Getting To Know God | Week 4: Our Unchanging God

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17 NIV

We’re in a series about what God is like. The attributes of God. We’ve studied his omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. This week, we are looking at what is called, God’s immutability. Immutability simply means God never changes. Everything else in creation changes except God.

“I the Lord do not change!”  Malachi 3:6 NIV


We’re going to take a Selah moment now and reflect on this. In this series we’ve just been taking a moment, before we make it about us, to worship God for who he is. We’re going to simply pause to think about and then worship the only one with immutability. God. He never changes.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8 NIV


Today, we will look at how God’s immutability can stabilize us in the midst of all these changes and worries. They will add stability. They are things we can stay focused on in an ever-changing world.

1. GOD’S LOVE FOR US NEVER CHANGES.

We were created to be loved by God. God’s love is consistent and it is continual. One of the reasons we get frustrated with relationships is because people change.  They change from one day to the next.  “You’re not the man I married!” or “My sweet child has become this rebellious teenager. I don’t even recognize him anymore.”  That causes stress in our lives.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”  Romans 8:35-37 NLT

POINT: We never need to doubt God’s love

No matter what happens, no matter what we do, no matter what we feel, God’s love for us never changes. We don’t measure God’s love for us by our circumstances. We measure it by the cross. We need to understand just how high, how wide, how long, how deep God’s love is.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39 NLT

We always get into trouble when we doubt God’s love. So when tragedy strikes or when we pray and don’t get an immediate answer or when things don’t go our way, just remember God’s love for us hasn’t changed one bit. That is a stabilizer in life.

2. GOD’S WORD NEVER CHANGES

The Bible is not the easiest thing to read. But what we find as we learn God’s word, is that it’s unchanging. The overarching story, the accounts, the principles, are timeless.  It is always relevant, up to date, never obsolete.  Anything that man writes eventually becomes obsolete, dated. We need to build our life on something more stable, permanent and unchangeable than the current fad or therapy.

“Long ago I learned from your statues that you established them to last forever.”  Psalm 119:152 NIV

The Bible has stood the test of time because His word never changes. God has established the universe to operate on not only physical laws, but moral and spiritual laws that we cannot ignore.  If we ignore them, we have chaos. There are some things that will always be right and some things that will always be wrong.  It’s not a matter of opinion. Contrary to popular opinion God does not invent new rules for every generation. He has established them to last forever.

Satan’s temptation is always to get you to question God’s word. 

The first temptation:  Satan asks Eve, “Did God really say you couldn’t eat of that?”  He’s getting Eve to question did God really say you shouldn’t do… Today Satan still does this, but has put a little twist on the temptation. The phrase we’ll hear over and over again, “That’s your interpretation.”  When we pull up to a stop sign, how would we interpret that? How many ways can we interpret S-T-O-P. There’s no interpretation needed there. The fact is God’s word has not changed. It’s immutable.

Jesus: “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  

26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”  Matthew 7:24-27 NLT

Jesus said there are two ways to build a house.  We can build it on sand or we can build it on a rock. If we don’t build it on a solid foundation the whole building will eventually tilt and fall over.  We’ve got to have a solid foundation for our lives. God is saying that if we build our lives on what’s popular today, what feels good today, on popular podcasts or streaming or social media, we’re building on shifting sands and we’re going to have an unstable life when the changes of life come.

If we want to have stability when the stresses of life come, we’ve got to build it on something that never changes.  God’s love for us never changes and God’s word never changes. It may seem hard, unreasonable, unpopular. But it is always the right thing to do.

Why do we spend more time filling our mind with the TV or reading the news—something we don’t believe—than filling our mind with the things we do believe, God’s word and God’s ways. It doesn’t make sense. Now, should we shut out all of that stuff completely? No, it’s good to be aware of what’s happening around us.

If we want to have stability in our life, we will fill our mind with scripture.

We don’t listen to the advice of our friends for right and wrong. They may be just as wrong as we are. But we build our life on something that will never, never change. If you want to have more stability in your life when you’re under stress memorize scripture — verses from the Bible.

Start filling your mind with things that never change and then when you need them God can bring them to mind. If you’re wondering what you should do in a situation, God will pop that verse into your mind.  You don’t always have a Bible with you.

When Jesus was out in the desert being tempted by the devil, he responded to temptation with scripture. Jesus didn’t have to pull out a Bible, He just simply said, “Satan, the Bible says ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” He had it memorized and it helped Him. The fact is if we want stability in our life, we’ve got to base it on these things that don’t change. We’ve got to build our life on rock.

3. GOD’S PURPOSE FOR OUR LIFE WILL NEVER CHANGE

No matter what happens to you, in you, through you, God’s purpose will never, never change.

