2 Cor 12:7-11
INTRO: I wonder how you view prayer? I expect that there are some things we share unanimously, and there are some things about which we have different viewpoints. I hope, though, that we do not view prayer as a sort of wishing well to which we can go with magical expectations. One thing I want us all to know is that Gods ears are open to the prayers of the righteous (1 Pet 3:12) and that He answers their prayers (1 Jno 5:15). Do we glorify God in prayer?
I. BEGINNING THOUGHTS ...
A. When someone does us a great favor or service ...
1. does it make a lasting impression on us?
2. do we simply say, Thanks and quickly forget what was done?
B. In praying what are our thoughts of God?
1. what do we acknowledge in praying?
2. is prayer like an experimental drug - it may work; it may not; but Ill try anything?
II. GLORIFY GOD BY THE MANNER OF ADDRESS
A. O God - note Ps 57:1
1. recognition of his awesome power (v.2)
2. recognition that salvation, mercy come from Him (v.3)
3. but v.5 is personal cry of glory to God -(listen to Hezekiahs address at Isa 37:16 ... he glorifies God in his address)
4. leads to v.7 and absolute confidence
B. Our Father - note Mt 6;9
1. hallowed ... venerate because of Who He is
2. hey, you has become a way of address ... a casualness that leads too often to disrespect
3. such casualness does not glorify God!
4. our Father is address full of meaning!
III. GLORIFY GOD IN THE CONFIDENCE OF YOUR PRAYER
A. In praying there should be belief!
1. 1 Jno 3:22 and 5:15
2. I wonder how many prayers are doubtful?
3. Mk 4:36 here is the reason for confidence - all things are possible for/with God
B. But there is our belief, too, in His wisdom
1. this brings me to 2 Cor 12:9,10 - God knew something Paul didnt!
2. or Mk 14:36 where the will of God was different from that of the praying Christ
3. this is harder for us - to glorify God when His answer is very different from our request
IV. GLORIFY GOD BY REJOICING IN RECEIVING
A. Giving God the credit!
1. I remember well Jas 1:17 and Mt 7:11
2. how poor I would be had it not been for the bountiful gifts from God ... replies, I am content to believe, to prayers
3. how little I believe I have accomplished on my own
B. Giving God the gratitude He is due
1. I suggest ours should be lives of gratitude
2. Ps 68:19 who daily ... daily receiving should provoke us to daily glorifying the God of our salvation!
3. Ps 26:7 what better, more fitting way of glorifying Him than by telling all of His wondrous works ... the blessings received in prayer
CLOSE: There are, it seems, few things which would ascribe glory to God in the way in which the prayers of Gods people can. What confidence and trust are wrapped together in prayer to our heavenly Father!
Cecil A. Hutson
21 March 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)