As always the question:
Do you make God wait for you to pray?
In your life - are there things that crop up each day - things that grab your attention and draw you away from taking the time to pray?
When we should be praying and asking God to speak, to act, to move, to bless,
it seems that often we can be too busy to pray.
Relationships, families, work, situations, circumstances, likes, wants, desires,
even our hobbies can stop us from taking the time to pray.
Wether we are in a time of joy or a time of trouble, we must take the time to pray.
Romans 12:12 simply tells us we should:
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying (Romans 12:12)
This is an essential command for each of us to follow isn’t it.
In good times and bad we are to speak to God,
we are to draw near to Him,
to grow in our relationship with Him.
He is our confident hope.
The fact that you are here this evening suggests that you have hope in God,
It suggests you want to know more of God,
that you are willing to draw closer to Him.
To be in a real relationship with Him.
How has your relationship with God been lately?
Have there been some days when you really felt close to God?
Have there been some days when you really sensed His presence in your life?
Have there been days when it has been easy to walk in the purpose and plan God has for you and other days when life just got in the way and you struggled to focus on God?
How often have you thought about the things of God?
How much time have you committed to prayer?
How much time have you spent reading the Bible?
There is so much in God’s word that we need to put into practice in our own lives.
We need to ensure we are not running on empty.
Following Christ is a daily journey.
And God wants our daily commitment to Him.
To trust Him, to serve Him, to learn more about Him.
To think about the things of God.
There was a little girl called Esther who told her mother that her stomach hurt.
Her mother replied, “That’s because it’s empty. Maybe you should try putting something in it.”
The next day, a friend came to their house for lunch.
She mentioned having a headache.
Esther quickly said, “That’s because it’s empty. Maybe you should try putting something in it.”
Just as we need to regularly pray,
We also need to regularly fill our minds and our hearts with God’s word.
When you read the Bible do you understand everything you read?
Let’s be honest, there are some parts of the Bible that we love to read,
words that bring encouragement,
words that bring comfort,
words that bring assurance,
words of promise that you claim for yourself, examples of answered prayer,
those parts we love to read.
Then there are parts we skim over,
things like the genealogies,
this one begat that one, that one begat the other.
Then there are the parts that we read but don’t fully comprehend.
We trust them.
We know they are true -
but we can’t wrap our minds around the depth of what they really mean - like the passage I want us to consider together this evening:
1 John 4:10-17
10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.
13 And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. (1 John 4:10-17, NLT)
That is an amazing passage - so much truth and depth.
We read it, we trust it,
we know it applies to us,
yet we don’t fully grasp the depth of what God has done for us do we?
There are many things that we do not fully comprehend when we read the Bible -
but they are God’s Words and God’s word is truth and we can trust His word.
Verse 10 - This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
We may never comprehend just how high and wide and deep God’s love is for us -
But we know He loves us don’t we.
Because He loves us, he wants us to communicate with Him in prayer.
As Christian’s we trust in the fact that Jesus came, and lived, and died, and rose again to conquer Sin and death.
We may not fully comprehend How,
but we can be thankful He did
and because of what He has done,
His sacrifice in our place, our sins are forgiven.
We can pray and thank Him for His sacrifice in our prayers.
Verse 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
Look at someone in the row in front or behind you - tell them God loves you.
That is easy to say - God loves you.
Maybe it would have been more difficult to say to that person I love you.
Yet verse 12 clearly says if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.
In love we should pray for each other,
for the circumstances and situations that we know of or things that God lays on our heart.
When you promise to pray for someone, in love pray for them, in love do not break your promise.
Then there is the promise of verse 13 -
God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us.
When human words escape you, allow the Holy Spirit to be active in helping you pray.
God has given us His Spirit, The Holy Spirit dwells in us, people can get a glimpse of God through us.
Can someone look at you and see the presence of God in your life?
Is there evidence that God has a place in your life?
Is there proof that the Holy Spirit has moved and is moving in to your life - or do you look like you should be wearing a sign that says “Space for Rent”?
Verse 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.
Living in God, living for God, secure, certain,
closer than your own breath.
God at the centre of your life, not God at the edge.
God wants us to share the truth of Jesus with others - our family - our friends - our neighbours - our colleagues -
God wants us to confess that we are Christians
to say we trust in Jesus as our Lord, as our Saviour, as our friend, as our redeemer.
To say the truth that we know Jesus is the Son of God, the only way of salvation.
Jesus is the Light of the world, we are lost in darkness without Him.
There is no other saviour, there is no other light in the darkness, there is no other way to be saved.
God has called us to bring Light to the darkness - but some of us behave like the light is on but there is no one home.
We take verse 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love.
and assume that because God loves us, we have an excuse not to be obedient to verses 10-15.
Friends we can not pick and choose the easy bits of the Bible to follow - we can not pick some of God’s commands to obey and ignore the others.
The end of verse 17 is clear when it says we are to
live like Jesus here in this world.
