Community Group Study Notes
- Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture points and the main idea of the message.
- How did this message strengthen and/or correct your previous ideas about closure and resolution? Did you learn anything new about God or yourself this week?
- What is unresolved in your life? In what way(s) do you feel like you’re missing closure?
- How has lack of closure or resolution influenced your relationship with God?
- Read the following verses: Habakkuk 3:16, Psalm 27:14, Psalm 130:5-6. What does it mean to wait for the Lord, knowing that closure in our present circumstances isn’t guaranteed?
- How do you typically respond when you have unmet expectations? How can you respond in a Christlike manner?
- What action step do you need to take to better live in the truth that Jesus’ presence and power in our life is resolution enough?
“Closure and resolution is coming because of what Jesus did, and what He will do when He returns.”
Take some time this week to write down the story of Jesus. Write down what Jesus did for us in his death and resurrection and write down what He is going to do when He returns. Meditate on scripture as you write down these truths. After you finish writing, spend time in prayer praising God for this truth, and ask Him to break down the idol of resolution in your life, knowing that Jesus came and is coming again.
Did you commit to the Envelope Challenge? Spend time praying over who God is leading you to bless during the Time Challenge. For more information on the challenge and to share your stories about how God is growing you and using you, visit thechapel.com/envelopechallenge!
First, let me just say that I love the movie "The Wizard of Oz." Did that seem random? That's all, I just wanted to say that. No, I'm kidding. I love the movie "The Wizard of Oz." It is an American classic. And almost 85 years later, it still stands the test of time. There's people that watch this, and the kids watch it, 85 years later. And there's a lot of things that I like about the movie. It was really intriguing to me when I was little, and I watched it go from black and white to color. You remember that shift in the movie, and you just went, "Oh." It was a big deal when they did it in 1939 or whatever. But I even got pretty fired up about it in the seventies when I saw this movie. I also loved the Emerald City. Just when they were that distance from it, and I'm looking at it going, "I would like to go there. "That would be a really cool place to see." And I had dreams about the Emerald City. I even liked the really, really disconcerting flying monkeys that would be out there. Those things are just, they're creepy, I don't know, I mean. You could also have dreams about that as well, so sorry to to mess with you today. But I think maybe what I resonated the most with in the movie is this longing that there is, that Dorothy has for home. And that it's this tension, this longing that ultimately at the very end of the movie when she finally wakes up, you get this satisfaction in that she's home and she's longed for this. And there's this feeling of resolution. Isn't it great when stories end up resolving? There's this tension and then they resolve and you just go, "Oh man, I'm so thankful for that." And I think that's part of what we resonate so much with in a movie like this, or in other stories or movies, is the ability for there to be resolution, for there to be closure at the end of the movie. But as I've gotten older, I realize that I live in a world that is not always resolved. That the world that we live in doesn't always resolve. There's not always closure with the world that we live in. And in fact, if you paid close attention to the movie "The Wizard of Oz," there are some things that actually there weren't any closure to. I don't know if you realize this, sorry to ruin it for you, but if you remember at the very beginning of the movie, it's still black and white. You remember Toto bites the really mean lady Elvira Gulch, who ended up being the Wicked Witch of the West in the dream, and all that. And then they had this big cyclone tornado and all of that stuff because this lady right before that said she was gonna kill Toto. She wanted Toto dead, or she wants to take him away and all that. And Dorothy's like, "No, no, you can't do that." And then the big tornado comes and everybody's flying around. Dorothy goes into this dream sequence and she sees the lady riding on her bike. And then she turns into a witch, and you just go, "Okay, that's weird." So all of that, right. So, all of that happens. Dorothy has the dream, she wakes up, "Oh, it's you, it's you, it's you, it's you." And she's so fired up, and in my mind, and Toto's sitting on her lap, and in my mind I'm thinking, "I wonder when the mean old lady in the neighborhood "is gonna come back over and take the dog to the pound." Some of you are thinking, "You just ruined the movie for me." I didn't mean to. What I meant to say is, is that there were things related to the movie that were resolved, and there were things that were related to the movie that were unresolved. That seems to be the way that we live in the life that we have, isn't it? That sometimes things end up resolving and other times they don't. We don't always get closure. We don't always get resolution. That's just kind of how it is. That thought became really clear to me recently. Edie and I were out of town and we were with our national network, Christ Together, and had a number of things going on there. And we were staying in a hotel room. And that morning we were gonna get started with the time that