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Sunday, 19 May 2013

'WHEN HARRY MET JESSE - GOD THE LOVER'

Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
http://www.sunnysidechurchottawa.com/   

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PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, May 19th, 2013:



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When Harry met Jesse - God the Lover’
Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning. My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the morning.

This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 Rideau Ferry, ON K0G1W0. Or you can find us on the web @ Goodnewsinthemorning.ca

This morning I want to remind you of what God is like. The picture you will see today is God as a lover.

Music – Our Father 3:03  Track 2 – Unlikely Icon – Steve Bell.

This morning I want to tell you the story of Harry and Jesse.

Harry was a 23 year old bachelor. He was eligible, very eligible in fact. The old ladies in church  thought he was a good catch. He was stable, grounded, well respected, and just a really nice guy. In fact he was seen as a leader in his church. He was the genuine thing. You knew when you talked with him that there was something authentic  about him and his faith

One day Harry was doing his praying and he heard God say to him, I want you to marry a party girl.  Now this wasn’t just a feeling or a I think God said this to me. He knew, that he knew that this was the voice of God.  He argued with God. God you know the kind of wife I have always wanted. Someone stable, a good friend. I have always found those party girls so flaky. But God had told him to marry a party girl, and he had long since chosen to follow God and do whatever he asked.

Well, where do you find a party girl? Harry wasn’t sure, but he figured a party would be a good place to look. So Harry went out to this party slash dance slash shindig. Harry kind of stayed on the sidelines.

Right in the middle of the dance floor he spotted Jesse. Jesse had on a tight light blue dress that showed she had curves in all the right places. She was dancing up a storm. She was the life of the party.

Harry figured, if I have to marry a party girl, I might as well marry a good looking party girl. After all God told him - right.

Well he struck up a conversation with Jesse. As it turns out, she was getting a little tired of the party scene. Harry was for some reason taken with her; although her comments were often inappropriate and her language was a little rough.  Well they went out for coffee and one thing lead to another and they eloped.

Well I must say, the people at church the next Sunday were just a little surprised. And Jesse felt more than just a little out of place too. All her dresses were just a little too short. Her language was a little rough. She raised more than a few eyebrows.


Well as time when went on Harry and Jesse had three kids. Each time they had a child God would speak to Harry and say I want you to call this child this name: Each name and a specific meaning.

I don’t know if it was the mundane exhaustion of raising three kids, or the longing for party life she had given up, but she couldn’t handle it at home.

She left Harry for another man. This man wasn’t a good man. Soon she was not only sleeping with him, she started to work for him as a prostitute. She slept with a lot of men. Her new man pimped her out.

This went on for a couple of years. Then God spoke to Harry.  He said to him, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves you.”

Well the situation was a little complicated. The pimp was making good money off Jesse. It wasn’t as if she could just get up a leave. But Harry negotiated for her. He paid a couple of thousand dollars for her.

He told Jesse, “You are going to live with me for a long time. You are not to be a prostitute or sleep with any other man, and I will live with you.”

As hard as it is to believe, it seems like the marriage worked out. But I think there were still some issues.

The story that I just told you was basically the story from the first three chapters of the Old Testament book of Hosea. It is the story of Hosea and Gomer.

Why does God put a story like this in the Bible? We are going to reflect on that after this piece of music.

Hosea was a prophet around 760 BC. It was a prosperous time. Jeroboam II was king over Northern Israel. He had expanded their territory. . It was a prosperous time, life was good. There was peace and prosperity in the land.

But although times were good people weren’t. Social and moral conditions developed that were both wrong and degrading. Side by side with extreme wealth was extreme poverty. Through dishonest business practices the strong took advantage of the weak. Those who had wealth felt free to oppress widows and orphans. and even buy and sell the destitute in public markets. The courts did little to help the cause of justices.


Religious conditions were no better. Baal worship, an evil religion that Israel had to purge more than once was back. Sacred prostitution was being practiced with this cult. Different idols were set up over the high places of Israel.

The prophet Amos had preceded Hosea in preaching against sin and idolatry. Now it was Hosea’s turn to preach. He also preached about what would happen if they didn’t turn back to God.

Well after the reign of Jeroboam II Israel’s political fortunes declined significantly in accordance with Hosea’s prophecies. They went through a number of Kings in quick succession and then were over run by the Assyrians in 724 BC.

So at the start and in the middle of this decline God called the people of Israel through the prophet Hosea, and God used his life as an illustration.

God had called the people of Israel, when they were they nobodies. He made them something when they were nothing. He made them the people of God when they people of no reputation. He did what Hosea did to Gomer, or Harry did to Jesse.  He married them.

The picture in the book of Hosea is of God the great lover. He took the nation of Israel from nothing and made her a great country. But by running after false gods and turning from the Laws of God and distaining what he had said, the people of Israel committed adultery against the living God.

Yet by Hosea taking Gomer back as his wife after she had committed adultery it was a sign to the people of Israel that God still loved her, even after all she had done. Even though she had prostituted herself by linking up with other gods the true God still loved her.

