Message: WHAT IF?
This morning, as usual I start with a question:
The question is simply this - What if?
Our theme for 2014 is The Year of Powerful Prayers or Powerful pra YERS
and what if this year,
what if this month,
what if today,
what if right now,
God were to answer the prayer of your heart
then what would be different?
What would change?
What would happen?
If, two letters, I and F,
If, one of the shortest words in the English language, but a word that can have a big effect on your life.
The dictionary defines “if” as the cause or reason or motive for something to happen.
“If”, is the word that evokes a response for action.
The word “if” is considered the cause portion of the cause and effect in English grammar.
When “if” statements are used, they are generally followed by “then” statements, which are the effect part of the cause and effect.
The “then” statement tell what can or will happen to fulfilling the “if” statement.
A good example of this, is the Bible verse I want us to consider together this morning:
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins and will heal their land.
The word “if” is a conditional word.
God speaks a conditional statement here,
the condition must be fulfilled before the result can happen.
If God’s people become humble, pray, seek his face and turn from their wicked ways.
Then the result would be that God would hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.
Throughout the Bible there are times when God chooses to act unconditionally, and other times when God has specific condition that need to be fulfilled before He acts.
One of God’s conditions is humbleness.
1 Peter 5:6 says, “humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”
God commands us to humble ourselves.
In the dictionary, Humbleness, is defined as having or possessing the virtue of humility.
Humility, is a freedom from arrogance that grows out of the recognition that all that we are and have comes from God.
Some look at humbleness as a sign of weakness or worthlessness. But this is not the meaning that the bible gives.
Biblical humility is not a belittling of self, it is an exalting and praising of others.
It is recognition that by ourselves we are nothing, but because we are created by God and in his image and are believers in Christ, we have infinite worth and value.
The author E. M. Bounds wrote, “Humility is just feeling little because we are little. Humility is realizing our unworthiness because we are unworthy, the feeling and declaring ourselves sinners because we are sinners.
Another author, Bob Sorge wrote. “Humility says, ‘Lord, I am empty without Your fulness; I am broken without Your wholeness; I am helpless without Your strength; I am clueless without Your wisdom. Apart from You I am nothing. I need you...”
True humility, true humbleness, does not produce pride it produces thankfulness.
Humbleness is a condition that god requires.
God also wants His people to be people of prayer.
Prayer is how we communicate with God.
James 5:16 says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
Prayer how we are to express our thanks to the God who loves us and cares for us.
Prayer is for supplication, for adoration, and for confession.
Prayer brings us closer in our relationship to our God.
When we pray we are communicating with our Lord, our Saviour, our Father and our friend.
Do you understand how much God wants YOU to be in constant communication with Him?
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “pray without ceasing” God wants you to pray.
God wants His people to seek His face.
Not a rushed little thank you here or there.
Not only when you want Him to do something.
God wants your total commitment.
Matthew 6:33 says you are to “Seek the Kingdom of God first, above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Are you seeking God’s kingdom first?
Could it be, that the reality is you are seeking what you want more than you are seeking His kingdom?
Does God have first place in your life?
Or is God a long, long way down your list of priorities?
What gets in the way?
What do you put before Him?
What place have you really chosen for God in your life?
What if today you chose to put God first in everything you do?
Seeking god first is just like a ship in a storm being guided to shore by the light from the lighthouse.
It’s the light that helps a ship to steer clear of the rocks and hazards in the water.
When we seek God first, He helps us steer clear of the dangers, hazards and temptations of this world.
God is the one that will guide us,
God is the one who is able to lead us,
God is the one who is able to keep us safe,
BUT we must be willing to go where He leads us.
We need to travel the right path, not wander where ever the whim or moment may take us.
God’s people must be Humble,
God’s people must pray,
God’s people must seek His face.
There is another condition in this verse,
God wants His people to turn from their wicked ways. God wants His people to repent.
In the strange mixed up world we live in the Word wicked is now used to describe something that is really great or amazing:
“That car is wicked cool!”
“That Cake was wicked!”
“That film was wicked!”
The real dictionary definition of wicked is “evil or morally wrong”
Wicked ways are sin and God hates sin.
Wicked ways are cheating, gambling, stealing,
God hates them all.
Wicked ways are lying, backbiting, gossiping, disobedience, sexual sin, and god hates them all.
The list of Wicked ways is long, so let me shorten it to something we can all remember...
Wicked ways are anything against the will or nature of God.
Wicked ways are what God wants his people to turn away from.
He wants us to STOP doing what we’re doing wrong STOP going where we’re going wrong;
STOP saying what we’re saying wrong.
STOP living how we’re living wrong.
God wants us to repent, to turn from them all.
Then God WILL hear, then God WILL forgive,
then God WILL heal and make whole.
Then we will really experience God’s grace, mercy and love.
If you ask for God’s grace and God’s mercy, HE WILL ANSWER your prayer.
Even though you have done wrong, He will forgive you.
Even though we have gone astray,
He will forgive us IF we humble ourselves,
IF we pray,
IF we seek His face,
IF we turn from our wicked ways,
Then He WILL hear from heaven.
Then He WILL forgive our sin.
Then He WILL heal this land.
Could it be that God’s answer to the prayer of your heart is “If you, then I will”?
So many of us want something from God right now.
So many of us need something from God right now.
Is God saying to us “if”?
Is God saying to you “if”?
If you stop lying,
If you stop cheating,
If you stop swearing,
If you stop gambling,
If you stop backbiting,
If you stop gossiping,
if you stop coveting,
if you stop stealing,
if you stop taking my name in vain,
If you stop being disobedient,
if you stop the sexual sin,
if you stop being selfish,
if you stop putting your desires first,
if you just seek God first....
Then I will He hear from heaven,
Then I will answer your prayer,
Then I will bless,
Then I will He make your enemy your footstool, Then I will He show you peace,
Then I will heal that situation
Then I will change that circumstance
Then I will heal your land.
Let me close with this. Let’s make this verse a little more personal.
If you, who are called by His name,
will humble yourself
and seek His face
and turn from your wicked ways,
then God will hear from heaven
and He will forgive your sins
and will heal your land.
Jesus said to Peter and Andrew;
if you follow me, then I will make you fishers of men.
What a difference an IF made in their lives.
If you follow Jesus, really follow Jesus, then your life should be different from what it was.
If... you trust Him.
If... you just be still and know that He is God.
If... you think of God’s goodness.
If... you take time to read His word.
If... you pray.
If... you seek His face.
THEN all these things will be added unto you.
If you need a friend that sticks closer than any brother;
If you need a way out of no way;
If you need water when you’re thirsty;
If you need bread when you’re hungry;
If you need rest when you’re weary;
Then pray to Jesus;
Jesus, the alpha and the omega;
Jesus, the beginning and the ending;
Jesus, the bright and morning star;
If you’re in trouble He will set you free.
If you’re sick He can heal!
If you can’t find you’re way He will guide your way!
He will show and tell you things you have never seen or heard;
He will give you peace in the midst of your storm; He will give you a calm that can’t be disturbed;
He will give you joy that no man can ever take away!
If you want peace;
If you want joy;
Seek His Face
Turn from anything wicked in your life
Then see the blessings that will flow in your life
Let God be at the centre of your life.
May this be a year of powerful prayers a
nd a year of powerful PrayERS’