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Sermon Central Staff
1 John 4:7-4:21
$3.00 WORTH OF GOD, PLEASE
Tim Hansel in his book "When I Relax I feel Guilty," writes some insights of what most people want from God.
"I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please."
If we would be totally honest, the idea of transformation really scares us. That is because we know that such a radical change would be quite uncomfortable. We realize that with transformation comes a major overhaul of our lives and priorities.
(From a sermon by Scott Chambers, The Mission if You Accept it: Transformation, 2/15/2011)
ď...Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our personsóbut they are helpless against our prayers" (Sidlow Baxter).
Sermon Central Staff
J. I. PACKER ON THE GOAL OF THEOLOGY
'And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent' (John 17:3)
The well known Christian author, Jim Packer, lectures in systematic theology at Regent's College in Vancouver. One of his former students says that Packer started every class by saying, 'Arise, friends, let us sing the Doxology!' After singing and a word of prayer, he would then say to his students, 'The goal of theology, friends, is doxology'.
From a sermon by Mark Armstrong, Trinity and Creation, 6/24/2010
A NATIONAL PRAYER OF REPENTANCE
Joe Wright is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita, KS. On January 23, 1996, He was asked to be the guest chaplain for the Kansas State House in Topeka. He prayed a prayer of repentance that was written by Bob Russell, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. According to an article in the Kansas City Star from January 24, 1996, his prayer stirred controversy, and one member of the legislative body walked out. Others criticized the prayer.
The controversy didnít end there. Later that year in the Colorado House, Republican representative Mark Paschall angered lawmakers by using Joe Wrightís prayer as the invocation. Some members there also walked out in protest.
Paul Harvey got a hold of the prayer and read it on his program. He got more requests for copies of it than any other thing he had ever done. Hereís what he prayed:
"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but thatís exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that:
We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it a choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighborís possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air...
The Didache, is a first or second century document that relates to us outside the New Testament the teaching of the early church. This document "prescribed two fast days a week: Wednesday and Friday." For early Christians; this was seen as a regular part of daily discipleship.
John Wesley sought to revive the teaching of the Didache and urged early Methodists to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. He felt so strongly about this matter that he refused to ordain anyone to the Methodist ministry who did not fast on those two days.
Matthew Henry said, "Fasting is a laudable practice and we have reason to lament that it is generally neglected among Christians."
Hudson Taylor the great missionary and founder of China Inland Mission, said, "In Shansi I found Chinese Christians who were accustomed to spend time in fasting and prayer. They recognized that this fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are-dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon."
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: "I wonder whether we have ever fasted? I wonder whether it has even occurred to us that we ought to be considering the question of fasting? The fact is, that this whole subject seems to have dropped right out of our lives and right out of our whole Christian thinking."
Prayer of ST. Theresa
"Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which he looks
compassion on this world
Yours are the feet with which
He walks to do good
Yours are the hands with which
He blesses all the world
Yours are the hands
Yours are the feet
Yours are the eyes
You are His body"
"I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of those about me seemed insufficient for the day."
FAITHFUL FOR A PROMISE
A promise from God is a statement we can depend on with absolute confidence. Here are 12 promises for the Christian to claim.
Godís presence -- "I will never leave thee" (Heb. 13:5)
Godís protection -- "I am thy shield" (Gen. 15:1)
Godís power -- "I will strengthen thee" (Isa. 41:10)
Godís provision -- "I will help thee" (Isa. 41:10)
Godís leading -- "And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them" (John 10:4)
Godís purposes -- "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil" (Jer. 20:11)
Godís rest -- "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28)
Godís cleansing -- "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)
Godís goodness -- "No good thing will He withhold from them that work uprightly" (Psalm 84:11) ...
Gen. Douglas MacArthur wrote this prayer for his son. He prayed: "Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, & brave enough to face himself when he is afraid. One who will be proud & unbending in honest defeat, & humble & gentle in victory.
"Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds - a son who will know Thee, who is the foundation stone of knowledge. Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease & comfort, but under the stress & spur of difficulties & challenge.
"Here let him learn to stand up to the storm. Here let him learn compassion for those who fail. Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
"And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor so that he may always be serious but never take himself too seriously. Give him humility so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, & an open mind of true wisdom, & the meekness of true strength.
"Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, `I have not lived in vain.’"
Bruce Wilkinson has written an excellent little book called The Prayer of Jabez. In the book, Wilkinson explains the reluctance believers have toward having a greater influence for Christ in their world.
He explains this reluctance by using two mathematic equations. The first equation describes the reluctant believer. It looks like this.
“My abilities + experience + training +my personality and appearance + my past + the expectations of others = my assigned territory” (Wilkinson, p. 40).
The prayer would sound something like this. “Lord, please use my abilities, such as they are. Give me the experience and training I need. Make me a better person and don’t let anyone find out what I’m really like. Help me to be what everyone expects me to be so I can have more influence.”
Wilkinson writes, “Our God specializes in working through normal people who believe in a supernormal God who will do His work through them . . . That means God’s math would look more like this: My willingness and weakness + God’s will and supernatural power = my expanded territory” (Wilkinson, p. 41).