Expectancy In The Waiting
“Expectancy In The Waiting”
Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday, 25th October, 2020
How good was Logan’s message last Sunday?
I thought that was a great analogy – that sometimes doors close and there don’t seem to be any new ones opening right away – and so you feel like you are stuck in the hallway.
I think that probably spoke to some of you – but I know it was coming from Logan and Justine’s personal experience also right now in this season of their lives.
With the Byron Bay church closing, so did a door to the future that had held for them a lot of hope and expectancy, dreams and visions….
They had sown everything into that season of their lives – and all of a sudden – with the help of Covid-19, the doors closed.
I know that they are people of great faith. They know that God has a plan and a future for them.
But right now – the hallway is their waiting room.
I remember when that scripture that Logan quoted last week from Jeremiah 29:11-13 spoke clearly into my own life – nearly 30 years ago – and it wasn’t so much for me that doors had closed…. It was more that I was stuck in a place or a room I didn’t want to be in.
Logan feels stuck in the hallway. I felt like I was stuck in a room that had me confined and locked in to a place I knew wasn’t where God ultimately wanted me to be. It was a job. It’s wasn’t a bad job – but it was keeping me from my true calling.
And Jeremiah 29 gave me the courage to walk out of that room – out of that job – and I closed the door behind me as I left.
I don’t think the devil liked it. I had to stand my ground. I had to stand up against some nasty backlash. My employer at the time resented me leaving. But in the end, it all worked out for good.
New doors began to spring open – and the rest is history.
That may also be a word for someone today. Perhaps God is waiting for you to shut the door yourself – close it behind you on the way out. Instead of waiting for Him to do it – maybe He’s waiting for you to do it.
New King James Version
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, (peace, or lack of it, is usually a good indicator of whether you are walking in the things God has planned for) to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Regardless of whether someone or some circumstance closes the door, or you slam it shut yourself – God promises that when you seek Him with all your heart you unleash His incredible peace and plans for your life.
I can testify to it. Many here can testify to His faithfulness in this.
I feel like we as a church together are in a funny little place of waiting at the moment.
We’re waiting for more restrictions to be lifted. We’re waiting for Covid-19 to disappear. We’re waiting for Australian society to get back to normal. We could be waiting a while for that…. In the natural, we’re waiting for all kinds of things to change.
But my message this morning is this: Start getting excited about what the Holy Spirit is doing and is about to do.
Open your heart to things He wants to do in you – in the church – in the lives of those around us. Let’s not focus our attention on the natural limitations that have us in a place of natural confinement.
Instead, lift your expectations in relation to the unlimited presence and power of God in us as His body on earth.
Last Wednesday morning, the men’s prayer group prayed for all the HSC students that are coming through this place at the moment – and we prayed for the supervisors of the exams. We prayed that they would be touched by the supernatural presence of God as they come and go throughout the week.
Well, later that same morning, the main supervisor mentioned to me how many people had said to her that there was a really good feeling in here – that it is such a lovely church – and that there is a beautiful peace and calm.
They don’t understand as we do, that it’s nothing to do with the building itself. But there have been decades of praise and worship and preaching of the Word of God, and ministry of the Holy Spirit right here.
And so even as they undertake something like the HSC, which you wouldn’t normally describes something spiritual – there is a supernatural presence of God that abounds. There is a limitless anointing that isn’t at all confined to the building – but He touches the hearts of everyone who comes in.
I thought that was a simple and yet perfect example of where we should be putting our focus and our faith and our expectancy for the future. It’s what the Holy Spirit is able to do – not what the government or the health authorities say we can or can’t do.
Our hope isn’t in Gladys Berejiklian. I think she’s done a great job. We need to keep praying for her. But I’m not depending on Gladys. My hope is in God!
I have more faith in my prayers to God being answered than I do in any email to our Premier.
We have a big God. He reigns over Australia. By the grace of God we have a spirit filled Prime Minister leading this nation through a really difficult year – including devastating fires and a worldwide pandemic. But God has appointed a godly leader here – so is it any wonder we are doing so well compared to nearly every other nation of the world?
It is the incredible power of God at work – putting all things together that we should be exalting and trusting in.
And the more time goes on – the more I – and hopefully most of you – are sensing that spiritual doors are going to burst open. The gates of Heaven are going to reveal hidden treasures…. There will be an outpouring of God’s unlimited presence and power.
It’s not just my nice thoughts. It’s what the Word of God says.
New King James Version
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”
The Word of God is the most powerful prophetic voice for these times.
We might be doing our best to comply with regulations like staying seated in church – not running around hugging each other…. But no one will be able to stop or restrict the outpouring of glory that is about to be revealed in us.
If creation itself has an earnest expectation and is eagerly waiting – then why aren’t we?
The Passion Translation says that the entire universe is standing on tiptoe.
The Greek words here mean there is an intense anticipation.
It’s the same language that’s used when they speak of having an outstretched neck.
You might be seated during worship at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit on your joy – or your expectation – or your anticipation at what God can do in and through you – and those around you.
We can still lean into Him. Lean in with faith. Lean in with joy.
Romans 8 goes on to say:
The Passion Translation
“And it’s not just creation. We who have already experienced the firstfruits of the Spirit[a] also inwardly groan as we passionately long to experience our full status as God’s sons and daughters—including our physical bodies being transformed. 24 For this is the hope of our salvation.”
We aren’t meant to be groaning about the restrictions – we are meant to be groaning inwardly with a passionate longing for more. We are born for more!
We have the first fruits of the Spirit – but there is more…. More on this side of heaven as well as other side.
New King James Version
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
We need to get our “abounding” on. Abounding means having more than enough. We have more than enough hope – and more than enough of God’s indwelling power and glory.
New King James Version
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”
We know that all too well. He’s endeavouring to destroy lives – businesses – families – economies – young people’s futures….
But we don’t have to just sit back and allow this thieving to go on in our own lives and our own families. Jesus says:
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Abundant life starts in here – on the inside – it’s an inner decision to embrace life in Christ. To open your heart to the love of God. To allow those first fruits of the Spirit that we mentioned before to bubble up within you – love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.
When you allow those things to rule in your heart, then you begin to see the world differently – you begin to place your eyes on things that matter eternally.
And all of a sudden you start to experience the world differently. Your mind changes. Your desires change. Your hope and trust in the future changes. Faith grows…
And your circumstances begin to change.
But the greatest thing about it all – and our greatest hope of all – is that one day our bodies will be transformed and we will know the fullness of our salvation – either when Jesus returns – or when we pass from this life to the next.
We don’t eagerly await and anticipate that part of it enough. That’s ultimately what Jesus died for – to give us eternal life with Him in heaven.
He knew we’d still face challenges and brokenness in this world – because the world is broken. But with Him – we can walk through anything by faith.
The Passion Translation
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”
This is talking about the fullness of our salvation – at the return of Jesus – or the time of our own passing from death to eternal life.
Either way – its closer than when we first believed – it’s nearer than it ever has been. And so what does it say? Wake up! Wake out of your sleep!
Open your eyes! Stir your heart! Let faith arise! Let hope arise!
I truely believe that coming out of Covid-19 is going to be far more than a lifting of restrictions.
This experience has changed us. It has shown us how vulnerable we are as a world wide community. It has shown us how quickly laws can change – how quickly health facilities can be overwhelmed – how much division can arise within the community.
It has revealed an underlying unrest in some people, to the point of violent demonstrations. It has highlighted the ever growing presence of mental health issues. And not at all least, it has shown how quickly national and international debt can spiral, and economies can be stretched to the limit. That’s the bad news…
But Covid-19 has stirred within those who know we live in the last days – which will culminate in the return of Jesus Christ – it has stirred something deeper within us that has to do with faith, and hope and even joy…
And I think for many, we are seeing each other with fresh eyes – valuing the relationships we have – guarding our bond together as the body of Christ, the church. For many, we have found a strength to persevere. We have found a deeper level of trust in God and His faithfulness and His Word.
