And His Name Shall Be Called Mighty God - Wellington First Assembly

Wellington First Assembly

326 W Botkin Lane, Wellington Kansas ........Family Faith Lessons - 9:30 AM........ Sunday Worship - 10:30 AM

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

And His Name Shall Be Called Mighty God

And His Name Shall be Called, Mighty God.


The situation is desperate.  Time is running out.  The kids are crying.  Pearl frantically cries out.  The tension is thick.  Will they be rescued? And then darkness.

I was supposed to be working on my 4th-grade spelling word homework, but that lay forgotten on the couch next to me.  My eyes were focused on the screen, my entire body wondering what would happen next as soon as the commercial ended!  And when the Saturday morning cartoon flickered back on, I heard the catchphrase ring out.  “Here I am to Save the Day” Anybody remember that cartoon? – Mighty Mouse.  The villain would be captured and the ones who had been oppressed, lept with joy!

In these short 15-minute episodes, I noticed a trend.  Mighty Mouse always came.  He always came on time – even when it was much later than the characters wanted him to. And He always had the power to fix the situation.
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Due to pastors foot injury, this sermon was recorded early Sunday morning and then played for the congregation during service.  

AUDIO   |   VIDEO
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In the cartoonist overactive imagination, a personified mouse had attributes reminiscent of someone even mightier.  And His Name Shall be called Mighty God.
We resonate with cartoons like that because it reminds us of life.  It reminds us that there are situations which occur beyond our control.  Sometimes, its messes we get ourselves into.  What we all desperately share is a desire to be saved by someone mightier than us.  Someone with the power to save.

No one knew this more than the people of Israel.  God had established a covenant with Abraham as the people group from where the Savior of all humankind would be born.  Yet hundreds of years later, they are still looking for that full redemption.  They are given glimpses, even fantastic miracles.  In our text today, the people of Israel are completing their circuit in the wilderness, looking forward to the promised land, overjoyed that they had left the pain, suffering, cruelty and bondage in Egypt.  The mighty God reveals his character to them, cementing his promise even further, and reminding them of what their actions must be, as they are the recipients of his salvation.

Deuteronomy 10:17-20
17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear.

And His Name Shall be Called Mighty.

  • What does mighty mean? 
  • ·        Do you think of the strong man at the circus who can lift 1000 pounds?
  • ·        Do you think of someone gifted with words who can calm an angry crowd?
  • ·        Do you think of someone with overwhelming power and force that can bend others to their will?

All of those may reflect a part of what mighty means, but there is even more.  Some of that definition comes right in context with this verse.  Let me hear those words:  GREAT, AWESOME, AMAZING, INCREDIBLE.

There is a phrase here that we don’t usually use as a synonym but is probably the best descriptor of Mighty.  God of Gods and Lord of Lords.  The Mosaic author made it clear – He used the superlative.  Not More, Most.  Not Better, Best.  Not Just God, but the God of Gods.  Not just Lord, but the Lordest one of them all.

Pastor Terry Yancey has said it like this.  When we speak of God’s goodness, we speak of his character.  But when we speak of his great Might, we speak of God’s capacity.  He is able to do everything and anything!

This term used for Mighty God is seen throughout scripture.  But perhaps the one place we see the full scope of it comes in the last book of the Bible.  In Revelation 17:14, we get the mighty mouse moment.  The battle that shapes the ages.  The conquest that assures us that HE is Here to Save the Day.  That sin and all of it’s minions have been defeated now and forever. 

This verse reads:
14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

Folks – You are called and chosen and faithful – because he is your King of Kings, Your Lord of Lords.  He Is Your Mighty God.

After watching the Mighty Mouse cartoons on several occasions, I knew what the ending would always be.  Always.  The storyline in the middle, the journey, the dilemmas, the conflicts – oh they might differ – but the outcome was always decided way before I ever watched the episode.

The Mighty God has already determined the outcome.  It might not feel like it, you might not feel the rescuer swooping in – But you can rest assured of your salvation.  
This is why we can rejoice with the Psalmist who knows that you might go out weeping, but return with shouts of joy.  This is why the Apostle Paul, despite his own imprisonments and afflictions, can write: Rejoice always!  Because when you know the outcome, you can have joy.