God is at work in human history. What is the world coming to? It’s coming to the very climax that God has planned from the very beginning.  Many are saying the time we’re in is the end right now. The Bible doesn’t give us a time, it gives us some signs. And while we don’t know when the end is, those signs are good reminders to prepare. That’s what the New Testament encourages us to do, even when things are good. Fortunately, I’m on the winning side. If you’re a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, that’s good news. His purpose remains.

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  Psalm 33:11 NIV

Do your plans ever change?  How often do they change? Why do your plans change so much?

Two reasons: One, because you don’t have the perspective or foresight to know everything that’s going to happen. When you get more information and know something different it changes your plans. The other reason your plans change is maybe you don’t have the power to implement the changes you had intended to do. Ran out of time, money, energy, effort – whatever, so your plans change. Since God is omniscient—God knows everything—and since He’s omnipotent—God has all power—His plans never have to change.

What does that mean for our life? If God created us and loves us and has a purpose for us, what does this mean for our life? God does not have a Plan B for our life.  Think of the biggest sin you’ve ever committed, that thing you regret the most. Then think of the biggest disappointment you’ve ever had. Do you think God knew about those in advance before you ever did them?

Yes, He did. And he still went thru with creating you and still has a plan.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28 NLT

That means no matter what has happened in your life your destination is still plan A. God has not changed His mind and God’s purpose for your life has not changed.  God knows everything that’s going to happen in your life and He’s fit it all in to work for good in your life. Even the mistakes and sins you commit that are wrong and bad,

          Here’s God’s purpose for us… To make us like Jesus

Right after Romans 8:28, it says God’s plan for your life is to become like Jesus Christ. That we would learn to think like He thinks and feel like He felt and act like He acts. How can we cooperate with this plan? It begins with salvation. For two thousand years there is only one way to get to know God and that’s through Jesus Christ His son. Jesus said “I am the Way” — “I’m not a good way, the best way, one way, — but the way”. God’s invitation to you has never changed.  He wants you to come to Him and establish a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9 NIV


How are we going to respond to life’s stressful changes?

We can’t prepare for them because they aren’t predictable. What’s going to be the source of stability in your life? Three things to remember when you’re under stress.

1.  God will never stop loving us. 

Never.  He won’t even love you less. You won’t understand all that is going on but no matter what He’s doing, He’s acting toward you in love. That’s a stabilizer.

2.  God’s word is always right.

The advice here in the Bible is the right thing to do, even if it’s unpopular or unpleasant it is always the right thing to do. That’s a stabilizer.

3.  God’s purpose for your life is bigger than your problems.

Problems can’t change God’s purpose.  It has not changed God’s purpose for your life and it will not change what He wants to do in your life.

“Those who trust in the Lord are as steady as Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance.”   Psalm 125:1

That’s what I call stability.  Security, stability, confidence come from being anchored in an unchanging God.  When everything around us is changing in this throw away society where nothing remains the same, there is one thing that never changes and that’s God and these aspects of His life.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “Where Is God When You Need Him?” God can lift you up, calm you down, help you out and see you through. How has practicing his presence by inviting Jesus into your life, being quiet, talking to God about everything and developing the habit of praise made a difference in your life? Any more thoughts or conclusions about that message?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Big Idea

Too much change creates stress in our lives. When everything else is changing we look for some stability in our lives. So, the question then becomes: Is there anything in the world that is permanent?

Is there anything that is reliable that never changes?

YES! God is immutable. Meaning, God never changes. “I the Lord do not change!”  Malachi 3:6

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17 NIV

Discussion & Application

  • How is the fact that God is unchanging any comfort to you in these days of constant change?
  • God’s love for me never changes. Read Romans 8:18-39. Why is it people doubt God’s love when they face the things mentioned in this passage? Why does the Apostle Paul say we don’t need to doubt God’s love in those times?
  • God’s Word never changes. What does it look like to follow Jesus’ instruction from Matthew 7:24-27? What are some practical ways to fill your mind with scripture?
  • God’s purpose for my life never changes. God uses two primary ways to achieve the purpose of becoming like Christ in our life: Our circumstances and applying God’s word to our life. How has God used past circumstances to grow your character?
  • How do you think God could use your current circumstances to reveal your character and grow your character?

Prayer Focus

Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week. Also, continue to pray for nations, states and community’s leaders. Pray for first responders and medical personnel?

Next Steps

During these times, the church can be a light for Jesus Christ. We are a church on mission. How can you simply serve or check in on your neighbors and friends at this time?

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It’s Time | Week 1: The Light is Green

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God has a very clear goal and purpose for our church. It’s rooted in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Here is our vision:

  • Know God

God is not your religion, He is actually someone you can believe and trust and know.

  • Find Freedom

You can know God and be saved but still have issues that keep you from being who God wants you to be. So we let God take us on a journey of settling some of our issues and we want to take you on that journey.