If you have ever wondered what it really means to follow Christ, what it really means to be a Christian - this is it - to live like Jesus here in this world.
If you have ever wondered what the purpose of your Christian life is - It is to be like Jesus wherever you are.
In the office,
in the shop,
in the cafe,
in the home,
in the car,
everywhere you go -
you are to do what he would do,
say what He would say,
have His attitude,
as if He were you.
Easy to do, No.
We are back to verse 13 again - God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us.
We can’t do it in our own strength - we do it with the assistance and the power of the Holy Spirit.
But we need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us.
We need to allow the Holy Spirit space to work in our lives.
We need to be people of prayer.
We need to be people of the Word.
We need to be like Jesus.
Every person who has accepted Jesus as their personal saviour.
Every person whose name is written in heaven
has an obligation to be what Jesus would do -
if He lived in your house,
worked in your office,
went where you go.
Every person whose name is written in heaven
has an obligation to say what He would say,
To be what He would be,
To love as He would love,
To do as He would do,
to pray as He would pray,
To forgive as He would forgive.
Some people choose to read the Bible and discover everything they can about God to deepen their relationship with Him.
Some people choose to read the Bible and then
pretend not to understand certain things
so they don’t have to do all of the things God has commanded them to do.
Some people choose not to read the Word of God for themselves - they just rely on the little they hear from a pulpit - if they can be bothered to actually turn up at a service.
Some people deliberately choose not to read the Bible so that their knowledge of God and His will is remain limited.
Some people choose to have more than just one foot in the world and one in the church.
It’s more like both feet in the world and maybe,
just occasionally, they allow a toe or two to wander into church.
Some people would rather choose the pleasures of this world than spending time praying and growing closer to the God who loves them, cares for them, provides for them.
What have you chosen?
Have you chosen to allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and through you?
Have you chosen to live like Jesus in this world?
Isn’t that the better way?
So, what does it mean to live like Jesus in this world?
His entire life on earth was spent helping others.
What are we supposed to do?
What are you supposed to do?
You may never raise the dead
You may never heal the sick
You may never cause the lame to leap.
You may never cause the dumb to speak
You may never cause the blind to see
You may never cause the sick to be well.
You may never still the wind or calm the storm.
So How are you supposed to live like Jesus in this world?
Peter gave a one sentence biography of Jesus when he was speaking to Cornelius in Acts 10,
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good.
When Jesus saw hungry people He fed them,
When Jesus saw cold people He clothed them,
When Jesus saw sad people He cheered them,
When Jesus saw discouraged people,
He encouraged them, He prayed.
When Jesus saw weary people He strengthened them,
When Jesus saw bereaved people He comforted them
When Jesus saw people, He blessed them
He blessed those that cursed Him,
He loved those that hated Him,
He prayed for those that used Him,
He never sought revenge,
He never sought vengeance,
He never tried to get back at anyone.
When one betrayed Him, He called him a friend.
When people reviled Him, He did not retaliate.
AND When they nailed Him to the cross,
He prayed for their forgiveness.
Jesus of Nazareth. . . who went about doing good. That is who we are supposed to be.
In every country in the world.
In every city, town and village,
In every office, in every factory, in every home.
We are meant to touch lives for God’s glory.
We are meant to show the love of Christ.
God has called us to bring blessing to others.
God has called us to pray for others.
The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus life was led, guided and directed by the Holy Spirit.
The same Holy Spirit that dwells in every believer.
If your family has never seen Jesus in you - where are you hiding Him?
If the people who work, or your friends have never seen Jesus in your life - Why are you hiding Him?
As children of God, we have no right to hide Him.
He offers salvation and forgiveness to everyone that will trust in Him.
God has made it possible for people in Ashingdon to see Jesus.
God has made it possible for people to see Jesus
wherever you go.
As I close let me ask you, will you make that your prayer today?
That people will see Jesus in you.
To be a blessing to others.
That you life might be like Him!
If we claim to be His children, we must be like Him.
God comes to us and says, as my Son Jesus was in the world, so I want you to be.
He says, ______ I want you to be like me,
He says _______ I want you to be like me,
He says _______I want people to see Jesus in you.
He says _______ I want people to see Jesus where you work.
We may not always be the best example,
but that should not stop us trying!
Will you try to live like Him?
Will you try to love as He would love?
Will you try to forgive as he would forgive?
Will you try to help as He helped?
Will you try to bless as He blessed?
Will you try to pray as He prayed?
Do you want to be like Jesus today?
Do you want people to see Jesus in you?
In your attitude, your actions, your life?
Will you live by the Spirit?
It is possible for you, by the power of the Spirit, to live the same kind of Life that Jesus lived!
Allow Him to fill you and guide you.
This world will never see Jesus,
and we will never show our families Jesus,
until we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.
We need to stop doing what we want to do and start doing what God wants us to do.
Be a people of prayer today and every day.