God's Help for the Hurting Heart

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God's Help for the Hurting Heart

1 John 1:1-10

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 3, 2013

*Years ago, Mary and I used to get into fights on the way to church. Maybe it was the stress of getting two small children ready for Sunday school, or maybe the devil just tried to upset us when we were trying to worship God. Of course that's not the only time we ever argued, but it seemed real easy to get into a squabble when we were headed to church.

*Then as soon as we opened the car door, there was an instant transformation. We would put on the happy mask, and no one knew we were going at it tooth and toenail a few seconds before.

*I'm happy to report that we no longer fight on the way to church. Of course we come in separate cars. But probably all of us have put on masks at church. Many times it's to cover up a hurting heart. They ask, "Hey, how're you doing?" You put on a big smile, and say, "Fine, fine," when nothing could be further from the truth.

*Lots of people are hurting in our world, including God-fearing, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving Christians. One estimate I read said that probably a third of us are hurting right now. And if you aren't, one day you will.

[1] Sometimes we hurt from the grind of life.

*Think of a mom who works a fulltime job, then heads home to her other fulltime job. She is completely worn out, and it hurts. Think of a dad in danger of losing his job. Or he's got the job, but he can't make the money go far enough. Or he's got the money, but he can't get 25 hours in a 24 hour day. And the frustration hurts.

*Maybe you are sick. Maybe your wife, husband, child or parent is sick. It may even be one of those times when there is nothing you can do about it. You feel helpless. And the helplessness hurts.

[2] We can hurt from the grind of life. And we can hurt from grief.

*Many families in our church have gone through the loss of a loved one in the last few years, and that's not the only kind of grief. Some of us have been through the loss of trust, the death of a relationship with your husband or wife.

*Or maybe you lost a child, not through death, but through a broken relationship. Years ago, a friend told me an old saying about children: "When they are young, they step on your toes. But when they get older, they step on your heart." Sometimes that old saying is true, and it hurts.

[3] We can hurt from grief. And we can hurt from guilt.

*2 Corinthians 7 tells us that there is such a thing as "godly sorrow." It comes from the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. And the Apostle Paul tells us that this godly sorrow is a good thing. Why? -- Because it leads us to turn away from sin, and turn toward our Savior Jesus Christ.

*Sometimes we feel guilty, because we are guilty, and it hurts. But Psalm 34:18 talks about this kind of hurt, and says: "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." And in Isaiah 61:1, our Savior says: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound."

*No matter why we hurt, God wants to help. And today's Scripture shows us how.

1. First: God will give us fellowship.

*One of the best things about Christianity is fellowship. John mentions it four times here in the Word of God, but what is fellowship?

*Somebody said fellowship means "two fellows in one ship." Ed Wood explained that fellowship is the idea of having something in common. It means a partnership, community, participation. (1)

*Tim Peck said that fellowship "describes 'mutual sharing,' whether it's sharing our lives, our hearts, our possessions, or our tears." (2)

*This is the kind of fellowship God wants us to have with each other. Listen to John in vs. 1-3. Here John called Jesus "The Word of life," and said:

1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life

2. the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us

3. that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

*As Christians, we get to have fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even better, we get to have fellowship with God the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ! What a great blessing! And part of the blessing is giving and getting the help we need.

[1] God helps hurting hearts through our fellowship with each other.

*All of us will hurt from time to time, so God wants all of us to help each other. The Apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Cor 1:3-4:

3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

4. who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

*You and I can make a difference in the lives of hurting people. We can and should comfort them with the comfort that God has given to us. God wants us to be conduits of His comfort. As John Jowett once said: "God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters." (3)

*That's why in Ephesians 6:21-22, Paul wrote these words:

21. But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you;

22. whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.

*The best human help we will ever get will come from devoted Christians like Tychicus. And that's the way God wants us to be.

