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The Power of Prayer and the Problem of Pride, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2022 9:00 am

The Power of Prayer and the Problem of Pride, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 1, 2022 9:00 am

Though he served God throughout most of his reign, the end of King Hezekiah’s life shows you how easy it is to receive God’s blessings and then make them all about you. Pastor J.D. teaches in this message how to leverage your successes, health, and resources for God’s mission so that yours is a life of faithful obedience.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. You're concerned with whether or not the church is taking care of your needs. You're not using the blessings that God gave to think about others. You're just saying, am I comfortable? Am I blessed?

Here's a question. Are you using your success that God has given you in your life? Are you using it to give glory to God?

I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. Though he served God throughout most of his reign, the end of King Hezekiah's life shows us how easy it is to receive God's blessings, but then to make them all about ourselves. And today, Pastor J.D.

teaches us how to leverage our success, our health, and resources for God's mission so that we can live a life of faithful obedience. Isn't that what you want? If so, you're in the right place today. And if you'd like to follow along with the transcript of each message here on the program, you can always find them free of charge at J.D.

Greer dot com. So let's get started. Pastor J.D. Greer titled today's message, The Power of Prayer and the Problem of Pride. Now, there's a handful of you that really have a problem with this.

Not all of you, but the handful of you. Because you just ask questions like, well, if God knows everything and we've got God's will already enacted in the earth, what difference is it going to make if I pray or not? So if I pray this, isn't God going to do it anyway? I've explained to you like this. God's sovereignty is what gives you the courage to pray. I know he's going to get the victory, but I also know he's appointed prayer as the means to that victory. And the analogy I always use with you, I've probably given it to you a dozen times, but it goes like this. I always compare it to eating, right?

Remember, here's how we do this. Does God know the day that you're going to die? Yes, he does. Has God appointed the day that you're going to die? Yes, he has. Psalm 139 tells you he has. Can anything you do change that day?

Can anything you do change God's mind about when you're going to die? Nope. Why do you eat? You eat to live. What happens if you don't eat?

Then you die. If you don't eat and then you die, would that be the day that God had preordained for you to die? And our answer to that is, quit asking stupid questions and just eat. Because eating is the preordained way that God has set for living. Prayer is the preordained way that God has set to get his work done on earth. So when we pray, we are enacting the victory that God wants to bring on earth. And what God does is he moves his people to pray. When we pray, we move the arm that moves the world. When you pray, God begins to work.

Here is the question I would have for you. What do you need to spread out before God? Maybe it's bills that you feel like are impossible to pay. Maybe it's goals that God has put in your heart, not selfish ambitions or dreams, but things you believe the Spirit of God has put in your heart to do.

Maybe it's a bad report like Hezekiah got. Maybe it's a letter that just came home from the principal about one of your kids and you just got to spread it out before God. You ever feel like Hezekiah here? You ever feel like some impossible army assails what you know to be God's purpose for you?

I think we experience that feeling in general sometimes as the people of God. Our world tells us you cannot possibly maintain Christian confession in this age or in the age to come. In the age of reason, you might believe but your kids aren't going to believe and their kids definitely aren't going to believe. The church is declining in western society and it's going to continue to. If you take the Bible's teaching on things like sexuality seriously, you're going to be on the wrong side of history. Hollywood says it and the college professors, a lot of them will say it and the secular media will say it and it feels overwhelming.

When you feel like that, think of Hezekiah and the size of the army in front of him and realize that God can do more while you sleep than we can do in 10,000 lifetimes. The French atheist Voltaire in the 18th century said that within 100 years of his death, no one would even remember the Bible. He said in an age of reason, an age of enlightenment, not only are we going to cease to believe it, he says our grandkids will not even remember that there is such a thing and they'll mock it as something as part of an archaic past. Voltaire's doctor who was with him when he died said, never in all my life would I ever want to see a man like Voltaire die again. His last words he said were, I am abandoned by God and man.

Will not somebody please help me? I would give half my fortune for just six more months. And today in his house as I speak is a functioning Bible printing press. That's just God just showing off, right? There's a monument. There's a monument in France that's erected to a small group of people you probably never heard of. They're called the Huguenots, a very hated group of gospel-loving Christians. In their day, the government and religious leaders tried to destroy them.

At one point, they thought they had killed every single one of them, but they survived and they grew. And today there's this old monument that stands in France that commemorates them and it's got this little inscription across the bottom that I love, pound away you evil hands, the hammer breaks, the anvil stands. The Chinese communist revolution tried to stamp out Christianity in the mid 20th century. Today Mao Zedong is dead. The communist wave has subsided and the church is growing in China faster than in any place and any time in human history.

And some of our people, some at church are there and get to be a part of it. Pound away, pound away you evil hands, your hammer breaks, the anvil stands. God will build his church and the gates of hell will never be able to stop it. Islamic terrorists cannot stop it. Secular media cannot stop it. Kim Jong Il in the head and his lunatic son cannot stop it in North Korea.

Cynical professors at your college campus cannot stop it. Hollywood will not stop it. The secular media will not stop it. God's glory will cover the earth. God's glory will cover the earth as Habakkuk tells us, like the waters cover the sea. He will redeem people from every tribe and tongue on the planet to worship around the throne. And there is nothing that is erected in his way that he will not take out in a moment because God will accomplish all that he has purposed.

Do you have things that you believe God is working in your life and your family? Then you need to get on your face and open your Bible and you need to pray those promises back to God so that God can enact the power of those promises in your life. When Martin Luther made his famous stand for the Gospel at what they call the Deit of Verms, he was immediately put into hiding because people were trying to kill him.

