O For the Days Gone By! (Job Sermon 17)
June 27, 2021 | Andy Davis
Walk by Faith, Joy in Suffering
Pastor Andy Davis preaches a sermon on Job 29 and 30. This sermon unpacks Job's hopelessness, and looks at a fully-developed Christian hope.
- Sermon Transcript -
Take your Bibles and open, if you would, to Job 29. We'll be looking this morning at Job 29 and 30. I want you to imagine an old widower who's in the process of selling the home that he's lived in for 40 years. He goes up some of those spring-loaded stairs up to the attic. He hasn't been there in a while, but he makes his way over to a far corner in the attic. And he pulls out a box that he hasn't looked at in years. And he undoes the flaps and opens it up. And he begins to swim in a warm sea, a warm ocean called nostalgia. The memories come upon him, wave upon wave. He pulls out an old photo album and pours over it, page after page. And memories, memories come flooding into his aged mind, warmed by tears, sparkled with laughter.
He pulls out some mementos, some artifacts from the old box. Each of the items lifted out of the box, carries with them a string of powerful memories of a deceased spouse and of the sweet times they had together, their wedding day, their honeymoon, their early years together. The photos show each of them a lot younger. He looks pretty fit as he finished a road race or as he lifts a toddler up on his strong shoulders. He finds a packet of anniversary cards from his wife. He looks at each one. He remembers his wife's elegant handwriting and the way she had with words. And tears fall from his eyes on some of the pen strokes, make the ink run a little, slightly. Memories are filling his mind. And the feeling is bittersweet, in some ways, though, more bitter than sweet. Time only goes in one direction. His wife is dead. His kids are grown, gone. All of them living in other states. You can't go back again. Those days are gone. And the hardest part of all is feeling that for him, all of his best and brightest days are in the past.
Now, I wonder how many people all over the world feel that way, all of my best and brightest things are in the past. Seems to me the only possible answer to the bitterness that distracts from the sweetness in that so-called bittersweet feeling of nostalgia is Christian hope, Christian hope. Hope is a strong feeling in the soul that the future is bright based on the promises of God, and that all, not some, of your best things are yet to come, all of them are. No matter how blessed your life has been, no matter how wonderful it's been, all of your best things are still in the future.
"No matter how blessed your life has been, no matter how wonderful it's been, all of your best things are still in the future. "
And I believe with a proper understanding of heaven, we will know that none of the past blessings and their details will ever really be lost at all, but we will be able to know them and study them and remember them and delight in them even more perfectly in heaven than we ever did while they were happening on earth. We miss a lot. It flies by, and then it's over. But wouldn't it be something if the Lord in his goodness would say, "Let's review your life and let's review how good I was to you in that marriage and how good I was to you with your children and how wonderful those times really were," free in heaven, free from all death, mourning, crying, and pain, no regrets, just perfect, pure memories of the goodness and the grace of God. Wouldn't that be something?
Now these are the themes that are flooding into my mind as I read Job 29 and 30. Because in chapter 29, we see Job yearning for the past, "Oh, for days gone by." And then in chapter 30, we see Job lamenting the present. And in chapter 30, we also see Job dreading the future. But I can't let Job and his depression in this chapter have the final word. I want to finish with the delight of a fully developed Christian hope based on New Testament promises, based on New Testament doctrine, a fully developed Christian hope as the remedy to Job's bitter nostalgia.
I. Yearning for the Past
So let's start at chapter 29, yearning for the past. Job's nostalgic longing is asserted. Look at verses one and two. Job continued his discourse. Verse two, "How I long for the months gone by." Again in verse four, "Oh, for the days when I was in my prime.” It was a life of rich blessedness. God watched over me and blessed me." Look at verses 2-5,"How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shown upon my head and by his light, I walked through darkness. Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God's intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me."
