Summary: God desires our intimacy with him. Steps for building intimacy with God are praise, prayer and enjoying God by spending time in his word
“Four Christmas Gifts Worth Unwrapping”
Unwrapping God’s Intimacy
December 12, 2004
Intro: Last week we began looking at gifts worth unwrapping. We started with God’s love and how it is unconditional, limitless, and available.
Today we are going to look at another aspect of God’s character that he shares with us. It is the gift of God’s intimacy.
**Open package with painting of a hand.
Intimacy is a most private and personal relationship.
It is a deep and thorough understanding of another person.
God as our creator knew us and allowed us to know him, but intimacy with God is best seen in the coming of Jesus.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us.’”
Until this time, God was separated from man. There was a barrier and distance in the relationship because of man’s sin. Now God had come to dwell with men. He had come to give us an intimate relationship with himself.
Today we are going to explore three ways to develop intimacy with God.
“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are discouraged take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.”
Psalm 34:1-3 (NLT)
Praise comes from the Latin term meaning price or value. It is a giving of worth.
What praise does is say, “God, you are worthy.”
It is giving value to God and celebrating who he is.
Praise takes our eyes off ourselves and focuses them on God.
Praise allows us to draw near to God by communicating the value of who he is.
“Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”
It is intimate communication that allows us intimate fellowship with God.
Relationships are most successful when communication is at its best.
God desires to hear from you how you feel about him.
The first step to intimacy with God is praise.
“I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the LORD in my suffering and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the LORD guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.”
David is expressing that his prayers have been filled with fear.
God doesn’t want us to talk with him only out of the good times, but also out of the bad.
One of the greatest blocks to intimacy with God is dishonesty with God.
“In prayer, the good, the bad and the ugly are all mixed together.”
Prayer: Finding the Hearts True Home
Honesty with God allows us to reach the heart of God.
“When you call on me, when you come to pray to me, I’ll listen. When you’re looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me, and want it more that anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”
Jeremiah 29:12-13(The Message)
The key to intimacy through prayer is honesty with God.
“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!” Psalm 34:8(NLT)
The Westminster Confession tells us that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. God does not desire us to distance ourselves from him out of fear, but to draw close to him out of joy.
One way to enjoy God is to spend time in his word.
Scripture has been given to us so that we may know the heart of God and learn to live as he desires.
“Everything in the scriptures is Gods word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. The scriptures train Gods servants to do all kinds of good deeds.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17(Contemporary English Version)
God’s word guides our lives so that we may draw close to him and know him.
When we study God’s word, and apply God’s word, we can have refreshed intimacy with God.
**Pass out honey
Jewish children of Jesus day would go to school at the age of six and they would begin to memorize the first five books of the bible, The Torah. By age 10, they would be able to recite from memory all of the Torah.
“Above all else we pride ourselves on the education of children.”