we were gonna be there with some other leaders from around the country talking about the mission that we have in the nation and those things. Edie was getting ready for the morning, and I was just sitting on the little hotel couch that they give you in there, that's not at all comfortable, by the way, just as a heads up. But I'm just sitting on it while she's getting ready for the morning, and I'm opening the Word of God and I'm beginning to read. As I opened it up, I've been reading in the Book of Ephesians, just devotionally, in my time with the Lord. And I thought to myself, "That's what I'm gonna do." And I opened it up, but I had just preached, this was a few weeks ago, I had just preached in Ephesians, and I had a little thing that was clipped into my Bible that tells me where some of the passages are in case the technology fails and I can remember to go where I'm supposed to go. And instead of pulling it out, I didn't really have anywhere to put it, and so maybe this was just a lazy move on my part, I just said, "All right, Lord, "I'm not gonna read in Ephesians this morning. "I know that's where I've been, but." And so I just flipped over and flipped over and then I just stopped in 2 Timothy 4. It seemed random. I don't know why I stopped there. I just turned over there, and that's where I was gonna be reading for the morning. And I began reading in 2 Timothy 4, and I was one part depressed and one part confused and was thinking about, man, this is strewn, this whole chapter is just strewn with unresolved things in this letter. And so, I finished up and I was asking the Lord, "Lord, I don't know what You're saying. "I don't know what You're doing. "I'm not real sure what this means. "Are You preparing me for something? "I don't really wanna be prepared "for being abandoned by people in my life like Paul was. "But what is this? "And maybe You're trying to encourage me. "It seems backwards, but maybe You are." And I just didn't know. Within 30 minutes, we're downstairs. And we're starting to gather and there's a man who's there with us who's not a part of what we're doing, but was just gonna speak into our ministries and speak into our marriages a little bit. His name's Dave Harvey. He had written a book called "I Still Do." One of the chapters in that book has to do with how we overestimate and think too much about the idea of closure, that he says it's overrated. And he said, "So what I wanna do is "I'd like to speak to you this morning out of 2 Timothy 4." That happens sometimes, I know this because there are times where you come to me in the atrium and you're like, "You're never gonna believe, "you're never going to believe "what God was speaking to me this morning. "And then you started talking, and it was like..." And I was like, "Oh, I know, I believe you." And it's not something I could know, it's just that the Holy Spirit does this. And so, I sat there and I listened, and Edie and I were listening very intently. And so, what I'm doing this morning is I'm talking to you about things that God was beginning to stir up in my own heart, and then were confirmed by something that I heard. So, it's a mixture of thoughts. Some are, the majority are mine, but some probably are commingled with Dave's who has influenced some of the way that I was thinking here as well. And that's what I wanna talk to us about, about how we live in a world that is, generally speaking, unresolved. It seems difficult because we all, I think every one of us in some sense, we feel it. Every single one of us I think will resonate with this because every single one of us has something that we've not been able to see closure on. We have some things in our lives, maybe, that are still yet unresolved, and we don't quite know how they're going to turn out. We have those relationships where we lack closure and they are still maybe unresolved. Maybe it's, you've done your dead level best and you're married to somebody who's not a believer, and you're listening to this this morning and that spouse is not, and you're doing everything you can, but your relationship's in a difficult place and you're not really sure how that's going to continue well and you're unsettled by it because it just doesn't feel like there's closure there, that it's not resolved. Maybe you have that friend that was really close to you and then all of a sudden you don't really know why, you're still not sure at all, but they just ghosted you. They're just gone. They're just now out of your life. And you're like, "We were so close. "We were thick as thieves," as they say. And then all of a sudden they're just gone, and you have no real explanation. You don't know really why it happened, and it feels like a lack of closure, you feel unresolved. Or maybe it's the child that, some of your other children turned out in a specific way and you're thrilled by the way that God is using them. But there's that one child or maybe that other child that aren't walking with the Lord and aren't doing as you thought, and it just feels like there's no closure, like it's unresolved. Or that neighbor who was really nasty to you and you're like, "Wait, what? "You've been living next to me for so long," or, "you've had the apartment across from me for so long. "Now you're going at me this way "and I don't even really know why you're doing that." Or that coworker who's saying bad things to your supervisor that causes you not to be looked at as someone who could progress in your organization or in your company. And it still feels like that tension is hanging around you and it's unresolved and you don't quite know what to do with it. Or maybe