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Favorites vs. Intimates - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
February 1, 2024 12:00 am

Favorites vs. Intimates - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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February 1, 2024 12:00 am

Follow Abraham's example and grow in intimacy with the Lord.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, February 1st. An intimate relationship with God begins with receiving His gift of forgiveness through faith in Jesus. All who trust in Him are saved the same way and no one is loved by God anymore or any less than anyone else.

But not everyone knows Him as well as others do. If you'd like to have a closer, warmer friendship with God, stay with us for part one of Favorites vs. Intimates. How many of you got special friends? You've got special friends. More than likely, there are some friends you have that you just sort of like being their friend. In fact, to be their friend gives you a little, you know, you feel at least about two inches taller.

And so there's some people to have them as your friends, it's very, very dear to you. Listen to what God says about Abraham. The Scripture says, And he was called the friend of God. Now, did that mean that he was something extra special? Well, he was chosen by God. And when we think of having a special relationship to God, once in a while, people say, Well, you know, I just believe God plays favorites because look what he does for him and look what he does for her. And so sometimes we want to put God in the category of playing favorites. Now, God has chosen, as we know in the scriptures, for example, he raised up men and women for a specific task. Now, it's one thing for God to choose a man or a woman making a divine choice for a divine purpose to fit God's plan.

That's one thing. But to say that God is playing favorites over here is something else. God did not play favorites in choosing Abraham. He divinely chose him out of his own will, and he didn't need any other reason to reach down in a total pagan society and decide to reveal himself to a man who did not know God, revealed himself to him and chose him to be ultimately the father of the nation of Israel.

You trace him on back. He's the one. Well, you say, Well, now, what does the Bible say about the nation of Israel? Doesn't God play favorites to Israel?

I don't think so. It's one thing to be chosen. It's something else to talk about God playing favorites because a favorite person would be a person, for example, who would be greatly liked and maybe get special preferred treatment.

Let me ask you a question. What is the nation that God's chosen? The nation of Israel. Who suffered more than any other group of people in the world?

Israel. That's not playing favorites. They are chosen. And he says in the scriptures in the Old Testament, he says, I've loved you above all the nations of the earth. What he meant by that was he had chosen them and dealt with them on a different level than any other nation. But he made a divine choice for a divine purpose.

He didn't play favorites. And you say, Well, you say, Well, how can God do so and so? Why can't he? There are many things that God does.

Let me tell you something. Because he's sovereign, he doesn't have to explain it. Now, we'd like to have his explanation, but he doesn't have to explain to anybody what he does. But he doesn't play favorites.

And let me show you why. All through the scriptures, God keeps reiterating this fact. And I'm just going to give you a few of them, because I don't want to take the time to go through all the scriptures to show you how many times God says that he's impartial.

Now, we look around and it doesn't appear that God's impartial. Why is he rich and she's poor? Why is he educated and she's not?

Why does he have this gift and she doesn't have it? Well, that doesn't mean that God plays favorites. God in his sovereignty has made choices. And if God is who he says he is and that is that he is a holy God, he neither makes mistakes nor does he commit sin. So whatever he executes and whatever he's divinely ordained is the wisdom of God exercised in life. Now, let me give you some scriptures and let's go through just a few of these. Then I want to come back to what I really want to discuss here, and that is this matter of God's intimates, not his favorites. And you can start all the way back over in Deuteronomy.

We'll just hit two or three of these. He says in Deuteronomy chapter 10, verse 17, for the Lord your God is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, the awesome God who does not show partiality. Nor does he take a bribe.

Now, this is a message to the nation of Israel. He is impartial. Even though he makes divine choices, he doesn't play favorites.

None of us get by with anything. He makes divine choices based on divine wisdom. Look, if you will, all the way and the others in the Old Testament. Look in Romans chapter two, for example, he says a little different way in chapter two, verse 11. Very simple talking, speaking of the Jews, he says, verse 10, but glory and honor and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, for there is no partiality with God.

He doesn't play favorites. He says that in Galatians. He says in Ephesians. He says it in Colossians. Look in Colossians chapter three, verse 25.

He says it a little different way there. He says, for he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he's done and that without partiality. God doesn't play favorites when it comes to judgment.

