Face Time a Time to See
Sermon Summary

This message highlights things a person begins to see when when they spend face time with God! The main text for this message is Psalm 9 and 10, which were probably at one time one song, and ends with a prophecy found in Isaiah 42. God begins to open our eyes to see things about Him when we spend time with Him. We begin to see how amazing God is, how powerful He is, how just He is and how much He cares. We also begin see just how unjust and wicked humankind can be. And just like the Psalmist, we can sometimes be confounded by the questions of how a loving God could allow the evil of this world to continue. However, God will open our eyes to begin to see the answer is found in His desire to see everyone have the chance to come to know His love and forgiveness. He will come back someday and put an end to all the injustice, wickedness,  slavery, war, disease, and death, but when He does the opportunity for salvation will end as well. He’s not ready to close the door of opportunity! In the meantime, we need to ask God how we can be used of Him to reach the lost with His love!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Have you ever had a time when you didn’t understand something and it just didn’t make sense, but after talking with someone and getting their perspective, your eyes were opened and you began to see? Explain.

2. When we spend time with God we begin to see things from His perspective. Give an example of how seeing something from God’s perspective could dramatically change your perception. Here’s an example from the Psalmist...
Psa 37:14  The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
Psa 37:15  But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
Psa 37:16  Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
Psa 37:17  for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.

3. God wants us to see that His power can defeat any enemy we face. When we spend face time with God we are reminded of the power of the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the Cross and we are reminded of the power of the precious blood He shed that is strong enough to wash away the stain of sin. How does seeing these things help us face other struggles in our life?
Psa 63:6  On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
Psa 63:7  Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
Psa 63:8  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

4. The more face time we spend with God the more we see His heart. The more we see His heart, the more our hearts break for what breaks His heart! How has your face time with God caused you to care about the hurts and needs of others?
Prov 29:7  The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.


FULL SERMON NOTES

How does God bring dead things to life? It's partly a mystery and partly very understandable. We don't know how it happens, but we know when a person reaches out their heart and hand to Jesus, He pulls them from from death to life. He reaches down into the raging waters of sin and sees their fearful face, and takes hold of their life and pulls them to safety! So we don't know exactly how what Jesus did on the Cross, and the blood He poured out, is able to wash away the guilt of our sin, but we know it does.You see, I may not understand how, but I certainly understand the difference between my life before Jesus and after Jesus! I know the joy of forgiveness, and the power of mercy, and the excitement of new purpose, and the depth of love I now have for others! Why the change?

When you spend face time with God your eyes are opened and you begin to see things you never saw before. You begin to see things in a whole new perspective, a whole new light! Face time is a time to see. Let's pray and ask God to help us see clearly this morning. Let's ask God to bring dead things to life, and to help blind eyes to see! Let's ask God to show us what we need to see in our face time with God. Let's pray.

"God open our eyes! Show us things we've never seen! Help us to get a brand new perspective, Your perspective! Help us to see with Your eyes! Only then will we see truth, only then will we see beyond ourselves, only then will we see the things that move and motivate Your heart! Help us to be moved and motivated by the same things that move and motivate you. Hide me in a way today that eyes will be fixed on You and not the messenger! In the most wonderful name of Jesus I pray and believe."

Today we're going to look at a passage of Scripture found in The Book of Psalms. When you study the background for Psalm 10, you discover that it was originally a part of a larger poem that includes Psalm 9. For that reason, I'm going to use some Scriptures from both! So turn in your Bibles to Psalm 9.

What do we see when we spend face time with God?
First of all we see...

God is Amazing!

Psalm 9:1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When you spend face time with God, you will begin to see His wonders. What are His wonders? How about the fact He would take time out of running the universe to spend time with little ole me? Wow! The fact He even knows I exist is a wonder. The fact He desires to spend time with me, is amazing!

How about His vastness? His greatness? His beauty? His creation? His wisdom? And what about His patience? His forgiveness? His love? His provision? His glory?
David put it this way in another Psalm. Psalm 63...

Psalm 63:2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

What do we see when we spend face time with God?
We see that...

God is Powerful!

Psalm 9:3 My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you.
4 For you have upheld my right and my cause; you have sat on your throne, judging righteously.

