A Hope for the Future (Psalm 27:13)
Preached on 12/23/18 at Cross of Christ Fellowship for the final Sunday service at the DuPage Children’s Museum
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!” Ps 27:13
After over 120 Sundays together, we now worship our Savior together one final time here before we move to our new location, the Old Stone Church, starting on Jan 2019. How does one preach a final sermon here at the DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM)? Surely, many of us have mixed feelings this morning: sadness about leaving the DCM, anxiety about what lies ahead, and excitement about what may come.
Perhaps a fitting text for us to close our time together is Psalm 27:13, a verse written by David, who was king over Israel. It reads “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!” This is an assertion of hope in the goodness of God, a goodness that David believed he would experience. But some might ask, ‘Is such a hope groundless? Can we really hope in God when it comes to our lives and what lives ahead?’ Today we’ll consider this question, and I hope that you’ll see that such a hope is not only ground in truth and reality, but it also ought to shape how we think about the future and the church plant.
Today let us consider why it is right for us to hope in the goodness of God, and embrace David’s posture of hope, as found in our passage. First, we’ll see how it was right for David to hope in the goodness of God. Second, we’ll see how it is right for the Christian to hope in the goodness of God as we look to Jesus Christ. Third, we’ll think about how this beholding of God’s goodness guides us as we look to God for the future as a church plant.
1. David was right to hope in the goodness
If you are familiar with the life of David, you know that he was a man who greatly loved and trusted God. He was a man who Scriptures says, ‘was after God’s heart.’ David wrote many songs praising and enjoying God, which are recorded for us here in Scripture, like the one we are looking at today. We can say with confidence, that he was a man who loved and knew God. But he was also a sinner, just like us. But he also experienced God’s grace and mercy, just as we can too.
When we read through the life of David we also see that he had many ups and downs as he followed God. David had to trust God for some seemingly impossible situations and very difficult trials. As a young man, he trusted God as he faced a giant of man named Goliath, and God gave him victory over Goliath; later on, David had to trust in God and seek His protection as King Saul sought to have him killed; David also had to trust in God as his own son Absalom sought to take his life. Through all of these various situations, we see God at work in David and God giving David deliverance.
If you have your Bible open to our passage, you see that the Psalm opens with David acknowledging God as his hope and confidence. David calls the LORD his “light,” his “salvation,” and the “stronghold of his life” (1). We see David state that even in the face of armies and vicious enemies, he can hope in the LORD’s deliverance and help, because the LORD will not “give him up” to the will of his enemies (v 11). We see David speaking about God “hiding him” in his “shelter” (5) and not abandoning him or forsaking him (9-10). All of this leads David to say in verse 13: “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!” (13). Surely this is a statement of great hope and trust in God as he looked to the future.
But, was David right to hope in the goodness of God? YES, and by remembering and rehearsing some of those earlier victories that God gave him, we see that David was right to hope in God and the goodness of God. God was faithful to carry David through the midst of the trials and challenges he went through. God was with David and would continue to help even as He looked to the future.
So, it was right for David to view God this way and to hope in God. But is it right for us as Christians to say with this David, we also believe we’ll look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of living? Let us consider this together.
2. Christians are right to hope in the
goodness of God.
As Christians we believe that the LORD that David hoped in is the same LORD that we worship. This LORD is one God who is eternally 3 persons Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. He is the God of all Creation, the God of Israel, the God of His people. He the God who has revealed Himself in Creation and most clearly so in Scripture. And as we look at this God, the God who is the one true and living God, we see that it is right for us to hope in His goodness.
Brothers and sisters, we see the goodness of God in MANY ways. We see it in how He looks after us: He created us, He gave us life, He gives all that we have (Jas 1:17). We see the goodness of God in how He allows us to know Him and be in relation to Him (Hosea 6:3). We see the goodness of God in promising redemption for us, even though we all have sinned and turned away from God (Rom 3:23). We see the goodness of God in all the various ways He delivered His people in the OT: He delivered His people in days of Noah by commanding Noah to build a boat and escape the flood of judgment; He delivered Israel when they were in slavery in Egypt; He delivered Israel on multiple occasions in the days of the Judges and the kings; He delivered His people (like Daniel, and Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego) in the days of the exile. Time and time again we see God delivering his people from their enemies, and in this deliverance, we see the goodness of God.
