Friday, July 07, 2017

Our Deepest Needs

/sermon by Dalton Alvis/

I. Intro

• I’ve been in Bulgaria for a little over a month now, and while learning just a
little of the language, I’ve come across some linguistic similarities. Of course
there are some words that are essentially the same like taxi or pizza. Each
language has their own slang, like a couple of weeks ago I learned spoko
which of course means like “chill or calm down.” But something else I
realized was that both languages have very definitive differences between the
words “want” and “need.” In both English and Bulgarian, wants are not the
same as needs even though they can be similar. A toddler may scream and cry
because he feels like he “needs” a toy, but he doesn’t actually need it; he just
wants it. I may not always feel this incredible desire for oxygen, but if I hold
my breath for very long at all, I begin to know I need it very quickly.
Sometimes it can be easy to get these two confused, but it becomes even more
difficult with the different kind of needs we have.

• Did you know that we sometimes perceive things as real needs, when they
actually aren’t? These perceived needs can be things we think we need, when
in reality, they may just be deep wants or desires. But then other times, a
person may have multiple very real needs, but some are just deeper than
others. Today, I want us to look at a couple different passages and I believe
we’ll see that not only is a relationship with Christ our greatest need, but he is
also the answer to every other need we may ever have. Until Jesus is enough,
nothing else will be. Until Jesus is enough if your life and in mine, nothing
else will bring any kind of real satisfaction, so if you’ll turn with me to Acts
chapter 3 we’re gonna start there . . . (Read Acts 3:1-10)

II. We Need Him for Salvation

• The first thing we need Jesus for is for salvation. Here we see a man who had
some very real physical and financial needs. V. 2 says he had been lame from
birth and had to be carried everywhere he went. This would obviously make
for an extremely difficult life in a variety of ways. He couldn’t work, so he
begs outside the temple in order to survive. He had to rely on friends, family,
or other beggars to transport him. What’s interesting is that Peter and John
don’t deny this man’s very real needs, but rather, when he asks them for alms,
they directed their gaze to him. They do not ignore the lame beggar’s
desperate situation, but they are able to see his most desperate need even if he
couldn’t.

• Beyond any person’s troubles in this world, their greatest need is always going
to be a relationship with Jesus Christ. Eternal life is the single most important
assurance we can have and that only comes through following him. No matter
what may come in this lifetime, the struggles of this world don’t come with us
after we die. This lame man had been in poverty and unable to walk since
birth, but Peter knew that what he needed above all else was the promise of a
new body and riches in glory in the life to come. There is this burning, innate
desire in us as humans to long for something - something outside ourselves.
We can know there is a God, and as the early church leader Augustine said,
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they
rest in you.” (repeat) The only true fulfillment we can experience in this life is
found in resting in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That is our
greatest need - to be saved from the punishment we so deserve, to be
graciously brought into relationship with our Heavenly Father, and to be
mercifully forgiven of all of our sins. But that’s also the Gospel, the good
news. We have all of that in Jesus. He paid the price on the cross for our sins,
through him we can be brought back to God the Father, and because of his
sacrifice, we can be forgiven.

• Peter and John obviously knew this was this man’s greatest need and so they
use this healing miracle as a way to exemplify their own faith in Christ, as
well as be a witness of Christ’s transforming power. In vv. 7-10, the man’s
spiritual transformation is seen through his joy and exuberance in worshipping
God. He even becomes an effective witness for Christ to those around him as
the last line of the passage says “And they were filled with wonder and
amazement at what had happened to him.” (Pause) So if you’re here and you
have never experienced this fulfillment through a relationship with Christ, or
maybe you don’t know what you believe, let me encourage you to keep
seeking. Keep searching for what that missing piece is in your life because I
believe his name is Jesus.

III. We Need Him Every Day

• But what if you’re here this morning and this is all old news to you? Maybe
you’ve been a devoted follower of Jesus for a long time, and thus, that deepest
need has been fulfilled. You know you rest in Him, but does that mean life is
now a smooth path and all our other struggles are taken care of? No, of course
not. What so many of us forget is that yes, our greatest longing is to be with
God through faith in Jesus, but that doesn’t mean that from that point forward,
we will never have another struggle. What is even more amazing though, is
that after salvation, Jesus is still the answer to all of our existing needs. And
that’s our second point which is We need him every day.

