streets are empty...

• Her beauty is departed...

• The Temple lies in ruin...

• The mighty Walls and Gates have been destroyed...

• Smoke rises from the rubble...

• Her foes have become her master’s...

• Her children dead or in exile...

• Her reputation is now made fun of...

• The Lord seems angry and has rejected her...

• He has multiplied her mourning and lamentation.

 

Then in chapter three... The prophets’ lament is focused on himself.

Jeremiah feels... Rejected... Trapped... And hedged in.  He says... He feels as if God has made him a target for all His arrows… Got the picture?...

 

Jeremiah is in tears for... his people... His city...  The Temple... for himself.  What an awesomely sad moment in Israeli history.

 

But right in the middle of this quadruple lament... Jeremiah stops and begins counting his blessings... He says...

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

His mercies never come to an end.

They are new every morning.

Great is Thy faithfulness.

The Lord is my portion says my soul.

Therefore I will hope in Him.

 

To some extent... Our church family feels the heart of Jeremiah...

A short time ago all was well... Then all of a sudden life tumbles in... Things don’t go as we want... Life is like that... Isn’t it?

 

So...We have a tendency to forget... Or just take for granted the... love... Mercy... And goodness of God.

 

Here’s the picture I want us to get... That regardless of the... Trials... Troubles... Temptations... Problems... We face… God...

• Loves us...

• Blesses us...

• Is showing His Goodness...

• Lavishing His Loving Kindness upon us.

 

You see…

• Even when the tumor is malignant...

• When the heart attack is fatal... And death takes our loved one...

• Even when the business fails... Or the job is lost...

• Even when financial collapse thrusts us into bankruptcy...

• When family relations rupture and divorce divides our home.

God is still there!… God is still there!... Loving us... Blessing us... Caring for us.

 

And... And...if we will allow the time... We’ll see that He is providentially working all things out to our good… to our benefit.

 

I know some of you feel like Jeremiah this morning... RIGHT?

You feel like crying... You feel like giving up... Because life has tumbled in... But like Jeremiah... Let’s stop for a moment and count our blessings.

 

David wrote... Even though I am called to walk in the valley of the shadow of death... His goodness... His mercy... And His loving kindness... Will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

Jesus said... Let not your heart be troubled...

 

When life doesn’t go as we want... And it will... What do we do?

Note with me some ways God continues to shower His steadfast love upon us.

 

First...He shows His love through nature that surrounds us.

This is our Father’s world... All nature sings His song.

All of this spring... All we see and enjoy... were created and sustained by Him... For us... For us!

• He provides food for our hunger...

• Water for our thirst...

• Sleep for our tiredness...

• Sight for our eyes...

• Sounds for our ears...

• One another for our fellowship...

• Strength for today... Hope for tomorrow.

 

Regardless of what we think... God’s hand is holding the laws of nature in perfect balance.

• Stars stay in their orbits.

• Our body chemistry stays in proper balance to maintain life.

 

Verse 22 of our text says... Because of His love & mercy we are not consumed...

Jeremiah is saying… We owe every second of life to…His amazing love… His mighty power.

 

Indeed... It is in Him that we... live... Move... And have our being.

 

You see church...

• No matter how rough the road...

• How deep the valley...

• How dark the night...

• How painful the hurt...

• How lonely the moment...

• How overwhelming the event...

Like Jeremiah... We too... Must count our blessings... And when we do... And when we do… We’ll begin to sing the praise of a merciful & loving God... Amen?

 

Secondly...God demonstrates His mercy through His unconditional love.

Perhaps no one speaks of God’s love for us any more than the Apostle John.  In his Gospel... God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son.  Twice in his Epistle John makes the statement... God is love.

 

Listen to these other scriptures affirming God’s unconditional love for us...

 

Romans 8.38 & 39...Nothing in all of creation... Nothing in this world or out of it... Can separate us from the love of God that was in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Romans 5.8... God demonstrates His love for us in this... While we were still sinners... Christ died for us.

 

Romans 5.5...The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

 

Let me point out two things quickly from the Greek here in Romans 5.5.

 

• First... The Greek verb shed abroad literally means poured out.

It suggests that God’s love... Floods...Inundates... our lives.

The New English Bible reads... God’s love has flooded our heart.

 

• Secondly... The tense of the verb implies a settled state.

This means that... God’s love... His mercy... and grace... Extended to us is a completed action... It’s a settled reality... Regardless of our response to Him.

 

Jesus affirmed this reality when He said... God sends the rain on the just and unjust.

 

Church... Regardless of our thoughts toward God...

• His blessing continues to shower upon us...

• God’s love is without limits...

Without condition...

Amazing grace!!... Amen?

 

NO...I didn’t say that...

• Salvation...

• Forgiveness...

• The remission of sin...

• Or that His indwelling Spirit

Were without terms and conditions.

 

God’s love... His mercy... And grace... Is unconditional.

Jeremiah says... His love is… new... Fresh...Every morning.

 

Like those who climbed the mountain never complain of the view... So... Those who come to understand... Even a small portion of the love of God in their life... will never stop submitting to His will... And praising His name for that love… Because His love is…

• Unconditional…

• Unlimited…

• Unending…

• Complete

 

Jesus made this observation!!... When you come to this recognition... When you realize the love of God for what it is... Then you will love Me... And keep My commandments... You will do the will of My Father... And We will come and make Our home... Our abode in you.

 

How many of us... Have caught a glimpse... Just a glimpse... Of God’s love?

 

Thirdly...God demonstrates His love through His faithfulness.

Our world experiences a lot of unfaithfulness today...

• Unfaithfulness between husbands and wives...

• Unfaithfulness in business promises...

• Unfaithfulness in governmental officials and politicians...

• Sometimes our friends are unfaithful...

• There is unfaithfulness in the church... In this church...

In our attendance…

In our giving...

In our efforts to say no to sin…

In our ministry…

In our love and patience with one another

 

There’s so much unfaithfulness around us... That we may have concluded... That we can’t trust anybody any more… But with God…

Faithlessness never fluctuates…

• He is eternally dependable.

GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS!!

 

Listen to these affirming verses...

 

Deuteronomy 7.9... Knowtherefore that the Lord your God is faithful... Keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.

 

Psalm 36.5... Yourlove... O Lord... Reaches to the heavens... Your faithfulness to the skies.

 

2 Timothy 2.13... Even if we are faithless... He will remain faithful... For He cannot deny Himself.

 

Church... Do you know why we can’t... Or Don’t... Appreciate God’s faithfulness today?

 

Jeremiah tells us in verses 25 & 26... I am reading from the NKJV... The Lord is good to those who wait for Him... To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and... Wait quietly...For the salvation of the Lord.

 

You see... We don’t appreciate the love of the Lord... Because...

We are in too big of a hurry...

We are too impatient....

 

We’re unwilling to wait for God to fulfill His promises in our lives!!

• At the Red Sea crossing Moses said... Stand still and witness God’s faithfulness today!!

• God is heard saying in the Psalms... Be still and know that I am God.

 

You see church... Our patience must give God time to work all things out to our benefit... To our good... Our betterment... This is His promise... And He is faithful.

 

Numberfour... God demonstrates His love in discipline.

We don’t like this one... But it’s true... God disciplines us... Because He loves us... My son... Do not make light of the Lord's discipline... And do not lose heart when He rebukes you...Because the Lord disciplines those He loves... And He punishes everyone He accepts as a son. So... Endure hardshipas discipline... God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by His father? If you are not disciplined... Then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. We have all had human fathers who disciplined us... And we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best... But God disciplines us for our good... That we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time... But painful. Later on... However... It produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it... Although He was a son... He learned obedience from what He suffered.

 

God is a God of correction... This part of His character is essential to His love as a heavenly Father... God would not be a Father... Unless He disciplined us... RIGHT??

 

You see... When life doesn’t go as we want... We must not ring our hands in hopelessness... But ask OUR FATHER GOD... What do You want me to learn from this?

 

God help us to see Your steadfast love in Your moments of discipline.

 

We experience God’s love through forgiveness.

There is none righteous... No not one... All have sinned and fallen short of God’s Glory.

 

We’re all guilty... But we don’t have to bear the burden of our guilt... God Forgives!!

 

Two weeks ago... We looked at Luke chapter 15... And how our God is about finding and rescuing the lost... He’s about forgiveness...

 

• The shepherd leaves the ninety and nine and goes out into the wilderness wiles...Into the rocks and ravines... Chances His life to save the lost!

 

• The woman loses a coin... She sweeps the floor... Literally the verse says...She takes up the floor... Then invites all her neighbors to rejoice when the lost is found.

God has taken up the floor... He has gone ALL OUT for our salvation... For our forgiveness.

 

• Then... As if we might have missed the point... Jesus tells of a lost boy... A prodigal.

 

God is the Father... We are the prodigal.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound... That saved a wretch like me...

I once was lost... But now I’m found... Was blind but now I see.

Praise God for... His grace.... His loving kindness... Displayed in our forgiveness.

 

The steadfast love of the Lord is seen in His promise of heaven.

Church...When will we learn?... When are we going to start living as if this life is not all there is to life and LIVING?

 

Life-after-life is a promise from God...

 

This life is simply... A getting ready... A rehearsal... A preparation... For our eternal existence.

 

In my Father's house are many mansions... I go to prepare one for you... I will come get you.

 

Eye has not seen... Ear has not heard... Neither has it entered the mind of man what great things God has prepared for those who will respond to His... love... Mercy... And grace.

 

• Paul says... Regardless of how rough the road... Heaven will be worth it all.

 

• John describes heaven as a place where... There will be no more tears... No more pain... No more death... No more separation... All will be joy and happiness forever.

 

God help us to live like we’re gonna go there… Amen?

 

Then finally... God’s love is seen in His sacrifice for our sins.

God so loveD the world...

 

Amazing love!!! How can it be... That thou... My God... Should die for me?

 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases...

His mercies never come to an end...

They are new every morning...

Great is Thy faithfulness...

Therefore I will hope in Him.

 

This morning...

• If your sky is dark...

• If you’re seeing storm clouds gather...

• If you have a sense of despair…

• If hope seems to be disappearing...

Count your blessings... Name them one-by-one... It will surprise you what the Lord has done.

 

What do you and your preacher need to do this morning to live in the steadfast Love of the Lord?

 

• Do we need to become His child by... Faith... Repentance... and New Testament Baptism?

• Perhaps we need to confess some faults... Rededicate our lives... Return to our first love.

• Maybe we just need to slow down life’s pace... So we can see and appreciate The steadfast love of the Lord... DAILY!!!

 

However this lesson has spoken to you... Respond...As we sing this invitation song.