Music. Jody Cross – As I am- Album Made for you Track 12 3:01

Come with me to the book of James 4

4  You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
 5  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
 6  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
 7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
 8  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double‑minded.
 9  Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
 10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

The book of James was written to Christians that were scattered all over Asia and Northern Africa. But it is the same metaphor. James calls those Christians who have chosen to be friends with world, adulterous. It is the Hosea image. Except it is not with the country of Israel, it is with Christians.

I want to walk through this passage quickly so that you can get a sense of what is going on. When James talks about the world, he is talking about a system of thought that takes either not thought of God, or sets itself above God.

When you become friends with the world, you either live independently from God, or set yourself up as God’s judge.  And whenever that happens you become God’s enemy. 4  You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

But then it goes on to say in verse 5  5  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? Essentially what it is saying is God is jealous for us.

Then the passages goes on to talk about the humble and the proud. Pride in a biblical sense is living independently from God. It is a parallel to being friends with the world. Humility is dependance on God.

It is the work of the world, it is the work of the devil to get you to live independently from God. It is his primary work to get you to be and live proud.  6  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
 7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
 
The only way to live in opposition to the world is to live in Submission to God. For those Christians who have been friends with the world, here is James advice.

 8  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double‑minded.
 9  Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
 10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
 
There is a call for repentance. There is a call of turning from sin back to God. There is a call to grieve over the state of your relationship with God. here is a call to come before him in repentance.

I don’t care if you grew up in a good family or a bad family, if you grew up in the respectable part of town, or if you grew up on the wrong side of the tracks; if you know your own heart, you have this deep down intuition that your heart is from the wrong side of the tracks.

But just like Hosea and Gomer, if you know the geography of your soul, you know that God went slumming when he found you.  But the weird thing is, it is not just a love of pity, like one might have for a cute puppy left out in the cold. It is not the love of condescension, where I reach out to the less fortunate to help me feel better. (Although God did condescend to meet us - he went slumming in a world of sin. When you live in heaven, this world is the wrong side of the tracks, these are the slums)

It is not the love of pity or condescension. It is true love. It is a passionate love. God loves you. He comes to you and pops the question. Will you marry me.  That is what becoming a Christian is in a sense. Being married to God. His Spirit, comes into our Spirit. There is a union.

Some of you know that God has popped the question, will you invite me into your heart. You have said, I need some time to think about it. He respects that. But it is hard to understand. It is Harry and Jesse. Hosea and Gomer. The catch of a life time asking the uncouth, unrefined, person from the wrong world. In the spiritual world, we are all that. For those of you who are there, would you say today, I Jesus I want you to come into my life.

Some of you have invited Christ into your life, but you don’t feel like the spouse of the living God, you feel like somehow he made a mistake. You can’t see what he sees in you. You can’t understand how he loves you. Tolerates you maybe, but it can’t be that he loves me you say.

Because of this belief it warps your whole Christian life. You have a hard time trusting God, because you know your own heart.

This morning, I want you to hear the word of God to you. God says to you, I love you. I do more than tolerate you. I do more than just accept you. I deeply truly, honestly love you. My love for you is so far beyond your comprehension. The more you receive it, the more you will find is there.


There are some of you here this morning, who you have married God, but you are committing adultery on him. You have set up false gods, or you are living as if you are not married to him. You are living independently from him.

When this happens, he is hurt, he is displeased. Anyone who truly loves their spouse would be immensely wounded but the adultery of their spouse, — And God is.

Yet the picture of Gomer is there for you. Not only had she committed adultery, but she became a prostitute. God called Hosea to take her back. That is what God wants to do with you.

God loves you.


Let’s Pray:

Lord, I pray for those who have yet to know your love. You invite them into this deep, honest, intimate relationship with you. I pray Lord, that today, they will open their hearts up, and say, “Jesus, come into my heart. I receive you. Forgive me of my sins. I want to be part of your family.”

Lord, and there are those who just can’t believe that God loves them. God, I proclaim over those people right now, your love, May you love them deeply, truly and honestly, in a way that they can understand. May they get it that your love is directed to them. And Lord I pray for those who are far away from you. They know you, but they’ve turned their back on you. Lord, would they come back and see your arms open wide to receive them. May they know your love, as well. In Jesus’ name, I pray.

Thank you, Listeners for your words of encouragement, and for keeping us in your  prayers.,   Keeping this program on the air continues to be a work of faith. If you can help with that, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 , Rideau Ferry , On. K0G  1W0. Or you can give online by going to goodnewsinthemorning.ca

Alan Churchill, the founding pastor of this ministry is writing a monthly devotional. Alan is well known for his spiritual insight and ability to communicate the truth of God. If you would like to receive this devotional, go to our website at Goodnewsinthemorning.ca and sign up to start receiving it right to you e-mail inbox. We know that God will bless you through this ministry.

May you know   Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love

Music All the way my Saviour Leads me. – Event Hymns Track 9 3:46

-Rev. Brent Russett

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To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:
 

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