Summary: 5 ways to draw closer to God. 1 Submit yourself. 2 Resist the devil. 3 Wash your hands. 4 Sorrow for sin. 5 Realize your worthlessness
20100418.Sermon.Drawing Closer to God
By William Akehurst, BA
From LAB notes
1-3 Quarrels among believers are always harmful. James tells us that these quarrels result from evil desires within us – we want more possessions, more money, higher status, more recognition. When we want badly enough to fulfill these desires, we fight in order to do so. Instead of aggressively grabbing what we want, we should ask God to help us get rid of our selfish desires and trust him to give us what we really need.
2,3 James mentions the most common problems in prayer…not asking, asking for the wrong things, asking for the wrong reasons.
Do you talk to God at all? When you do, what do you talk about?
Do you ask only to satisfy your desires? Do you seek God’s approval for what you already plan to do? Our prayers will befome powerful when we allow God to change our desires so that they perfectly correspond to his will for us
1 John 3:21,22 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
3,4 There is nothing wrong with wanting a pleasurable life. God gives us good gifts that he wants us to enjoy.
James 1:17 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Ephesians 4:7 7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
1 Timothy 4:4-5 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
But it is wrong to seek pleasur3e at others expense or at the expense of obeying God. Pleasure that keeps us from pleasing God is sinful, Pleasure in God’s rich bounty is good.
The cure for evil desires is humility
Proverbs 16.18-19, 18Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
19Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
1 Peter 5.5-6 5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Pride makes us self centered and leads us to conclude we deserve all we can see, touch, or imagine. It creates greedy appetites for far more than we need. The antidote to self-centered desires is to humble ourselves before God, realizing that we need nothing except his approval. When his Holy Spirit fills us, we realize that wthe things we have coveted are only cheap substitutes for what God has to offer.
4:7 Althou God and Satan are at war, we don’t need to wait until the end to see who will win. God has already defeated Satan
Colossians 2:13-15 13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Revelation 12:10-12 10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
And when Christ returns, Satan and all he stands for will be eliminated forever
Revelation 20:10-15 10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.