The best part of Job's former life was that God watched over him, he said, God loved him. God protected him. He said God's light shone in his life, representing the way that God guided him with wisdom and knowledge. Job speaks of the days when he was in his prime, literally, “my harvest days.” “Those were my harvest days, those autumn days, when a bumper crop came into the barn, when blessing upon blessing rolled into the barns of my life.” And of all of the blessings, God's intimate friendship was the greatest, a sense of closeness of God's secret counsel, as though God himself, Almighty God, whispered wisdom and love into his ears. What's so tragic about all this as you read it, is that Job doesn't realize that God in no way loved him any less at that point than he ever did in the past. God's love is not like our love. It's not fickle. It's not vacillating. But when we go into these times of affliction and trial, beware, you won't know yourself, you won't know God, it seems. You're in a fog and you begin to hear whisperings and insinuations. In Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan talks about Christian going through the land of the shadow of death, and he hears whispering, and he thinks it's his own voice. And he just doesn't seem to know what the truth is anymore. Beware that that doesn't happen to you when you go through afflictions and loss. He thinks that God's not with him anymore.
"The best part of Job's former life was that God watched over him, he said, God loved him. God protected him. He said God's light shone in his life, representing the way that God guided him with wisdom and knowledge. "
And he says, "My family was around me back then, and we were happy." Verses 4-5, "When God's intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me." So Job can't help but think about his dead children, seven dead sons, three dead daughters. Their faces shine in his mind. He can hear their laughter, their witty conversations with each other, their achievements that made him proud, proud to be their father. God's blessings extended to them as well as to him. He blessed them lavishly and watched over them as well.
"When the Almighty was still with me.” Think about those words, clearly implying he's not with me anymore. God has forsaken me. God has left me. And back in those days, the cream and the oil just flowed. Look at verse 6, "When my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil." This is the language of rich blessedness. As Job walked down the path of his life, his path itself was drenched in cream. Or one translation has, “butter.” Flowing with blessings everywhere, like God describing the Promised Land, “the land flowing with milk and honey.” That's what his life was like. Even the rocks themselves poured out olive oil. Everything around him was blessed by God.
And not only that, he was honored and esteemed by other people. Look at verse 7, "When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square." Now, the city gate was a place of official business in the ancient world. That's where the most important men in the city would go to make critical decisions that affected the lives of everyone in the city. And Job was one of those great men, with an honored seat above all the others at the city gate, he was deeply honored by everyone who saw him. Look at verses 8-10, "The young men saw me and stepped aside. The old men rose to their feet. The chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands. The voices of the nobles were hushed and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths." So Job was seen as a man blessed by God. Wealthy, yes, but also wise and amazingly merciful to the poor and needy.
Job's mercy ministries flourished. Look at verses 11-17, "Whoever heard me, spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, because I rescued the poor who cried for help and the fatherless who had none to assist him. The man who was dying blessed me. I made the widow's heart sing. I put on righteousness as my clothing. Justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy. I took up the case of the stranger. I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth." Job cared for the poor and needy. He rescued them from oppression and from poverty. He says he brought joy to the fatherless and the widow. They were groaning in sadness through their affliction, through their poverty, until Job found out about them and stepped in and cared for their needs.
His character traits were obvious for everyone to see and know. This was his reputation in the community. This is how people knew him. He was a righteous man. He was committed to justice for the poor. He was willing to fight for them. He broke the fangs of the wicked, he said, and snatched victims from their teeth. So these are powerful men who used their positions of power to oppress the weak. Job would ride in to the rescue, and that's why everyone respected him. He loved righteousness and hated wickedness. And he was not selfish with his wealth, but he used it for others.
And he expected the blessings to go on for the rest of his life. He thought it would never change. Look at verses 18-20, "I thought, 'I will die in my own house, my days as numerous as the grains of sand, my roots will reach to the water and the dew will lie all night on my branches. My glory will remain fresh in me. The bow ever new in my hand.'" Well, he thought all of that would go on forever. Why wouldn't it? These blessings came directly from Almighty God, his intimate friend. He wasn't abusing them. He wasn't abusing his rank. He wasn't abusing his wealth. He was using it like God wanted him to, for the poor and needy. And that's why he was held in such esteem by everyone in the city. And he talks about that again, that was a big deal for him. Verses 21-25, "Men listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel. After I had spoken, they spoke no more. My words fell gently on their ears. They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain. When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it. The light of my face was precious to them. I chose the way for them and sat as their chief. I dwelt as a king among as troops. I was like one who comforts mourners."