you're watching and you're a pastor. And I know we have lots of pastors from both our region and around the country that are watching, and you're thinking to yourself, "You know what? "I've still got those people that over the last few years "in the variety of things that have happened "over the last few years "that just bolted from our church. "I buried family members. "I married them. "I've been investing the gospel in them "for years upon years, upon years. "And without a word, they just leave." I see. I see you, and I know how that feels. And it feels unresolved like there's no closure. Or maybe an injustice has happened to you and it's still not settled, and you don't know if it's ever going to be settled, and you're not quite sure how that's going to play out. Or maybe you've got a script that you created in your mind for the expectations for your life, but it feels like somebody snuck in, took the script, burned it, and then replaced it with one that you didn't wanna be the chief actor in. And this is where you are living. Every single one of us knows what it feels like to live in the land of no resolution, to live in the land where there's not closure, where there's no easy, good, resolved ending. Maybe there's not even an ending at all, and we don't know what to do. That's why the last chapter of the last book that Paul ever wrote is really, really important to us. It's a paradox, when I was reading it. At times you feel like when you're reading 2 Timothy 4, that it feels empty in some ways, but it also feels full. It feels depressing in some ways, but it also shines out as being hopeful. It feels really sad when you're reading it, but it's also, at the same time, really beautiful. See, Paul's writing from prison. And this isn't like the first time that he was imprisoned in Rome where he was under house arrest and could move around a little bit freely. No, this is where Paul is actually chained up. Paul is in a cold, dark dungeon. And he is writing the last letter that he's ever going to write before he dies. And he knows that his time is about over. In fact, here's what he says in 2 Timothy 4, beginning in verse six. He says, "For I am already "being poured out like a drink offering, "and the time for my departure is near. "I have fought the good fight, "I have finished the race, "I have kept the faith." You see, Paul has been faithful to his call, and now he's about to die. And we are reading some of the last remarks, the last remarks that he has in writing before his death. And what we would think about is this, is it seems to us that a guy who's been as faithful as Paul has been, that this should actually turn out okay, that this should turn out decent. He may die, but everything needs to come to a conclusion because ultimately the good guys get a good ending. At least that's how we think, isn't it? That's not exactly how it went for the Apostle Paul, because when I look over his life in 2 Timothy 4, here's what I see. I see a last writing that is littered with things that are unresolved. Can you imagine? This is where Paul's life is ending. He's about to die and there are so many things that are unresolved. Like, for instance, Paul had unresolved relationships. Paul had unresolved relationships. You say, "What are you talking about?" Well, look with me beginning in verse nine of 2 Timothy 4. He's writing to Timothy, and he says, "Timothy, "do your best to come to me quickly, "for Demas, because he loved this world, "has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. "Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. "Only Luke is with me. "Get Mark and bring him with you, "because he is helpful to me in my ministry. "I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. "When you come, "bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, "and my scrolls, especially the parchments. "Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. "The Lord will repay him for what he has done. "You too should be on your guard against him, "because he strongly opposed our message. "At my first defense, no one came to my support, "but everyone deserted me." How does that sound? Is that an ending that you think that you would start scripting for yourself; a bunch of abandonment that happens in your life? I mean, do you know how Paul even begun this last letter that he wrote? It's interesting what he said in chapter number one of 2 Timothy. He says, "You know that everyone in the province of Asia "has deserted me, "including Phygelus and Hermogenes." See, Phygelus and Hermogenes also apparently had some prominence in the church in Asia, and they bolted and bailed on Paul. And so did, he uses the term, everybody. Now, does he mean every single person in the population of Asia? No, he does not mean that. He's using this hyperbolically, illustratively. And he's saying that, "Everybody, "all these people that were with me that I invested in, "that I cared for, that I raised up, "maybe that I even led to faith in Christ, "they have deserted me during this time, "including people that were prominent, "like Phygelus and Hermogenes." He also talks about how there are false teachers that have basically abandoned what he had taught them. In chapter two, here's what he says, "Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it "will become more and more ungodly. "Their teaching will spread like gangrene. "And among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, "who have departed from the truth. "They say that the resurrection has already taken place, "and they destroy the faith of some." These are people that probably Paul had invested in, and now