Romans 9:20 LET GOD BE GOD
Sermon Notes by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
1. Let's look together at the next verse we're studying in Romans 9:20 and let's talk about a principle that is pretty obvious but on that we, in our own self-importance and our rebellion against authority, tend to ignore. The principle is that we are NOT the Creator-we are just creatures of God. God is the Creator therefore, it is sheer reality to "let God be God" instead of pretending we are His equals and like Ford Motor Company, "may have a better idea". Romans 9:20-there are two ways in which we do this.
2. I can illustrate them most simply by introducing you to a friend of mine-here he is-his name is Paddington. He's a bear and he looks kind of lost, doesn't he? That's actually why he's called Paddington, because he has a label attached round his neck and on one side it reads, "Please look after this ear, sitting on the platform at Paddington Station in London, England.
3. In other words, he only appeared to be lost and by the look of him, he actually thought he was lost himself, but really he wasn't-because of the label-his destination was clearly marked so all he had to do was read it or get someone else to read it. And he would be on his way home. What we have been saying over the past weeks is that many of us behave like little lost Paddingtons. We sit around with our little yellow hats down over our eyes and we think, 'What on earth am I going to do with my life? I just don't know. I've tried selling, I've tried typing-how can I possibly know what I'd most enjoy. Then a worse haze covers our eyes and we pull our hat further down over our eyes and we say, 'Why, I don't even know why I'm alive!
4. What we've been discovering is that we aren't little lost Paddington-no more than he was really lost himself-just as he has a label on, so we have one. On one side we have-our short-term destination and on the other side, our long term destination. We are not just flotsam and jetsam, driftwood on a limitless ocean of space and planets, thrown up by chance by impersonal forces that we cannot understand. We have been made by a loving Father, who has sent us here to do a certain job and to become a certain kind of person. He alone has the right to determine these things.
1. The first side of the label concerns your job-your temporal occupation, your vocation mentioned in Romans 9:12. God had a plan for Jacob and Esau in their life here on earth and He has one for everyone. If god took all the trouble he has to create a flexible substance like water or elements that fit so neatly into a chart, blood that can carry so many substances in it, sun and earth at precisely the right distance from each other. You can be sure that God has put a lot of thought into what He wants you to do here on earth-your purpose has been as carefully worked out by Him as every other purpose.
2. You remember we said that many of us think, 'O certainly I can see how God plans a Moses' life or Isaiah's, or even, Billy Graham's but I'm not important like that to the movements of man and nations. I'm just one of the millions who don't really excel at anything and therefore it's up to us to find something we think we'd like. You remember the word of God that we looked at-Job 31:15. This line of thought is blasphemy against God, your Creator. He designed you with great care to fulfil a certain part of His great commission to mankind to 'subdue the world' and bring it under His will. There's a job to do that only you can do the way God wants it done.
3. But how do I read that side of the label? How do I know what that jobs is? Dead easy! God has fitted you for it. He has made you a certain way so that you have an aptitude for it. You won't have to put yourself into all kinds of contortions to find out. Do what comes naturally. You like working with wood. Improve and discipline your skill and think about ways you could use that to bring God's world into His order. Same with typing, singing, organising and selling.
4. Some of us say, 'We don't know what that aptitude is yet!' Ok, don't sit around and meditate and wait for a vision. Look up Ecclesiastes 9:10. It says do what you're doing now with all your might and God's Spirit will show you the next step.
5. But what God is saying to us today is: Some of you are ignoring the label I've sent you to earth with. You've read it plainly in the personality and the aptitudes that I've given you. You know in your intuition what I put you here on earth to do, but you have put my design for your character and your life on the back burner. You are now involved in selling your birth right and relegating my purpose for you to a secondary position behind your own selfish purposes of self-gratification, self exaltation and self preservation. You are deciding what job to do NOT on the basis of my purpose in creating you but on the basis of how much security, significance and happiness you can get from it. You'll end up like Howard Hughes, lonely and sick and miserable. Why? Romans 9:20: There is no alternative to God's purpose for you. That what you were made for. That's what will fulfil you. Isn't it better to teach and struggle financially than sell insurance and prosper, if teaching is what God designed you for? Better sell insurance badly and starve than be a stock broker and be rich if insurance is what God made you for!
1. In other words, you're not a little lost Paddington. You came here to earth with a label around you neck and one side of that label tells you clearly what your short term destination or vocation is here on earth. That side of the label is your personality with your aptitudes and interests. Read this label and you'll find God's place for you here on earth.
2. Now, let's look at the other side of the label that came tied around your neck. It's your long term destination and concerns your eternal destiny. It answers all those 'why' questions that we have about the purpose of our creation in the first place. Why were we made? What is the meaning of life? What is the point of it all? You remember we shared that our final destination for which we were made is found in I John 1:3. We were made to be God's friend forever. For us to be that is the purpose of Jesus' life and death. Romans 8:29 That's God's eventual plan for us.
3. But if the first side of the label is our personality, what is the second side? Your conscience! Your conscience is God's personal Spirit leading you into a complete identification with Jesus in dying to living for yourself, living for your own convenience and your own pleasure and advancement. If you'll read that label daily and exercise your will in absolute conformity to it. God's Spirit will fit you and bring you to the magnificent family love relationship for which He has made us all.
4. But today God is saying to us-some of you are deliberately ignoring the light of the conscience which is Jesus enlightening every man that comes into the world. You're saying that mental assent to the historical fact of my Son's death for your will cleanse your conscience. You're trying to make my love real by distracting yourselves with head knowledge, end time prophecies, fellowship groups and humanistic mutual adulation. The only way to cleanse your conscience and to have the blood of my Son applied to it is to walk in the light of it. I John 1:7-why? Romans 9:20
1. Do I want to know what my immediate destination is? Read the label around his neck-Paddington! Do you want to know your immediate destination here on earth? Read the label. Your personality with its interests and aptitudes and don't ignore it for lesser purposes. There is no alternative. God designed you and He knows what is best!
2. Do I want to know his final destination? Read the other side of the label-London, England! Do you want to know your final destination and how to get there? Read the label around your neck. Obey your conscience and it will lead you into death to self with Jesus!
3. In regards to both destinations, let God be God. Don't you try to be god-otherwise you will be lost!