Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: What do we need more than anything else in our lives? We know that the answer is "God" but do we really live that way? Trials reveal what we are trusting to make life work. Here we see David's deep longing to be closer to his God.

INTRODUCTION: "In his riveting and unsettling book Night, Elie Wiesel describes his boyhood experiences as one of the countless victims of the Holocaust. Ripped from his home and separated from everyone in his family except his father (who would die in the death camps), Wiesel suffered a dark night of the soul such as few will experience. It challenged his views and beliefs about God. His innocence and faith became sacrifices on the altar of man's evil and sin's darkness." [1]

The Psalm we are studying today is a result of a great trial in David's life. He was probably running for his life from his son Absalom who had rebelled against him and taken David's throne by force. What do we need more than anything else in our lives? We know that the answer is "God" but do we really live that way? Trials reveal what we are trusting to make life work. Here we see David's deep longing to be closer to his God. If God called David "...a man after His own heart..." (1 Samuel 13:14) and David longed to be closer to God then surely I need to be closer to God.

Our text today teaches us that we need God more than anything else. If I were to ask for a show of hands from everybody here who longs to have a closer walk with Christ, I would hope that every hand would go up. If you love Jesus Christ then you want to be closer to Him--just like anyone or anything else you might love.

The benefits of being closer to Jesus Christ are enormous. When we are discouraged He is the ... God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3) and through God our ...hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself (Colossians 2:2).

When we are weary Christ can give us strength to go on. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16--17).

I assume that everyone here wants to live every day with more comfort, confidence, and strength. So, the question is HOW do we get closer to Christ? The truth we DON'T want to face is that ►Everyone of us is as close to God as we feel a need to be.

So, how can we increase our desire to be closer to God? As Paul put it, For the love of Christ controls us... (2 Corinthians 5:14 NAU)

If you want to want Christ, more than you do right now, then let's spend the next few minutes focusing on the three things we can do to make that happen.

►Vs.1-3,7 I. See God Working in Your Trials

Seeing God during a trial is not easy. Pain (whether physical or emotional) hurts and by nature we focus on that pain. Somehow we have to see past the disappointment or pain. We can do that if we understand three things.

► Vs.1-2a A. God is your greatest need "my soul pants for you"

We can go a long time without food (although it doesn't look like many of us have tried), but water is something we MUST have regularly in order to survive.

We must not settle for second rate, easy, temporary solutions. Ignoring problems doesn't help either. Our hard work and our attempts to manipulate people and circumstances never really solves the problem.

God is much more than a lifeguard who is there to drag us out of our circumstances when life is pulling us under. God must be much more to us than a tissue we use to dry our tears. Because when the tears are gone we will toss God, like a tissue.

We will NOT pant for God until we see how desperately we need Him. Paul knew how great his need for God was: Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. (NAU)

Jesus made it clear that without Him we are hopeless. John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (NAU)

► Vs.2b-3 B. God is all you need "appear before God"

The solution is NOT that we need to work harder for God. The solution is an intimate relationship with God. Proverbs 3:5--6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (NAU)

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