SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
The big search for gifts is on in earnest! You gracious ladies are doing most
of the searching. One of my sons once told a friend, "One of the great things about
being married is that your wife does the Christmas shopping." I must confess that
he learned that from his father.
But the serious search for gifts is underway. This search proceeds in stages.
It is now in the "we have got to get serious" stage. In a week it will move into the
"high stress" stage. On December 24th it will plunge into the "panic attack" stage.
As you shop for the perfect gift, you will see two 'evil ' statements on some
boxes. The first 'evil' statement is, "Some assembly required." If that does not
totally frighten you away and you read further, it will say something cruel and
deceitful like, "Assembly time: approximately one hour." Sure! If you have a Ph.D.
in engineering! Nothing makes me feel quite so stupid as being confused by "simple
The second 'evil' statement is, "No tools required." We need a law that
demands those statements be replaced with "Tools not mandatory but extremely
Have you noticed that everything significant requires some assembly. Good
marriages do not happen; they require some assembly. Good parents do not
happen; they require some assembly. Good friends do not happen; they require
some assembly. Godliness does not happen; it requires some assembly.
- What about God? Does God require some assembly?
- Someone says, "David, don't be ridiculous! No one assembles God! You
don't have to put God together! Nobody puts God together!"
- Some people assemble God; maybe most people do.
- In fact, some Christians assemble God; maybe most Christians do.
- The truth is most of us not only assemble God, we customize God to fit
our own wants and desires.
- So you respond, "David, do not insult me! I have never built God, and I
certainly have never customized God! God is God, regardless of what I
want or desire."
- Would you complete this sentence for me: "God wants me to have..."
- I am quite serious; complete the sentence: "God wants me to have..."
- "God want me to have..."
- Money. (He knows that I would use it wisely and be a good
- Security. (He doesn't want me to experience fear and anxiety.)
- The family of my dreams. (He created us to have that family.)
- Contentment. (He does not want me to be unhappy with my life.)
- An occupation that fulfills me. (He does not want me to waste my
life working at something that I hate to do.)
- The "good life." (He knows better than I do how short this life is.)
- Fun or happiness. (He did not make life for sadness and regret.)
- May I ask a question: how do you know what God wants you to have?
- How did you discover that is what God wanted for you?
- It has to be a discovery; nowhere does scripture say, "I want David
Chadwell to have..."
- If I look at Noah floating with a boat load of animals; Abraham
wandering around in a strange land; Moses leading a nation of
disgruntled people in a dessert; David fleeing from the rage of King
Saul; Elijah living in hiding as he is fed by the birds; Jeremiah
preaching to people that God said would not listen; the deaths of
Stephen and the apostle John; the hardships of Paul; and the death of
Jesus on the cross, it is hard for me to see that God's consuming divine
priority is for me is to enjoy life.
- Does God reveal what He wants for me by divine revelation?
- Just how do I make this discovery?
- Someone says, "Oh, it is simple."
- "God wants me to have what I want."
- If I understand that concept, then what I want determines what God
wants me to have.
- If that is the concept, then each one of us assembles God to be the God
of our desires.
- "No, no, no, that is not what we mean--you twisting and misrepresenting the
- "We know God, and we understand God."
- "Because we know and understand God, we know and understand what
God wants for us individually."
- "We know what God wants us to have because we understand God."
- All of the written and spoken prophets in the Old Testament told Israel
God's will for them--all but one.
- That prophet asked God to explain Himself.
- That prophet was Habakkuk.
- Habakkuk did not understand what God was doing.
- He told God that he did not understand what He was doing.
- He specifically directed God to answer him and explain His actions.
- In Habakkuk 1:2-11, Habakkuk asked God a question and, he received an
answer that created a personal crisis for him.
- Habakkuk 1:2-4.
- Habakkuk's question:
- "Lord, how long are you going to let me continue to cry for help
and refuse to listen to my cries?"
- "Everywhere I look in Judah I see violence, and You are doing
- "Why did You open my eyes to all the evil and make me look at
all the wickedness in Judah?"
- "There is strife and contention; people ignore Your law; justice
is always perverted; and the wicked surround the righteous."
- Habakkuk 1:5-11.
- God's answer:
- "I will do something soon about the wickedness, and what I do
will be so incredible that you will not believe Me when I tell
- "I am going to send the fierce Babylonian army to destroy
- "Every nation stands in dread and fear of this army."
