Summary: Looks at the virtures of the life of King Asa to find "tests" that reveal the strength of our walk with God
1. Title: The Lord is With You When You Are With Him
3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, May 28, 2006, 2nd in the series “The Kings and I”
-for the people to understand better how to apply OT stories to their lives; what it means to be “with the Lord” and to have Him “with you”
-for the people to feel emboldened by the presence of God in their lives; a desire to make sure that their lives are being lived in a constant pursuit of God
-for the people to test themselves, consider if they are “with God,” and to courageously step forward to do what God wants done
5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to be emboldened in the knowledge that the Lord will go with them and enable them to do His desires
6. Type: biography / textual
7. Dominant Thought: God honors the life that is courageously given over to Him
Intro – If you read magazines, you’ve seen them. There’s this little picture of a dog or something. “Take our art test. Draw Spunky,” it says, “Send it into us. You may have the talent to become a syndicated artist.”
Then there’s the test to find out if you and your spouse are communicating well.
There’s a test to check the strength of your vocabulary.
Or there’s the test to see if you’re a candidate for a heart attack based on the number of stress factors in your life in one year.
Or there’s the I.Q. test to see if you might unknowingly be a genius and a potential member of MENSA.
And when you sit down to eat at Cracker Barrel, there are those little triangular pieces of wood with golf tees in them. You jump the tees over each other, and that’s supposed to test your intelligence.
Those are all fine. Testing is good. Testing is what helps make sure drivers are qualified to drive. It makes sure our coronary arteries aren’t clogged. It’s good to know our limits, and testing helps us set goals and measure progress. I suppose it’s nice to know if I’m a poor communicator, an undiscovered artist, a heart attack candidate, or a hidden genius – all from a copy of Reader’s Digest or lunch at Cracker Barrel!
But there’s another aspect to our lives – a spiritual aspect that lasts forever. That’s an area of life where I need more than a peg game on the table to tell me how I’m doing. Someone once asked himself why it seemed like older people spent more time reading the Bible, and then he says he realized: They’re cramming for finals!
I don’t think heaven will have an entrance exam – or it if does, it will pretty much be one question: Were you in Christ or not? Are you ready for that test? Why wait? Why not take the pre-test? Why not make sure now? Paul told the Corinthians:
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?
Every crowd you sit in is full of people who would admit to you that they aren’t sure if they’re headed for heaven or not. Right here this morning, if I asked every person here if they are sure that, if they were to die right now, they would go to heaven, there would be a bunch who aren’t completely sure.
What is the test? How can you be sure? Or, can you be sure at all?
This morning, I want us to look at king Asa of Judah and see some pre-test questions that we can ask to make sure we’re ready for finals.
There are some challenges here, because you can’t just take these OT stories and go straight to application. Unless you’ve been attacked by the Cushites and you’re needing help in battle, or you’re the king and you’ve got a bunch of people with sacred stones and Asherah poles around your kingdom, you can’t go straight to application.
1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
What happened in the OT is written down as an example for us – not a blueprint, so we have to do some homework to use it right. We have to look for the universal principles we need to learn from it. We have to see how the principles line up with the rest of Scripture. We have to understand that we live under a different covenant now. We have to remember that much of it is written to specific people and a specific time. Most of us aren’t tempted to go home and set up an Asherah pole on the nearest hill or sacrifice our children to Molech. On the other hand, most Americans are tempted to construct other objects that receive our devotion, and we are tempted to sacrifice our children’s spiritual life to the gods of popularity or pride or convenience.