Summary: Prayer and conflict reguires proper focus.
1. Friends - we are here this evening to do some work. Our General Synod has started meeting and we have some grave concerns.
2. Main concern is the Formula of Agreement. If passed we would recognize that a church that ordains homosexuals is rightly proclaiming the gospel.
3. It bothers me very much that there are pastors and elders in the RCA which are pushing for the approval of the formula. That these people even see no wrong with homosexuality. I have even spent hours arguing with them and even had picture of such a debate in the Church Herald.
4. But I find in this that I have a tendency to focus my attention in the wrong direction. I think we all do this whenever we feel we are in a fight - whether for the truth or in a personal conflict. This week felt attacked by person - RSC Executive. Even as I wrote this still upset.
5. But my problem right now and anytime is that I focus on the one that is doing wrong or is wronging me. Or we focus on the problem or circumstances we are in.
1. Even in our prayers to God our focus is on the "adversary" or the problem. Tis evening I suggest that there are three other areas that we should be focusing on and if we would do this, we would see more often our prayers answered.
2. First we should focus on God.
a. So easy of trying to think of what we should do or what we can do to overcome problem. Even tonight we can think that it will be our prayers that will lead Synod to decide correctly. To extent true - but it is God who has to act.
b. We are so powerless - ever try to change a person’s point of view very frustrating.
c. And so we need to put God to work Isa 64:4 says that God is beyond compare. Who has heard or seen of any God like Him. In other words no one comes close to Him. He is great and awesome. When He comes the mountains tremble.
d. And He is a God who acts on our behalf. He works things out for our good. He is able and willing to do that which we ask.
3. And so, as we do tonight we focus on God and beseech Him to act. But we must continue to focus on God. I find it easy to pray and then go into the battle as if it all depends on me. In Exod 17:8-16, we read of the Amalekites attacking the Israelites. While the men fought Moses stood on a hill holding up his hands which held the staff of God. When hand stayed up the Israelites were winning. When he got tired and let staff down, the Amalekites were winning. And so Aaon and Hur held up Moses’ hands.
a. We need to keep on relying - pray tonight but pray throughout the week.
4. There is a second point of focus.
a. That is ourselves - not to fight or win the battle, but as we see in vs. 4 and 5 to keep on waiting on the Lord and also to humble ourselves and confess that we too are sinners.
b. As long as we look down on those who are in the "wrong" we breed pride and sin within us. How often do we not think or at least appear to be holier than others?
c. Yes the prayers of a righteous man availeth much but this means not that we come in our righteousness but in the righteousness of Christ.
d. Isa 64:9 - we have to ask God to forget our sins - confession. And we need to strive to be holy before God.
5. Third focus is on the real enemy. We are not fighting other people. We think we are but they not the real enemy. ( Eph 6:12)
a. Satan is the one who we are fighting against. He seeks to destroy church and if we react wrong and pridefully, we also can be used by Him to destroy.
b. We must always be aware of His schemes and aware of how he pushes the right buttons in us to make us sin.
6. We must speak truth in love. We must use spiritual weapons, but above all we must fight Him with prayer.
a. Pray for all the saints, pray for pastors and delegates and those who speak God’s word - that they may do it fearlessly.
7. As we pray to God, let us put Him to work, let us humble selves, and let us ensure we know who we are fighting.