Do you remember the 1983 comedy called, “Trading Places”, where the lives of two men are toyed with by the Duke brothers?
Randolph and Mortimer arrange for Louis Winthorpe III, the rich commodities broker, to be thrown out of his house and into jail and forsaken by all his friends, by planting money and drugs in his possession.
They also took Billy Ray Valentine off of the streets and into Winthorpe’s house. They give him Winthorpe’s job, butler, car and everything else.
They did this all for one dollar bet to see whether it is environment or biology that places people where they are in life.
Our Focus today is on: Isaiah 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
God doesn’t toy with our lives as the Duke brothers did, but He did send Jesus Christ to trade places with us.
His Fellowship for Your Fears
Isaiah 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you.”
We all have fears, some are strange others are common phobias (mine is snakes) Here are the top 4 common fears:
- Fear of death
- Fear of failure
- Fear of losing security
- Fear of the future (the unknown)
God provides us with solutions to all our fears…
Philippians (St. Paul to his congregation at Philippi)
- Death – Philippians 1:21 – “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
- Failure – Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Paul speaking about Christ. There is no challenge too great that God will not help us through!
- Fear of losing security – Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
In Matthew (Jesus, after His resurrection, giving instruction to His Apostles)
- Future – Matthew 28:19-20 – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The lost (non-believers) have good reason to fear these things because they are called the enemies of God. But we know, it has always been God’s desire to have perfect fellowship with His creation (us), so He came to this earth (Jesus Christ) to make this exchange:
When you accept Jesus Christ as savior, no matter where you are or what you’re going through, God is with you!
Have you ever gone into a dark room alone and feared what was waiting in the darkness? Me too… but when someone is with you it doesn’t seem so bad; the fear seems to dissipate. When Christ, The Light of the World, is with you (and He always is) the darkness completely and totally and complpetely disappears.
His Comfort for Your Confusion
Isaiah 41:10 – “Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”
One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. He asked, “Mommy, will you stay with me tonight?” To which she replied, “I can’t dear, I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.”
A long silence followed. At last it was broken by a shaky voice saying, “The big sissy!” (older brother).
Most children run to their moms or dads when they get scared or hurt or when they are sick, because they want to be comforted.
We never lose that need. That’s why men act as if they’re about to die when they are sick. They want to be comforted.
Whenever there is a storm (thunder and lightning), the kids want to be held (so do the dogs), because they are unsure of what is going to happen – they are confused.
We may feel that way when the storms of life hit. A death in the family, illness like cancer, problems at work, or at home, and the list goes on.
But in the midst of the storms of life God wants to comfort us. One of the most well-known names of the Holy Spirit is The Comforter or, as we spoke about just a short time ago with our lesson“Believe in The Spirit,” The Advocate.
God sent the Holy Spirit, as a comforter because He knew there would be times when we would be confused, hurting, sick and unsure of the future.
His Strength for Your Weakness
Isaiah 41:10 – “I will strengthen you and help you.”
Several years ago, when Jesse Ventura was governor of Minnesota he said, “God is a crutch.”
Well I say, praise God because we all have some type of weakness, whether it be physical or spiritual, we all have a weakness and we need someone to be there for us to help us in our time of need.
If Jesse Ventura wants to say that God is a crutch that’s fine, A crutch gives us stability when we are weak.
By the way Jesse, Romans 14:11 says:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
One day, Mr. Ventura is going fall at the judgment seat of Christ and he is going to wish he had a leg to stand on or a crutch to hold him up.
A Thorn in Paul’s Flesh
Does anyone know where the phrase, “a thorn in one’s side,” comes from? It actually came from our Bible and the Apostle Paul.
2 Corinthians 12:7(b): – “Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me—so that I would not become arrogant.”
Paul went on to say he prayed three times, that it would depart from him. But God said to him…
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect[m] in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly[n] about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”
His Righteousness for Your Rags
Isaiah 41:10 – “I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 64:6 – “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
To be better, be faithful, help the needy, feed the hungry, care for the sick, preach the gospel — All these things are as filthy rags to Isaiah (in comparison to what God has done for us)— they cannot change who you are (were) and what you have already done. Fortunately for us, the sacrifice Jesus made for us puts us in a different light with God.
If we were standing at the throne of God in the judgment, and He asked, “How do you plead?” We would all have to say guilty! There is no doubt of that, right?
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Not what we could do for ourselves, but what He did for us. Our righteousness is as filthy rags, but He makes us whiter than snow in His Father’s eyes!
When you give your life to Christ a great exchange takes place. Jesus Christ trades places with you, He died for you on the cross. In that great transaction Christ took all your sins, guilt, punishment, rags and when you accept Christ as your savior you receive His righteousness. As Paul tells us…
2 Corinthians 5:21 – “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
God Turned His Back
Do you believe God ever turned His back to us? Do you believe, for one moment, that we are on our own without God’s intervention into all that we do?
As Jesus was dying on the Cross…
Matthew 27:51-53 – “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, for the very first time He was separated from His Father because all the Father could see in Him was your sin and mine. God could not bear to see His Son bear such a burden and turned His back.
But, because of Christ’s sacrifice, and when we enter those Heavenly gates, all the Father will see is His righteousness!
Watch this Lesson
(We apologize in advance for the poor quality,
it was raining pretty hard this past Sunday)
Why would we want to make this life any harder than it already is? Why would we want to bear all of these burdens on our own? After all, we’re only human… we can’t do it on our own!
Wouldn’t you like to trade all of your problems for God’s solutions?
- Wouldn’t you want God to take away our fears?
- Wouldn’t you want God’s comfort in our confusion?
- Wouldn’t you prefer God’s strength in our weaknesses?
- Wouldn’t you want God’s righteousness over your rags?
Good news! If you believe in God and follow His commandments, you’re half way there! If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior giving thanks and asking forgiveness every day while trying to live as He taught us, you’ve made it… you’re all the way there! God is already doing all of these things for you!
The bottom line in our lives is: Christ is sufficient to meet all your needs! God is “Trading Places” with you every single day!
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)!
Thank you to Paul Hammons, from SermonCentral.com,
for his contribution in this message today.