INTRO: Things were definitely not good in Israel. Chaos, strife and contention were everywhere. The law of God ignored. Civil justice was corrupt. The wicked far outnumbered the righteous. It was a time for crying to the Lord in prayers. But it seemed to the prophet that the Lord wasnt hearing. And he wondered how long the Lord would not hear. Have you ever wondered if God was listening? In need, in crisis, in despair you prayed. And there was no answer. Does He really hear our prayers?
I. SOME OBSERVATIONS ...
A. 1 Pet 3:12 Scripture affirms He hears
B. 1 Jno 5:14,15 Scripture affirms He answers
C. 2 Chron 16:9 Scripture affirms He is alert
II. SOME CONSIDERATIONS ...
A. If the affirmations are valid ...
1. we must assume that He has heard our prayers
2. further, He may already have answered
3. problem: it wasnt the answer I wanted
4. problem: He isnt doing this fast enough
5. problem: How long shall I cry?
B. Yes, there may be other problems ... ours
1. could sin have broken our connection? Isa 59:1,2
2. could our faith be so weak we cannot see the answer?Mt 8:25,26 (the answer was in their boat!)
3. could we be so impatient we overlook the answer? Jas 5:11
4. could we be asking not in keeping with His will? Jas 4:3
5. I think that prayer is a subject needing a lot of honest study, thought, consideration ... we assume everyone knows about praying
III. SOME ANSWERS GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN
A. Deut 29:29 Some things about Gods working well not know
1. questioning God may not be the wisest course
2. Job questioned ... and had an awesome interview
B. Isa 55:8,9 God sees a bigger picture than I
1. why He answers in a particular way may well be in the fact that He knows us, our situation, His plan better than we
2. this should not discourage fervent praying - but it is an answer, an explanation already provided
C. Isa 26:3,4 There is a trust issue here
1. trust in God must become our mind set, our life style
2. frankly, our minds are too fragmented - anxiety!
D. Heb 13:5,6 He is not going to abandon us
1. historically, this is a confirmed fact
2. Ps 23 ... a psalm of confident assurance ... a psalm for thought, meditation
E. Rom 8:28 One of the grand promises
1. and when I pray, this particular promise needs to be part and parcel of my life
2. but I need to be yielding to the truth of this passage ...even if I dont see how it can be possible (disciple didnt understand how Jesus crucifixion could be a good thing ...)
F. 2 Cor 12:8-10 Gods grace is truly sufficient
1. having been a recipient of His grace, can I be discontented?
2. what happened here? the situation didnt change - Paul did ... and it became a blessing
G. Rev 6:9-11 How long? It will be a while!!
1. Gods time table is so different from ours
2. while we wait for answers, we can be at rest; we can be at peace; we can be confident ... because Hes in control
CLOSE: It is not, then, a question of whether or not He is hearing our prayers. Rather, it is a question of how we are praying. The prophets question is one I know that is often asked. We are so fortunate to have answers he didnt have. Are we content with them?
Cecil A. Hutson
05 June 2002 - Memorial
27 October 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)