INTRO: Last Lords day morning we considered this question from Ex 17:7. Is the Lord among us, or not? We noted some of the things which can be going on in a persons life which might bring him to ask such a question. But we also found that the Lord is among His people; that His eyes and ears are ever open in behalf of those who trust in Him. What is needed, it seems to me, is a daily relationship with God. Such questions as the one from Ex 17:7 would rarely occur to, or bother, a person in daily relationship with God.
A. Are accustomed to praying
1. prayer is not an after thought, an emergency devise
2. there are praying people - prayerful people
3. Lk 18:1 praying as a life practice does keep Christians from the despair so characteristic of others
4. 1 Thes 5:17 - Col 4:2 such praying may be lacking
5. there is a vigilance in praying which prepares us for unexpected
B. Are confident that God does hear and answer prayer
1. prayer without confidence is an empty exercise
2. so, Mt 21,22 note the word believing
3. 1 Jno 5:14,15 do we have this confidence?
4. Jas 5:16b here is the confidence I want
5. Jas 5:15 refers to the prayer of faith
C. Are moving forward without stagnating in anxiety
1. daily living with confidence, peace continues
2. they absorb, process disquieting things and move ahead either in confidence that God is still on His throne or to seek solutions ... or both
3. not insensitive, shallow, etc. - just confident and content
4. Neh 4:4-6 he prayed ... and built!
5. indeed, Nehemiah is my personal example of confident praying which keeps moving forward
D. Are receiving the sustenance of Gods word
1. doubts, fears, anxieties are in direct relationship to inadequate sustenance from Gods word!
2.Ps 119:50 quickened is revived - revival in affliction attributed to the word
3. the word brings our minds back to God, His counsel
4. the word tends to give everything sharper focus
5. Rom 15:4 patience and comfort of the scriptures
E. Are not attached to this world
1. it is connection with trust in the world that brings people to question gods presence!
2. I recognize that this is a balance situation
3. certainly, we need the essentials of life - and need a means of providing for our families
4. its the trust factor that gets us into trouble (1 Tim 6:17)
5. 2 Cor 4:18 here is what one in personal relationship with God sees and that upon which he acts
F. Are aware that life has its problems, trials, difficulties
1. its the approach to these things which sets the righteous apart from the doubters, skeptics
2. note Rom 8:28 and 37-39 here is the approach!
3. its a matter of how we see things - righteous, praying, word oriented, trusting people see God beyond the trial!
4. Heb 11:27 ... he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible
5. but its also so important to learn to confront our trials one by one not to permit them to gang up on us; solve when possible; commit to God when necessary; looking always for the rays of sunshine
G. Are touching others with example, message of hope
1. I know this sets the righteous apart
2. Ps 71:5 thou art my hope - and it shows
3. quiet confidence and peace are manifested in the lives of people in daily relationship with God
CLOSE: Is the Lord among us, or not? Absolutely, yes.
Cecil A. Hutson
10 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)