Summary: What really matters?
God’s Priorities for You
Sermon by: Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church, West Monroe, LA
Jan. 16, 2005
*What really matters?
-This week I watched part of a documentary about the crash of a Concorde jet in France.
*Over 100 people died, and it all started because of a strip of metal that had fallen on the runway.
*It was only 16 inches long.
-I could hold it here in my hand.
*Sometimes it’s hard for us to see what really matters, but God knows.
-God knows what’s most important in your life & mine.
*So let’s look into the Word of God this morning & see some of the greatest priorities He has for our lives.
1. God wants you to be happy.
-(This is surely one of His priorities & we see this in vs. 1-3.)
*God wants you to be happy.
-I’m not talking about the surface, selfish happiness the world is grasping for, but deep, abiding joy.
*The world can’t give it & the world can’t take it away, but Jesus can give us joy, and God wants us to have it.
1-So He gives us a picture of a happy life in vs. 2:
*It’s a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
-A happy life is a quiet & peaceful life, not marked by storms & turbulence, but by tranquility.
*Peace in your heart & peace in your home...
-That’s what God wants for you.
*But a happy life is also Godly & honest...
-Not burdened with guilt, but blessed by goodness.
*A life where integrity blossoms, while our hypocrisy withers away.
-God wants us to be living in all godliness and honesty, so we don’t want to be half-hearted about our honesty.
*Like Dennis the Menace was when he gave some advice to his friend Joey.
-Dennis caught Joey trying to get a paper out of the machine without paying.
*And he said: -"Wait, Joey!
-First you have to put the money in...
-Then you can get all the papers you want." (1)
*We can do better than that!
-And if we do, we will be infinitely more happy in the long run.
2-God wants you to be happy.
*That’s why verses 1&2 give us one of the greatest helps to happiness you will ever find:
-And it’s prayer.
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."
*God gives us 4 words for prayer here, and the first 3 are similar, but each gives us a little more insight on prayer.
*Supplications: It’s the idea of having a need & asking for help, but the root word is "to bind"...
-So there is a great strength here, binding ourselves as with chains to our purpose in prayer.
--But also binding ourselves to God & His will, no matter how He chooses to answer.
*We offer our supplications, and our prayers.
-This is also asking, but this word was only used to describe asking God for help, so there is the idea of reverence & worship.
*And as Barclay said, the understanding that:
"There are certain needs which only God can satisfy. There is a strength which he alone can give; a forgiveness which he alone can grant; a certainty which he alone can bestow."
*We offer our prayers, and our intercessions.
-This is standing in the gap for other people, but it also carries the idea of a close, personal conversation with the King:
--Pleading with the King on behalf of a friend...
--Coming before Him with childlike confidence.
*I like what Russell Brownworth said about intercessions:
"Let me take a crack at describing Intercessory Prayer. I am the youngest (by four years) of my Mom & Dad’s two offspring. I am also the shorter, fatter and better looking of the two.
The fact that I have a big brother came in quite handy early-on, mainly because Eddie and Artie Mountford were not nice people. (I have not kept up with those two since school days, but I do sincerely hope they’ve managed to keep off death row.
I was certain back then that they were related to Osama bin Laden. They took it upon themselves to be my personal terrorists!)
Now, Eddie and Artie were older and bigger than me, but they were much smaller than my big brother.
Get the picture?
No matter what torture they dreamed up for [me], Thom could always get in-between the trouble and his little brother. He stood in the gap for me!
That is what intercessory prayer is like; at least it is similar. We have a big brother named Jesus who is willing to stand in [the gap for us]. [And] Intercessory prayer is [us] standing in the gap, taking the matter to Jesus on behalf of [another] brother in need." (2)