During this Christmas season we centered our hearts and thinking on what took place at Christmas: God the Son took on human nature to save a people from their sin. Here we see a spotlight on the goodness of God: The Author of Life became human; he healed the sick and raised the dead; he taught the truth about who God is and showed us how we might be saved from our sins; he went to the cross and died in our place. Here we see the goodness of God in what we refer to as the GOSPEL.
We see the goodness of God not only in Jesus defeating sin and death and bringing in the new creation, we see the goodness of God in how Jesus sent out the 12 apostles to start his church. This is a church that will continue until Jesus returns in glory; the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Jesus is the head of His church and is with us as we gather to worship Him.
We also see the goodness of God in sending the Holy Spirit to fill us. He does not leave us alone, or ask us to be godly in our own strength, but sends the Holy Spirit to empower and lead and guidance. Here we see the goodness of God in the gift of the Spirit.
We see the goodness of God also in how He brings us into the family of God. We are saved into a family, with other brothers and sisters in Christ who also love Jesus and want to be more like Him. Here see God providing for our relational needs, and here we see the goodness of God.
Furthermore, we see the goodness of God in promising Christians eternal life, resurrected bodies, and entrance into a glorious kingdom ruled under King Jesus. These are not idle or empty words, but promises that are sure and true. God does not lie, but always keeps his promises. One day we who are Christians will be utterly free from sin, and will have bodies that don’t grow old or sick, and we’ll live in the most glorious and wonderful community on the new Earth under King Jesus. What goodness, and what grace!
As Christians we walk by faith in the goodness of God as we trust in Him with our everyday lives. We trust in the goodness of God who is working out all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28). There are no accidents, but we live in a reality under the rule and care of our sovereign God.
We also see God’s goodness in how He disciplines us. We, like David, sin and sometimes sin in some really big and embarrassing or drastic ways. But God is our Father, and He corrects us and disciplines us. He leads us “on paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3b). We also see God’s goodness in how He grows us as Christians. He uses trials and circumstances to make us grow and mature and not be babies in the faith. In this, we see that goodness of God who grows us.
So, is it right for a Christian to say with David, ‘I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living’? I would say after reflecting on all of these realities expressed to us in Scripture: Yes! It is right for us to say with David that we shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. For as the Scriptures teach, that in Christ, “all the promises of God find their YES and amen” (2 Cor 1:20).
But perhaps there may be some here today who have trust in Jesus for their salvation. The Scriptures warn you about the dangerous situation you are in: you are an enemy of God because of your sin and you are in desperate need of being reconciled to Him. God has been good and kind to you in giving you in keeping you from sinning as much as you could and by giving your life and all the things you have. He has also been kind to you in allowing you hear the good news of the gospel this morning. That good news could be summarized in this: God gave His sinless Son Jesus to die on a cross for your sins, so that if you turn from your sins and trust in Him you might be forgiven and have eternal life. We would urge you this morning to turn from you sin and trust in Jesus for eternal life and forgiveness of sin. Trust in Him, and turn to Him. Tell him you want the good gift of eternal life and you want your eyes opened to the truth of His goodness and love. Look on Jesus and see the goodness of God.
Now we turn to the final part of our sermon and ask this question: is it right for us in our church plant to hope in the goodness of God as we look to the future? Is it right to have hope as we look to a new season of ministry and life together at a new venue?
3. We are right to hope in the goodness of
God as we look to the future.
I confess to you all, when I heard that we would no longer be able to meet here at the DuPage Children’s Museum my heart SUNK. I felt a sadness and a fear: what would be next for us as a church? Was this end of for us? Could we carry on? Yet, now that we have seen God provide a new space for us in the Old Stone Church and all the MANY ways He has provided for us (including new financial partnerships), I believe it right for us to say with David in regard to the future of CCF, ‘I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.’ I see how immature I was to respond with such fear and anxiety. Friends, we can trust in God, even as venues and seasons change, God does NOT change, and we can trust in His goodness.
