INTRO: Most of our children (and probably most of us) have studied this incident in the Lords ministry. We remember, perhaps, the pictures and visuals the teachers used to show us Jesus driving the merchants and money changers out of the temple. But I want you to fasten your minds to what Jesus said about the temple. It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer. If that was true of the ancient temple in Jerusalem, how much more should it be true of the church ... which is indeed the temple of God. Not the building, of course, but the people who are the church should be known as a people of prayer. So, think about
I THE POSSIBILITIES OF PRAYER
A. Mk 11:22-24 - ...and ye shall have them
1. I approach these thoughts gingerly, hesitatingly
2. simply because some might misunderstand and assume that Jesus makes prayer a magical wishing well ... and He does not
3. yet, he does speak of potential, possibility in praying
4. all conditions of acceptable prayer must apply ... especially keeping Gods will in mind ... still, vast possibilities are here!
B. I wonder, have we realized prayers possibilities?
1. the word impossible is often very troublesome
2. we look at a task, a situation and conceive it as impossible as moving a mountain from one place to another
3. but impossible too often comes from prayerlessness
4. I do not pretend to know how God answers our prayers ... but I firmly believe that we have not begun to realize the vast possibilities of/in prayer
II THE PANOPLY OF PRAYER
A. Mt 26:53 - and he shall presently give me ... legions of angels?
1. a panoply is a protective covering, impressive array
2. and Jesus knew of the panoply of prayer
3. yes, He was Deity, Gods Son ... and, indeed, God could have rushed 72,000 angels to His aid - if asked
4. but we need to consider that prayer has its panoply for Christians, too
B. Prayer provides promised resources
1. Rom 8:31-39 - praying taps resources which give mighty assistance to Gods elect as they confront hostility, trouble
2. Phil 4:11-13 - and earlier he had said ... Phil 4:6
3. Mt 28:20b & Heb 4:16 & 13:6 - we can boldly say!
4. 1 Pet 3:12a - eyes ... are over the righteous...
III THE POVERTY OF PRAYER
A. Jas 4:2 - ...ye have not, because ye ask not...
1. perhaps these people knew their hearts were so filled with evil that asking would be fruitless
2. but could poverty of/in prayer not be troubling us?
3. sweet friends, whether or not we pray will make a difference in what God is able to do for us (note: Mt 7:11 - to them that ask...
B. As the temple of God, are we truly a house of prayer?
1. 1 Thes 5:17 - pray without ceasing
2. if we are ever to know the possibilities of prayer or draw upon the incredible resources of God, we must be profusely prayerful
3. dont ever think that because God knows your life and needs you do not need to pray ... the Bible plainly shows that we must address God in the communion and communication of prayer
CLOSE: Praying people are power filled people who believe in the possibilities of God!
Cecil A. Hutson
07 March 2004
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)