2020 03 29 Gordon Green WAITING AND WEEPING

2020 03 29 Gordon Green WAITING AND WEEPING
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Create DateMarch 28, 2020
Last UpdatedMarch 31, 2020

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JOHN 11:1-44 AND PSALM 130

Weeping and Waiting


This sermon is divided into two sections.

First: Chapter “Grieving people” by Max Lucado.

The first half of this sermon is the story in John 11 about Lazarus. Lazarus was seriously ill, so his sisters sent an urgent message to Jesus to come quickly. This week we are on the fifth Sunday of Lent.  Resurrection Sunday is two weeks away. This week’s theme is Rising from the depths. In John 11 we are pointed to Jesus during our grief over great loss. We find comfort in the depths of sorrow with renewed hope in Jesus who comes to us, calling us into his raised life with the Father in the Spirit.

Second half: Psalm 130 - a beautiful Psalm about the mercy of God, God’s forgiveness, his steadfast love and his great power to redeem. To stay with the theme. Rising from the depths Psalm130 is a prayer where we can cry to God out of the depths of sin, of fear, of uncertainty while waiting on him in hope.

Lord, if you measured us and marked us with our sins,
who would ever have their prayers answered?

Many people – even Christians - see God as the great scorekeeper in the sky. Do you see God like that? God is marking our papers and gives us a big red F because we can’t reach his high standards. If we see God like that then we try to appease him. If I do that God will be more lenient and I’ll just scrape through. That is not true. God doesn’t wait gleefully to catch people out, to pounce on sinners in the act. No - God is forgiving by nature. He brings the sinner up from the lowest point and leads him right back to fullness of life. He is the great redeemer. Sin has consequences but his mercy is much greater than we probably ever thought.

But your forgiving love is what makes you so wonderful.
No wonder you are loved and worshiped!

This is why I wait upon you, expecting your breakthrough,
for your word brings me hope.

I long for you more than any watchman
would long for the morning light.
I will watch and wait for you, O God,
throughout the night.

Meditate on these words. Not only is this a vital key in dealing with our hurts, resentments or anger but this stands at the very centre of our walk with God.

7 O Israel, keep hoping, keep trusting,
and keep waiting on the Lord,
for he is tender hearted, kind, and forgiving.

Keep hoping he writes. Hope is connected to waiting. This kind of hope doesn’t mean “I hope I find a job.” Or “All we can do is hope.” That kind of hope is almost a hope-less word.  No this hope means  “ to expect.” It has to do with anticipation. The biblical hope is a confident hope in something that will take place. It is an expectancy – an absolute assurance that something good is going to happen.

He says I long for you or wait for you more than a watchman would long for the morning light. Like the watchman waiting to be relieved from duty at the dawning of a new day. He has been waiting for the morning and certain it will come.  Confidence. Anticipation. Expectation. Perseverance. Joy – that’s what biblical waiting is about!

That’s what he’s saying here: you get the picture of a deep sense of longing, dependence and assurance. What is the key to waiting? How do we “wait for the Lord”? Know who God is. Hebrews 13:5 says God will never leave us. According to the Greek experts if this verse was translated literally into English it would read: "I will never, never, never, never, never leave you." What an exhortation! What a promise from our loving Father! He is just. He is good.

Wait for God. And? He will deliver you. He will  redeem you.

O Israel, keep hoping, keep trusting,
and keep waiting on the Lord,
for he is tender hearted, kind, and forgiving.
He has a thousand ways to set you free!
He himself will redeem you;
he will ransom you from the cruel slavery of your sins!

That’s a promise. God will handle the matter. He will make things right. He will sort it out in his own time and in his own way.

This is not about living a passive life and just waiting for God to do everything for us. We are to live responsibly. If we need to forgive then forgive. If we need to confront then confront.  If we need to examine ourselves then do so. Joseph was forced to wait on the Lord, but while he waited, he got busy doing what he could. His good attitude and work ethic resulted in promotion along the way. God is not inactive when we are waiting but working behind the scenes to put all the "missing pieces" in our lives in place, before he fulfils our desires or request.

Waiting is foundational to our walk of faith. While we are waiting for God – trust him, expect from him and watch. He will come through – usually in a way you don’t expect and his activity will be in a far deeper level than you can imagine. Place your hurts, offences, grievances, uncertainties in God’s hands. Wait for the mercy of God because it is as sure as the morning.

Ask God for mercy and then wait for it – it will come. And it may come in surprising ways. God brings good out of evil. He does that by loving the sinner, by forgiving him and by offering him fellowship with himself.


I recently came across this prayer:

Lord give me a pure heart – that I may see you

A humble heart – that I may hear you

A heart of love – that I may serve you

A heart of faith – that I may abide in you.



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