he's calling them by name because now they are teaching in opposition to what Paul had been teaching. And who does he name here in chapter four? He says, "Demas, he abandoned me, he deserted me." Why? Because he loved the world. He loved the world. He loved the world more than he loved the ways of God. And so, Demas just checked out. "He was serving with me, he was walking with me, "and then he's just gone." And what about Alexander the metalworker? Paul says, "He did me much harm." The likelihood is, 'cause he's actually mentioned in 1 Timothy as well, Alexander is, but Alexander the metalworker, for whatever reason, however this all happened, whatever the historical background, he wanted to do harm to the Apostle Paul. He's probably the reason that the Apostle Paul is now in jail in Rome. It's because of Alexander more than likely. And that's why he warns Timothy. "Timothy, I want you to come to me. "When you come, "make sure you avoid Alexander the metalworker "because he's caused me a great deal of harm. "And if you don't avoid him, "you may end up in the same place that I'm in." This is what's going on in Paul's life. Now, did Paul have some good relationships? Did he have some solid friends? Of course. He's writing to Timothy, right? Timothy is a son in the faith that he absolutely loves. And then he talks about Crescens, but Crescens is not with him. Crescens has gone out to Galatia and Paul's sitting in a lonely cell. And Titus, he's over in Dalmatia. And he says, "Only Luke is with me." Do you know what? It's interesting, Roman citizens, which Paul was one, Roman citizens were allowed, when they were jailed because they were Roman citizens, if they were jailed in Rome, did have the opportunity to have with them one or two servants. See, it's possible that what Luke did is he indentured himself to Paul so that he could stay with Paul in jail at the end of Paul's life; that's a possibility. I don't know for sure, but that's certainly a possibility. Paul says, "Only Luke's with me. "My friends, they're elsewhere ministering. "Timothy, I'm wanting you to come to me." But he's here, he's alone, he's sad, and only Luke's with him. And all these people have abandoned him. He's got unresolved relationships. But there's also an unresolved request that we see in this passage of Scripture, an unresolved request. Look at verse number nine again. Paul says to Timothy, "Do your best to come to me quickly." And then he says a little bit later in verse 13, "And when you come, Timothy, "bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, "and my scrolls, especially the parchments." Do you know why I say this is an unresolved request? Listen carefully. Because Paul asked Timothy to come to him. And we don't know if Timothy ever made it. Paul's alone, he's by himself, he's in jail, he's tired, he's been faithful, but there are unresolved relationships. And now he wants Timothy, in his loneliness, to come to him. And you know what? We don't even know if it ever happened. We don't know. You're thinking to yourself, "Well, surely it..." No, no, no. You can't be surely it because we don't know. Because what we have in this chapter is we've got unresolved things. And even in the very letter itself, even in the very last part of the chapter, even in the request that Paul makes for Timothy to come, we don't even know if it happened. It's unresolved. Timothy might have started on his way. Paul might have been dead before Timothy got there. Something may have held Timothy up. He may not have been able to make it. It's unresolved. How do you think that would've made Timothy feel if he was on his way and Paul was already dead? And he's like, "Oh." And it feels unresolved. It feels like no closure. This is what we have in this chapter. It's not how we picture this supposed to end. We want resolution. Why is there a lack of closure? Why is there a lack of resolution in Paul's world and in ours? Couple of reasons. Here's the first: because sin and brokenness is real. Sin and brokenness is real. I don't know if we fully understand the devastating depth of sin and brokenness in the world that we live in. You see, Paul had somebody that he had close to him, Demas. And do you know what Demas did? Demas, because of the sin and the brokenness in the world and because of the way that the world is always calling to us and wants to bring us with it, he decided to walk in the way of the world. This is what sin and brokenness does. Sometimes that friend just checks out. Why? Because. Because of brokenness. Because of sin. Maybe it's not even having anything to do with you, but you just get ghosted for some reason. It's because of sin and brokenness in the world. And do you know what sin does? Dave made this point, I thought it was tremendous. Do you know what sin does by its very nature? Leaves things open-ended. That's what sin does. If you're like, "Man, I want resolution." Well, guess what? Sin doesn't have resolution. All sin does is it lives open-ended and it is an unsatisfied grave. Sin and brokenness just want more sin and brokenness, and it's never satisfied. It just keeps consuming more sin and more brokenness in a vicious cycle. There's no closure, there's no resolution. Why? Because we live in a world filled with sin and brokenness. So to expect full resolution and to expect full closure in that kind of environment is not consistent with reality. Life is open-ended. Sin doesn't care about resolution. It just promotes more sin. Sin is not sensible. When we talk about evil oftentimes we'll say this, "It was senseless evil." Well, of course it was. Evil has no sense. Of course it was.
