The Worm’s Gospel

Audio of Sermon: 

1 Isaiah 41:10-14 (KJV) Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught. 13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. 14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

In the midst of all these beautiful promises from God we see the strange words:

Thou WORM Jacob”

Why would God promise great things to His Children, but then call those children “Worm”? When you think of a WORM what do you think of? I think of something wet and slimy that I often use for fishing.

I was watching an Andy Griffith Show episode one time when Andy was taking a girlfriend fishing. When she saw the worm she went …

ICK!”

Andy tried to hand her the worm, and she nearly jumped out of the boat. Though it was funny, and some of you might feel that way about worms, worms actually are the most defenseless creatures on the face of the earth. Worms have no real teeth. It’s hard for me to tell which end of a worm is the head and which is the tail. Worms wiggle, wiggle, wiggle through the soil. The best soil is filled with worms, for worms serve a purpose. They are tillers of the soil. Worms ingest soil and organic matter like leaves and grass, and digesting what they eat leave behind casings that are very valuable as fertilizers. 500,000 worms living in an acre of soil will produce 50 tons of castings, while producing a drainage system equivalent to 2000 feet of 6 inch pipe.

But worms are not fierce. They are largely defenseless. Their greatest defense is to do what they were designed to do, to bury themselves in the soil as God intended. I’ve never seen a worm come out of the ground, sit back on it’s coil, and roar like a lion. Do you know what a worm on a sidewalk is? Besides confused, it is also squashed! Worms are defenseless, harmless, and though not ugly, I’ve never seen a pin up calendar filled with worms in bikinis.

Jacob The Worm – Israel The Prince

I’ve never seen a pride filled worm. Have you?

When God spoke and said “Thou WORM JACOB” you won’t understand this unless you understand who Jacob was. God promised great blessings to three men:

Abraham
Isaac
and Jacob

This is the beginning of Judaism and Christianity in our Bibles. God called out Abraham, and ancient Babylonian, to follow Him. “Follow Me, Abram, and I will bless you and bless the whole world through you. I will make of you a mighty nation”. Now Abraham was childless, and past child bearing years, but he trusted and followed God. Tonight I’m going to preach about Abraham the friend of God, so come back if you want to hear more of this. To simplify this message I’ll just say

Abraham put aside his pride and followed God …
And God blessed him with a son Isaac
.

Isaac was the Child of Promise, but Isaac was no great man of faith. But God used Isaac. In the Christian faith there are many born into the family of God that do not exemplify Christ, yet God uses them for His glory. God has a purpose for the Isaacs of this world. We may not see it, but God does. And God is in control. Isaac is great because he had a child Jacob.

Jacob was the child that God wanted to turn into Abraham’s Israel. Jacob was not a paragon of faith. He was a plotter – a deceiver who was often deceived himself. His brother Esau was supposed to inherit the biggest portion of Isaac’s estate, and a blessing from his father. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, but then Jacob schemed and plotted until he robbed his brother of the blessings of his father.

Jacob was a back-biter.
Jacob was a trickster.
Jacob was a plotter.
Jacob was deceitful.
Jacob was not a man of faith, but prideful and self sufficient.
And Jacob often hurt himself in his pride.

Jacob fought with God, and kept fighting God until God crippled Jacob (see Genesis 32:22-32). Some of you are fighting God in your lives, puffed up with pride, filled with yourselves. The Bible declares that ….

Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV) Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

Pride cost us Paradise. While Adam obeyed and loved God he lived in a perfect environment with a perfect wife in perfect health and doing a perfect job. Then Satan wiggled into the Garden looking like an overgrown worm and said:

You will not die if you disobey God. God knows that the day you eat the forbidden you will be like Him knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). Adam, you will be able to set your own standards!”

Convincing Adam that it was a promotion to obey his own desires rather than God sin entered the world, and death by sin. Had Adam remembered that he was but dust (Psalm 103:14) and – in comparison to God nothing but a worm – we would still be in Paradise. God always knows what is best, not us. It is in our trusting of God’s strength and the disavowal of our own that we are blessed.