  • Discover Purpose

You are no accident. It doesn’t matter what your parents version of how you came about. God has always had you on his mind. God has a purpose for your life.

You’re never going to be satisfied or happy without God. Go pursue whatever you want without God, and it will always be empty. Those things will never give you the joy you know you could have had.

  • Make a Difference

We want to take you on this journey of Knowing God, Finding Freedom, Discovering Purpose and Making a Difference in Jesus name.

You are somewhere in this process.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in church your whole life, you have another step. That’s why it’s called following Jesus. Some of you even know what the steps are, but the problem is, getting moving.

We need something or someone to push us toward the life you know you’re supposed to be living. The life that you’ve wanted to try, and you just needed the catalyst to get moving. That’s why this series of posts is called, It’s time.

We’ve got a brand new year and it’s time.


Have you ever sat at a stoplight and waited for the cars in front of you to notice the light is green? They aren’t going because they’re looking at something else or doing something else. While everything in you wants to lay on the horn to wake them up, what you really need to do is give a friendly beep, beep to get their attention on the green light.

Well there are some times that in our spiritual journey we stop paying attention and someone needs to come along and give a friendly beep, beep to remind you to keep moving forward. That’s what today’s post is all about.

The light is green. It’s time.

Take a look at this encounter Jesus had with three different people who want to become disciples of the Lord Jesus.

“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’” Luke 9:57-58 NIV

Poverty was part of the curse Jesus carried. So, He told them this is going to be harder than you thought. It’s not going to be easy. If it were easy, you’d already be doing it. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

But if you want the life you were meant to have, we’ll help you but buckle up, because it’s not going to be a bump free road.

“He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’”  Luke 9:59-60 NIV

This verse has been greatly misunderstood. Jesus isn’t against funerals and he wasn’t forbidding the man to arrange his father’s funeral. Most scholars would say the man was saying he’d like to take care of his father until he dies and then would be free to follow Jesus. This is the person who wanted to but felt like they had viable excuses.

That sounds like a great excuse. Jesus said, you’re missing it. The lights green and there aren’t endless cycles. Jesus takes first place.

“Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’” Luke 9:61-62 NIV

Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem and this guy is missing the urgency. Beep, Beep. Let’s go. Seize the day.

This new year and new decade gives us a fresh start. You know the song, Auld Lang Syne, sung at New Year’s celebrations. “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…”

We all know this song but few know what it means. What the penman of this song, Robert Burns in Old Scottish, was saying was Auld Lang Syne which means Days Gone By. What the song is challenging all of us to do is to think about what should stay in 2019 and never come into our new year and what should we bring with us. So he asks the question, what old acquaintance, like the pains and mistakes and hurts, what should be forgotten and what should stay.

The Bible has so much to say about old and new. This year, let’s move on from three old things.

1. Move on from old hurts

You’re wounded and it hurts. Someone has said or done something hurtful to you. It happened, you move on. You can’t go back and change it, but you can let God clear the page. That’s what the cross and the empty grave are for.

We’re not going to be perfect, we’re going to disappoint people. People are going to disappoint us. But there is one, Jesus Christ, who is perfect and He made a way for sinners like us.

2. Move on from old habits

Move on from our addictions. We’re all an addict. We’ve gotten addicted to certain drugs and meds and drinks or certain foods, certain language, addicted to our phones, addicted to bad patterns bad relationship patterns. What do you do with a bad habit?

That’s the power of the 21 Days we’re about to enter into. At the beginning of each year we make it a priority to seek God first. We do this by claiming 21 days in January as days of prayer and fasting. You can join us January 5-25 and make a commitment to pray each day.

You can choose to fast from many different things during those 21 days as well. We choose prayer and fasting because we know those are two powerful ways to turn down the noise of the world around us and tune in to God’s voice directing us.

Starting Monday, January 6th will offer prayer services in our worship center each weekday from 6-7am and Saturday mornings from 9-10. It’s so refreshing to just have some moments where we seek God together.

For some digital resources for 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, visit our website or find the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting section in the Rock Brook Church app.

This is a great opportunity to move on from old habits. Anything in your life that you’re not going let master you, you need to fast from.

What’s fasting? Is it to punish yourself to get God’s attention? No. That’s bad religious teaching and it’s not in the Bible. Fasting separates ourselves from the world to fuel our relationship with God.

3. Move on from old hang-ups

The things that still define you. The debts, patterns and events that have shaped how you view yourself. It’s time to move on from your hurts, habits and hang ups.

These words are pulled directly from Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered recovery program with foundations firmly established in Biblical truth. It exists so you can find freedom from any hurt, habit or hang-up and live fully alive in Jesus. At Rock Brook we have Celebrate Recovery meetings on Wednesday nights at 7:00.

