Summary: This sermon deals with some of the reasons we fail to draw close to God and the virtues of being close to God.
How close is close enough?
Zeno’s paradox. Imagine I had high school boys and girls lined up at opposite ends of the gym and had them half the distance between them every 10 seconds, how long would it be before they are touching?
Well, if I always half the distance, they will never touch, but close enough within a couple of minutes.
I. How many of you want to be close to God, really close to God?
We all say that we want to be close to God, but why would we want to be close to God?
You say, Brother Greg that’s a dumb question, there are tons of reasons why anyone would want to be close to God.
1. Being close to God makes us strong and courageous.
Read Josh 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Indeed, when we need strength to go forward, we get it from a close relationship with God.
When I need courage to stand for what is right, I get that from God too.
2. The great thing about God is he is near to us when we need him most, when we call out to him, read Psalm 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
That reminds me of the story I read of the rancher and his three sons. According to the story, the rancher and his three sons got saved at a tent revival and became active members of the local church.
But as time passed and life became more complicated, the rancher and his boys started missing a Sunday service here and there and eventually quite coming all together.
Then one day, one of the boys was bitten by a rattlesnake. The father called for the Minister of his church to come and pray for his son. The Minister arrived at the ranch and was shown to the boy’s room where the family and the doctor were gathered around.
The minister knelt down and took the boys hand and then began to pray thus, “Oh Lord, we thank you for the rattlesnake that bit this young man because it has caused the entire family to return to you and call upon your name…
…and Lord, we pray that you would send more snakes, bigger snakes, that would bite them all, if this is what is necessary for them to follow you and call upon your name.
3. Jesus said that closeness was required if we desire to bear fruit for Him. Read John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
He goes on to say that without being close to Him you can do nothing. Read John 15:5-7 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[a] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
4. Being close to Jesus helps us increase our distance from other things.
Read Heb. 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
In this verse he specifically calls out greed, but you can insert anything that draws us away from God. Let your conduct be without ___________. Profanity, vulgarity, envy, strife, anger, malice, pornography, drugs, promiscuity, adultery, etc…
5. Being close to God brings us toward perfection,
read Heb. 7:18-19 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
The writer here says the law made no one perfect, but we have a better hope in Christ.
As long as we are in the flesh we will never achieve perfection, but we are now empowered to move in that direction.
I heard one man say that the only perfect man he ever knew was his wife’s ex-husband.
II. The hard truth is, whether we admit it or not, we may not necessarily want to be close to God.
Demonstration, get too close to someone and see how they react.