I don’t preach this sermon today filled with platitudes and hoped-fors.  This is real.  Today, I hurt, today I am in pain.  Today, I can’t be with you because my body is suffering.  The reality is that there will be times, many times in our lives when things don’t go as we had planned it.  Real heartache, real pain.  Real cries for a savior will emerge from our lips.  But even as we put words to our fears and voice our concerns to God over our families, our parents, our classmates, our neighbors, we can rest assured that the Mighty God has already worked out the promised solution.  That’s why I can have joy in the pain.  And His Name Shall be Called.

So, who is our Might God?  What does he do?  What has he promised?  We heard about it in the kids’ sermon.  He has already planted the seeds that when they bear fruit, the captive shall be free, the mistreated given hope, and joy shall reign instead of mourning.


This is the same promise given in Deuteronomy 10:

The Mighty God distributes fairness to the mistreated.  (17b)

Has anyone been mistreated?  I don’t know of anyone who can’t point to a situation in their life where they legitimately were kicked aside, bullied, made fun of, laid off without cause, yelled at for no reason. Sometimes its just the economics of life.  No one meant to mistreat you, but you just don’t receive the benefits others may have.  You were born on the wrong side of the tracks, so no one cares about the input that you can give, the contribution you can make. 

For the people of Israel, they had experienced time after time of mistreatment.  Originally immigrants welcomed to Egypt to aid during the famine, they were soon made scapegoats of all that countries problems and were forced into servitude.  Multiple centuries later, Jesus walks in Galilee among his people, seeing first hand how they are mistreated – not just by the governing Roman occupiers, but also by the different social castes within the Hebrew culture. Jesus calls out Matthew, the tax collector, to stop cheating and mistreating the people.  Matthew does – and distributes his ill-gotten gains back to those he had stolen from.  Jesus calls out to the demoniac in the field– avoided by the rest of the people – and brings healing to restore him back into full community.  Jesus approached the lepers, who have been left to die, abandoned by the culture, and brings them hope and healing through his touch.
When Jesus says, come to me, all you who are heavy laden – It’s not just a cry to people who have worked all day and are tired.  It’s a call to those who have been chronically abused, who no longer have the strength to change their situation on their own. 

By the way, fairness is not taking something from one person and redistributing it to another.  It’s much more than that.  Fairness is giving everyone a chance to see their needs met by their Savior.  Some people will need more grace and forgiveness than others. The ones who have been mistreated, need even more fairness distributed to them.  That’s OK – Fairness is not measured in the quantity you have or have not – but whether you ended the game in the Savior’s arms.

2) Another promise given in this passage is that the Mighty God dispenses justice to the defenseless.  

There are some in society who have no voice, no legal leg to stand on.  No one will see to their needs or their rights, or their concerns.

In ancient culture, this was often true of widows and orphans.  In the patriarchal system, if the husband died, there was no way for the woman to adequately provide for her family.  Many times, the family would be broken up, indentured as servants, or left to die.  With a harsh world like this, others turned to thievery or prostitution.  This is unacceptable to the Mighty God.  When the culture creates conditions that no longer treat others as being fully born in the image of God, guess what – God gets upset.  He takes up their cause.  He becomes their advocate.

In the past few months, the “MeToo" movement has rapidly gained strength.  Why, because for decades many women were powerless and defenseless to speak out against the unchristian harassment seen way too much in our culture.  The Christian community must be in the forefront of defending the right of the defenseless to speak out against injustice, or it will find itself on the wrong side of the Mighty God.  At times, this may even pit us against our preferred political philosophy – Republican, Democrat, Libertarian – it doesn’t matter.  What really matters is are you following Christ?

In a recent court case, a 19-year-old poor immigrant female, working as a housekeeper, was convicted of stealing $5000 of jewelry.  What made this newsworthy is that the jury who delivered the guilty verdict, and assessed her fine – took the next unbelievable step and pooled their money so she could be set free.  The social media outcry was instantaneous.  She’s an immigrant, she has no rights.  She is a thief, give her the maximum sentence.  She delivers no mercy.  The internet trolls who post those remarks must never have experienced the fullness of joy and love of a Savior.  Despite the protests of many, justice was served.  This 19-year-old girl, convicted of her sin, voluntarily turned herself into the authorities, returned all the stolen merchandise, and wrote a letter of apology.  She threw herself on the mercy of the court.  And she received justice.  Too many people confuse justice with vengeance.  “I want them to pay – I want them to be miserable” I get those valid feelings.  But God’s justice is different.  It incorporates grace and mercy at the very center.