Consider with me how we’ve seen God’s goodness over the past several years. We’ve seen the goodness of a sending church that is committed to church planting and has elders and resources committed to seeing gospel-centered churches planted. We’ve seen the goodness in God bringing our core team together and giving us a worship space in the DuPage Children’s Museum. We see the goodness of God in providing financially for us that we have had our expenses met through our congregational giving, the Illinois Baptist State Association, partner churches, and individuals. We’ve seen the goodness of God in protecting us as a congregation from division and divisive attitudes—God has kept us united and free from such challenges. We’ve seen the goodness of God in using the difficulty and slowness of church planting to humble us and refine us—even as it is painful in the moment. We’ve seen the goodness of God in sending some of our members away to other places, as God allows them to be a blessing elsewhere. We’ve seen the goodness of God in bringing Jackson to faith in Christ and awakening Laura to new life in Christ. We’ve seen the goodness of God in raising up an elder candidate Craig Worley and allowing us to have Jonathan and Tim consistently and faithfully lead our community groups. We’ve seen the goodness of God providing us with Aynsley who has led our Entrusted Study, and Michelle and Alison to lead our children’s ministries. We’ve seen the goodness of God in allowing us to have John and Tim lead worship every week for us. We’ve seen God’s goodness in Jonathan overseeing the giving on Sunday mornings and God using so many of you to help with the setup and tear down. We’ve seen the goodness of God in all the many children and babies that have been born since we launched: Katie, Aleathia, Eden, and Samuel. We’ve seen the goodness of God in leading us to love each and care for each other and help each other in life’s trials—God is molding us and using us to minister to each other, and we already have 2 meal trains set up for Jan of 2019. We’ve seen the goodness of God in all the ways we have been able to share the gospel through meetup and outreaches and hymn sings. We’ve seen the goodness of God in how we have been able to give sacrificially to church planting and missions and Family Shelter Service. We’ve seen the goodness of God in allowing us to serve at Feed My Starving Children and help malnourished children on the other side of the globe. In all of these, and many other ways, we have seen God’s goodness to us as we wrap up this season at the DCM.
But are we right to hope in the goodness of the LORD as we look to 2019 and the future? Are we right to hope in the LORD even as leave behind the comfortable setting of the DCM, with its abundant space to store our equipment and many rooms to host children’s ministry, and with all the familiarity we’ve developed by worshipping here for 2 and half years? Are we right to hope in the LORD, even though we don’t know what trials and challenges and difficulties lie ahead? Are we right to hope in the LORD even as don’t know if our the numerical growth will increase, decrease, or stay the same? Can we really say with David, ‘we believe that we look upon the goodness of the LORD’? Friends, I would say that we can say yes. YES, YES, YES. And it is this posture we ought to embrace as we look ahead.
Matt 16:18 tell us that Jesus is building his church, and the gates of hell shall NOT prevail against it. The Scripture also teaches that Jesus is the head of His church (Col 1:18). These truths ground us and direct us to hope in the goodness of God as we look to the future. Our confidence is not in a new building or ministry philosophy or anything else, but in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is absolutely good, and we’ll see his goodness even as he takes us through trials and triumphs in our lives and church.
He has given us our marching orders as Christians, and those orders are this: to make disciples of the nations and call our friends here in the Naperville area to believe the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ (Matt 28:18-20). He has made us ambassadors of Christ, with God makes His appeal to the world through us (2 Cor 5:18-21). He has given us a gospel that is glorious, and is the power of salvation for everyone who believes (Rom 1:16-17). Our joyful task is to pray, minister, and trust in His goodness as we move to the Old Stone Church.
It is right for us to hope in the goodness of the LORD as we look to the future, for the Bible teaches us this: all our “times” are in God’s hands (Ps 31:15). The time we spent before we were every connected to CCF, the season here at the Museum, and all the future times that lie ahead are in our heavenly Father’s hands. So, we must say with David, ‘I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.’