These words are almost too good to be true, but they seem to be true in Job's case. Job's wisdom was held in such esteem that people gathered around him to hear anything he wanted to say. It was like Solomon. People came from the ends of the earth to listen to his wisdom, to hear the pearls of truth that came dropping from his lips. He was like the sun to those in darkness, like the rain to those in drought. He was like a king surrounded by an undefeated army. Those were the days. Those were the days of my blessedness, the days of my prime. Oh, how I wish it were like that again. I wish we could go back to those days again, but we can't. Those days are over. That's Job 29.
II. Lamenting the Present
Job 30, he laments the present. And he begins with the mockery that he's experiencing. Look at verse 1, "But now they mock me." To be laughed at by others is exceedingly painful. To have people whisper at you as you walk by and then break into raucous laughter and you just know they're talking about you, they're laughing at you. And there is an essential arrogance to that kind of mockery, isn't there? The people who do it feel superior to the people they're mocking.
What makes it so painful for Job is who these people are that are mocking him. Look what he says about them, verses 1-10, chapter 30, "Men younger than I, whose fathers I would've disdained to put with my sheep dogs. Of what use was the strength of their hands to me, since their vigor had gone from them? Haggard from want and hunger, they roamed the parched land and desolate wastelands at night. In the brush, they gathered salt herbs, and their food was the root of the broom tree. They were banished from their fellow men, shouted at as if they were thieves. They were forced to live in the dry stream beds among the rocks and in holes in the ground. They brayed among the bushes and huddled in the undergrowth, a base and nameless brood. They were driven out of the land. And now their sons mock me in song. I have become a byword among them. They detest me and keep their distance. They do not hesitate to spit in my face."
So he's older than these youngsters that are mocking him. They should respect his wisdom and stature, but they don't. And they are the sons of utterly disreputable characters in the city. Job says he would not have put their fathers with his sheep dogs to watch his sheep. They would've been less reliable than the dogs by far. These men were like homeless ruffians, not much better than highway robbers or driftless brigands. Job speaks of them as if they were a pack of mongrel dogs or wild animals, braying at the moon, wearing rags through their own laziness and debauchery. "And now their sons think they can mock me. They make up clever songs about me. Some of them actually have spit at me." Utter disrespect. "Any respect I ever had in society is utterly gone. It's gone. The whole city has judged me in the same way as my three friends have, it seems. They all think that I'm being judged by God for some secret wickedness of a magnitude so great it almost can't be mentioned."
Now, as I read these words, I can't help in my heart but to turn aside and see the magnitude of Christ suffering on our behalf. It makes me think about the mockery that Jesus Christ went through when he was condemned and executed. It says in Mark 14:65, "Then some began to spit at him. They blindfolded him and struck him with their fists and said, 'Prophesy.' And the guards took him and beat him." And then in Mark, 15:16-19, "The Roman soldiers led Jesus away into the palace, that is the Praetorium. And they called together the whole company of soldiers. And they put a purple robe on him and they twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, 'Hail, king of the Jews.' Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him." And then in 15:29-32, in Mark's gospel, "Those who passed by when he was being crucified hurled, insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, 'So, you are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days? Come down from the cross and save yourself.' In the same way, the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. 'He saved others,' they said, 'But he can't save himself. Let this Christ, this king of Israel come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.'" Listen to this, "Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him."
That abuse, that spitting, that mockery is staggering because these people are unworthy, as John the Baptist said, to stoop down and untie his sandals. They don't know who he is. Jesus was the only begotten son of God. Before him, the seraphim hide their faces at his glory. Jesus was the only perfect man that ever lived. Whatever résumé of righteousness Job had, Jesus was infinitely greater, the only perfect résumé of righteousness there's ever been. Jesus was the one wiser than Solomon. His words were perfect. No one ever spoke like that man. Jesus raised the dead. He raised the widow's dead son at Nain. Jesus healed lepers with a touch. Jesus drove out demons effortlessly with a word, and they were terrified of him. And now this is the one they're spitting on and mocking and laughing at and beating with their fists, smashing the crown of thorns down on his head.
"Whatever résumé of righteousness Job had, Jesus was infinitely greater, the only perfect résumé of righteousness there's ever been. Jesus was the one wiser than Solomon. His words were perfect. No one ever spoke like that man."
