Sermons

Summary: Part one of four sermons that describe a healthy Christian and give steps on how to be one.

You Might Be A Healthy Christian If............. (Series)

You pray even when things are good.

July 22, 2001 First Baptist Church, Chester, Illinois Mike Fogerson, Speaker

Introduction:

1. There was a tavern being built in a town that was formally dry.

A. The baptist church held an all night prayer vigel.

a. Lighting struck the empty tavern and it burnt to the ground.

b. The tavern owner sued the church and was holding it responsible.

B. The Christians hired a lawyer and claimed they weren’t responsible.

a. When the case went to court and said, "No matter how this case comes out, one thing is clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians do not."

b. We’re going to be talking about prayer today.

2. You might be a healthy Christian if....You pray even when things are good.

A. We’ll spend the next four weeks looking at what healthy Christians look like.

*EXEGESIS:

James (½ brother of Jesus, writing to THE church...US. Prayer was a big part of James’ life. His nickname was "Old Camel Knees." He wore calluses on his knees. Wow. He’s a prayer expert.

a. James 5:13-16

JAS 5:13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. [14] Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. [15] And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. [16] Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

b. God wanted people to pray. (Essence of the Text)

B. Healthy Christians have a healthy prayer life. (Essence of the Sermon)

a. I hope you will spend quality time in prayer everyday. (Objective)

b. On a scale from 1 to 10, how healthy is your prayer life? (Probing Question)

Transitional Sentence: Let’s look at two indicators of a healthy prayer life.

I The first indicator of a healthy prayer life is....PERSISTENCE. (vv:13,14)

A James told the church to pray with persistance.

a If your in trouble.....pray.

If your in good times......pray. (Through songs of praise)

b Jesus taught this same principle of persistence in Luke 11:9-10.

LK 11:9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. [10] For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

(The imparitives in vv:9 and the participles in vv:10)

*Keep asking, Keep seeking, Keep knocking

*It doesn’t take a lot of faith, commitment and effort to pray once about something and stop.

B Being persistant with prayer makes it apparent to God that its important to us.

a It doesn’t mean we’ll get what we asked for.

(IL) Matthew 26:39, 42,44

Jesus prayed three times for his cup to pass from Him. Persistent!

(IL) 2 Cor. 12:7-9

Paul prayed three times for the removal of his thorn in the flesh..Persistent

b A healthy Christian can pray with confidence that God may not necessarily give us what we ask for, but He’ll give us what is best!

C Pastor Stephen Bly, of Winchester, Idaho was fortunate enough to have seen the beauty of a healthy Christians prayer life.

a August (Gus) Jensen was an 84 year old widower who sat at the back of the church. (Most would say he didn’t have a lot to offer. Pastor Bly found out different when he spend the day with him.)

*Gus spent 2 ½ hours everyday in bible study & prayer.

*Then he walked 3 miles where he talked with God.

*Currently, Gus was fasting 2 meals a day & praying for the salvation of a neighborhood boy named Anthony. (Anthony was good for getting into mischief)

*"How long have you prayed for Anthony, Gus?" "40 days." Gus replied.

*How much longer will you continue? As long as it takes.

*On day 51, Anthony committed his life to Christ.

b. A healthy Christian has a persistent prayer life.

T.S.: Persistence is an indicator of a healthy Christians prayer life, but its not the only one.

II The second indicator of a healthy prayer life is....FAITHFUL PRAYING. (vv:15,16)

A James tells the type of prayer that makes a difference.

a Faith (Gk. Pistis) You believe because you’ve heard about God.

*Didn’t see, feel....simply heard and believed. You believe God will answer..period.

*If you pray, don’t worry. If you worry, don’t pray.

b Righteous (Gk. Dikaios): Living right in God’s sight.

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