Sin and brokenness are real and that's why there's no resolution. Let me give you a second reason: because there's no formula for a good resolution. The reason that there is non-closure and non-resolution in our lives, in our relationships, in our world is because there's no formula for a good resolution. Here's what we think, and it's wrong, here's what we think, if we will input A, the outcome will always be guaranteed to be B. No, it won't. No, it won't. If we will just lead really well, we can assure ourselves of a good outcome. No, you can't. No, you can't. Do you think Paul was a good spiritual leader? Do you think Paul was investing well in the lives of people? Do you think Paul was godly? Do you think Paul was teaching the truth of the gospel? How'd that go? How about for Jesus? All 12? Did that go perfectly? I remember one to be a betrayer. You see, it's not always that if we input A, that we're guaranteed that B is gonna be the result. Not always. If we'll just do these three or four key things in our marriage, we'll have a perfect marriage. Until you don't. If we'll just do these four or five things as parents, we'll guarantee the outcome of the lives of our kids. Until you can't. I mean, we've seen it, haven't we? Same parents, same DNA, and sometimes wildly different outcomes with those kids. And we sometimes take that upon ourselves and we hang that around our necks and we think, "What did I do wrong?" And listen, we're all fallible as parents, anybody who's a parent. Not everybody's made every good decision. Because you've also seen people come from really bad parents who God has done some extraordinary things with. You feel like, "Man, I'm living in a place, "I'm living in a spot "where this feels a little bit like it's untamed. "It feels a little bit sometimes random. "It feels a little bit chaotic "as if I can't control it all." Now you're starting to get it. Now you're starting to get it that you can't control it all. That there's no guarantee on the outcomes. That you can pour into lives as a leader, and that might not turn out as you hope; you can pour into your spouse and it might not turn out as you hope; you can pour into your kids and it might not turn out as you hope; and you can pour into your friends and it might not turn out as you hope, because there's no guarantees. Man, as parents, you have to think about this too because at the end of the day, what we do is we influence our kids for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ. We model and we teach and we instruct and then we just have to fall into grace 'cause there's no guarantees. They make choices and they make decisions just like Demas did with Paul. And he said, "He loved the world more than he loved." And this guy was getting from an apostle who's been with the resurrected Jesus and he's getting invested in by this man and he checks out. Man, it seems like it's... I mean, by the way, just as a heads up, if you're a parent and you've been struggling with that and you've been taking it super personally, and you're like, "My kid is not doing as I hoped, "and I've got some other kids that are, "but I just don't know what happened here." And, let me just... Would you look through all the families in the Bible? And here's what I dare you to do with all the families in the Bible, try and find one where they don't have a wayward child. Try to find one. It's not easy. Start with Adam. Yep. How about Abraham? Yep. How about Isaac? Yep. Jacob? Yep. David? Yep. Solomon? Yep. You just keep rolling through the Scripture. Now, you'll also find godly ones that came from there. Did they all not know what was going on? Did they all forget how to lead? Did they all forget how to parent? No. We live in a world that is like that and it feels untamed and it feels chaotic. So how do we live in a world like that? How do we actually posture ourselves to live in this kind of world? Well, the same way that Paul did at the very end of his life. Isn't it interesting that Paul's life ended very similar to how Jesus' life ended? Deserted by those who were closest to him or really close to him; captured, imprisoned and alone: that's how Jesus' life ended. That's how Paul's life was now ending. But what did Paul know that kept him from being completely and totally disillusioned and depressed with all of this that he's even writing about? What kept Paul? Paul knew something about resolution. Paul knew something about closure. Here's what he knew. There are no promises for it in the present life, but we can go to the past for closure and we can go to the future for closure. See, because when we look at the past, we see what Jesus has actually