Current Series: The Book of Job
Job: A Lonely Community
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After all the terrible tragedy Job experiences three friends come to sympathize and comfort him (Job 2:11-13). They sit with him for 7 days and nights and don’t speak. Then, from chapters 4 through 31 the friends use many words to comfort him, but are unable to really see or truly understand Job. Even with friends close by trying to help, Job still feels extremely alone (Job 19:13-19). The weight of Job’s words describing his loneliness resonate with us today, because we can often feel similar in our alone-ness. In this sermon we examine our loneliness in its various forms and our role in loving the lonely around us, which leads us to see how Jesus lived a lonely and forsaken life and died so we would not have to live a lonely and forsaken life.
Job: A Long Suffering
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Job 3 begins Job’s long lament, framed by the question: “Can I hold on to God, can I hold onto trust in the middle of this suffering?”
When all the props are pulled out, when he loses everything, Job does not curse God, try to explain suffering away, or give instruction about how to avoid suffering. He doesn’t try to numb or ignore with a mask of self-protection. He laments.
Laments are prayers that leave the door open for hope, joy, peace; not a rant that has already reached conclusions, but an open-ended, humble desire to know and trust God more in the midst of pain, grief, or limited perspective.
A lament doesn’t suppress the need or desire for truth, but it also doesn’t isolate truth as simply a demand to know the ‘why.’ It is very much tied to the ‘who,’ the relational nature of truth.
Lament is a search that goes beyond our self-sufficiency and broadens our perspective (about our circumstances, about God, about us); forcing us to deal with the side effects of sin and what it means to live in a fallen and broken world, but also to deal with the radical love and grace of a good, eternal, merciful God.
Lament is language that is raw and honest and unbridled, but with words whose ink has not yet dried.
“Lament cuts through insincerity, strips pretense, and reveals the raw nerve of trust that angrily approaches the throne of grace and then kneels in awed, robust wonder.” - Dan Allender
"Job gives voice to our pain. He makes poetry out of what in many of us is only a tangle of confused whimpers. He shouts out to God what a lot of us mutter behind our sleeves. He refuses to accept the role of a deflated victim.” - Eugene Peterson
There is resolve.
There is restoration.
There is healing.
There is reconciliation.
There is a promise that is fulfilled.
There is not just an end but a beginning.
There is a turning point in the lament.
There is a hope that does not disappoint.
The cross ultimately answers the question of the problem of pain.
The cross is God’s lament and God’s remedy.
Job: A Bad Day
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In this sermon series on the book of Job, we are looking at what it means to become men and women who are not shipwrecked by the evil, injustice, pain and grief of this world but who instead sustain our faith over the course of our lifetime. Job 1:6-2:10 tells the story of two very bad days in which Job loses everything: his family, his wealth, and his health. And through his story we are faced with the greatest human difficulty in the world: the problem of undeserved suffering. Will Job keep worshipping God, or will his character fail him under the immense weight of undeserved suffering? From Job we see that undeserved suffering forces us to face grief, face temptation, and face God. The book of Job hinges on this question: does anyone really love and honor God simply because he is God, and so worthy of worship and obedience? Or do we love and worship God only to get good things we want for our lives? Because of suffering we may wonder, “What kind of world do we live in anyway?” In the end we see that, while we live in a world of undeserved suffering, we also live under a God who gives undeserved grace.
Job: A Good Life
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Job is a book about suffering, but not just any suffering: the suffering of a devoted follower of God. As we begin a 7-week sermon series on Job, we take a look at the introduction to Job in order to see the character of a Christian, the condition of a Christian, and the habit of a Christian. These three elements are essential to the story of Job, for we see that Job is a great man with a good life who is personally close to God and true to his faith in every area of life. But there is a question approaching Job and his good life that will test him in every way: when Job faces a terrible personal tragedy and his condition changes, will his faith remain in tact? Will his character fall as his life falls apart? What does it take to become men and women who can face evil, injustice, grief and pain and not lose faith but endure in faith throughout our lifetime? The beginning of Job’s story shows us that Job is able to sustain his faith for one reason: he lives his life under God’s approval.
Other Scriptures Referenced: Job 1:8; 2:3; 13:26; Job 29-30; Psalm 128:1-2; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Matthew 6:33; Mark 12:30; Romans 3:23; Romans 8:31-32; James 5:8-11.