Sunday School Material 12-26-10: I Will Be With You
(Isaiah 43:1-7, 11-12; 12/26/10)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School Material is that God takes care of His people, and they should glorify Him with faith and witnessing. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure we are people of God and work on our faith and witnessing.
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Read Isaiah 43:1-3
I. A Ransomed Nation. God talks about being with His people in this section of the Sunday School material. He will be with them through the water and fire that is coming. The confidence of His people should be in God's presence.
As for God giving Egypt as a ransom, some have suggested that God rewarded Persia with Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba, because they released the Jews that the Babylonians held captive. (The Pastor is still thinking about this matter.)
- Living like God's people. Notice in vs. 1 of the Sunday School material that God created and formed His Jewish people of the Old Testament.
In like manner, every believer is the product of God's creating and forming. We are not here by accident. Things have not just happened to us. God has and is and will work things out for the good of His people. Let's make sure that we are His people and live as His people.
It is only through our faith in Christ, as our Savior, that we can be people of God. And as people of God, we should be known for our obedience to God. At the core of obeying God are the issues of loving God and others, as we love ourselves.
- God's care for His people. Notice in vss. 2-3 of the Sunday School material that the created and formed people of God still have to go through the difficult times of water and fire.
However, they have the assurance of God's presence and His seeing them through their difficulties. In like manner, every believer has the blessed assurance that the same God who has brought them to this point will see them through the difficult days ahead.
And sometimes this "see us through" is accomplished in eternity, not earthly time. That is, God doesn't always deliver us from the troubles of this life. Christians can be killed in what appears to be a random drive by shooting.
Disciples of Jesus Christ can be victimized by rape, terrible and painful diseases, and the painful abandonment of loved ones. But yet, we are called to believe that all things, including those just mentioned, are working together for the good of God's people.
When a believer dies, we are called to believe that the person is simply shedding off mortality to put on immortality. We believe to be absent from the body is to be present with God.
Consequently, if we die in the waters or fires, we believe that we have come through them in eternity with God. Furthermore, we believe that the hope of such a purposeful life is not built on our merits but upon the grace and love of God.
Let's live like we believe that God will somehow see us through whatever is coming our way. When we panic and live in a state of anxiety or depression, we are not living like those who trust and believe God is still working things out for His people.
Read Isaiah 43:4-7
II. A Rescued Nation. God goes on to talk about how He has loved His people in this section of the Sunday School material. Because of His love, He will recall them from all around the world.
He created His people for His glory. As for the giving of men for the Jews, read the summary comment above. However, we do know that the Father gave His Son for our salvation.
- God is our hope. Notice in vss. 4-6 of this section of the Sunday School material that the hope of the Jews was to be in God, not their own well doing. In like manner, our hope should be in God.
Even if we give effort to our deliverance, we should remember that God gave us a mind to do so, a body with which to do so, and made opportunities for us to use our minds and bodies according to His ultimate and sovereign will.
There are those who think that human genius, financial wealth, or popularity will save them from the troubles to come. However, we are reminded again that only God can be trusted and is worthy of our hopes.
No matter how bad things look and how scattered our blessings may seem, God is able to re-gather what has been taken away from us. And He is able to simply create some more.
Let's live like God is the ground of our hope. Again, this kind of living should not be noted for fear, anxiety, panic, or depression. This kind of living should be noted for joy, peace, and hope, as we obey His holy will for our lives.
- Glorifying God. Notice in vs. 7 the idea that God has created His people for His glory. We learned from the Sunday School material that whatever we have and whatever God has brought us through is not for our bragging rights but for His glory.
When people look at us, they should see evidence that God is truly worthy to be praised and worthy of full allegiance. When people look at us and talk more about us than about God then God is not getting as much glory as He deserves.
Let's strive to live so that God gets the glory. The attitude that we have in good times and bad can influence the amount of glory that God receives. Panicking in rough times and bragging about our efforts in good times are contrary to God's will and His getting the glory.
Read Isaiah 43:11-12
III. A Renewed Nation. God declares that He is God. There is no other savior. If anyone should be able to witness that only God is the true savior, surely His people should be able to bear witness.
- God's jealousy. Notice in vs. 11 of the Sunday School material that God is a jealous God. He demands absolute allegiance. No matter what we say, our behavior shows what is really in our hearts.
When God says turn one way and the world says to turn another way. We can tell who is most important, by which way we turn, if we turn at all. Let's live like God is really our God. This kind of living is to be known for obeying God's word.
Things like witnessing, helping people grow in the Lord, using our abilities to respond to the needs of others, tithing, worshipping, forgiving people, and being a pleasant personality are common for those who live like God is really God.
- Active witnessing. Notice in vs. 12 that if no one else should be able to be a witness of how great God is and how worthless the false gods are, those who belong to God and have been richly blessed by Him should be at the front of the line.
In like manner, if no one else can be a witness in the world and in worship about the goodness of the Lord, we who have received so much from Him should be at the front of the line.
When we go days, weeks, and sometimes months without telling anybody about the goodness of the Lord, or when we sit so still and non-demonstrative in worship, we are being poor witnesses for the Lord. Let's work on being active witnesses about the goodness of the Lord.
Conclusion: Let's work on making sure that we are God's people and work on our faith and witnessing. God has much for those who obey His will.
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