When you spend face time with God you'll begin to see the power of God which He uses to help you find victory over your enemies. Whether it's Satan himself, or a temptation, or a weakness, or an ungodly person seeking to do you harm, when you see God, your fears will fade! It's an interesting irony. The more I fear God, the more my fears lose their hold on my heart! Why? Because my fear for God is a fearful respect and honor of who He is. He is God almighty. He could crush me in a nano second! Emphasis, "He could!" In fact listen to what Jesus said...

Luke 12:4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

Now, I know what your thinking. What? That's harsh! Why would Jesus say that? He was making a point. A crowd of many thousands had gathered to hear Him. In front of all those thousands he begins talking to His disciples about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, the religious leaders. The people feared them and their power! They made decisions based on their fear of powerful men who had no power over their eternity, while ignoring the truth of God who has the power over our eternity. But immediately after saying we should have respectful fear for God Jesus says...

Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies ? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Jesus, a few verses later, tells them...

Luke 12:11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,
12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

You see, we fear God with respectful fear, but He then takes our fear away because He reminds us that He sent His very Son to die in our place and take our judgement so we could live forever! We look back in faith knowing Jesus came and did this for us. David, and other Old Testament greats, looked forward in faith knowing The Messiah would come to be their Savior!! Here's the way David put it...

Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.

So face time with God allows us to see how awesome God is and how powerful He is, but it also opens our eyes to see that...

God is Just!

Psalm 9:7 The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.
8 He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.
9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

When God judges He does so with an exact justice! He knows the hearts of every man, women, boy and girl on this planet! We are not to judge, because we don't have the power to see the heart of another person. Now, that doesn't mean we turn a blind eye to wrong doing. We don't. And when it's in our power to help the helpless, and strengthen the weak, and right the wrongs, we are to do so in the name of Jesus! It's an amazing privilege to be used of God to bring His life to others! Now, I know there's some things we can't get physically involved in. I can't personally go and do anything about ISIS in the Middle East, but I can get on my knees and pray! I can pray for the persecuted, and I can pray for those who are involved in the fight for freedom and justice around the world.

I'm wearing this shirt today in honor of our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering persecution. This shirt was created by Voice of the Martyrs. The symbol is the one painted on Christian peoples houses by ISIS extremist in Mosul, Iraq.

It is the Arabic letter for N. It was used to indicate a family who followed Jesus the Nazarene! According to VOM, "Under Islamic law, the marked homes became the property of the Islamists. (ISIS) gave the Christians an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a tax, leave or die!"

Now some might be tempted to ask the question, "Has God forsaken those who are being persecuted?" The answer is an absolute, "no, God has not forsaken them!" His is with them through their struggles and trials. And those who have lost their lives through persecution are immediately scooped up in the loving arms of Jesus and ushered into His eternal presence! And you know what I pray? Maybe one of those people watching the persecution, or even doing the persecuting will see Jesus in the face of those they are persecuting! Kind of like when Saul of Tarsus, before he became Paul the apostle. Remember, he was standing watching Steven being stoned to death...

Acts 7:59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Act 8:1And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

So we should pray for the Saul's of this world! I know it doesn't seem possible for anyone who had ever been involved in such an extremist group to ever change. They've been brainwashed! All I can tell you is never forget how Paul changed and became so powerful for Christ! And never stop praying for those who are being persecuted, simply because they have shared the truth that God is a God of love and not hate. That God is a God who desires to give mercy, not punishment, forgiveness, not judgement, love not wrath. However, someday, God will allow justice and judgement to fall. It won't be a pretty day! Those who have sought to rule over others through slavery, through mis-use of power, through distortions and perversions of spiritual truth, through economic manipulation, through mental, emotional or physical abuse, if those people have not sought the forgiveness of God they will have to give an account for every evil deed! Listen to what the Psalmist said in verse 16...

Psalm 9:16 The LORD is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
17 The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God.

What else do we see when we spend face time with God?
We see that...

Man is Unjust!

And when you first begin to see the injustice, it's quite natural to ask hard questions. The Psalmist had the guts to actually ask God about this. Remember last week I told you God is not scarred of real and He's not scarred of our honest questions. The Psalmist said...

