Summary: A reminder about how we need to seek God.
Warnings, Exaltations, & Instructions – The Church in Jerusalem
Did you ever read the Bible and become jealous of the relationship between God and the people you read about in it? Let me give you a few examples. Think about Adam and Eve. Not only did God provide a garden paradise for them, but He blessed them with His Presence. In Genesis 3, they hear the sound of the Lord walking in the garden. Then, He calls to them and wishes to talk to them like one person talks to another. Or, take Moses for example. The Lord called to Him through a burning bush, and Moses saw Him work as He led his people out of Egypt. But, the greatest thing about this to me is the fact that Moses talked to the Lord face to face as a man talks to another man. Or, think about the disciples and especially John. They all got to spend 3 and a half years with Jesus up close, and John was so close to the Lord that he got the tag of the one whom Jesus loved the most.
When I look at these examples, I can’t help but feeling jealous of their closeness to the Lord. After all, it would be amazing to have the kind of relationship they had with God. After all, sometimes it feels like God is a million miles away, and yet they got to be up close and personal to Him on a daily basis. It just doesn’t seem to be fair, does it? But, I have one question that God laid on my heart this week. Why don’t I get that close?
At first, I was taken aback by this statement. I started to think of all sorts of things. I know I have prayed to become closer to Him. I know I desire to know Him more intimately. I just assumed that God only picked these individuals to get close to. Then, I came across a Scripture I have read many times, and I took it as a challenge. Turn with me to James 4:7-10 or follow along in your sermon notes.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.
“Come near to God, and He will come near to you.” That is quite a statement and a promise. But, can it really be the truth? Can we really have the type of closeness in our Christian life that Moses, David, John, Paul and the others that we read about had? I believe we can. Join me in prayer as we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom this morning.
Can We Really Get Close to God?
The first area we must address this morning is whether we can truly get close to God. After all, He is God and we are not. He is completely holy and cannot even look upon sin, and we are far from holy and struggle with sin daily. I haven’t even mentioned the small fact that God is in heaven and we are on earth. We are told to come near to Him, but we can’t even get to where He is until after we die. This seems to be quite a problem.
The first thing we must do is to look back at how God created us in the beginning. We all know the story of creation. God made the land and sky and sea and animals, and then, He got around to making man. Now, it does not say how God made all of these other living things from the plants to the fish to the birds to the animals. It just states that God said, “Let there be” and there was. That was all He had to do. But, when it came to making man, He did something subtly different. God did not poof man into existence. God took His time and formed Adam out of the dust of the earth. Then, God does something that you have probably passed over a hundred times and never thought twice about. Genesis 2:7 tells us that, “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.” Why is this important? How many of you have ever taken a CPR course or had to do CPR on somebody? Well, before they came out with a mask you could use to perform this operation, you had to get mouth to mouth with the person you were performing this on. In order to breathe life into the other, you had to be up close and personal. Now, when we look at how God breathed life into us as opposed to the beast of the field and the birds of the air, we begin to understand how intimately He created us.