The truth is, what does he say? The greater the privilege, the what? Greater the responsibility. So if God chooses you for a specific responsibility or if he chooses a nation, they are more responsible and the judgment of God, the discipline of God seems to be more intense upon those whom he divinely chooses for divine purposes. So he's not playing favorites. And then if you look on over in 1 Peter chapter one, he says it a little different way in the first chapter there and in verse 17. And if you address as father the one who impartially judges according to each man's work. Now, if he judges impartially, he's not playing favorites. So all through the scriptures, book after book, God has just injected a verse here and there to remind us God isn't playing favorites. So if you're one of those persons who's been saved backyard and you feel like you're sort of specially graced for some reason, and that you just sort of wanted God's favorites and that you are going to be able to get by with something, I want to tell you, friend, you're going to be sadly mistaken.

You're not. What did he say? And if you address his father, the one who impartially judges according to each man's work. Therefore, he says, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth, because God doesn't play favorites and he doesn't let anybody get by those. God has no preferences. He loves each one of us equally.

Now, let me say something here. The Bible does not say that God treats everybody equally. Doesn't say that he loves us equally.

There's no partiality in God in that area. He makes divine choices and sometimes we make choices that affect what God does in our life. He doesn't play favorites. He's not going to let us get by with anything, but he does make divine choices. So God isn't after favorites. In other words, if you want to get out, listen, if you want to get in the in-group with God, I want to tell you, there's plenty of room, brother, plenty of room, but he doesn't play favorites. But he does have intimates. He said, well, how do you know God wants to be intimate with me?

I'll tell you why. Because he said he has predestinated. Listen, when he uses that word, that means, brother, he's drawn a circle around it.

He's in charge. He predestinated every believer to be conformed to the likeness of his son. And at least two reasons that there are more, but at least two I'll mention. One of them is that we may reflect God on earth, but secondly, that God may develop an intimate relationship with us. I want to show you something about intimacy. Abraham was not only known as the friend of God, he was known as the friend of God because he had an intimate relationship with him. And you see, think about this. Why in the world become a Christian and go to church for 40 or 50 years and never get intimate with God?

I can't even, you know, when I think about that, I just can't even imagine anybody wanting to waste their time being religious. If they don't want to get in on the inside and find out what God's really up to. Intimacy with him. Now, whereas favorites refers to being preferred or greatly like, when it comes to this matter of being intimate, we're talking about something else. We're talking about a closeness of fellowship.

We're talking about something on a personal basis. Now, listen, you and I can list the attributes of God that are known to man. His holiness, his righteousness, his mercy, his omnipotence, his omniscience, his omnipresence.

And on down the line, we could go. This great transcendent God who is in heaven out there. And we worship him and praise him. But listen, I want to tell you something.

That's not where it is. That's how all the other religions in the world see their God. He talked about being a heavenly father. You know what we do to God? We shut him out.

I want to tell you something. God's never shut you out. He wants, listen, God Almighty, who put every star in its place and who has the power to make this whole globe vanish in a split second, personally desires an intimate relationship with you.

And that's what he developed with Abraham beginning in Chapter 12. Here's what I want us to notice. And I just want us to notice some qualities about intimacy. And then I want you to think about this. There's no way in the world for me to say it the way it ought to be said, I'm sure. But listen to me carefully.

You can go to church and sit and listen to sermons and give money and sing songs and pray prayers and have everybody's approval. But I want to tell you something. Until you get a hunger for God that puts everybody else second to him, you're missing it.

But I want you to think about this and I want to say it one more time. Imagine God almighty sovereign of this universe desires to have an intimate relationship with you. Well, I want you to see how he developed that with Abraham, because I want to tell you, my friend, he will develop that with you.

And you know what? He's waiting on you. I hear people say, I never heard God speak audibly. Neither have I. I don't believe God does so and so. God's never said this to me. God doesn't operate this way. It may be that if you let him develop with you what he wants to, you may hear what you've never heard. And I guarantee you'll feel what you've never felt and you'll sense what you've never sensed. I'm saying all that to say this, friend, don't be satisfied being saved. All right. Chapter 12.

So when you talk about an intimate relationship, I want us to look at this life for just a moment. And let me just remind you of what happens, that God revealed himself to Abraham right in the middle of a pagan society. And one of the first things he told him was chapter 12, verse one, the Lord said to Abraham, go forth from your country, from your relatives, from your father's house to the land which I will show you.

No compass, no map and no knowledge where he's going. I'll make you a great nation. I'll bless you and make your name great. And so you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, curse those who curse you.