- "It is violent and unstoppable; no king can withstand it."
- Habakkuk 1:12-2:20.
- God's answer dumbfounded Habakkuk; in fact, God's answer
created a much more urgent question.
- Habukukk's second question:
- "God I know You; You are the eternal, holy God."
- "As the eternal, holy God, how can You possibly let that
- "How can You allow the Babylonians who are much more
wicked than Judah destroy Judah for its wickedness?"
- "Will You just sit there while the wicked swallow the
- "The Babylonians are like fisherman and the nations are like
- "They don't just hook an occasional fish; they use nets so that no
fish (nation) escapes."
- "They will destroy all the nations, and they will worship their net
while they do it."
- "I cannot comprehend how the just God will allow that to
- "And I am going to sit right here until You explain Yourself."
- God's answer.
- "Babylon's soul is proud, evil, and never satisfied."
- "Babylon is like a man who has made himself wealthy by taking
advantage of the poor by making them loans and charging
- "The day will come when the creditors revolt and steal
everything the lender has."
- "Because of all their violence and bloodshed, the Babylonians
will be destroyed."
- "Their lifeless idols will not deliver them."
- In Habakkuk 3, Habakkuk responded to God's revelation.
- He asked God to remember mercy in His wrath.
- He praised God for His greatness and His power.
- Then he gave this very personal response in 3:16-19.
- "All I can do is to tremble and wait for the Babylonians to
- "But, God, I want you to know when that day comes, if there is
no food, if all the livestock are killed, I will still exalt You and
rejoice in my salvation."
- "You are my strength; You let me walk with You."
- Habakkuk was God's prophet who received direct revelations from God, but
Habakkuk did not understand God.
- He knew God would do what He said, but Habakkuk could not
- God certainly was not giving Judah what they wanted.
- The inability to understand or predict God is just as obvious in the New
- There are a number of obvious examples.
- Ananias could not understand why God wanted him to baptize Saul the
persecutor (Acts 9:10-18).
- The leadership of the church in Jerusalem strongly rejected the idea that
God wanted Peter to teach and baptize non-Jews (Acts 11).
- The Christian Pharisees strongly rejected the idea that God would allow
non-Jews to be Christians without obeying the law of Moses (Acts 15:5).
- Everyone of these people were certain that they knew exactly what God
wanted, and everyone of them were totally mistaken.
- What about you right now?
- Where do you get your concept of God? How do you know what God
- Does your view of the human condition determine your concept of
God, or does God focus your understanding of human condition?
- Does your concept of the church determine your concept of God, or
does God build your concept of the church?
- Does your concept of evil determine your concept of God, or does God
define your concept of evil?
- Does your concept of what is good, and just, and right determine your
concept of God, or does God define what is good, and just, and right?
- Does your personal view of the purpose of life determine your concept
of God, or does God define your understanding of life's purpose?
- So, I ask you again to complete this sentence: "God wants me to have..."
- May I suggest a biblical answer?
- "God wants me to have eternal life."
- God's number one concern for each of us is what we have in heaven, not
what we have on earth.
- When each of us became God's child by entering Jesus Christ, we literally
became God's son or a daughter.
- There are things that we want for our sons and daughters to become and
- There are things that God wants His sons and daughters to become and to
- God's purpose in Christ is to make you His child.
- As His children, God wants you and me to be godly.
If you are a Christian, as long as you live, your understanding of God will
grow. As it grows, you always will be assembling your concept of God. As long as
you live, you will grow spiritually. As you grow, you always will be assembling
yourself as a Christian. If you are to be God's son or daughter, some assembly is
required. God will provide the tools if you will do the assembling.
If you are a Christian, as long as you live, your understanding of God will grow. As it grows, you always will be assembling your concept of God. As long as you live, you will grow spiritually. As you grow, you always will be assembling yourself as a Christian. If you are to be God's son or daughter, some assembly is required. God will provide the tools if you will do the assembling.
[Someone read Isaiah 55:6-11]
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (KJV)
Which is most important to you? God giving you what you want, or your faith allowing God to make you who He wants you to be?
God does not exist to please us. We exist to please Him.
Will I make God, or will I let God make me?
Let God give you what He wants you to have--Life and Newness of Life.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 13 December 1998
Link to next sermon
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell