Summary: TRUE HUMILITY BEFORE GOD IS THE ESSENCE OF LENT AND OUR CHRISTIAN EXISTENCE.
2 CHRONICALS 7: 11-22
SUNDAY MARCH 30, 2003
INTRODUCTION: In Paul Harvey’s “For What It’s Worth Department” there was a story about a man named Speedy Morris. Speedy was a basketball coach for LaSalle University. He was shaving one day when his wife called out to tell him he was wanted on the phone by Sports Illustrated. Speedy Morris was so excited by the prospect of national recognition that he nicked himself with his razor and ran –with a mixture of blood and lather on his face—down the hall promptly falling down the stairs. Limping and in some physical distress he finally got to the phone and the voice on the other line said: “For just seventy five cents an issue you can get a one year trial subscription….” (from Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations and Quotes, 2000, pg. 222).
Another story that illustrates this truth is about President Theodore Roosevelt, who loved to spend his summers on San Juan Island, in the waters north of Seattle, near Victoria, British Columbia. "Teddy" was a well-known lover of nature. One night, after an evening of conversation, he took a walk with his friend, William Beebe. They stopped and looked up at the vastness of the universe and were in awe of the Milky Way, the big and little dippers, and the endless black sky. Finally, Roosevelt broke the silence and said, "Now, I think we are small enough, Let’s call it a night."
That’s the right perspective.
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Lent is a time to pray; I have read. Lent is a time to get closer to God. Lent is a time to repent. But may I say Lent and our Christian walk are much more than these and also, much less. Lent began with Ash Wednesday and as Pastor Ken Langsdorf taught us of the ashes. He reminded us that they are a sign of our mortality. Lent then may be described as remembering our place in the scheme of things and knowing who we are not.
I saw a sign the other day in front of a church and it read, “There is a God, and you are not Him.”
We live in an age of self-reliance, but we all know we are not. One of the greatest struggles we have is to put pride away and humble ourselves before God.
THESIS SENTENCE: TRUE HUMILITY BEFORE GOD IS THE ESSENCE OF LENT AND OUR CHRISTIAN EXISTENCE.
READ TEXT: 2 CHRONICLES 7: 1-4; 11-15
SO, WHERE DOES TRUE HUMITY BEGIN? FOR THE CHRONICLER…
I. HUMILITY BEGINS WITH PRAYER
A. PRAYER IS COMMANDED
1. Solomon modeled prayer for his kingdom. Chapter 6 is an overwhelming account of Solomon’s prayer. It is long.
2. Throughout the prayer, Solomon pleads with God to answer the prayers of His people.
3. Chapter 7 is God’s response to that prayer. “The Lord appeared to him at night and said…”
4. But just what did God say? He said Pray! And this was all conditional. IF you want me to hear, you must pray! If you want me to Answer, you must pray! If you want me involved in your life, you must pray!
5. Is Lent the only time we are to pray? BUT, it is a good reminder to pray!!
ILLUSTRATION: I know we pray all the time! I know when you pray! I know when I pray. The other day I “sort of” ran a red light. This is hilarious! AS I rolled under the light, I looked in the lane facing me and there sat 3 patrol cars. AND I PRAYED!! YOU PRAY IN THOSE SITUATIONS, TOO.
B. PRAYER IS ANSWERED
1. Now I am not talking about that Prayer that the Patrolpersons wouldn’t see me, but God answers prayer.
2. The WORD here states that “IF” we Pray, “THEN” will I hear from heaven. 3. God’s response to our prayers IS His answers.
ILLUSTRATION: Matthew 7:7 is a powerful promise to us: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Matthew 18: 19-20 is another such promise, “Again, I tell you that if two of you one earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
TRUTH: HUMILITY BEGINS WITH PRAYER!
II. HUMILITY IS MARKED BY SEEKING GOD’S FACE
A. SEEKING IS OUR TASK
1. Throughout scripture we are taught to seek God. With this teaching is always a promise. He will be found. Just as I read from Matthew 7:7!
2. Hear Deuteronomy 4: 29 – 31, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. For the Lord your god is a merciful God: he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.