When Jacob wrestled with God and was crippled it was after this that God renamed him Israel. The strong self sufficient proud one was JACOB.
But the broken, humbled God following believer was ISRAEL.
The PROUD come to God and hear His Gospel.
But it is the BROKEN that come to God and are changed.

The Church Is To Preach The Worm’s Gospel

It is the Worm’s Gospel that saves a person. When we come to God in arrogance and pride God will not do anything with us. But it is the WORM JACOB that God will bless, the one who realizes that we are at best worms, broken things, totally defenseless and unable to reach the majesty that is God. Sadly much of the Church has gone to a PROSPERITY Gospel or a Gospel of SELF ESTEEM where we pump ourselves up. This is not what God tells us to do. We are to magnify God and minify ourselves.

Isaiah 41:13-14 (KJV) For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. 14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

God tells the WORM JACOB that “I will help you. I will hold your right hand.” Have you ever seen a worm with a right hand? I haven’t. But if you come to God He will change you from Jacob to Israel, from handless Worm to a Child that He will lead. This is the Gospel of salvation. We come to God as helpless and hopeless creatures – as worms – and God by His Grace changes us. He gives us a new name (Revelation 2:17) and a new purpose.

Oh that God would bring the Church in America back to where the Worm’s Gospel is preached!

I was reading an article in Outreach Magazine the other day about how one Church found success. This particular Church was tiny and losing members, so they redesigned the Church and made it more friendly to the unChurched. As the Church became accepting and tolerant of the unChurched more and more came into the Church until today this Church has around 1000 members. As I read this I wondered what Jesus would think of it.Though Jesus reached out to the lost – and we need to be doing this – He never compromised the Word of God. In fact, Christ was quite harsh.

Go and sin no more” (John 8:11)
“Let the dead bury the dead – you follow ME” (Luke 9:60)
“You must love Me and hate your father and mother” (Luke 14:26)
“I have come not for the righteous, but sinners” (Luke 5:32)

The only way to decrease the darkness is to INCREASE God’s Light!

Even among the Baptists we have compromised His glorious Gospel. Back in the 16th century Isaac Watts penned the words to a song in our hymnal called “At The Cross”. The first line originally read:

Alas, and did my Savior bleed and did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?”

The hymn started out recognizing the lowliness of the saved, that we we were but worms that Christ died for. But by the 19th century the words of the hymn were changed. The text was deemed too demeaning and was changed in our hymnal to …

Alas, and did my Savior bleed and did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
for SINNERS such as I?”

Along with the change an entire stanza is missing from the original, again because it is too demeaning:

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears.
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt mine eyes to tears.”

We do not understand the MAJESTY of the Grace of God until we understand how MINIMAL we are in comparison to Him. We do not understand how great God’s love is until we comprehend how far He is above us, and what He did for us. The Scripture shouts without apology:

Romans 3:10-18 (NKJV) As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Without God we are woefully inadequate. We have heard the preacher say these words many times, but unless we internalize that we are but worms compared to His majestic glory, then we lose the wonder of His love. When John Newton wrote:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Newton was confronted with his sin, and convicted of it. When he was in the world Newton – like all of us – walked according to the ways of this world, according to satan, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who works in every son of disobedience. Newton was an ex-slave trader who had used people as merchandise and murdered for profit. He realized that he was a child of wrath deserving damnation – just as we all do (Ephesians 2:1-3). And then God touched Newton with His Amazing Grace.

Grace Is Amazing When We Realize Our Worminess

Isaiah 41:14 (KJV) Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

God cares for us, dear Worm. In the book of Job Bildad Job’s friend asks:

Job 25:4-6 (NKJV) How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? 5 If even the moon does not shine, And the stars are not pure in His sight, 6 How much less man, who is a maggot, And a son of man, who is a worm?”

Bildad was asking the same question that the Apostles asked our Lord one day …

Who then can be saved?”

Jesus replied:

With man salvation is IMPOSSIBLE, but with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE”
(Matthew 19:26)

When we come to God in our helplessness – as if worms – God becomes our REDEEMER. It is widely understood that Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm, one that foretold the Coming of Christ. The Psalm starts with the words of Christ on the Cross of Calvary:

Psalm 22:1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?

Matthew 27:46 (NKJV) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Psalm 22 is a picture of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. He Who is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16) came down from the splendor of Heaven to suffer and die on Calvary for us. Oh how our Jesus lowered Himself. As He hung on Calvary the Psalmist speaks of our Christ Who said of Himself …

Psalm 22:6-8 (NKJV) But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. 7 All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

As Jesus hung on that Cross, He hung there being ridiculed. You have saved others. Save yourself! (Matthew 27:42). But Jesus could not save Himself. He became a worm to save us worms. He died a horrible death so that we could have eternal life. C.S. Lewis once wrote:

When a man is getting better, he understands more clearly the evil that is in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less.”

We understand our badness by seeing Christ on the Cross. We are born with potential, but sin enslaves us and the world draws us. We are but worms. We are fallen, creatures of the dust. But God in His glory became like us. He Who knew no sin sin became sin for us:

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) For our sake {The Father} made {Jesus} to be sin who knew no sin, so that in {Jesus} we might become the righteousness of God.

Pastor John Piper said, “the good news of the Bible is not that we are not worms, but that God helps worms who trust in Him”.

A tale that keeps coming to my mind is that of Naaman, the commander of the army of Syria. Naaman was a great leader, but he was afflicted with leprosy, a terrible disease. The Bible often uses leprosy to describe the terrors of sin. Naaman was told by one of his wife’s servants that there was a way to be healed – that he needed to contact Elisha the Prophet. Naaman sent word to Elisha, who in turn sent word back to the Warrior-King:

2 Kings 5:10 (NKJV) …. Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.

Naaman puffed up with pride and arrogance. “Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” (verse 12). Here is that old arrogance that is in all of us. God said THIS, but we say THAT. Beloved, there will be no blessing of God unless we realize He is God and we are but worms. Naaman’s servants came to him and said:

2 Kings 5:13 … “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”

Naaman humbled himself, and went to the Jordan and did as the Prophet said. And you know what? He was made clean when and only when he did as God told him.

Trust God, and a man can take the jawbone of an ass and kill the enemy army.
Trust God, and a stone and a sling will defeat Goliath.
Trust God and do as He says and a walking stick can part a sea.
Trust God and walk where He says and the walls of Jericho will fall.
Trust God and cast your nets to the other side of the boat, and you will be filled.
Trust God, and death will be defeated, and eternal life will be yours.
Trust God, and the ax-head once lost will float to your hand.
Trust God and the ox goad will be as powerful as Excalibur!
Do not fear, but trust God and His Word.
Use what God has given you.
Trust His Word, and call upon His Name!

Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV) … that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

What does a worm have but a mouth. Let us trust Him, praise Him, pray to Him, honor Him.

What Does God Promise To The Wormy?

Isaiah 41:10-14 (KJV) Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught. 13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. 14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

God promises not to shun us, but to be with us.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you”.
God promises to give us strength.
“I will strengthen you.”
God promises to hold us up and help us.
“I will help you, and I will hold you up.”
God promises to defeat our enemies.
“Those who attacked you will be ashamed and nullified.”
God promises to hold our right hand.
He promises to Redeem us from sin and death.

Will you, dear one, surrender to Him?

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in humble, Isaiah, preaching the Gospel, pride, Sermons Preached and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Worm’s Gospel

  1. What a wonderful post. I was so inspired and felt such love of God. A worm seems to me the worst thing to have to pick up, so I don’t fish, but to think that you cannot catch fish without them adds a new dimension to my thoughts on catching people. We may have to be worms just for that purpose, never thinking that we are better in some way.

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