Summary: The Longing Of God’s Heart Is For All Of Us To Draw Near To Him With A Fully Surrendered Heart.
Open: Start by singing "I Surrender All."
All to Jesus I surrender; all to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender; humbly at his feet I bow,
worldly pleasures all forsaken; take me, Jesus, take me now.
The Longing Of God's Heart Is For All Of Us To Draw Near To Him With A Fully Surrendered Heart.
- one of the great themes throughout the Bible is the passion God has for his people to walk in close proximity to Him. I mean you see that everywhere, right? Right from the very beginning opening pages of Scripture all the way through the Bible - it just flows out of the pages that God wants people to live in close proximity to Him. In the Garden of Eden we are told that Adam and Eve walked with him daily and conversed with Him conversationally and there was just this closeness and intimacy and nearness if you will. And that wasn't by accident but by design. It was God's desire and design that our original parents would relate to God on this very personal intimate level. The passion of God's heart has always been for people to have a passion for him. "For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." (2 Chron. 16:9)
- The problem we struggle with is that we come with partially surrendered hearts.
Let me ask you, when you came here this morning did you come with the attitude that you will do whatever this book asks you to do. Or did you come with the idea that you will judge whether or not what the Bible says is right for you or not. Did you come with the idea that you will let God's word judge your thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and motivations or you will first judge whether or not what God's Word says today is applicable to your life? I think the attitude the Lord is looking to establish in our hearts is "I come surrendered" - but I think the attitude a lot of people have is, "Let me hear it first" If I come up to you and say, "Will you do me a favor?" You're likely to say, "Tell me what the favor is first." Right? Why? Because you don't trust me and I don't blame you. You don't know what I'm going to ask or how big the commitment is. You don't know how big of mess you are getting yourself into. - and I don't really have a problem with that on an interpersonal level. We live in a world where people try to get us to sign on the dotted line before we actually know all the terms of the contract. What's not OK is when we do that with God and His Word. When we come in want to determine in our own minds whether or not God's Word applies in our life -- we want to judge its merit an application for ourselves -- that's not a surrendered heart. We will surrender right up to the point that it agrees with our way of thinking. - That's not surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. What God is looking for is an attitude that says, whatever this book says, I will do. So before we even get into the study today the question I want to ask is this, "Are you going to do what it says, or do you want to hear first?" Willing to do what it says With No Limits? No matter what? Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22) - Jesus has made if far easier for you to approach God than it is for you to approach the president of the United States.
What Steps Must We Take To Draw Near? (James 4:7-10)
James gives us ten-point road map that shows us how to draw near to God. That's what is contained in the verses 7 through 10. Ten straightforward statements that are really unequaled to any part of Scripture, other than this passage. James is writing with a sense of urgency that is deeper than anything we have seen from him so far. Submit to God, Resist the Devil, Come near to God, Wash Your hands, Purify your hearts, Grieve, Mourn, Wail, Change Your laughter, Humble yourselves. All are commands by the way. Nothing that James says in this passage is offered in order to facilitate discussion, much less debate, between him and his readers -- this is not one of those passages that says, "Consider for yourselves whether or not ...." This isn't a "reason-it-out-and-decide-for-yourself" kind of deal. These are elements that a surrendered heart embraces without reservation. These are given as urgent commands, not as suggestions. -- Not something we should consider doing. They are what the sovereignty of God requires.