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October 27, 2021 1:00 am
Prayer is often mysterious. We’re commanded to ask in faith, without doubting. But the answers sometimes come from unexpected directions, even unrelated to our specific request. In this message, we learn about answers in disguise.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
One reason for us to Jesus phone number for prayer is a kind of mystery, commanded to ask in faith without doubting. Sometimes the answers come from unexpected directions, even unrelated to what we ask for today. Another perspective on the matter of unanswered prayer answers in the sky from the Moody Church in Chicago this is running to win with Dr. Sir clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line.
Today's teaching is intriguing. Tell us about what to do when the answer is disguise Dave of course, the emphasis in this series of messages on Anne's prayer. The triumph of unanswered prayer. The emphasis is to keep on believing because we do not live by explanations, but we do live by promises and sometimes those promises are fulfilled before our eyes so to speak.
At other times they are delayed, disguised, but we continue to trust.
But you know, at the same time, there are some very important guidelines that God gives us that are unambiguous in his holy word regarding how we should navigate this culture.
That's why I've given a lesson entitled what faithfulness requires in a collapsing culture. It's a lecture that deals with issues that all of us are confronted with almost every single day in the midst of our world. For example, in addition to racial issues. What about the matter of sexuality. Let me ask you something is your church beginning to submit to the culture and issues of sexuality will if you're interested and I we hope you are for a gift of any amount you can receive this lecture entitled what faithfulness requires in a collapsing culture. Go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us be encouraged from the word of God.
Let's have our heads in prayer one more time father you have been faithful and we ask that during these moments. Your faithfulness might again come very clear to us, Lord. It's not what I can do or what my words can do but it's what your spirit does do something permanent and lasting and transforming to all who listen, whether by radio or here in the sanctuary or by Internet. We asked today father that this message shall be transforming for all who listen because of the power of your spirit in your word in Jesus name, amen.
I'm never going to bother God with another request again.
Why should I don't want to be hurt. Those are the words of a woman who is angry with God because he refused to answer the prayer that she and hundreds of others had prayed for their pastor. He was a young man diagnosed with cancer with a young wife and small children and the church loved him. So they decided to sign up for all around.
The night prayer meetings everybody taking 1/2 hour and so prayer was being offered to God on his behalf. 24 seven and then they prayed all night to I remember being at a conference with about a thousand people and all of us stop to pray the young man was there at the time in a wheelchair and we all prayed. Yet he died. Now she's better because God did not answer her request. How do we relate to unanswered prayer we been talking about the answers being delayed and sometimes the answer today will emphasize is disguise will also be talking about the answer when it is denied and will also be speaking about disappointment with God because, haven't we all been disappointed with God.
We can relate to this woman We we may be didn't say the words, but we both felt it. Where was God when we offered a request in his name for his glory meeting. We think all of the conditions and it did not happen while that's what we've been discussing in this series of messages. The triumph of unanswered prayer.
But today what were going to do is to shift focus and to talk about a paradigm shift in our own minds regarding prayer and what were going to stress is that in our praying we have to move from adding we have to move from the mentality of getting to the mentality of relationship so that we understand that we have to know God before we ask of God, and we have to understand God's ways and another way to describe it is that the emphasis no longer is on my desires and what I think God should do but on God's desires and what he wants to do. It is a paradigm shift that can transform your prayer life and make it into a time when you earnestly look forward to it and you can hardly help yourself when it's time to pray and prayer becomes entirely different than simply asking and maybe afterwards we can understand a little better. Some of those extravagant promises that we've all heard from the lips of Jesus. Another way to say this is can you imagine praying in such a way to quote the words of John Piper that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied with him spraying differently and may be in the process receiving the answer to our prayers. Well today's text is Hebrews chapter 11 Hebrews chapter 11. That's the section that we been camping on in the last couple of weeks. Hebrews chapter 11 and verse six. I think it's one of the most important and explosive verses in all the Bible all the Bible is inspired but there are some words that certainly ought to be transforming and this verse should leave us changed for ever. But without faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God, because he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he rewards those who seek him. If you check the Greek text, you'll know that the word that talks about diligently seeking him that that word actually is emphasized and I like the translation that says God rewards those who diligently seek him out today were going to learn how to seek God out. And for many, the journey is going to begin today. Now, as we look at this text a couple of things that become very obvious. First of all, it's clear that faith should have an object of our faith should have an object, namely God is able pastor Luther I'm not a person of faith. I don't like this idea of faith.
I don't exercise faith.
Oh yeah you go to a doctor whose name you can't pronounce he gives you a prescription that you can't read, you take it to a pharmacist whom you've never met. He gives you a substance that you haven't analyzed and yet you take it that is faith. All right everyone who's ever eaten in a restaurant has exercised faith sometimes more than other course we all live by faith. But what is it that the text is telling us it is to come to God in faith.
You must believe that he is and that he rewards those who seek him out what God are we talking about it is, God with a capital G it's the God who created, I marvel at how scientific the Bible is Genesis chapter 1 verse one in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. There you have all of the elements of science in those 10 word in the beginning, the concept of time created the concept of energy.
The concept of God in the beginning God, there you have personality created the heavens.
There you have space and the earth. There you have matter, it's that God who created the stars and calls them all by name so that you and I might know who we are worshiping it is that God we worship edit is that God to whom we, he is a creating God.
Einstein was enamored with the universe. In fact, someone who knew him said that they thought that Einstein was a fundamentally religious man but he had no time for organized religion because the preachers of his day were talking about a God that was a lot smaller than the one that he had encountered in nature while may never be said that at Moody church. We have a small God we have a great God God who creates it's the God whom he deems the God who redeems when people give a testimony, they often say what you know I came to know Christ, where I found Christ as my Savior. We understand what they mean. But, strictly speaking, my friends, you didn't find Christ. Christ found you.
There is a dead sheep on planet Earth that goes looking for the shepherd.
The shepherd came looking for you is the God who created but the God seeks and the God who finds and so you should really say when you give your testimony you know God found in the back in and then get the year and the date while he's always found you, but that's when he zeroed in on you and said I am working in your life to bring it to faith and it happened. It's also the God who speaks and what does this God say from the book of James. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. This is the God who said when he was on earth, Jesus come onto me old. He who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I meek and lowly of heart and you shall find rest to your souls. This is the God who invites you comes to God must believe that he is, and so we come we come because of the God of nature, but because of this word is a God who speaks in a God whom we can at least a little bit understand now notice what the text is saying also that faith is we come in faith. It has a word to God rewards those who diligently seek him and reward. He rewards there is a form of Christianity that does not have a reward. There's a form of Christianity that says we need to obey God because that's what you'll do. Why should you go to church. That's what you ought to do.
Why should you read the Bible. That's what you ought to do. Why should you witness that's what you ought to do. It's what you should do that kind of Christianity is a legalistic that it is dead and it's proven by the fact that young people, not our young people, but across the nation young people who leave high school. Often times when they go into college never returned to church but go their own way because they've only been introduced to and often kind of Christianity you should do this.
That's anti-biblical. Yes, there may be times when you do something, even though you don't feel like it and when you do, I should say this.
What should happen if you come to church and you don't feel like praising God.
And yet you get to the church and there they are praising God as we did this morning. What you do you sing or don't you want to be a hypocrite or not, here's the answer.
If all that you do is saying then you could be a hypocrite, but the way in which you do.
It is this use saying yes and while you are singing your repenting and saying, Lord, my heart is called Lord I'm distracted because of a B and C, and therefore father bring me into the joy and the glad then you can sing and the gladness of heart begin. The Bible says God rewards those who diligently seek him. You know why is it that people were willing to give up their homes and that their property was plundered back in chapter 10 it says in verse 34. Because they knew they had a better possession and an abiding one therefore do not throw away your confidence, which is a great reward here. It talks about a reward, why did Moses lead the treasures of Egypt.
Verse 36 actually verse 26, it's because he was looking forward to the reward reward reward reward. God rewards those who seek amount and what is the reward.
Well, let's begin with joy. Let's begin with joy when I write as to autograph something. Maybe a book or a Bible usually is. And people say will give me your favorite verse.
I usually use Psalm 1611, where it says in thy presence there is fullness of joy at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Imagine joy in the presence of God.
In fact, the Bible commands us in Psalm 37 to delight ourselves in God and imagine the light now just think about this for a moment, imagine a relationship with God where the darkness has been pushed out by light and the emptiness is been filled with his own glory and grace. Imagine a Christian life in which there is that sense of accomplishment and fulfillment not because of what you do, but because of the relationship that you've established with God, and you walk with him and love him, and with in that there is a sense of can temperament and rest.