Psalm 10:1 Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

I'm thinking, "Whoa! What a minute, what are you doing?" When God opens your eyes to the pain all around you, He knows it's going to be hard to swallow. But He needs us to see the truth and He'll answer our questions all in good time! Let's read on...

Psalm 10:2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.
4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5 His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.”
7 His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.
8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims.
9 He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.”

Wow, there are some arrogant and mean people in this world aren't there?
I don't know about you, but sometimes it's hard for me to watch the news. So much tragedy, so much injustice, so many lies. But I know God wants His children to be informed about what's going on in the world and to care and to want to make a difference, and to be catalyst for change! God wants to empower us and to work through us to see people's hearts change, really change. And if God can use us to help change circumstances in someones life for the better then we should be willing instruments in His hands. Maybe we can reach a hard heart, or maybe we simply comfort a broken heart! I just know, when you spend face time with God you will begin to see things the way God sees things. Your heart will begin to broken by the things that break God's heart.

Listen to the Psalmist as he begins to see the answer to his question of whether or not God hides Himself from the hurts of humankind. As a result of his face time with God he realizes and sees that...

God Cares!

Psalm 10:12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.

13 Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.
16 The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.
17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

Years ago I asked God to give me a glimpse of His heart. I wanted to know the heart of God! I wanted to be like the Psalmist David, "A man after God's own heart!" Then one day it happened, God gave me my glimpse. He let me see behind the curtain. It was at the same time one of the most touching and one of the hardest things I've ever seen in my face time with God! I was a young fireman, a young minister, and a young father. I've shared this story as Chaplain with some of our fire guys and with a few others in counseling.

But today I will share it with you all. The call came to respond to an automobile accident with multiple injuries. When we arrived, it was bad. One fatality and another who would pass away later at the hospital. Although I was the youngest man on the department, because I was in ministry, I was the one the chief turned to when someone said the father just arrived on scene. I ran back to intercept him and gave him the news. He fell to his knees and I knelt with him and just placed my hand on his shoulder. As he wept, I prayed, crying out to God to help a situation I had no answers for!

Later that evening when I got home, I walked into the bedroom where my little baby boy was sleeping in his baby bed. I looked down at him and began to weep as I thought, what happened today could be my little boy someday! "God, I don't know if I can do this! I don't know if I can be a fireman, and I don't know if I can spend a lifetime in ministry. So much sadness, so much tragedy. I don't know if I can handle it! It hurts too bad!" That's when I heard God speak to my heart. Not with an audible voice, but it was so clear in my mind and heart. God said, "You wanted to see my heart. You got a glimpse today. You saw this tragedy, I see every tragedy, every day, all over the world! Every death, every sickness. Every injustice, every sadness, every pain and they all break my heart!" To which I replied, "Then why don't you come back and end this madness? You can do it, can't You?" Again, God spoke so clearly to my heart. "Yes I could, but that would end the world as you know it!" I will come back some day and put an end to death and dying, injustice, war, slavery, hate, but here's the catch. When I do, those who have accepted my love and forgiveness will be forever ushered into my eternal presence, but those who have not will be forever separated from me!

I'm not ready to close the door of opportunity for salvation. It's like in the days of Noah, once I closed the door of the ark, those who were in were in and those who were out were out! But it's not My will for anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance!"
"But it hurts so much Lord, I don't know if I can handle it!" To which He let me know He would give me His strength to do the ministry He had called me to do and to love and comfort people with His Words by His Spirit!

You see, when you spend face time with God, He will allow you to see His heart and you will begin seeing the world through a different set of lenses! And let me be quick to say you won't only see the things that break God's heart, but the things that make His heart rejoice! He'll give you vision for what can be and what will be when we follow Him and obey Him! You'll begin to see how God can take the worst of tragedies and bring good from them. Some of you in this room have seen it! And it's all because of what Jesus made possible through the cross. Isaiah prophesied it before Jesus ever came.

And when you spend face time with God you will see that...

God Has an Answer!

Isaiah 42:1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.”
5 This is what God the LORD says— he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

And once Jesus opens your eyes, you will understand why face time with God is truly a time to see!

Let's pray!