I’ll be honest, at the beginning, I wondered how the church would ever endure shutdown and lockdown. But I was quickly overtaken with a deep sense of trust in the knowledge and the promise that Jesus is building His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.
I now know that we will come through this season stronger than ever before.
1 Peter 1:5
The Passion Translation
“Through our faith, the mighty power of God constantly guards[a] us until our full salvation[b] is ready to be revealed[c] in the last time.”
That word “guard” comes from a military term which means “a fort” or an “army garrison stationed to defend a city.”
This is what’s happening with the true church of Jesus Christ.
God Himself is our fortress. He has set up a garrison – an army of angels – around the church. We are being watched over and protected by God’s mighty power.
That’s so exciting to think about.
Don’t allow negative and fearful thoughts – those arrows of the enemy that want to penetrate your mind – don’t allow them space in your head.
Don’t allow the temptation to lay done, give up, walk away…. Don’t tolerate anything that would draw you away from your destiny in Christ’s plans and purposes for your life. Don’t accept a closed door as the end of the plan. It could very well be just the beginning of something brand new.
Often, amazing new things are birthed out of difficulties and adversity.
Don’t be tempted to just take the easy path – or the path of least resistance.
You don’t have to go any further than Jesus Himself as an amazing example of this.
In Matthew 3 we see Jesus being baptised and declared to be the Son of God by His father in heaven.
New King James Version
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and [a]He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
You would think that this would be His launching pad into ministry. In some ways it was. His true identity was established. He had His Father’s blessing.
But look what happens next:
Matthew 4 tells then how Jesus went into the wilderness – where He fasted for 40 days – He would have been weak in His body – and He was in a dry and barren wilderness. He was alone – no support. No encouragement. No place of comfort, except knowing His Father’s love and His blessing.
Then He was tempted by the devil. Tempted to prove He was the Son of God. Challenged to tempt God His Father. Tempted with the kingdoms of the world if He would only bow down and worship Satan.
But He stood firm. He didn’t take a way of easy escape. He remained faithful to who He was called to be. And you can do the same.
It may seem as though just when you thought you were positioned in who you are as a son or daughter of God that everything would be wonderful. But the reality is, we all usually experience some kind of wilderness in our lives – even as Christians.
Jesus knows exactly what that feels like.
But it’s what comes next that is the most incredible thing.
He returns from the wilderness, and then in power and glory He raises up His team of disciples. He begins to heal the sick – delivers the oppressed – paralytics, epileptics…. He heals them all…. Every sickness and disease.
He preaches the Word of God in a way that the people had never heard before. All of a sudden dead religion became alive!
There will be new life come out of this pandemic season. God is into redemption and resurrection. And the resurrection is always far more powerful than what has been lost.
I’m really looking forward to a fresh move of God across this nation of Australia. I’m looking forward to the glory of God being revealed through us. I’m looking froward to the revealing of the sons of God in these last days!
I don’t know about you, but I’m standing on tiptoes…. My neck is outstretched…. What is to come is what I have given my whole life to and I’m not about to backdown or be tempted to withdraw simply because the world has some minor restrictions on me.
This is temporary. We’re coming through it. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Let me finish with Paul’s words to the church in his day – because it is as much a word for us today.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
The Passion Translation
“We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, 18 because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.”
That just about sums up everything I’ve been trying to say this morning.
Where is your focus of attention?
What are the thoughts and plans God has for your life?
What is it that is yet to be revealed in your life?
Where is your earnest expectation? What are you eagerly waiting for?
Is there a groan deep on the inside of you for more?
Have you got your “abounding” on?
No one can answer these questions for you. You can only answer them yourself.
These notes will be on our website today. I challenge you to get a copy and try and answer these questions – whether it’s part of your connect group or prayer group or just something for you to do personally.
God is calling us upward and onward.