Sermon delivered October 16, 1999

by Pastor Donald j Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

Quality Love

Have you heard of C and E Christians? For years preachers have joked about what is called, C and E Christians: Folk who show up at Christmas and Easter. It's the only time you see them in church. Shame on them. We ought to be a Christian every day of the year, not just have our religion a couple times a year. They don't have time, I guess, for a daily relationship with God. Well, maybe we could talk about C and S Christianity: People who will be in church if there is a Crisis or Shooting. They will be there. Or maybe we could talk about LDE Christians: people that come to prayer meeting if there is a series on Last Day Events. Otherwise they won't be here. We're strange, aren't we. I believe we need a relationship with Jesus every day of the week.

It isn't new there are C and S Christians. The children of Israel would complain. They rarely looked in God's direction except when the locusts came and started eating their crops of when the Philistines invade their land. Then they would come. Or maybe when they ran out of water, then they would start to complain. They had a crisis connection with God. What we need is an every moment connection with Jesus, that daily relationship.

Come over here to the book of John. Jesus tells us exactly what we need. In fact, He compares us to something special. John 15:5-7 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. What is our job description as Christians? To abide or remain in Him. That's the challenge.

The quality of our love is measured by our ability to hold up in times of stress and crisis. This comes from a daily quality relationship with God. I think of some of the great patriarchs in the Old Testament days that had that quality of love. They had a daily relationship with God. Take Moses for instance. I think is one of the greatest men that ever lived other than Jesus Christ. He had to be one of the greatest men of faith because he faced some of the greatest challenges. Only Moses' deep love for God carried him through.

Some people believe that there were more likely two million people that came out of Egypt. One of the biggest arithmetical miracles in the world was when Moses and the people were in the desert. What was he going to do with two or more million people? How would you like to have that job description? According to the Quartermaster General in the US army Moses would have to have 1,500 tons of food every day just to feed the people. That's a lot of manna! And there were thousands of animals besides, that would need about five hundred acres of grazing space and grain. That would be a freight train load, a mile long, just to deliver the daily food each day! To cook all that food in (5 persons for each campfire) four hundred thousand camp fires every day would require two million tons of wood. More freight trains! and they didn't have any railroad tracks.

And what about water? Some to drink, to bathe, to wash clothes, dishes, water for thirsty animals out there in the hot desert... How about 11 million gallons of water a day! More Freight trains! Imagine 2 million people with all their animals crossing the Red Sea! If they went through 20 abreast, the line would be 80 miles long. It would take them 3 days and nights just to get through. Of course they could double up and take only one and a half days.

If Moses had stopped to think about all this, he might have quit before he got started. But Christians go by Faith! Moses didn't do it alone, he had a Partner, and that Partner was God. If you're facing some problem in life; your car just broke down, you've got to get it repaired, you don't have the money, or maybe there's some bad health problem, whatever your problem is, don't you face that problem alone. You face it with your Partner. You Partner is God, He's your Partner. He's the other half of the team. Let me tell you, your problems are not as big as your Partner. God is an awesome God. Without God, you can't face the problems. With God on your side, you have the answer right there. Moses believed in God and God took care of all these things for Moses. It is similar with us. We could sit down and figure out our budget and never have enough money left over to pay our Tithe and give an offering. But let us take courage because we have the same God that Moses had. Our problems are not as big as God. Remember what God did for Moses. Team up with God and your problems will then become God's problems. Then let God run your life as the senior partner in your team.

    Quality love is trusting love. That's what Moses did. Every day our love for God is tested. That is why we need a daily relationship.
  1. Yesterday there was perhaps a peaceful world. Today the havoc and loss from floods, fires, hurricanes, mud slides, or plane crashes.
  2. Yesterday financial security. Today unemployment, inflation, bankruptcy. No money. Too many bills!
  3. Yesterday radiant health. Today, pain and a hospital bed and a doctor's grim diagnosis.
  4. Tragedy is not limited to the Godless. We see devout lifelong saints of the church who are faithful, loving and obedient, that are having unfortunate trouble and distress.

WHY? Why does trouble come to Good People?

A) Because we live in a sin cursed world. Don't forget that we are living in a war zone. In a fox hole. This is not heaven.

B) Because we make bad choices. We reap what we sow. We eat a large banana split with a couple of brownies and the next day we pray that God will help us not to catch a cold. Please, Lord, help 2 + 2 not to make 4.

C) Because it is not Evolution but Deterioration and Decay that we are experiencing. If you think you are getting better just look in the mirror over the years! Our Earth is DEgenerating. As we enter the 2000's did you know that our present earth is 85 - 90% depleted of trace minerals. In 1940 you would have gotten 140 mg of iron in each serving of spinach. Today you get 2 mg.

D) Because we, like Job, are perhaps being tested. I never did like examinations. I hated them. The teachers should know that's a time of stress! They do it anyway.

God put Job through a test. Did Job pass? Yes, he did. Over 4000 years ago at a gathering of the sons of God, God asked Satan a Question: Job 1:8-11 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."

Question: Had God been blessing Job? Obviously God had been richly blessing Job. God does that to those who love Him. It is your love and therefore your obedience that enables or unleashes the heavenly blessing train in your direction. Obedience is the result of your love for God. If you love Him, you're going to obey Him, and that opens the channel so that he can bless you. Agriculturalist Job had thousands of sheep and numerous thundering herds over vast acreage's of land. Because of God's blessings, Job was prosperous.