*James Stockdale was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and Jim told about being tortured. He said that over and over again through his pain and cries, he could hear his fellow prisoners tapping in Morse Code: "God bless you Jim Stockdale. God bless you Jim Stockdale. God bless you Jim Stockdale." (4)

*Jim said that's why he was able to get through the torture and the pain. And God can use us to help people get through pain. Christians: God helps hurting hearts through our fellowship with each other.

[2] But best of all: If we believe in Jesus Christ, if we have received Him as Lord and Savior, God helps us through our fellowship with our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

*Listen again to John starting in vs. 1, where he was talking about Jesus and said:

1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life

2. the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us

3. that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

*We can only have fellowship with God the Father through God the Son, Jesus Christ. And we all can have this fellowship, because God's Son came into the world. The eternal Son of God became a man. This truth is so crucial that John used four different verbs to describe his experience with the God-man, Jesus Christ.

*In vs. 1, John said he physically "heard" the Word of Life, Jesus Christ. In the Sermon on the Mount, "John heard the voice of Jesus teaching with God's own authority." He heard Jesus tell people that their sins were forgiven. In Mark 4:39, Jesus and the disciples on the Sea of Galilee in the middle of a terrible storm. There John heard Jesus rebuke the wind, and say to the sea, "Peace, be still!'' And the wind ceased! And there was a great calm.

*John heard the Word of Life. In vs. 1, he also saw it with his own eyes. John witnessed the many miracles Jesus performed. He had seen Jesus' arrest, crucifixion and empty tomb.

*John saw the Word of Life. In vs. 1, he said he also looked at it. This word means "to stare intently at something, to study it and contemplate what it means." John had stared in amazement at Jesus after his resurrection from the grave. He looked carefully to make sure it wasn't a hallucination or a ghost.

*John looked at the Word of Life. And in vs. 1, he handled it. John had touched Jesus with his own hands. He took Him by the hand. Surely he also hugged Jesus. John hugged God! (2)

*John had close fellowship with God the Son, and we can too, because of Christ's coming, but also because of His cross. John takes us to the cross in vs. 4-7, where he says:

4. . . these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

5. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

6. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

*The blood Jesus poured out on the cross cleanses us from all sin, IF we believe in His crucifixion and resurrection, IF we receive Him as Lord and Savior. And when we have this faith in God the Son, we are automatically connected with our Heavenly Father, as we are born again into the Family of God. So we can have fellowship with God the Father through His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. And what a Father we have through His Son Jesus! Our Heavenly Father is a perfect protector and provider who loves us unconditionally.

*One of the best pictures of our Heavenly Father is found in the story of the prodigal son. In Luke 15, Jesus told this story about a stubborn and rebellious son. The selfish son demanded his inheritance before it was due. Then he ran away and wasted it in the worst kind of living.

*But the father loved his son and kept looking down the road in hope that one day his son would come home. And one day the son did come home, full of sadness for his sin.

*Listen to part of the story from the New Living Translation. In Luke 15:20-24, Jesus said:

20. "So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.

21. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.'

22. But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet.

23. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast,

24. for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. . .'"

*That is the same kind of love our Heavenly Father has for you! And we can have fellowship with God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. If you are hurting today for any reason, be encouraged! God will help you! God will give us fellowship.

2. And He will give forgiveness.

*There is no doubt that we are guilty. That's why in vs. 8, John said: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Also in vs. 10: "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."

*There is no doubt that we are guilty. And there is no doubt that God will forgive our sins. In vs. 9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Why will God forgive our sins? -- Because He is faithful and just.

*God is faithful. That means we can always count on the promise He gives us in vs. 9.

*God is faithful, but He is also just. That means God had to do something about our sin. If God didn't do something about our sin, then Heaven wouldn't be Heaven. It would be as bad as the worst places on earth. God had to do something about our sin, and this truth takes us back to the cross. Jesus Christ is the only person who could ever pay the price for our sins. And that's what Jesus did on the cross.

*Pastor Bob Russell told about the time he and his family were in bad a wreck in Pennsylvania. And Bob gave this testimony: "My wife was seriously injured. She was in the hospital for two weeks recovering. . . We were stuck) in a hospital 400 miles from home, didn't know the personnel in the hospital, and felt really frustrated.

