Summary: There are lots of things we can do to draw close in our relationship with Jesus. Here are three simple things: Love more, ask more, be more.
The other day, I was in a hurry to get to a meeting regarding the church and our association. Did you know we are loosely connected with other churches in the Blue Water Association, headed up by Ted Stevens? Did you also know or do you know that each church that holds to a basic belief in Jesus Christ and His work is a part of the mystical body of Christ and part of the Kingdom of God. We’re connected, one to another. So I was driving down the 35 mile per hour road, following a driver’s education vehicle. The driver, a young person, was inching along at about 20 miles per hour. I got exasperated and tried to get around this young driver but I couldn’t. I had to patiently wait until she finally turned and I could go. It’s the same way in the Christian life. In order to draw closer to Christ, we must listen and learn from Him. We have to study our manual, and take it out on the road.
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, here in chapter six. He tells them a lot of things a lot about himself. Here and elsewhere, he encourages us to follow the guidance and direction of Him and His spirit. My question to you this morning is how can we, in our lives find driving school directions to draw closer to God.
1. The first thing we notice in this chapter and even in this passage is that Jesus had a love for people who were unloveable. He took time to teach them, to counsel them, to love them. We can draw closer to Jesus by doing the same thing. We take time to build on our relationship with God. Notice what the Bible tells us here in verse 44. "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:.." Stop right there. The Father will draw us closer to God. We are drawn to God as we take time to hear from Him, learn from Him and submit to Him. Learn to love Jesus, for His salvation, his words and his work. In another text Jesus says: "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you, that ye love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another." John 13:34-35. The reason that there is love among families, and the reason there is love among Christians is they are drawn to each other. They have like-minded goals, hopes and dreams. The Father will draw us through the Son into a closer relationship to Him and then with one another. We love God and we can love one another. Not just tolerate and put up with one another, but, in Christian love, truly love one another through Christ. He does it in many ways, by our growth and maturity, by our works and submission and by our desire to love Him for the great God that He is. Open your heart to Jesus, "turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."
2. Develop a love language with Jesus through prayer and petition. When my boys were growing up, I would often hear them say: "Dad......could we go to the store for gym shoes? Dad, could we go to McDonalds? Could we go to Seven-Eleven for a slurpee?" I would love to go and do things with my boys. Karin, too. They would ask, and I would answer. Sometimes the answer was: "Go ask Mom." Asking is a natural act. We hear babies cry. They’re asking. We should get in a habit of drawing closer to God by asking. In another text Jesus says to ask: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be pened unto you." Matt. 7:7. It takes effort to ask. It takes courage and desire to ask. To draw closer to Jesus we must ask. He will make you into the person He wants you to be. This is a very important practive and principal to constantly learn: Ask Jesus! Ask a lot, and he will respond and give to you! "Are you weary, are you heavy hearted? Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus, alone."
3.As we grow and as we draw closer to Christ, as I stated above, change comes over us. We are not the same person as we were yesterday. That poster by the Army downtown says: "Be all you can be." It goes for the Army, but it goes for the soldiers of the cross. In the Lord’s Prayer we state: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." Matt. 6:10. How will God’s will be done? Through people like you and me. Through changed and transformed people drawing closer to Christ. The kingdom of Christ is advanced each time we take a closer step with Jesus. Each time we take that incremental prompting, that next step with the Lord. As He transforms us, he advances His kingdom. we grow, his Kingdom grows. I encourage you in your driver’s ed with Jesus. I encourage each of us to learn from Him, through that daily walk with the King. To sense his presence in the daily routine of life, and to be drawn close to His side. "There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God, a place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God." Let’s pray.