God temporarily trimmed the hedge that shielded His obedient servant. Satan immediately brought the Time of Trouble on faithful Job. God was saying: This is as perfect a saint as any I have ever had. I trust him. I am going to let these frightening things happen to show you that he does trust Me and I know that the quality of his love will carry him through. I'm going to use this experience to show millions of people who are going about Job in the future years what can happen to a true Christian.

QUESTION: WHAT DID JOB LOSE? You might say that he lost everything.

Job 1:14,15(NLT) a messenger arrived at Job's home with this news: "Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.

You see, there were five hundred yoke of oxen, one thousand oxen altogether. One day Job had all his teams of oxen plowing in the field. These were Job's tractors! A John Deere can cost $100,000 or maybe more. Raiders from Sheba killed Job's employees and drove off with all the equipment. A farmer without implements is out of business. This was a disaster!

Then while he was still speaking, Job 1:16 While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: "The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."

Notice that this out of breath courier blames God. Where did the fire come really from? I want to blame everything bad on the devil. I don't blame God. It was an act of God, he says. Was it from God? No. But even six thousand years ago people were blaming God for losses. So Insurance companies do not hold the patient on designating disasters as "Acts of God."

Job 1:17-22 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship! and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job! You should be cursing God. Everybody else does. If they hit their thumb with a hammer they curse God. All this has happened to you and you're worshipping God. What's the matter with you, Job?

We'd better study the life of Job a little bit. There's something we might learn here. Job was a great man! What did he do? In verse 21 he says, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrong doing. Did you know that it's a sin to blame God? He didn't sin by charging God for any wrong doing. If you blame god for your troubles, you're sinning.

So back to my original Question: WHAT DID JOB LOSE?

He didn't lose anything, did he? Well, he lost one thing. That's all. Job did not lose ownership of anything. All he lost was his management but not ownership. Who owned those camels, those oxen, those sheep? Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills? Who owns your children? God does. Do you own your children? No, they are the lambs of God, in fact we're all His children, aren't we? We belong to Him. The children are His lambs that are entrusted into your care, into your proper management. Job clearly saw his true position. He was the manager and not The Owner.

God was testing Job in his stewardship. He still does that. Job was a great saint. He was tried in his material possessions, abilities, talents, and in his physical body. All this boils down to the stewardship of life. Did Job pass the test! Yes, with flying colors!

Psalm 50:10-12 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. God owns everything.

Some poor Christian was driving a car and had a wreck. He was in Michigan and it was winter time and it wasn't his fault. The ice was so bad and the car started slipping and sliding and went down and totaled itself in the ditch. A friend said: "I am glad you walked away unhurt but I am so sorry that you lost your car." The man said, "Oh well, actually the car doesn't belong to me anyway. It belongs to God. And if God wants His car in His ditch, that is His business! I'm His child. God owns everything." A little bit like Job. It belongs to God. Everything belongs to God, including us.

GOD OWNS US!

I Corinthians 6:19,20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN; you were bought at a high) price. Therefore honor God with your body. You ought to take care of God's body. It belongs to Him.

It is when we see ourselves as managers of the infinite resources that belong to an eternal God, that we quit arguing about who owns the things we temporally possess.

WHAT ENABLED JOB TO ENDURE HIS TEST SO WELL? It was his partnership with God. That's what it was. He was a co-worker with God. God gives to us and when we give to others we do what God wants. And Job did that. He gave everything into the hand of God.

I think he had the assurance that God really did love Him. That Quality love enabled Job to say in verse 21 "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

Jesus had that same relationship with His Father. We should seek a similar bond with our Heavenly Father. Do you think of yourself as a CO- WORKER with God? Why does God bless us with material goods? To give us the privilege of being His hands and helping others and advancing His work on this earth. God gives to us. When we give to others in need we participate in one of the Divine privileges ... giving! "In bestowing, we bless others and thus accumulate true riches!" Counsels On Stewardship, p 14 (EG White).

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,
    Where the race of men go by.  
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
    Wise, foolish... and so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorners seat 
    Or hurl the cynic's ban?  
Let me live in my house by the side of the road 
    And be a friend of man. 
                   - Sam Walter Foss.

I want to be what God wants me to do. I want to be a saint like Job. And I want to commit everything that God has entrusted into our partnership, and that includes my time, my body, my children, my car, my money, everything I have. If God wants His money in a certain project I am the first to say that it belongs there. That's the mark of a true Christian. If God puts me through a test I pray that I will pass because He is my partner.

From what we get we can make a living, but what we give makes a life. I want to be a giving saint stationed by the road of life, giving to needy causes.

Had Job turned away from God and cursed His name, Job would have suffered great loss. Wisely, instead of cursing Him, Job worshiped God. Christians today are wise to continue trusting in God. You will go through life a lot happier. Jesus said: MATTHEW 11: 30 "The work that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is not heavy." (International Children's Bible) Do you know why it is not heavy? Because loads that are carried in love are light. Father Flanagan's Boys Town near Omaha, Nebraska, has a sculpture of one little boy carrying another boy almost as large as he is that says "He ain't heavy, he's my brother."

When your church has heavy needs, do they seem heavy to you? When your neighbor is down and out, do you consider it a burden or an opportunity to help? Christians are here to help.

I John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Brothers and Sisters, consider it a privilege to go where God leads, to give as He gives, to love as He loves, to suffer where He sees best. Quality Love will find a way to carry the load. Quality love will not complain about the weight of the load. My burden is light, said Jesus, because it is carried in love.

Opening Hymn: #103  God our Help 
Scripture: Job 1:1-3 and 8.
Closing Hymn: #196   Tell Me the Old, Old Story

991016Gettys#470



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