done. That what Jesus has done through His life and His death and His resurrection is He has started the process of making all things new. Listen to how Paul wrote about it in Colossians 1. "For God was pleased "to have all His fullness dwell in Jesus, "and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, "whether things on earth or things in heaven, "by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross." If you wanna find closure, you go back to the cross of Jesus Christ and you look at what He has done for humanity and for you because of His shed blood and His resurrection from the dead, that He has ushered in the ability to see newness in the life. But we also have to look at the future. Because what's going to happen in the future is that we have a promised consummation of a full kingdom that's coming. Jesus allowed for the inbreaking of the kingdom to come when He showed up on earth, when He died and rose from the dead. There's the inbreaking of the kingdom of God, but it's an already-not-yet reality. And there's coming a time where there's going to be the fullness of the kingdom when Jesus returns. That's going to be the consummation of all things. That's going to be the resolution and the closure for all things. And in fact, Paul was holding out that hope. Listen, in 2 Timothy 4, listen to what he says in verse number 17. "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack "and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. "To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Do you know what Paul knew? He knew that because of the past that he had resolution, and because of the future he's got resolution. And that means he can deal with whatever is happening in the present. And do you know what's beautiful? Is that it's not just the fact, it's not just the fact that Paul looks to the past and looks to the future. He doesn't then just go, "Okay, well, I've just gotta "throw my hands up in the air for the present." No. Listen to what Paul actually says, after he's been in a space where he has said, "At my first defense, no one came to my support. "Everyone deserted me." And then listen to what he says in verse 17. In verse 17. I'll read it. Here's what it says: "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. "The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." Isn't that a great reminder for us? In fact, I would want you to maybe jot this down, I'm not sure if this is working or if it's not working, but it's simply this statement: the Lord will stand at our side and give us strength, and that is resolution enough. In the present world that we live in, this world that is unresolved, here's what we can know, just like Paul knew: the Lord will stand at our side and give us strength, and that is resolution enough. Listen to me, my friends, beloved of God. The storm that you are in may or may not recede, but the Lord is at your side giving you strength. The wayward child may or may not come back to Jesus, may or may not come back to you, but the Lord will stand at your side and give you strength. The friend that deserted you may or may not, that friendship may or may not get mended, but the Lord will stand by your side and give you strength in the now. That injustice that has happened to you may or may not be ultimately resolved in this life, but the Lord will stand by your side and will give you strength to endure in the midst of it. This will free you if you let it. If you will let the truth of what 2 Timothy 4 is helping us to see, it will free you if you let it. Here's why. Because it lifts up from our hearts the talons of this idol that is trying to grab hold of us and take hold of us, which is this, that we are in ultimate control and that everything has to have a perfect ending because we say so. If you allow that to be the dominant narrative and the dominant theme of your life, you're going to live disappointed and disillusioned all the time. Because we live in a world that is broken, that is sin-cursed, that is difficult. And listen to this, the world that we live in is crazy, and crazy doesn't resolve. Crazy doesn't resolve. Chaos doesn't resolve on its own. And so, we have to realize that this can now become a dominating narrative in our minds and in our hearts. That because we're being faithful, everything has to turn out good for us right now. That's just not what happens. That's not what happens to the people of God. Now, when it happens, listen, when it happens, when we have those beautiful victories in this life and we see some resolution and we see some closure, thank God for it. Thank God for the blessing. What an act of grace it is. And it