• Let’s look at a variety of verses which illustrate other continuous needs we
have of God.
- John 15:4-5 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit
by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in
me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Even
after we’ve begun following Christ, we must abide with him, or continue in
a daily, personal relationship with him, because apart from him, it says we
can do absolutely nothing of real, eternal value or significance.
- “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me
under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).
We need Him as our Protector; He is our safe haven, our shelter.
- “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought of me. You are
my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (Psalm 40:17). He is
where we must go when we need His divine, sovereign help.
- “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may
receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). We
need His mercy and grace.
- “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel
you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8). We need His Spirit to guide us.

• The Bible is full of verses like these exemplifying how we need God, not just
for one day of salvation, but every single day after as well. Let’s look at just
one more passage where the Apostle Paul so clearly depicts this need for
Christ. It’s found in Philippians chapter 4 and to give it a little context, Paul is
concluding his letter to the Philippians and thanking them for this gift, this
support they’ve sent him. (Read Phil. 4:10-13)

• Paul says he’s learned to be content no matter the circumstance, whether he’s
down and in need or abounding and has plenty, he is content. How? “Through
Christ” he says in v. 13. Christ gives him the strength to endure regardless of
what’s going on around him. We can be content in all situations because we
trust God. What exactly does Paul trust that He will do? (Read v. 18-19) “God
will supply for every need.” He and He alone can provide, satisfy, and save.

• These verses depict one of the most important truths I’ve ever had to grasp:
Jesus is always enough. That’s how Paul was able to be content through
everything that he faced - being hated and persecuted, beatings, and even
imprisonment. He knew that no matter what happened, Christ was enough and
he would supply every need. That’s why Paul is able to say earlier in this book
of Philippians that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Even unto death, Jesus
is enough. He is what we so desperately need, and he is always, always
enough.

• Now, that sounds simple, but in our day-to-day life, it can seem impossible to
comprehend and actually apply. Any time we feel like we “need” anything or
anyone else, we are sinning, we are turning our back on Christ. We tell him,
“You are good when I need you, when I’m really desperate, but now I’m good,
I’m alright. These other things will suffice.” When this happens, we turn that
thing we need into an idol, and we kind of set Jesus in the back till we “need”
him again. The greatest problem with doing so is that nothing in this world can
ever truly satisfy. When we feel like we “need” anything in this world outside
of Christ, we mistake the gifts for the Giver, the Creation for its Creator. Often
times, those things we feel we “need” the most, we actually need to fast from
the most. Put yourself in a position to go without that which you feel like you
need and replace it with something where you can find true contentment in
Christ.

• Until Jesus is enough, nothing else will be. (repeat) Until he is all you need,
nothing else in this world will bring contentment or satisfaction. But when we
have our priorities right, everything else seems to find its order. Psalm 37:4
says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your
heart.” The order of these words is everything. This verse does not mean as
long as we follow Christ, God is gonna give us everything we want. Rather,
when we truly begin to delight in who God is, find our contentment in Christ,
and love Him for Himself and not for what He can do for us, our heart begins
to change. As we delight in the Giver first, our desires change according to
what God wants. He gives us His desires, He reshapes our wants and desires
according to His own.

IV. Conclusion
• So both wants and needs are important. We have God-given needs and desires,
but we must not forget why we have them in the first place - to point us back
to Christ, back to the Giver. Whether your here today and hearing some of this
for the very first time, or maybe you’ve heard this a thousand times before, we
all have one need that is deeper than any other, and that is to surrender to
Christ and follow him, but even if you’re living your life totally devoted to
him today, we must always remember just how desperate we are for him every
second of every day. So maybe you’ve never taken that first step in giving
your life to Christ, maybe today was your first time hearing his good news,
quit trying to find real satisfaction in this world. I’ll save you the search, it’s
not there. Maybe you want just a little of what that lame man had, find Trif or
Vanya after the service and ask them about what it means to really follow
Christ, because he is the only way we can find true contentment. Or if you are
a believer here this morning, but you’ve tended to put Jesus in the back at
times, be reminded that until Jesus is enough for you, nothing else can be, and
then identify those things, those idols you’ve replaced him with. Be comforted
today knowing that Jesus is all we need, he is what we should want most. In
the good days and the bad, in the darkest trials and the happiest victories, he is
enough.