I am so thankful that I don’t face a vengeful God every morning!  I am grateful that the Almighty God’s concept of Justice includes mercy and grace.

Too often we get the idea that God has his all-knowing eye ready to pounce on your every misdeed. That’s the furthest from the truth.  No, the Might God seeks to dispense the ultimate justice.  And while a picture of the great throne of Judgement is hinted at in the book of Revelation, the justice of God is seen more vividly in two other silhouettes.

The first is at the manager – where justice meets humility.  He became one of us, so he could bear our sins and take on our defense.  Jesus literally put his skin in the game.  He suffered pain, he grew up from infancy as a refugee in Egypt – forced to flea the soldiers who slaughtered countless infants.

The second silhouette is at the cross.  In the greatest injustice of all, the sinless man, the one who gave so much, The Mighty God who humbled himself, gave his life for us.  He paid the penalty, so we could be set free.

And His Name Shall be Called.

3) The Third aspect of Mighty we see revealed in this passage is how He demonstrates concern for the vulnerable.

Earlier this year as we were traveling through the Eastern United States to visit colleges, we found ourselves in an unfortunate situation.  Car troubles.  Here we were, upstate New York, with no idea what to do, who to turn to.  As stranded motorists, we were very vulnerable.  A mechanic probably could have charged us an arm and a leg, and we would have paid it, so we could continue our journey.  Yet in this situation, the mechanic gave us a fair price, treated us with hospitality, and sent us on our way with little time lost.  He showed concern for us vulnerable sojourners.

Sojourners is an old term.  It refers to those traveling through on their journey. They don’t belong.  They are the stranger, the immigrant.  The passage in Deuteronomy reminds the people of Israel that they have been sojourners in Egypt, they are sojourners in the wilderness.  They are just passing through.  They are asked to remember how they were treated.  At times, not so good.  But other times, they were treated with hospitality and allowed to leave in peace.  As they are about to become the majority culture in the Promised Land, God reminds them that they must show love and concern to those traveling through.  This passage moves beyond just expressing thoughts that I care for them.  It demands action.  The Mighty God gives the sojourner food and clothing. He provides for their needs, just as he provides for our needs.  Furthermore, the Mighty God intends for us to be part of his giving plan.  We are God’s hands and feet.  Thank you, church, for being ones who give so that food and clothing can be provided to the homeless family, to the student in school, to the man just passing through.  The Mighty God sees your actions.  Yes, there are times, when silver and gold have we none --   There are times when we wish we could give but are unable too. But in all situations, we can pray. Pray that the Mighty God provides healing, pray that the Mighty God brings a job.  Pray that the Mighty God supplies living quarters.  And then allow ourselves to be used by him.


REMEMBER THIS
God is Mighty because He is continually walking in our shoes!

 I think this is something we forget too much.  Jesus knows our pain.  Today, I can’t even put my shoes on as my foot is swollen so much.  But I also know that Jesus walked in my shoes.  The Mighty God walked out of Egypt with the chosen people.  He wandered with them in the wilderness for 40 years, never forsaking them.  He has endured countless tragedies and conflicts and never left their side.  Today, he walks with us.  In our schools, at our job sites, in our relationships.  When we may express to someone that they don’t know how we feel – I guarantee you – Jesus does.  He felt it all coming to the manger and ascending the cross.  And as he promised, he is always ready to turn your pain and sorrow into echoes of joy.



THINK THIS THROUGH

If I am most like Christ when I am fair, just, and concerned, how well am I demonstrating Mighty God’s love to others this Christmas season?

As we conclude our service today, this is my challenge today.  I am glad that Christ is fair, just, and concerned for others.  That is what makes him Mighty.  That is what makes Him save the day. My question is, are we ready to be part of the Mighty God’s work?  What are our actions this Christmas season?  Will it continue?  I know that when we have a close-up experience with our Mighty God, our very being will want to be like him.  As Christians, we are called to share his love – not just in the Christmas season, but all year long.  As we continue to long for his second coming, I pray that we actively demonstrate God’s unwavering love and joy all day long.

And He Shall be Called Mighty God.


Shall we pray.