does happen, and we thank God for that. Keep praying for the wayward child. Keep trusting God for the friendship to be mended. Keep trusting that God may bring justice in this context. Keep doing that. But it also may not. And we can't live with this idol of control. What we have to do is peel off the talons of this idol that are trying to grip our heart and fall back into the freedom and rest of the sovereignty of a good, good God who has closed the door on sin's dominion through what God has done for us in Jesus Christ and who will fully and finally consummate every righteousness and deal with every evil when He returns. There will be perfect resolution and perfect closure. Now, listen carefully, listen carefully. Calm down, listen carefully. First thing, here's what this will free you to do. It will first free you from bitterness or revenge, 'cause that's what it did for Paul. It freed him from bitterness or revenge. Look again in chapter four. Look in verse 14 and verse 16. Paul says, "Alexander the metalworker "did me a great deal of harm." So, I'm coming after him with a hit squad. It's not what it says. Here's what it says. "The Lord will repay him for what he's done." And then later on in verse 16, "At my first defense, "no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. "May it not be held against them." When we can live understanding that our closure is not promised or guaranteed in the present life, but because of what Jesus has done and because of Jesus coming and what will be the fulfillment of that, we can live free from bitterness or revenge. Do you know why? Because we can leave all this in His hands. We don't have to take it into our own hands. We can leave it in His hands. You've been abandoned? It hurts; I get it. But you can get bitter and you can seek revenge, or you can leave it in the hands of the One who's going to rectify everything. It just may not happen in the now. Can you trust Him in that? Part of the beauty, part of the beauty of living in a broken world is how it teaches us to be dependent on God who's gonna remake it. We just have to trust Him in the midst of it. You know what it also frees us to do? It frees us to continue the mission. That's what it frees us to do. Look what Paul said again in verse number 17. "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, "so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed "and all the Gentiles might hear it. "And I was delivered from the lion's mouth." Do you know what Paul is saying here? That even in his bad circumstances, God is still using him in the mission. That the mission that God has called him to, he's free to continue in it even if he's got a death sentence looming over him. You see, too often we get off course, don't we, brothers and sisters? Because our expectations of how life is supposed to be aren't met. We get off course because we're disappointed in our circumstances and then we're disappointed with God. "I can't believe this has happened to me. "It shouldn't happen to me "even though I live in a sin-cursed and a broken world. "Nothing should happen to me." Except it happened to Jesus and it happened to Paul and it happened to everybody that you read about in the context of Scripture. And why should we be any different? Or we get all sidetracked because of what people say about us and we're constantly trying to prove ourselves and handle ourselves and all of that. But here's the question. Have you been gripped with the idea that everything must resolve? Everything in this life must resolve? Maybe I would suggest to you letting go, listen, maybe I'd start letting go of some of the whys because that's why you always ask the question: Why? Why is this happening? Why did my friends leave? Why was I abandoned? Why hasn't this fixed itself? Why is this going on? Maybe we start letting go of the whys and we look to the who, the One who is by our side, who is giving us strength in the midst of this, and who is going to close up and resolve every single thing. The broken world that we live in is broken. It's broken. Crazy won't resolve. Sin won't resolve. Yet. It's not guaranteed in this life. Resolution and closure is coming because of Jesus. And we've gotta live in that confidence, and know that even now in the chaos of non-closure and non-resolution, Jesus is going to stand by our side and give us strength to fulfill the task He's called us to. Now, what I want us to do on every campus is I want us to just reflect. Nick wrote a song last year that was released as a single that was really fitting. As I was listening to it, I thought, "Man, "Nick, would you do that song for us "so that we could just