God Was There!

Luke 7:11-18

"I sense an awesome moving of the Holy Spirit
I see His countenance resting on your face
I know that there are angels hovering all around us
For the presence of the Lord is in this place."

God was there!
The long shadows of the late afternoon sun reach across the little mountain town of Nain.
The village lies in a green nest among surrounding hills.
Below is the extensive plain of Esdraelon, a battlefield for the days of Nebuchadnezzar to Napoleon.
As you climb the steep path leading to the town gate you understand why the town was called
lovely or pleasant.
No grander view can be seen in Palestine.
Away in the distance is the white range of Carmel, with a blue gleam of the Mediterranean at its foot.
Far up in the north is the snowy top of great Hermon, a towering sentinel dominating the landscape.

Cattle are grazing on the hillside, farmers are returning home from the field,
and children are playing near the gate.
This is a peaceful pastoral scene.
But our enjoyment of the scenery is broken by the sound of sobbing.
A funeral procession is moving through the gate toward the cemetery outside the walls.
The sorrow is real and intense.

On the wicker bier is the body of the dead boy, the only son of his widowed mother,
who follows in heartbroken desolation.
Her son has kept his appointment with death, and there is no loveliness in nature
and no beauty in life for her lonely heart.

The funeral procession meets another procession.
Jesus of Nazareth is leading a company of His followers into the town.
They are almost at the end of their 25 mile journey from Capernaum, and the Master is weary.
With respectful sympathy Jesus and His followers draw aside to let the mother pass
with her dead son.

She was not looking for this Man whose pity went out to her, but His eyes read
the meaning of her loss.
" And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her,
'Weep not
(Luke 7:13)

The words were simple, as all consolation ought to be, and filled with infinite pity.
That is the consolation that Christ gives.
It is brief, deeply felt, and heard in the stillness of her heart.
Then, He went forward and touched the bier; the bearers stopped, and He said,
" Young man, I say to you, arise."

And the words of power touched the heart and brain of the young boy:
" And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.
And He delivered him to his mother
." (Luke 7:15)

Isn't that just like Jesus?
There is a deeper question: "Isn't that like God?"
This is God whom Jesus unveils, the God whom Jesus brings near.

The bereaved mother was keeping her meeting with death, and discovered
that it was a meeting with the Lord of life.
I believe that Luke, who preserved this story for us, wanted us to see that.
This wasn't preserved so that a clever men might speculate about the physical aspects of it.
That is, whether the young man was really dead or only apparently so.
Something more profound than a scientific problem confronts us here.
Ordinary people who witnessed the restoration of the widow's son perceived it.
They were seized with awe and glorified God.
" A great prophet has appeared among us," they said; " God has sent a marvelous messenger,
God has visited his people
!" (See Luke 7:16)

Their amazement was inevitable!
When death is defeated so dramatically, they knew they had witnessed a miracle.
Luke writes, " And when the Lord saw her."
" The Lord," is such a meaningful term, for in this encounter with human tragedy
the Man of Nazareth appears clothed with exalted power over life and death
by which He becomes the object of His church's faith and worship.

Here we have the heart of the Christian faith.
"… God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." (2 Corinthians 5:19)
God was there!
"… When the Lord saw her he had compassion on her…" and gave her back her boy.
Remember this great truth, or you will separate God from Jesus Christ in a way that is false.
The New Testament says, as Christian men and women through the centuries has said,
that God is like Christ.

He is almighty, and His almightiness is of love.
He suffers with those who go wrong.
He sorrows with those who mourn.
He will take men and women out of indecency into decency.
He will lead men and women out of greed into unselfishness.
He will lead all who will receive Him as Saviour and Lord out of death into life.

We become aware of some facts of faith in that scene outside the mountain town.

First, we can believe that even as the compassion of the Lord Jesus went out
to that sorrowing mother, so the pity of God also falls upon our griefs today.
The compassion and grace of God will bring healing.
In all our affliction He is afflicted, and by His wounds we are healed.
We do not need to plead with Him to have pity, for He is love.
His love is overwhelming, and his compassion and healing comes to us
even in our ignorance and folly.

The widowed mother did not offer Him a prayer of faith to receive the Lord's compassion.
" When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her."

It is so wonderful that there is One beside us who understands us, who shares our burden,
and is always loving and kind.

Secondly, another fact of faith undergirds our spirits as we see Luke's account
of the widow's son who found life in the presence of the Lord.
The will of God is that we may have life to the fullest.
"I am come," said Jesus, " that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
(John 10: 10)
" God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matthew 22:32)

God's will and purpose is for the extension and enrichment of human life up on the earth.
God has created life, and He sustains it.
And God gave his only beloved Son to restore life to those who are dead in their sins.

Those who are " in Christ," who trust in Him and trust in His power,
and experience God's gift of eternal life have a life beyond this earthly existence.

Then, in this wonderful occurrence is that the action of God is the action of love.
And God's love restores the beloved son to his mother.
God's love is so powerful that despite all the frustrations and the obstacles of life
nothing precious can be forever lost.

Christ came to search out and to find the lost.
God is the pursuer of the soul.
He is the Hound of Heaven.
To yield to Him is to find life.
To trust Him brings freedom to the soul.
To follow Him will bring victory over the worst that can happen.

God will not force His way into our hearts.
He will not coerce our loyalty.

A visitor to the Welsh mountain district saw the rescue of a sheep that had fallen over a cliff
and settled on a shelf of rock.
The shepherd was lowered by a rope at the risk of his life to rescue the sheep.
Yet, the shepherd had known for three days where it was.

The visitor could not reconcile the shepherd's courage in rescuing the sheep
with the apparent callousness he had shown in leaving it in danger for so long.
But it was explained to him that if the rescue had been attempted earlier,
the sheep would have been alarmed and would probably have leaped to its destruction.
This shepherd had to wait until it was helpless and too weak to move.

God does not always deliver us from immediate danger, but He does deliver us from its evil,
and in His good time, He will bring good out of it. (Romans 8: 28)
For Christ is always present with His compassion, and with His gift of abundant life,
and with His gift of eternal life to those are dying in their sins.

God was there and God is here!

To all Christians who have love ones and friends who are lost in their sins and dying
without Christ as Saviour and would lead their love ones to Jesus -- God is here!
Pray for them, live a Christ-like life in front of them, and invite them to attend church with you.
If they do not live close to you -- call them -- write them -- email them.
Let them know that you are concerned for them, and that Jesus will save them, forgive all their sins,
give them eternal life in heaven and give them an abundant life here.
Tell them how Jesus has changed your life.

And if you are in this service, and you have never trusted Jesus as you Saviour -- God is here!
He is ready to receive you -- ready to forgive you of all your sins, and ready to take away
your death and to give you life.

Your life can change forever -- God is here!

He Is Here!

"I sense an awesome moving of the Holy Spirit
I see His countenance resting on your face
I know that there are angels hovering all around us
For the presence of the Lord is in this place.

He is here, Hallelujah, He is here, Amen
He is here, Holy Holy, I will bless His name again
He is here, listen closely
Hear Him calling out your name
He is here, you can touch Him
You will never be the same

I searched for peace among the shadow, dark and lonely
Gave up on finding that strong and lasting love
I tasted all the things that sin could think to offer me
But today I feast on manna from above

He is here, Hallelujah, He is here, Amen
He is here, Holy Holy, I will bless His name again
He is here, listen closely
Hear Him calling out your name
He is here, you can touch Him
You will never be the same

He is here, you can touch Him
You will never be the same."
-- Copied

Sermon by Dr. Harold L White