Sermon:  Character of Motherhood

Summary:  Since motherhood is a creation and reflection of the character of God, 
many of the characteristics and instructions for mothers apply to all people and 
not just mothers.  As a reflection of God, we are to be an example of forgiveness, 
love, faith, and listening to God.

Know:  Instructions and characteristics concerning motherhood in scripture can 
apply to all Christians because motherhood is a reflection of God's character who 
we are to be like.

Feel:  Appreciation for the characteristics of motherhood as seen in God

Do:  Reflect on how the character of God is reflected not only in motherhood, but 
how it should be reflected in every Christian.  Compare the worldly view with the 
scripture view of forgiveness, love, and compassion.  Identify challenges in being 
more godly in character and how to better become more godly.

Text:  Is 66:5-13

Scripture Reading:  Mt 23:37-39

1.  Happy Mother's Day - Story - two small children bought plant for mom
	a.  Used their own money to surprise mom, she was thrilled
	b.  5 yr old said sadly - Wanted to by bouquet of flowers, too expensive
	c.  Had a ribbon that said "Rest in Peace"
	d.  We thought it would be good since you are always asking for peace so 
	     you can rest  
		- All mom could do was laugh
		- Aren't children wonderful?
2.  Motherhood is a reflection of God’s character
	a. All of God’s creation reflects the attributes of God - Rom 1:20
	b. Motherhood would naturally be a reflection of its creator
	c. Along with fatherhood and marriage, God at times uses motherhood to 
    describe his relationship with his people
3.  As we look closer at characteristics mothers are to have, remember that many 
     of these should apply to all of us
	a. Motherhood a reflection of God
	b. We are made in his image, so we also are a reflection of God
	c. Therefore many motherhood characteristics apply to us all
4.  Text: (Is 66:5-13) - Uses motherhood image
	a. See some motherhood characteristics in this passage
	b. Take closer look at characteristics of motherhood

I.  Forgiveness
	A. God is inherently forgiving
	B. God forgives in a motherly sort of way
		1.  Look at the characteristics of this motherly forgiveness
			a. The people had sinned against God in many ways
				- They had worshipped false Gods that involved 
				   immorality and human sacrifice
				- They had oppressed the poor and the helpless
				- Instead of trusting in God, they had trusted in 
				  alliances with foreign nations (which involved an 
				  alliance with their gods) 
				- And the list goes on
			b. This passage is a picture of having motherly forgiveness
				- Mothers get angry, but not forever
				- Mother does not disown her child, always a bond
			c. God is anxious to forgive
				- v.7 - Birth before labor, speedy birth 
					-- Speaking of restoration
					-- Will be like a “rebirth” of new life
				- (Is 65:24) - God is anxious to answer their call
			d. What a wonderful picture of our God!
		2.  We also are to be forgiving
			a. (Col 3:13) - We are to forgive as God forgave
			b. God longs and is anxious to forgive, we should be as well
			c. It should not be given grudgingly, no grudges
			d. As God forgave with joyful enthusiasm, so should we
	C.  ILL:  Two kids in argument in school
		1.  One had accidentally stepped on the other’s foot, escalated
		2.  I made them apologize, and say I accept your apology
		3.  It was grudgingly - Kept throwing mean looks at each other
		4.  Good mothers don’t "forgive" this way, and neither does God
	D.  We need to be forgiving in the way our Lord is
		1.  He was willing and anxious to forgive
			a. Like the Father in the parable of the prodigal son
			b. He ran to his foolish son
			c. Threw a big celebration
			d. Nothing but joy, no grudge
		2. He prayed for God to forgive his murderers from the cross
			a. No hint of any grudge
			b. Jesus loved them to the end
		3.  This says several things about forgiveness
			a. Forgiveness means putting it behind you
			b. It means you don’t hold a grudge
			c. It means you honestly desire restoration
		4. This is forgiveness in a godly motherly sort of way

