Summary: 1- We ask and God answers 2- God speaks and we obey 3- God sends and we receive
INTRO.- ILL. - A prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman, to the stand. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?" She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?" She again replied, "Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."
At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for contempt!"
Brothers and sisters, as you well know, this is the not the norm in the court of law. Most people are very cautious about what they say before the judge and jury.
Have you even been in a court of law? Ever had to stand before a judge and answer questions? How did you feel about it? Did it make you nervous? Of course, if you were not the defendant in the case you might have little to fear, unless you were appearing before JUDGE JUDY!
If you ever thought it would be hard to stand before a judge, knowing that you were guilty as sin, just think how you would feel standing before God, knowing you are guilty of gross sin! How does that thought grab you?
Hebrews 10:31 “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
I know of some people that should dread to fall into the hands of God, don’t you? But fear not, it is not you nor I. Why? Because our sins are covered by blood of the lamb.
Romans 4:7-8 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
Do you believe it? You should. We who are in Christ should have confidence before God. We must trust Him and His Word!
PROP.- Our text reveals what it means to have confidence before God.
1- We ask and God answers
2- God speaks and we obey
3- God sends and we receive
I. WE ASK AND GOD ANSWERS
21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
Confidence before God means that we receive from God anything we ask. Have you received everything you’ve asked of God? Probably not everything. So what’s the deal? Why don’t we get everything that we ask for from God? The reason is because God rules and He has certain criteria for our asking. What are some of His guidelines for getting our prayers answered?
- We must ask in faith, nothing doubting.
James 1:5-6 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
We ask for wisdom in faith that the Lord will provide it and we ask for everything in faith that He will provide. But if our faith is lacking or doubting, we may not get an answer from the Lord.
I believe that “faith” and “faithfulness” go hand-in-hand. If we are not faithful to the Lord in worship and serving it’s highly possible that our faith is lacking and our prayers may not get answered.
ILL.- Verizon wireless has long advertised, “Can you hear me now?” But we don’t have to ask God that question. We just need to believe He does hear us and that He will answer us in His good time.
As Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus He prayed.
John 11:41-42 CEV “After the stone had been rolled aside, Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed, "Father, I thank you for answering my prayer. I know that you always answer my prayers. But I said this, so that the people here would believe that you sent me."