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. 

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Colossians 3:1-10 NLT


Time To Make A Change

It’s time to make a change in four areas.

1. It’s time to get closer to God

You may already love God. Great, get closer. The light is green.

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:8 NLT  

We’ve all let our loyalties go to some other places, but not for the next 21 days. How do you get rid of that dividing line? You starve the world and you feed your relationship with God. You do that with prayer and fasting. 

Prayer gets you closer to God while fasting separates you from the world. It’s radical. You can’t do 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting all year. It’s an intense radical season that you can’t sustain that long, but that season jolts us into where we need to be. It takes kind of jolt to make the change.

One of the problems of moving on from hurts, habits and hang ups, we think it’s going to be easy.

If you want something you’ve never had, then you need to do something you’ve never done.

Some of you’ve never shown up to church all year long. What would it look like if you showed up to church 52 weekends this year? What would your life look like? You’d be closer to God. Your life and family would be healthier.

What if you participated in all 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting? Your life and family would be healthier.

2. It’s time to get honest with a godly friend

Share the whole real you with at least one other person. You’re not going to be able to get where you want to go alone. God designed this process to be achieved through fellowship with others. You’re not going to get there alone. That’s why we are a church of groups. That’s why groups matter to us so much, we try to cultivate environments where this can happen.

Everyone needs to be in a group or lead a group. Many of you need to lead a group for the accountability you get from leading. You’re going to pray harder knowing they’re coming over to your house. Your next level of growth is going to come through giving and leading.

“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 NLT

Some of our stuff is big and scary because it’s in the darkness. Bring it into the light and it shrivels. Set your mind to it, that’s what is going to make 2020 better. 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.

3. It’s time to get in tune with God’s purposes and my SHAPE

Some of us have been living for ourselves, our purpose. You tried to find yourself instead of trying to find God. You tried self-discovery instead of God-discovery. It’s time to get in tune with God’s purposes.

And then our SHAPE. That stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. All of those things make up who you are. God has shaped you. Your life trajectory has shaped you and the goal is that God would use that to help someone else.

Your SHAPE is why some of you walk into a room and see things that needs to be done and some walk into a room and see people who need to be connected with. It gets bigger than that. Some of you are shaped to help people know their Bible better or make an environment more hospitable, some help kids or students or lead people in worship.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10 NIV

It’s work, but it’s a good work. You’ll be tired, but it’s a good tired. That’s how God feels about His workmanship on you. He’s not embarrassed by you, He shaped you for a good work.

We’d love to help you take this spiritual journey. That’s why each Sunday we host an event that’s part of a four part series called Growth Track. This is Rock Brook’s way to help get in tune with God’s purposes and your design. Find out more about Growth Track on our website.

4. It’s time to get on doing something greater than myself

A great life doesn’t come from making money, sunny days, great politics or a great neighborhood. Real joy comes by knowing you’re on a God-driven adventure.

It’s when you do something with your life that actually matters.

If you’ll dedicate your life to something greater than yourself, God will fill your life with passion and adventure. 

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” Acts 20:24 NLT

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking about a mistake you’ve made. You’re looking in the rearview mirror and don’t know the light is green. If you’re trapped by something in your 2019 or before remember this…

You can’t go back and change the beginningbut you can start where you are and change the ending.

You can’t go back and change how the marriage started or something you did in it, but you can get that marriage on a track that has a great ending. You can’t go back and change the things in the past. You serve a God who is the only one with the ability to do this.

It’s time.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “Your Timing Is Everything.” How did that message help you identify some areas where you need to speed up or slow down this year?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Each person has a God-given design and a next step to take, but many of us have a problem getting started. In Luke 9:57-62, three people have the opportunity to follow Jesus but then make excuses for delaying the journey. Jesus plainly says, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

The New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne” challenges us to leave the unproductive in the past, and Scripture gives us direction for what we should leave behind. 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting is a great time to fast anything that is trying to master our lives.

Let’s stop delaying. It’s time to make a change by allowing Jesus to change our minds and our lives.

Spend some time in the word. Read Luke 9:57-62 and Colossians chapter three.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62 (NIV)

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message?
  2. What past history—hurts, habits, hang-ups—do you think about and are keeping you from seeing the new thing God wants to do in your life? Are they relational? Health? Financial?
  3. How can you use 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting to step into the newness God has for you this year?
  4. Which of the four It’s Times do you need the most right now?

Prayer Focus: Spend some time in prayer thanking God for hope, purpose, salvation and life. Ask him for direction for your life.

Tell Someone Else

With whom could you share this message of this series? You could give them an invite to this weekend’s message. You could share with them this message by telling them about it or sharing the podcast with them.

 

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