reflect on this truth?" Because the world's not always as we seem to think it is. It's not always rainbows and Twitter. And it's just not. It's a difficult place sometimes, but Jesus still holds us because He's standing next to us and He's strengthening us. So while Nick sings this, just let this song pour over your hearts wherever you are on every campus, and just take a moment to reflect on what the Spirit of God may be saying to you through the truth of this text. ♪ When late night shifts don't pay the bills ♪ ♪ You're staring at no options ♪ ♪ Whoa ♪ ♪ You're not forgotten ♪ ♪ When the treatment plan has run its course ♪ ♪ Your faith, it hits rock bottom ♪ ♪ Whoa ♪ ♪ You're not forgotten ♪ ♪ When it feels too hard to lift your hands today ♪ ♪ Or don't wanna sing a song of praise ♪ ♪ Don't lose heart ♪ ♪ It's okay ♪ ♪ 'Cause life ain't always amens and hallelujahs ♪ ♪ Sometimes the hurt is like an arrow running through you ♪ ♪ When it's hard to hold on ♪ ♪ Jesus is holding on to you ♪ ♪ Even when life ain't always ♪ ♪ Amens and hallelujahs ♪ ♪ Love's reaching through your fears so dark ♪ ♪ Through all your doubt and question marks ♪ ♪ Whoa ♪ ♪ You're not forgotten ♪ ♪ Don't be so hard on your soul ♪ ♪ It's never been in your control ♪ ♪ Whoa ♪ ♪ You're not forgotten ♪ ♪ Whoa ♪ ♪ You're not forgotten ♪ ♪ 'Cause life ain't always amens and hallelujahs ♪ ♪ Sometimes the hurt is like an arrow running through you ♪ ♪ When it's hard to hold on ♪ ♪ Jesus is holding on to you ♪ ♪ Even when life ain't always ♪ ♪ Amens and hallelujahs ♪ ♪ So don't stop singing ♪ ♪ Though your heart is breaking ♪ ♪ Don't stop believing ♪ ♪ His love will come through ♪ ♪ Oh, hope is climbing ♪ ♪ It's an anthem rising ♪ ♪ Let your soul still worship when a song won't do ♪ ♪ Won't do ♪ ♪ 'Cause life ain't always amens and hallelujahs ♪ ♪ Sometimes the hurt is like an arrow running through you ♪ ♪ Life ain't always amens and hallelujahs ♪ ♪ Sometimes the hurt is like an arrow running through you ♪ ♪ When it's hard to hold on ♪ ♪ Jesus is holding on to you ♪ ♪ Even when life ain't always ♪ ♪ Amens and hallelujahs ♪ ♪ Amens and hallelujahs ♪
- So, it may be that you've got these unresolved things. Well, you're not alone in that, that's what we see in the Scripture, it's the world that we live in. But I wanna tell you that because of what Jesus has done, because He died for us, because He rose from the grave, for those of us that have faith in Him, regardless of what today looks like, listen to me, everything's gonna be okay. Everything is going to be okay. It may or may not feel that way now, but it will be. We may see it in this life, and thank God for that grace, but we've got the confidence that we can still move forward in what God has called us to do, even in the midst of the chaos and the lack of closure and the lack of resolution in our lives. Maybe you're here and you've never entrusted your life to Jesus. That's the great lack of resolution that you experience in this life. That's the one. And you can have your sins forgiven, that can be resolved. You can have life assured for eternity, that can be resolved because of faith in Jesus. And if you're here and you've never put your faith and trust in Christ, when I say amen to the prayer I'm about to pray, there's gonna be some folks that'll be right down here and they'd love to talk to you, pray with you, encourage you in any way, and send you home with something that's gonna help you in your journey of faith. Maybe you're here and you just need somebody to pray with you about where you're at in your life right now. And maybe you just needed the reminder: "The Lord stands by my side and gives me strength," that's what Paul said. Even deeper than that, the Lord dwells inside of our hearts and lives His life out through us, giving us strength. So Father, I pray that Your Word would speak deeply into every single nook and cranny of our hearts. For any of us that have had maybe the long talons of an idol that have wanted to grab a hold of our heart and cling to it because we want to control every outcome and because we expect there to be a perfect outcome and a perfect resolution and a perfect ending, a perfect closure to everything. Would You release us from that too heavy of a burden to carry, and help us to fall into the beautiful sovereignty of a God who is so, so good, and that we can trust You that everything's going to be okay ultimately, even if it doesn't feel that way in the now, but You're gonna give us strength to walk forward without bitterness and to walk forward being used by You in Your mission. So, would You glorify Your name in our hearts? I ask in Jesus' name. Amen.