This same one is the most humble man that ever lived as well. It's amazing how humble Jesus was, because one of those two robbers, while he was being crucified, later changed his mind about Jesus. Isn't that incredible? In some mysterious way, God, the Holy Spirit, moved out according to the plan of the eternal Father, and transformed the thief on the cross. And at some point, he saw in Jesus a coming king who would be raised from the dead and would have a glorious kingdom. And not only that, he saw that it would be possible that such a king would want someone like him, an utterly worthless individual in and of himself, in his kingdom. And so he said, "Remember me, Lord, when you come into your kingdom." On what basis? On the basis of sheer grace and mercy. And Jesus said to him with incredible graciousness, "Today, you will be with me in paradise." Now you think about that. This man was mocking him a few hours before that. And Jesus effectively said, "I want to spend eternity feasting with you in my father's kingdom." That's the grace of our savior.
Every time I read Job, I want to bring you to Christ, every time. And so we're looking at Job, and he was a righteous man, a good man. And they mocked him, it seems, and they spit at him, but Jesus was greater. Now we return to Job. Look at verses 11-14, chapter 30, "Now that God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me, they throw off restraint in my presence. On my right, the tribe attacks. They lay snares for my feet. They build their siege ramps against me. They break up my road. They succeed in destroying me without anyone's helping them. They advance as through a gaping breach. Amid the ruins, they come rolling in." So Job basically says the social aspects of his rejection were so overpowering and aggressive it was like people assaulting him violently, like a walled fortress that has a breach in the wall and the soldiers come rushing violently in through that breach. God has stripped him of his defenses. And now like wild beasts, these men come after him verbally, not that they actually attacked him physically, because clearly in his weakened physical state, he would've died easily, immediately. It wasn't that. But their insults hurt him. Their mockery hurt him. Their disrespect wounded him. Job felt like that. Terrors came in wave upon wave.
Look at verses 15-17, "Terrors overwhelm me. My dignity is driven away as by the wind. My safety vanishes like a cloud. And now my life ebbs away. Days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones. My gnawing pains never rest." Wave upon wave. And worst of all, it seems, God has become my greatest enemy. Look at verses 18-19, "In his great power, God becomes like clothing to me. He binds me like the neck of my garment. He throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes.” It's like God is focused on me to destroy me. He's watching me closely and I can't shake his piercing gaze. He has thrown me down into the mud. And he doesn't answer my prayers." Verse 20, "I cry out to you, oh, God, but you do not answer. I stand up, but you merely look at me.” Instead, God just seems to be finding new ways to crush me further, he says. Look at verses 21-22, "You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand, you attack me. You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm."
Now, how can God kick me when I'm already down? Everyone knows it's particularly cold-hearted and ruthless to keep beating on a man who's on the ground. Everyone knows that. Once the man's down, you stop beating on him. Job says he knows that, but God doesn't seem to know that. Look at verse 24-26, "Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in and his distress. Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? Yet when I hoped for good, evil came. When I looked for light, then came darkness. I was already down on the ground, crushed, and more trouble came on me."
III. Dreading the Future
So he's lamenting his present. He's yearning for the past, lamenting his present, and he's dreading the future. Where is all this leading? Job sees nothing good for the future. Look at verse 23. He says, "I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living." This whole thing's going to end up in my death. That's where we're heading. And we've already seen that his view of death is a place of hopelessness, of dark despair. Verses 27-31, "The churning inside me never stops. Days of suffering confront me. I go about blackened, but not by the sun. I stand up in the assembly and cry for help. I've become a brother of jackals, a companion of owls. My skin grows black and peels. My body burns with fever. My harp is turned to mourning and my flute to the sound of wailing."
So in chapter 29, Job yearns for the past when God was his friend and he was in his prime, when blessings washed over his every move, pure nostalgia, looking back at bygone days, knowing that they can never come again, so he thinks. In chapter 30, he laments his dark present, how horrible everything is, the worst being that God is no longer his friend, but it seems his enemy. And it's open season on Job by every lowlife man in the city who openly mocks him, while undoubtedly the more polished mockers do it more quietly at their dinner tables, but they're still laughing about Job. And then chapter 30 also, he has no expectation for anything good in the future, just death.