Imagine it this past week Rebecca and I flew somewhere on the plane.
Actually it was Florida and we had to come back. We had to come back on a Saturday when windchill index was 21° below zero but on the way I read something by David Reynard. Now you may not know he was but he was a missionary among the Indians that who had lived in a different timeframe many years ago and that this was sort of a compilation of some of the things that he had written in his diary.
I just give you a few lines. I enjoyed the light of God's countenance, and my soul rested in God. He said one hour with God infinitely exceeds all the pleasures and delights of this lower world that may give you another I desired nothing but God nothing but his holiness he had given me these desires and I love this. He has given me these desires and he alone can fill them. God gives us a desire for himself and then God is the only one who can fulfill the desires that he himself give and it's very clear in Scripture that salvation when you are born again goes down to the level of desire. Imagine loving somebody whom you have never seen passionately.
Loving someone whom you have never seen, and yet it says in the book of first Peter, whom having not seen speaking of Christ whom having not seen the law of that's birthed in our hearts by God, and you see people will never give up their sin. Can you imagine trying to convince a man to give up his pornography. Why would he ever do that. It is like trying to convince a lion to give up meat and begin to eat straw the desires. The appetites are there. How can he give it up.
I'll tell you how we can give it up. When he begins to realize that God is more satisfying than his lusts.
That's the bottom line. In fact, there is a man who wrote a long article about his struggle in that regard, and the verse of Scripture that brought deliverance to him is taken from the sermon on the Mount where it says blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. He said the thing about my sin was.
It is, it was cutting me off from God. The sense of guilt and shame was blotting the face of the heavenly father whom I love, the passion for God that is greater than our passion to sin see sin tells lies. Sin always lies noises come my direction. You'll be better off more pleasure or satisfaction. Notice what the text says regarding Moses.
I rented a moment ago but look at it very very quickly you'll notice it says in verse 24 Hebrews 11 by faith Moses when he was growing up refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God catch it now than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin, Moses says, of course, there is pleasure in sin, but for a season and these are fleeting pleasures.
These pleasures always have a bad aftertaste, and so the way in which we do it is. We discovered that in seeking God and seeking God. There is great reward. God said to Abraham, Abraham, you don't have to fear because I love this.
I am your exceeding great reward. I'm here and when I'm here. There is a sense of rest and satisfaction and gladness. That's why the Psalms are so filled, so filled with exhortations to rejoice in God. It is because God himself rewards those who seek him. Well of course the $64 question is very very apparent now that is how do we seek God a generation that is not sought God who's looked at God is kind of a slot machine.
In other words, Lord, I want this. And this is what I want you to do for me and keep me from harm. Keep me healthy. I hope me no longer to have the problems that I do prevent me from accidents. All those may have their place, but to a generation where prayer is primarily that how do we stop in our tracks and say to ourselves. I want to seek God.
I mean if it is true that he generously rewards those who seek him. I want to be among those who take him up on it to you to want to take him up on it. How do we do it well. Aren't you glad you asked me that such a good question.
I need to commend you for asking. Would you notice in your bulletin this morning. There is a card that I prepared and this card and you can reach for it right now. This card is entitled the rewards of faith.
Larry Crabb wrote a book entitled the pop-up prayer and this pop-up prayer really is a discussion of this mega shift that I'm talking about where prayer goes from asking to relationship, and that he in the book has a system outlined mine is different from his, but nonetheless I do commend to you what Larry Crabb has to say and actually have some quotes from his book, which I might give you if we had enough time so this is what I have prepared because this reflex actually where I am at in the journey of seeking God, my friend, this is Pastor Luther, one of the things that we often on it is indeed seeking God just this morning in my devotional time, I was reminded of the words. Wait for the Lord. We are to wait for the Lord but at the same time, it is our responsibility to make sure that we are not absorbed by the culture around us. That's why I've given a lecture entitled what faithfulness requires in a collapsing culture. It deals with the issue of collective demonization, race, sexuality, how do we understand the culture and how do we stand against it for a gift of any amount. This lecture can be yours. Go to RTW offer.com.
Of course, RTW stands for running to win. But it's all one word RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for what faithfulness requires in a collapsing culture. You can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago 960614 running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life when God answers our prayers in ways we don't expect these reminding us that it's him. We really need nothing answers next time I'm running to win. Tune in for more insights on recognizing when God is answering in ways we never expected. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin lutes are this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church