We Walk with Confidence by Faith in Jesus!
Lord Jesus Christ, be present now; our hearts in true devotion bow.
Your Spirit send with grace divine, and let Your truth within us shine.
Unseal our lips to sing Your praise; our souls to You in worship raise.
Make strong our faith; increase our light that we may know Your name aright. Amen.
Jesus’ glory as true God appeared to His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. God the Father then identified Jesus as His Son and instructed the disciples to listen to Him. Jesus went on to inform His disciples of His impending death and resurrection.
The final words of Scripture encourage us to watch carefully for the return of Jesus—“the Alpha and the Omega.” He has left us His Word to guide our walk through life. May we be faithful, even as we watch and pray for His quick return!
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You…. Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
In Christ Jesus, the Son of God to whom we are to listen, dear fellow redeemed:
This weekend is the premier weekend for the new movie “Son of God.” The movie was produced by Mark Burnett—the husband of Roma Downey of “Touched by an Angel” fame—a Hollywood producer well known for his Christian faith. I am told that the opening scene features an aged John in exile on the island of Patmos writing his Gospel account of Jesus’ life and quoting the opening words of that Gospel, which testify to the deity of Christ: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Today’s second Scripture reading was taken from the final words written by John—words taken from the last chapter of the Revelation. They, too, testify to the deity of Christ: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Rev. 22:12-13). Jesus’ reference to being “the First and the Last” identifies Him as being one and the same as the LORD God of the Old Testament. In Isaiah 44 we read these words: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God’” (Is. 44:6). Consequently, as we consider the words of today’s text from Psalm 139, we can identify them with Jesus. That is very important, for it assures us that our precious Savior is clearly involved with us every day! Jesus, who assures us that He is preparing a place for us in heaven (cf. Jn. 14:1-3), is also here with us on this earth. He is here to comfort and console us, as well as to strengthen and empower us. Consequently we can conclude—WE WALK WITH CONFIDENCE…BY FAITH IN JESUS! Because the LORD Jesus knows us, the LORD Jesus is with us, and the LORD Jesus will lead us!
The Psalmist begins our text with these words: “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” WE WALK WITH CONFIDENCE, because the LORD Jesus knows us! Jesus, in other words, possesses the divine attribute of omniscience and so is aware of absolutely everything about us.
This past Friday I traveled to Rochester to visit Ron Matzke who is recovering from complications in connection with a gall bladder surgery. While the doctors and nurses at the Mayo Clinic are very good, yet they are not omniscient. They do not know Ron as does his Creator. Those doctors and nurses observe and react to various external symptoms and prescribe what they believe will result in the most effective treatment, but I was able to assure Ron that Jesus, who has “searched” and “known” him, is aware of absolutely everything about his physical, emotional, and spiritual situation. Jesus knows exactly what Ron needs in every way! Consequently, Ron can rest with confidence knowing that the LORD Jesus will take care of him.
This past Friday the LORD Jesus also came to take the soul of Bertha Frank home to heaven. I was privileged to be with her and many of her family members when that occurred. Jesus knew that Bertha’s life here on this earth was going to end Friday morning. Later in this same Psalm, we are informed: “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Ps. 139:16). Jesus also knew that Wallace would be sitting there when He came for Bertha’s soul, that he and his family would then rise up to go to the mortuary to begin making arrangements for Bertha’s funeral. He knew the thoughts of sorrow and loss that would pass through the minds of the various members of the Frank family, and so He is able to address them with soul-restoring promises of His Word. In my final devotion with Bertha and her family we reviewed the words of Jesus, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). Jesus kept that promise to Bertha Friday morning! We then discussed how Jesus is “the resurrection and the life,” and that whoever believes in Him may indeed die, but will live, and that “whoever lives and believes” in Jesus will “never die” eternally(cf. Jn. 11:25). The Frank family can walk with confidence, because they know Jesus will keep His promises to them, and they will be reunited with Bertha once again when Jesus returns!
