INTRO: We often comment that the children of Israel were a murmuring, complaining, forgetful lot! It seems that no matter how much God did for them, it was never enough. When a problem or obstacle arose, they forgot all God had done for them and complained. In the text I have read is one of those occasions. Moses noted that the people were ready to stone him! But there is a question they asked which may put into words how folks really feel when things are going badly. Is the Lord among us, or not? Astounding.
I. HOW DO PEOPLE GET TO SUCH A CYNICAL, SKEPTICAL PLACE?
A. By thinking only of their stomachs
1. this world is the limit of their horizons
2. Phil 3:19 ... who mind earthly things
3. so, when things are in danger, Where is God when I need Him?
B. By limiting Gods power because of their sin
1. its true ... God is not hearing their prayers, pleas!
2. Isa 59:1,2 people living in sin, impenitent, have no reason to expect God to come running when theyre in trouble!
3. so, they have no sense of Gods presence
C. By having used God as their emergency exit
1. the only time they think to pray is when trouble comes
2. would they recognize the presence of God then?
3. recall Nahum 1:7 - what is the secret here? they have trusted Him; when trouble comes, no wondering if God is present
II. FACT: GODS EYES ARE OVER THE RIGHTEOUS
A. Ps 34:15-19 with 1 Pet 3:12 The eyes of the Lord ...
1. notice v.11 - I will teach you the fear of the Lord ...
2. rest assured that righteous living does have rewards!
3. but we cannot avoid v.16 ... our question this morning may well come back to this very problem
4. this is not, then, a God problem .. it is a man problem
B. Prov 15:3 The eyes of the Lord ..
1. the assurance that Gods eyes are seeing
2. note Ps 134:7,8 Thou at there
3. if I find myself asking if the Lord is among us, or not, there is little doubt that my faith is weak - because the eyes of the Lord are in every place
C. 2 Chron 16:9a ... eyes of the Lord run to and fro ...
1. what a wonderful picture this presents to us
2. but it comes in the midst of a prophets message of condemnation of Asas behavior
3. note v.7 and v.12 ... Asa began trusting alliances and science to the exclusion of the Lord!
4. note v.8,9b faithfulness, forgetting what the Lord had done ... thou hast done foolishly!
5. still, for all of us there is the great assurance that the Lord is among us
CLOSE: Next Lords day I want to talk a bit more about the people who do not wonder if the Lord is among us ... people in daily relationship with God. But today I want to ask this: do you find yourself wondering if the Lord is with you, or not? if so, could that very question be your wake up call to faith maintenance?
Cecil A. Hutson
03 February 2002
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)