II. Love
	A.  God is the definition of love
		1.  1 Jn 4.8 - Says God “is” Love
		2.  Motherly love is a reflection of God’s love
	B.  God loves in a motherly sort of way
		1.  Look at the characteristics of this motherly love
			a. Speaks of nursing
				- Mother lovingly provides nourishment
				- Nourishment comes from within herself
			b. Speaks of sitting in a mother’s lap
				- Mother takes her child in her arms
				- With delight, she plays with her child
			c. Speaks of being comforted
				- Mother comforts her children
				- Even when the children has to be disciplined, she 
   				   will comfort her children, not stay mad, loves them
			d. A good picture of love is the love of motherhood
		2.  We also are to be loving (1 Jn 4:7-8)
			a. We are to love as God loves
			b. If God’s love is tender and compassionate, we are to be 
  			    that way as well
			c. The way we love is to be a reflection of God
				- True love is love that loves like God does
				- This is why Jesus said that if we love as he loved us, 
   				   all will know we are his disciples - Jn 13:34-35
			d. Loving as God loves show we of the truth (1Jn 3:16-19)
				- He loved us not with just words
				- He loves us in deed and in truth
		3.  There are those who have taught erroneously about love
			a. They say - Christian love “agape” is not an emotion like 
			b. They say - Therefore, I have to love you, but I don’t have 
  			     to like you
			c. Is that how a mother loves?  No
				- Mothers don’t say “I don’t like you”
				- Might say, “I don’t like what you do”
			d. Is that how God loves?  No
				- God loves us with motherly love
				- God’s love is the definition of what motherly love 
				   looks like
	C.  ILL:  Testimonials from Dry Bones ministry
		1.  Dry Bones is one of our ministries in Denver that minister's to 
		     "houseless" young people, those who are usually ignored
		2.  They have determined to love people in the manner of Christ
			a.  They look past the tattoos, piercings, and tattered clothes
			b.  They are authentic, honest, compassionate, transparent
		3.  Here is what some of the people they have ministered to said:
Tino: Dry Bones or Scum of the Earth Church (has helped me to be open to talk about God) because they have taken the time, energy, and effort to build a relationship with me and not just condemn, criticize, and judge me Roberta: I don’t know exactly (what the word "Christian" means). The word “Christian” used to scare me. You guys really opened my eyes to a new way of looking at Christians. Now it’s what I strive to be. Keri: Thank you! You are REAL Christians. You are not Rice-Christians. You guys really care about us. You are like family to us! [Rice-Christians, according to Keri, are, “…those who just serve you a bowl rice and say, ‘God bless.’ They aren’t willing to be your friend on a deeper level.”] Mystika: In the beginning, when I first came to Dry Bones, I was a wreck. I was depressed, alone, angry, enraged, withdrawn, and addicted. After coming around the people of Dry Bones, I started little by little to love myself. By loving myself, I was able to open myself up to trust people and let myself be helped. I was able to come back to God after I had doubted Him for so long. Without you guys, I wouldn't have made it this far...I really mean that."
D. This is love that we see exemplified in Christ 1. Jesus was willing to make the dangerous journey to earth 2. In spite of sin, dishonor, disobedience, against him a. He loved them to the very end b. It was a love willing to suffer for the ones he loved 3. This is a not a love that says “I love you because you…” 4. This is a love that says, “I love you…period” III. Faith & listening to God A. A good mother trusts in God and does things his way B. This passage is designed to promote faith and trust in God 1. God makes promises to us to promote quiet faith in him a. God's faithfulness, loyalty, lovingkindness is everlasting b. He will not abandon nor forsake you 2. (Gal 6.9) - Here is a promise - Don’t grow weary in doing right a. Sometime it seems to take forever to see the first sprout b. Sometimes it may seem your effort will fail c. In due time you will reap 3. Be patient, enduring, persevering - God will bless, perhaps in a way you do not expect C. ILL: Title - “Had I been Joseph’s Mother”
Had I been Joseph’s mother, I’d have prayed protection from his brothers. “God, keep him safe. He is so young, so different from the others.” Mercifully, she never knew there would be slavery and prison too. Had I been Moses’ mother I’d have wept to keep my little son: praying she might forget the babe drawn from the water of the Nile. Had I not kept him for her nursing him the while, was he not mine? --and she but Pharaoh’s daughter? Had I been Daniel’s mother I should have pled ‘Give Victory!’ --this Babylonian horde, godless and cruel-- Don’t let him be a captive--better dead Almighty Lord.’ Had I been Mary, Oh, had I been she, I would have cried as never a mother cried, ‘Anything, O God, anything… ---but crucified.’ With such prayers importunate my finite wisdom would assail infinite wisdom. God, how fortunate infinite wisdom should prevail.
D. This shows that God's will is worth the wait 1. When we take matters into our own hands, may not go well 2. When we don't consult God's will, plans may backfire 3. But when we continue to do what is good and right, receive blessing from God Concl: 1. These are some of the characteristics we see in motherhood a. Mothers, you are a reflection of God by his design b. Mothers, you were made with better building materials than men c. God sure knew what he was doing when he created mothers 2. Because mothers are a reflection of God, when we are transformed into his image, we will have these characteristics as well 3. So, this is not just about mothers, but is a message for all of us 4. Transformation into his image begins at "conversion" a. When you hear and believe the Gospel b. When you obey the Gospel c. God grants the Holy Spirit to sanctify, renew, and transform you d. Have you obeyed? ------------------------------------ Small Group Questions: Character of Motherhood Summary: Since motherhood is a creation and reflection of the character of God, many of the characteristics and instructions for mothers apply to all people and not just mothers. As a reflection of God, we are to be an example of forgiveness, love, faith, and listening to God. Open: - What is the best memory you have of your mother (or mother-figure in your life)? Explore: Is 66:5-13; Mt 23:37-39; 1 Thess 2:7-9 1. What does the motherhood imagery in these passages suggest about the character of God? 2. Scripture typically uses fatherhood imagery for God. Compare and contrast the fatherly image of God and the motherly image of God. 3. How does God's character shape what mothers and fathers are to be like? Husbands and wives? All Christians? 4. How do these characteristics compare to the world's ideal for each of these? Cite some specific examples. 5. What surprises you about the motherhood image of God? Apply: 6. Which part of God's character do you find most difficult to demonstrate in your life? Why? 7. Which part of God's character do you find most easy to demonstrate in your life? Why? 8. What are some very specific ways God's character can be strengthened in your life? What could you commit to right now? Prayer: