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Living in Freedom: Choose not to Forget

Recorded on October 25th, 2020

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God does not fall down on the job. It is up to us to choose actively not to forget this. We have all been in the pit of despair, but the promise of God is that he will come and take the sins and the brokenness and reclaim it for good.

Transcript of Sermon:

We are ending our journey um through psalms and in this journey we were seeking how it is to live into the freedom that we are allowed as children of god next week we will start a journey into the book of jonah i’m very excited about that i hope you are too it is quite the story um i think it’s a lot more than you ever expect it to be because most of us only know one tiny tiny piece of that story and it is so much more than that so i encourage you to be here with us next week because it’s going to be um the beginning of something really great as we end today with psalm 103 i encourage you to open your ears open your heart and open your mind to the work that god wants to do in your soul this morning let us read psalm 103 praise the lord my soul all my inboast being praise his holy name praise the lord my soul and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles the lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed he made known his ways to moses his deeds to the people of israel the lord is compassionate and gracious slow to anger and abounding in love he will not always accuse nor will he harbor his anger forever he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities for as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is his love for those who fear him as far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us as a father has compassion on his children so the lord has compassion on those who fear him this is the word of the lord for the people of the lord thanks be to god i was thinking a lot this week about teenagers now that could simply be because i have two of them at home and you know that just makes your day full of a lot of fun but i was also a teenager at one time and every one of us guess what we’re teenagers at one time and we all know what it feels like to be a teenager now i was telling my husband and a friend of ours this week that i’m pretty sure that one of my teenagers i’m sorry i’m totally outing you kid but one of my teenagers has perfected the eye roll the eye roll and the oh god mom you know what that is right if you haven’t had a kid do it to you i promise you you’ve probably either done it to one of your parents or behind their back if you weren’t you know brave enough to do it to them but then i was thinking ah i wonder if i could have given him a run for his money at my teenage youth because i’m pretty sure i was probably pretty good at the eye roll and the ah you’re so stupid mom you know i think i had that down too i think all of us as teenagers have this way about us it’s it’s known as a thing because it is the thing teenagers really believe that they’ve got it down teenagers really think that they know what they’re doing and and there’s this thing about teenagers all of us teenagers that believe that there’s nobody who can really experience what they’re experiencing it’s unique to them and that’s the thing that’s hard for parents because parents know it’s not so unique because they’d been there they’d felt the same things that they’ve been feeling they try so hard to help their teenage kids get from one day to the next but life as a teenager is full of anxiety it is full of uncertainty it is full of self-doubt and it made me think that life as a teenager is a lot like life as an adult child of god we’re no longer teenagers to our parents but i think the way that we live as adult children of god is a lot like the way that we live as teenagers to our parents where god may try to lead us here or there and we kind of avoid god or we don’t listen to god or we think well that’s just the silliest thing i’ve ever heard or you couldn’t possibly know how i feel right now god or we just decide not to listen to the advice of god because we don’t want to go that way we want to go our own way we’ve got this figured out i know what i want in life and i’m going to go after it and as i’ve looked at my life as an adult christian i’ve seen some very teenager-ish behavior but the amazing thing about god is that god is not a parent because parents are faulty they aren’t perfect it’s impossible for them to be perfect and some parents are more flawed than others some parents really did a pretty good job and really did give kids everything that they needed to make it through some parents really fell down on the job but god god never ever not once falls down on the job god never ever not once lets us go without love and god never ever not once fails to forgive us in our wayward behavior and so what we see as we close up in our journey in psalm 103 is david king david again writing a praise to god a praise reminding himself about who god is about what god has done and about who he david is in the light of god’s forgiveness because what psalm 103 is about more than anything is about the forgiveness and the love of god and so as we journey through psalm 103 i want us to think about who we are and we’re going to get a tool right in the beginning that i hope that we can take with us today and remember forever every day of our life with god that will maybe make us less teenager-like and more full-blown child of god full-blown adult of god so let’s dig in psalm 103 begins praise the lord o my soul all my inmost being praise his holy name david again begins by praising god this is a praise hymn a praise song you know psalms again were were often poetry songs and this is a song sung a song read a song talk to a prayer to god and david’s saying that his entire inmost being everything that is in him not just words that he says not just repeating the words of a song that’s familiar to him as he hears it on the radio but all of his inmost being will cry out about the goodness of god praise the lord my soul and forget not all his benefits and this is where we’re going to go today the forget not and our tool for today and i’m going to say it many times to hopefully remember it but our tool for today is that we actively choose not to forget about god the character of god the benefits of god and who we are in the light of god we choose actively not to forget and the reason why i’m saying it kind of in this weird wording i could say that we choose to remember or that we choose to praise but i think that we use the word praise so much or that we’ve kind of made praise this holy thing or this thing that um maybe pastors do or this thing that we do at 11 o’clock on sundays when we come together at church when we’re singing songs we’ve talked about it quite a few times as we’ve gone through our different psalms these past few weeks so it becomes a word that kind of gets shoved in the back of our heads that we’re not quite paying attention to so i want us to think of praise differently and so we’re going to say we’re going to choose not to forget because the opposite of praise is forgetting the opposite of praising god is forgetting what god has done the opposite of praising god is forgetting all that he is all that god has done all the work that god has done in our lives all the ways that god has been present in our lives so instead of choosing a phrasing like okay we’re going to praise god now we’re going to choose actively not to forget god and all of the benefits of god and what does david say are the benefits of god and i want you to sit in these words because they are unbelievable if you sit maybe you should even close your eyes as we read through some of these if you if you’re brave enough to give it a go i mean you are at home nobody’s really going to see what you’re doing right if you’re driving please do not close your eyes but if you’re at home listen to the things listens to the ways that david describes the benefit of being a child of god david says god forgives all of your sins full stop god who created you who loves you forgives all of your sins god forgives that act of adultery god forgives your gambling god forgives your pornography addiction god forgives your overeating tendencies god forgives your inability to spend money wisely god forgives all your sins completely fully we can’t say that about much in this world but you are completely fully forgiven the minute that you seek forgiveness from your creator now we’ll talk about this in a little bit but to the israelites when this was originally written they had to do special things to receive forgiveness they had to make sacrifices they had to approach god in a special way they had to approach god through priests but you and i have 24 7 access to god to the forgiveness of god we have that access because of god’s love for us because of the life and work of jesus jesus came jesus left heaven the perfection of heaven the perfection of life in the trinity the perfection of living with god and took the life of a human and all that entails the pain the drama the suffering and lived on this earth so that there would be a once and for all perfect sacrifice for all sins because in order for love to be real there must be justice there must be a sacrifice made for the sins that are committed in this world and you and i get the privilege of living in a post-jesus world we get to live in a land where we don’t have to make small sacrifices we don’t have to approach god through a priest no we get to approach god through the love of jesus jesus died on a cross so that you and i could have a full and complete relationship with god at any time so that we can experience the freedom of forgiveness at any time and it’s available to you today to everyone for any sin even the sin of pride for those who think that maybe they have nothing that needs to be forgiven but the reality is we’re all human we’ve all stepped aside from the perfection of this world that god created us for in this world and we need the forgiveness of jesus and through jesus all of our sins are forgiven full stop if you need help accessing that forgiveness you just need to pray to god to say to god i am so sorry for my sins and god will forgive you let me know and i’ll email me i’ll walk with you through this and be a privilege but as we accept that forgiveness god heals all of our diseases david says then above and beyond that god david says redeems our life from the pit this is the one where eyes closed makes a big difference we have all been in the pit and i don’t know what your pit looks like but i know that as you close your eyes and you picture your life you know what that pit looks like you know where the lowest of low has been for you you may be there now but you know what broken and hurting looks like you know what suffering looks like and you know what it is to be in need and the promise of our god is that god comes and redeems us from the pit and what that means is that god doesn’t just pick us up from the pit and bring us home god redeems our time in the pit do you know what that means that means that god takes the brokenness in our life the things that we did that were wrong the sins that we did the things that were done to us the brokenness that was forced upon us by others and redeems it and claims it for good and i know this to be true in my life in my life some of the most beautiful things that god has ever done for me has allowed me to use the broken things in my life to help other people that has allowed me to use those broken pieces of my life to see good happen to be able to walk with others as they experience some of those same things god redeemed brokenness in my family relationships in amazingly big ways that i never thought possible god turned what was bad into good because only god can do that and then finally not finally actually two more god david says that god crowns you crowns you puts a crown on your head a crown of love and compassion now i don’t know about you but i spent a lot of my life looking for that love trying to find it in all sorts of different wrong places we get lost looking to try and fill that hole in our life but god gives it god gives it freely god crowns us with that love you mean picture that god crowns us with love and compassion not only does god love us but god feels for us as much as we may want to think that god can’t understand or god can’t feel what we’re feeling god empathizes with us god has compassion for us god truly does believe god feels what we’re feeling god hurts when we hurt and david finally says god also satisfies your desires with good things with good things so not only has our sin been forgiven not only has our brokenness been redeemed and made into good and then we’ve been crowned with love and compassion crowned with love and compassion god now satisfies our greatest desires with things that are good now we need to be careful it doesn’t say god satisfies our desires with everything we ever wanted it doesn’t say that god satisfies our desires with the whole list of things that we’ve been looking for now god satisfies our desires with god with what god sees fit with what god says is good now if we look into history we’ll see that this has always been true even before jesus jesus is just a way to create constant access forever perfect access perfect sacrifice because the thing is the lord loves righteousness and the lord the lord works for justice and against oppression and in order to do that there has to be justice right there has to be there has to be payment for those sins and that’s why jesus had to come but even before jesus there was a whole group of people whole generations of people who lived into this love who experienced the kindness and the goodness of love and i want to kind of pose our lives i want you to see maybe your life through the eyes of some of the israelites because in my mind they’re the perfect example of teenagers the israelites in exodus 32 now god had just taken them rescued them from egypt god had put the plagues god had you know parted the red sea god had provided food for them along the way now granted they did complain they grumbled they said oh god you know rolled their eyes perfectly like most teenagers know how to do it was never quite enough it was never perfect enough it was never exactly what the israelites wanted but god was always there god was always providing god never failed to be present even in the midst of that teenage angst even in the midst of the grumbling and the complaining even in the midst of their failing god never failed to be present for them even in the midst of their greatest sin which happened in exodus 32 moses their leader went up onto the mountaintop to receive the ten commandments he was gone for 40 days okay 40 days it doesn’t seem like that long right 40 days that’s it that’s a month and 10 days not that long but these people these israelites started to get anxious because their expectation was different than what was happening they wanted something different they were seeking something different and because their expectations weren’t met they started to get anxious they started to worry and they started to think that they had to fix the problem themselves they thought they knew they had all the answers and so they told aaron that they needed a new god can you believe that can you believe that 40 days and they have already forgotten they have already forgotten all that god had done for them so they create out of their jewelry a little golden calf and they have a worship ceremony they praise this calf not only do they have a worship ceremony praising this calf but they praise this calf for the work that god had done this calf has done nothing it is a nothing it’s a not god but they act as if this calf has done everything as this this calf is the answer to all of their problems god sees what is happening and tells moses what is happening and tells moses that there needs to be payment for this sin because it is a very very big sin they did not praise god they did not choose every day not to forget they did not sit in the promises of god and and they did not choose every day to remember what god has ever done what god had already done they did not wake up each day saying god has provided us meat and bread and god is still providing us this food as we wait for moses they didn’t wake up every day saying i remember when god parted the red sea they didn’t wake up every day and say i remember when we needed water and god provided water they didn’t wake up every day and say we were so oppressed in egypt we begged and cried out for god to save us and god saved us no instead they forgot and god was going to rain down punishment on this group of people but as david points out at the end or the the end of our verses here god doesn’t always take the action that god could or should take in verse 10 or 9-10 he says that it begins by saying the lord is compassionate and gracious slow to anger and abounding in love even in this he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our inequities for as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is his love for those who fear him and as far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us this is what the lord did with israel god forgave this sin it didn’t mean that they were perfect it didn’t mean that they didn’t mess up again but god forgave the sin and allowed relationship to continue but i think we can relate to the israelites because when we feel god missing from our lives when we don’t see the outcome that we’re expecting when we don’t see god’s fruit the way that we want to see god’s fruit we feel like we are lost we feel like god’s left us and in today’s climate and atmosphere it can feel easy to assume those types of things because this world is a little bit chaotic or a lot chaotic but the truth is that god never fails god never fails to show up god never fails to provide an answer god never fails to forgive our sins to crown us with love and compassion to redeem our lives into goodness and so the thing that we need to take with us as we journey on this week and next week and next month is that we need to choose every day as we rise up in the morning not to forget we need to say to ourselves i choose this day not to forget the goodness of my god i choose this day to remember how god showed up through our fill in the blank i choose to remember how god did this in my life i choose to remember how this happened specific things not just general things specific things that god has done for you for your loved ones we choose not to forget and that is how we live into the freedom that christ bought for us on the cross because if we don’t live into that freedom we turn into teenagers who are sulky and soul and who turn away from god when they really need god the most because they feel like god has left them but if in every moment if in every day whether it’s good or bad we wake up and we choose not to forget the goodness of god and all of god’s benefits like david did here we can live into the freedom we can live into our forgiveness we can live in to the goodness that was bought for us on the cross let us pray god we thank you so much for the work that was done for us on the cross we are so unworthy of the things that you’ve done for us the ways that you have loved us the ways that you have provided for us jesus we thank you for enduring the cross for us god we are desperate to become adult children in faith not teenage children in faith we are desperate to become more mature more certain more trusting of your goodness of your wisdom help us lord to choose actively not to forget your character your goodness your love and your forgiveness it’s in the name of jesus we pray amen