*Dr. Russell Summay from our church flew up in a medical plane, picked up my wife and me, and flew us back (home) to a hospital in Louisville, where she could get some personal attention. I was extremely grateful, and said, 'Russ, I want to pay for the plane. How much is it?' He said, 'It's a gift, Bob, and believe me: you can't afford it.' I did some investigation, and he was telling the truth!"

*Then Bob said: "I'm going to tell you the truth. You can't afford eternal life. Heaven is the dwelling place of God, a place of perfection, and we have forfeited our right to be there because of our sin. The only purchase price is the blood of a perfect person, and you and I don't qualify. So we can't earn (God's forgiveness) and we don't deserve it, but the good news is that Jesus Christ stepped in to pay the debt for us." And He can forgive our sins, because He is faithful and just. (5)

*If you are hurting today, because of your guilt, turn to the Lord Jesus, and trust in Him. Jesus will take away the crushing weight of your guilt. God will give us forgiveness.

3. And He will give a fresh start.

*One big question when we are hurting is this: What about the future? Is there hope for me? The answer is absolutely yes! God loves to give us fresh starts in our lives.

*We see this hopeful truth every morning, when God gives us a brand new day. And Lamentations 3:22-23 says:

22. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

23. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

*God loves to give us fresh starts in life. There's another great example of this truth in today's Scripture. It's the cleansing we see in vs. 9, where John said: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS." God certainly wants to give us this fresh start today.

*Robert Sumner tells about a missionary in Alaska, named Everett Bachelder. Everett and his wife, Mina, operated the Nome Gospel Home for over 30 years. One of the ways they shared the Gospel was by tossing more than a thousand mayonnaise jars and ketchup bottles into the Bering Sea. They were all crammed with Scripture messages written in 100 different languages. Kids from local churches helped Everett fix the jars and bottles.

*Now that may seem like a waste of time, but over the years, the wind and waves carried the story of God's love to the far corners of the earth. Everett got responses from as far as 10,000 miles away.

*One time a man in Singapore, was brokenhearted over a romance gone sour. He was about to commit suicide by jumping into the ocean from a cliff. But he saw a bottle wash up against the rocks below. Oddly enough, the man decided to jump when the bottle broke. But as he watched, it hit the rocks over and over without breaking. He got curious and climbed down the cliff where he found the good news of salvation in the cross of Jesus Christ. God's Word touched that man's heart. He found a missionary in Singapore, and got saved! (6)

*Jesus Christ gave that man a brand-new start in life. He got a new spiritual life. His sins were forgiven. He became part of the family of God. He was saved forever! And the same will happen to you, if you will turn your life over to the Lord and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

*But even after you trust in the Lord, even after you are saved, you will still need fresh starts in life. You can be a Christian for 30 years, and still need a fresh start. God will give you that fresh start today. He can do something that will take your life in a whole new direction!


*I hope you are not hurting this morning. But if you are, be encouraged. God wants to give you His fellowship, His forgiveness, and a fresh start in life. Let the Lord meet your need today, as we go to God in prayer.

(1) SermonCentral sermon "Jesus, the Hope of the World" by Ed Wood - 1 John 1:1-4

(2) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "Joy for the Journey" by Timothy Peck - 1 John 1:1-7

(3) John Henry Jowett (1817-1893) - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World - Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992 - Entries 1501-1503 - Found in SermonCentral sermon "Blessed Comfort" by Mark Beaird - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

(4) SermonCentral sermon "Power over Satan" by Melvin Newland - Ephesians 6:12

(5) Easter Sermon: "If a Man Dies, Will He Live Again?" by Robert Russell - 1 Corinthians 15 - Monday, January 24, 2005 - www.lifeway.com/Article/sermon-easter-resurrection-new-life-1-corinthians-15

(6) KERUX ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION - ID Number: 1182 - SOURCE: Biblical Evangelist - TITLE: Throwing The Word Of God Into The Ocean - AUTHOR: Dr. Robert Sumner - DATE: 81001

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