Summary: Effort to show that pursuit of closeness with God is the sure path to fullness of joy and can be helped by the use of the Psalms as a basis for prayer
1. Title: One Prayer Closer To God
2. Text: Psalm 16
3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, April 3, 2005
-for the people to understand how the Psalms are prayers to be used in our prayers to God, and how this Psalm describes the close relationship we should be seeking with Him
-for the people to feel excited about using the Psalms as a tool for prayer and as a way to draw closer to God
-for the people to read the Psalms more frequently and to see in this Psalm the importance of making God their #1 pursuit in life
5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to understand the Psalms as a means of closeness with God and this Psalm as another reason to seek it
6. Type: expository
7. Dominant Thought: Pursuit of closeness with God is the sure path to fullness of joy and can be helped by the use of the Psalms as a basis for prayer
Intro: We’re continuing our series on prayer for the year, and our sincere emphasis on prayer as a church family. To do that over the next 4 weeks, we’re going to be looking at the role of prayer in how close we are to God.
You know what you mean when you say to someone, “Are you close with that person?” It has to do with degree of intimacy. It describes the depth of your relationship.
What about closeness to God? By that, I don’t mean how long before you die! It means, how well do you know Him? How much do you enjoy being with Him? How much is He on your mind? How often do you share yourself with Him?
Before we go any further, let me ask you to rate where you’re at in your closeness to God. Just listen to these choices, and you decide - where you’re sitting - which one of these describes you:
How close are you to God, compared to 2 years ago?
1. A whole heap closer
2. Somewhat closer
3. About the same
4. Maybe a little farther away
5. Farther away than ever
What phrase best describes how close you are to God today?
1. To be any closer I’d have to be dead!
2. Pleased with the degree of closeness I have to God
3. Somewhere in the middle
4. I’m sorta standing back
5. God Who?
Story - A husband was driving his wife in their car. She looked over at him, with deep thought written on her face. “What’re you thinking about, Hun?” he said. “Oh, Honey, remember how 25 years ago, when we were first married, we used to sit so much closer to each other in the car?” He looked down at the seat and said, “Well, I haven’t moved!”
Let me tell you this morning, whether you’ve rated yourself close to God or far away from God or about the same, God hasn’t moved! This matter of closeness with God is in our hands. Isaiah said “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” When is that? Right now! While you’re alive! While you’re able to think! Seek the Lord!
Paul says it to the Philippians – in the latter half of 4:5 he says, “The Lord is near.” And from there he urges them to (Philippians 4:6) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
The Lord is near…so pray! For now, the way we draw near to this God Who is near is through prayer. Listen to how well prayer fulfills what we’re told to do in Heb:
Hebrews 10:19-22 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.
You see, since we have confidence, since Jesus has made the way for us, since He serves as our great High Priest, since we have full assurance that comes from faith, since our hearts have been sprinkled clean, since our bodies have been washed in pure water, since we understand that’s where we are, we should draw near to God.
What’s a Christian? In part, a Christian is someone who draws near to God – someone who desires to be near to God, who understands how to do that, and who makes it a regular event in life. I want to be such a person. Don’t you?