And all the families of the earth will be blessed because of you. Here is Almighty God reaching down and speaking, revealing himself to a man and speaking to him. Now, listen, the first thing God did in building a relationship of intimacy with Abraham. He made a commitment to him. Let me ask you a question. What commitment have you made to Almighty God since you've been saved that is just between you and him and does not deal with other people?

A commitment is involved, so I want just to keep going and I want to show you two or three things. Chapter 12, verse one again. Now, the Lord said to Abraham, and here's what you will find if you go through the scriptures. The seventh verse in chapter 12 says, and the Lord appeared to Abraham. And chapter 13, verse four says, Abraham, call on the name of the Lord. And chapter 13, verse 14 says, the Lord said to Abraham.

And you could just go on through chapter 15. The word of the Lord came to Abraham in the vision saying, and all the way through, what do you find? You find God talking to Abraham. You know how Abraham and God built a great relationship? Not only did God make a commitment to him, but Abraham made a commitment to God. He said, how do you know he made a commitment to God?

I'll show you why. Go back to chapter 12 and notice what happened. The scripture says that God said to him, get up, leave your family, your friends and everybody and go into land that I'll show you. And God spoke to him.

He was 75 years old when that happened. And verse four says he departed from Haran. He made a commitment to follow God. A commitment is involved in building an intimate relationship.

Secondly, notice what I said, how many times all. In fact, if you just read the life of Abraham, here's what you'll discover. That most of the conversations that Abraham had were between him and God. Abraham developed a listening heart. He knew how to listen to God.

Friend, you'll never develop an intimate relationship to him until you learn to listen to him. And how many times and God said and God said and God said and Abraham did and Abraham did. God is speaking and Abraham is listening and then Abraham speaks and God listens.

Have you ever thought about that? When you speak to God. Human speaking, so to speak, he stops everything and listens to what you have to say.

That you can get the attention of the God who created this universe. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever been down praying? And you were talking to the Lord. And your mind wanders.

All of us had that experience, right? Let me ask you this. How many times have you ever been praying? And you had to say, God, I don't think you're listening. You're not paying attention to me. You got your mind on something else.

You've never had to say that. Because God listens personally, perfectly, and he listens as long as you and I have something to say to him. You build a relationship by making commitments. You build a relationship by learning to listen to what the other person listen is saying. What they're feeling. Where they're hurting. And you learn to listen to what they do not have the capacity to say.

Sometimes that's not easy on a human level. But if you and I are going to develop an intimate relationship with him, which he, and you'll notice all the way through, if you read the life of Abraham, Moses, and David, just those three, here's what you'll discover. That God's always taking the initiative and building the relationship. And God spoke to David. God spoke to Moses. And God came to Abraham revealing himself, unfolding himself, showing himself, speaking. God is always the one who is taking the initiative in building an intimate relationship. And you'll find all through here that he's listening. Now, I want you to go back, if you will, to chapter 12 and look, if you will, in verse 7.

Because one of the areas that is so important building an intimate relationship is time of fellowship. It says, and the Lord appeared to Abraham and said, to your descendants I will give this land. He'd already begun to speak to him. And then in the thirteenth chapter and the fourth verse, here's what happens. Abraham went up from Egypt and he's moving along here to the place of the altar, verse 4, which he'd made there formally. And there Abraham called on the name of the Lord.

And here's what you'll find. It's interesting here how the two of them sort of converge on the scene here. And they converge on the scene there. And Abraham builds an altar and he worships the Lord.

And the Lord comes to Abraham and speaks to him. What is absolutely essential in building an intimate relationship but prolonged fellowship? You can't build an intimate relationship with anybody if it's, how you doing?

Glad to see you, praying for you. That's not building an intimate relationship. Building an intimate relationship demands and requires periods when just the two of you are together alone. How much time in a given week does your Heavenly Father have you all by Himself? I don't mean driving an expressway. He hasn't got you by yourself if you're driving an expressway.

I mean, think about this now. The God who sent His Son to the cross and who created everything, He wants to build a relationship with you that is so intimate. You see, the truth is God doesn't show Himself to folks who are always fast on the move.

He can't. You can't build an intimate relationship with somebody if you just pass Him in the dark. It demands prolonged time together, just the two of you all alone. I want to ask you again, how much time in a given week does God your Creator, sustainer, Savior, Lord, Master, and all the things you call Him, how much time does He have you all by Himself? Thank you for listening to Favorites vs. Intimates. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 11:49:50 / 2024-02-21 11:57:36 / 8

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