IV. The Remedy: Christian Hope
All right, so that's Job 29 and 30. What is the remedy? What is the remedy? Well, it's the same every week, every time we read this. Job is a better man than any of us will ever be, but we have a better hope than he ever had. We should have. And I think the purpose of Christians reading the book of Job is to get ready to suffer better than this. Not in any way minimizing the greatness and the magnitude of his character and of the suffering and knowing that our suffering will probably be less than his, but I think the New Testament says we can suffer better than this. Job's lament speaks of his general hopelessness. But we, because of Christ and because of the promises of the New Testament, we can and should have a buoyant, evident hopefulness that carries us through any and every suffering.
Now, let me talk about nostalgia. Nostalgia should not be the permanent home of any Christian. There's nothing wrong with remembering the past, looking at old photos and mementos of past days of blessing. There's nothing wrong with photo albums. There's nothing wrong with hope chests filled with memorabilia. Nothing wrong with watching old home videos of your kids' first steps or the three-year-old birthday party. The rehearsal dinner video presentations, parents always weep. I weep, they're not even my kids. Graduations, we watch them grow up and get to this point, and we all cry. And I think like at a wedding, it's like, "Oh, tears of joy." No, it's not. I give my daughter away to some guy. He's a godly man, I love him. But it's like, "What a raw deal. I've had this beautiful treasure with me all these years, and now I get to give her away and get to pay money for the privilege." Tell me that's not a raw deal.
But the nostalgia can just be so difficult, so difficult. And there's nothing wrong with married couples looking at pictures of them on their wedding day. You're like, "Boy, I was good looking back then. And so were you." Be careful there, all right? "You were something back in the day." No way to turn that into a compliment. But isn't it a joy to know that for Christians, the best is always yet to come? And it just doesn't matter how blessed your life is in this world. And God can lavishly bless us here. But for Christians, the best is yet to come. That's what hope is. Hope is a strong feeling that your best things are yet to come, even on your deathbed. And I want to say especially on your deathbed. You're about to step through a portal into a world of blessedness that can scarcely be put into words.
"Isn't it a joy to know that for Christians, the best is always yet to come?"
That's what Christian hope is. Romans 8:24-25 speaks of that hope, "For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." And I mean right to the end of our lives. We don't have it yet. We don't have it yet. We don't have it yet, but it's coming. It's coming.
Hope is continually forward-looking. Hebrews 11 speaks much of this hope. Hebrews 11 says, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for." And so a lot of Hebrews 11 speaks of hope. Verses 9-10, "By faith, Abraham made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him with the same promise, for he was looking forward to the city with foundations whose architect and builder is God." That's what hope is, looking forward. It's a forward perspective. Looking forward to that city.
A few verses later, Hebrews 11:13-14, "All these people, these heroes of the faith, were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised, but only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth." People who say such things show that they're looking for a country of their own, country of their own. Verse 16 of that same chapter, "They were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. And therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." We're going to a city and a country, and it's going to be glorious. And nothing you experienced on earth can remotely compare with it, nothing.
And so you should die well. You should die filled with hope. You should die knowing your best things are yet to come. And then before that, decades before that, you should live well too, knowing that your best things are not in this world. You should live as an alien and a stranger here, not holding too tightly onto the things of this world, not being burdened by a crushing nostalgia, wishing for the past days when you were in your prime, trying to hold onto something.
Paul talks about this in Philippians chapter three, about a forward-looking faith, looking ahead. He says in Philippians 3:13-14, "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward." So there is that healthy forgetting what lies behind. Be thankful if you want to, look back, you should say thanks for that. But don't live there. Forgetting what lies behind, pressing on toward your heavenly destination.
So hope colors even specific things that we long for. Your best physical days are yet to come. Think about that. I know all you athlete heroes, the stuff you did in high school, impressive. Can't do any of it now. But boy, those were the days. You were a hero on the field or on the track. Well guess what? Your resurrection body is going to be vastly more capable than anything you ever had in high school. Your best physical days are yet to come. And I believe the same is true of beauty. Age robs beauty from us, male and female. But you are going to be spectacularly, radiantly beautiful in heaven. Your best beauty days are yet to come. So don't spend a lot of money trying to be beautiful in that last stretch of your life. Just some advice, all right? Because you're getting closer and closer to a glorious, radiant beauty you can scarcely imagine.