There is not a prayer that we utter that Jesus does not hear. There is not a cry of anguish that we ever make to which Jesus will not respond. He hears every word we speak. WE can WALK WITH CONFIDENCE, because the LORD Jesus knows us, cares about us, and will indeed respond to our every need!
Secondly, WE WALK WITH CONFIDENCE, because the LORD Jesus is with us! David introduces this thought by saying: “You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” Think of the President of the United States and the Secret Service agents who protect him. Wherever he goes, they surround him in front, in back, and on each side. Even so our LORD Jesus says that He “hedges” us in “behind and before.” We can join the Psalmist in marveling at Jesus’ protective and providential care in our lives.
But, what about when accidents occur? What about those times when bad things happen—sometimes even to believers, and it appears that Jesus is either not present or has failed to protect? Later in this service we will be offering a prayer of thanksgiving on behalf of Ron Matzke. Last September he suffered a near fatal car accident. He has spent four months in the hospital recovering. While he and we do not know why God permitted that accident to happen, Ron will tell you that without question his LORD Jesus has been with him and blessed his recovery during that time, and he is so very appreciative of that fact!
Our LORD Jesus will never forsake us! He will do one of two things for us in connection with His providential care. He will either prevent evil from entering our lives, or if He permits it to enter, He will lead us through that evil to His intended end. Let us only remember that “God our Savior…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4). God’s ways and plans are seldom identical with our own. His ways are not our ways (cf. Is. 55:8). God’s thoughts and plans involve all of eternity. They are not limited to this world and this life. His intentions are not necessarily to give everyone a long life here in this world, but rather to give everyone eternal life in the world to come. This present world is filled with sin and sorrow. We at times are negatively affected by the sins of others, or we at times also wander from our faith and the good graces of God. David suggests as much when he says: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” There is nowhere that we can go that our LORD Jesus is not also there. He is with us and will hold us in those powerful yet gentle hands. Should we find ourselves in the darkness—troubled by sin and sorrow, we can be assured that: “Even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.” Yes, WE WALK WITH CONFIDENCE, because the LORD Jesus is with us!
WE WALK WITH CONFIDENCE, finally, because the LORD Jesus will lead us! The Psalmist concludes: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” While the first portion of this text is filled simply with observations regarding the meaning of Jesus’ attributes of omniscience and omnipresence, these final verses are a plea by the Psalmist (and I would hope by you and me as well) for our LORD Jesus to enter into our lives and lead us!
This prayer reflects our complete submission to the power and grace of our Savior God. Jesus does not just know what is going on in our hearts, but here we open the doors of our hearts and minds to His complete inspection. For an unbeliever or a lapsed Christian going through a period of rebellion, that thought may well be frightening, but for the child of God, it is our deepest desire that Jesus would enter into our hearts and minds. When we are troubled by our past or the present, we want Jesus to know that and address it, even as He did His disciples on Maundy Thursday evening, when He stated: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (Jn. 14:1). When we are afraid, we want Jesus’ perfect love to drive that fear away (cf. 1 Jn. 4:18). When we are confused, we want Jesus to grant us clarity, so that we can know the truth and that truth might set us free (cf. Jn. 8:31-32). If there is any wickedness in our lives—known or unknown—we want Jesus to address it, remove it, forgive it, and then lead us, as the Psalmist says, “in the way everlasting.”
We ought never take our Savior or our faith-life for granted! Jesus, after all, warns us that: “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it,” while “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mt. 7:13-14). If we think we are so strong that we do not need Jesus, if we think we are so wise that we do not need to study His Word, then we are indeed in danger, for as the apostle Paul states so clearly: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Yet, following that admonition, Paul assures us: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
My dear friends, God wants you to know that He loves you and has redeemed you through the blood of His Son. God sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus knows all things. Jesus is present everywhere. Jesus is knocking at the door of our hearts each day, desiring to enter into our hearts and to abide there to give us absolute confidence as we live our lives and to guide us safely all the way home to heaven! Let us walk with confidence—let us walk with our LORD Jesus! Amen.
To God alone be glory!