And not only that, your marriage, your Christian marriage, husband and wife both born again, walking in grace with each other, loving each other, caring for each other till death do you part, and then you're parted by death. It's going to happen. Well, I believe that your best days of unity, of union, are in the future. They're in heaven. You'll have somewhat of a super-marriage in heaven. I'm well aware that Jesus said at the resurrection people neither marry nor be given in marriage. They'll be like the angels in heaven. There's no procreation, and therefore no marital relations in heaven. But there is the perfection of the relationship, of the intimacy, of the closeness, of the oneness. Not a single disagreement between you in heaven. Think about that. Your best days of union are yet to come.
And so also your relationship with your Christian children. However much you enjoyed your growing up years, if they're born again and you're born again, you'll spend eternity with them in perfect unity as brothers and sisters in Christ, celebrating what God did in and through their lives, and loving them. And all your Christian friendships will be consummated. Some of them you lose by death, some of them you lose by distance as people move away. Some of them, sadly, we lose by sin, as Paul and Barnabas didn't quite enjoy each other much at the end as they did toward the beginning. But God heals those things and restores them. And Paul and Barnabas are perfect friends now. And think about the beauty of their relationship and celebrating what God did through them together, their missionary trip.
So, at some point, you are going to give up all of your memorabilia. You can give it all up. All your photos, you're going to give them up. And your kids and grandkids will go through them, and those pictures won't mean as much to them as they did to you. And they're going to end up physically destroyed in a dump somewhere, etc. Or maybe your kids will hold onto some of them. But at some point, all of that knowledge will flicker away. All of that memorabilia will be gone. Don't worry about it. Don't be enslaved by it. Because in heaven, you will get a perfect review and a celebration of every good and perfect gift God ever gave you. I really believe that. So set your heart on things to come, not on things in the back. Set your heart on things to come and things above.
And more importantly than any of this, can I tell you? Christ will never, ever cease to be your friend. God, your heavenly Father, will never cease to love you and care for you. He's not like us. He's not a friend like us, fickle and fair-weather. At the end of this time, God is going to heal Job's perception of him. And Job is going to say in chapter 42:5-6, "My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you." What do you think he felt when he said those words? "And I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes," like the happiest repenter ever, because he knows God loves him. Well, we should never doubt that. It's proven forever at the cross. Greater love has no one than this, that he laid down his life for his friends.””God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners” — at our worst — “Christ died for us.” Nothing is going to tear his love away from you or your love away from him.
It says in Hebrews 13:5, "God has said, 'Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.'" Says that to us in Christ. But the question is, are you a Christian? Are you a Christian? Are you born again? Have you come to faith in Christ? All of these beautiful things I've been describing are for brothers and sisters in Christ. They're for Christians, not for non-Christians. Do you realize that all that mocking and beating and the death that Jesus died, he died for sinners? Do you realize that he died for you? That you deserve the mocking and the rejection and the beating and the death, but Jesus did it in your place so that you might have forgiveness of sins. And you don't have to do any good works. What did the thief do to be with Jesus in paradise? He did nothing. He trusted in the savior. And that's all you need to do for the forgiveness of your sins.
V. Is Christ Nostalgic For Your Affection?
Now, as I finish, I just want to ask one question. I want to turn the whole thing around and say, in some way, could it be possible that Christ might be nostalgic for your affections? You know, in Revelation 2:4-5 it says, "I hold this against you. You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first." He's speaking to the Ephesian Christians who had forsaken their first love. And Jesus is saying to them, "You loved me better and more back then than you do now." Has that happened to you? Don't think it's impossible. The world, the flesh and the devil are assaulting our affection for Jesus every day, and trying to cause us to drift away from him. So look at your own life. Look at your Bible reading patterns. Look at your prayer life. Look at your attitude and demeanor toward Christ. Is it the same as it was back then? Is it greater? Is it growing? Or has there been some declension, some degeneration? Have you forsaken your first love? Well, if so, remember the height from which you have fallen, what you used to be like in loving Jesus, and repent of the sins that have led to this distance and do the things you did at first.
All right, well, we're going to go to a time now of celebrating the Lord's Supper. And so I'm going to pray in reference to the sermon and then we'll prepare for the Lord's Supper. Lord, thank you for Job, the book of Job and the lessons in it, in Job 29 and 30. And now as we turn to the Lord's Supper, Lord, we thank you for your mercy and pray that you would be with us. In Jesus' name, amen.