Church leadership immediately tried to gather up all of Luther's books on the Gospel and burn them. Luther from hiding wrote these words that we still sing in the church today. A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing. Our helper, he emits the flood of mortal ills prevailing and still our ancient foe does seek to work as well.

The body they may kill. God's truth abideth still. His kingdom never faileth. That was true then. It's true today. It's going to be true tomorrow.

It's going to be true the day after tomorrow. You are not on the wrong side of history because history is his story. If you are on his side, then you will be on the right side of history because his side is the only side that never fails. Number four, after praying faithfully, Hezekiah planned fervently. If you go to Jerusalem today, one of the places that you will go on your tour, I've been once and this is every trip I've ever heard goes to this place. It's called the Siloam tunnel. Your tour guide will explain to you that this was a tunnel built by Hezekiah.

Archaeologists uncovered it in the 19th century and they have labeled it as one of the most astounding engineering feats of the ancient world. Because when Hezekiah knew that Sennacherib was coming with 100 or 250,000 soldiers to surround Jerusalem, the first thing you do in a siege is you cut off the water supply. So there was a river bringing water into Jerusalem.

He knew that he was going to cut it off. So what he did is he went several miles away and he dug something out of the river and made a tunnel that went for several miles and came up under the walls of Jerusalem. I've actually walked through parts of it.

It's absolutely amazing. They say figuring out how the people of Sennacherib, these people had already started to get there, how they figured out where to meet in the middle is just amazing. So what you have is with this unbelievable ingenuity, they figured out how to keep themselves alive during this siege. I point that out to you basically for one reason, and that is to try to show you that praying like Hezekiah prayed does not preclude planning or prepping or vice versa. The way I've heard it always said is this, get on your knees and pray like it's all up to God and then get up and work like it's all up to you. Praying does not preclude planning or vice versa and that, by the way, is why we do what we do with things like All In Summit Church. It's not because God has needs and that our prayers aren't strong enough. It's that we know that when we pray for God to reach our city, then we get up off our knees and we do what Hezekiah did.

We open our wallets, we open our pocketbooks and say, God, this is what we have. Because sure, God does not need that, but that's what God uses to reach our community. So this was an awesome moment. Don't you think for Hezekiah and the people of God, Hezekiah did exactly what kings and leaders are supposed to do.

He led the people to believe in God in the face of overwhelming odds. Awesome, right? Awesome. This is Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Find resources and all of our teaching right now by visiting jdgreer.com. We'll get right back to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to remind you about a special resource available for free on our website. You know, one way that you can be sure to continually see God's word saturating your life is to participate in our daily email devotional from Pastor J.D.

Couldn't we all use encouragement first thing in the morning to remind us of God's love? The best part is that it follows along with our teaching here on the program so you can dive deeper into all we're learning and share it with others. Sign up for this free resource at jdgreer.com slash resources.

That's jdgreer.com slash resources. All of these free resources are thanks to our generous financial partners. So thank you to all who have made Summit Life your ministry.

We're grateful for you every single day. Now let's return for the conclusion of today's message on Summit Life. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Look at the next story. Second Kings 20 opens with Hezekiah getting sick with a life-threatening disease that covered his body with boils. Verse one, the prophet Isaiah came and said to him, Thus says the Lord, set your house in order Hezekiah, for you shall die. You shall not recover from this disease. It then says that Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall and wept bitterly and pled with God to take away his sickness.

I read this and I'll be honest with you. It feels a little whiny. I mean, he turns his face to the wall away from the prophet of God. I get the image of him kind of curled up, sucking his thumb, feeling sorry for himself, weeping bitterly. I mean, it's okay to ask God for healing, sure, but the despondency, the turning toward the wall, the pouting. Watch how this unfolds. God answers him in grace and says, verse five, I've heard your prayer.

I've seen your tears. Behold, I will add 15 years to your life. Hezekiah said to Isaiah, Well, what shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me? Well, how about the fact he just told you?

That's not good enough. So Isaiah says, Well, the sundial will jump forward 10 steps, which is about 20 seconds, all at once. So bam, God just moves time forward by 20 seconds. But Hezekiah answered, Well, it's an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen 10 steps.

Rather let the shadow go backward 10 steps. Now, that's starting to seem a little demanding, isn't it? Listen, the writer is giving a tone to Hezekiah's life. He's become demanding. He turns his face to the wall.

He pouts and he cries. He gets pushy with God about signs. Well, God gives him his sign.

Here's your sign. He makes the shadow go back. And then just like God promised, he recovers. Verse 11, the king of Babylon hears that Hezekiah has gotten better. So he sent some envoys from Babylon with a letter of congratulations and a present for him. This is a, listen, prime opportunity for Hezekiah to give glory to God, to boast to the nations about how God saved him from Sennacherib, how God delivered him from his sickness, how God did it all. But when the Babylonians show up, verse 13, Hezekiah welcomed them and he showed them all his treasure house, all his silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, probably walked him through this tunnel, this engineering masterpiece. He showed them all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.

What is missing from that? No glory is given to God. No explanation of how God saved him, how God did it all, only look at my riches, look at my power, look how much I accomplished. He never even took them into the temple. The author of Second Chronicles says that this was a manifestation of Hezekiah's pride. Well, after the Babylonians leave, the prophet Isaiah came to confront Hezekiah. And he told him, verse 17, behold, the days are coming when all that's in your house shall be carried off to Babylon. All the Babylonians are there. They had their notebooks out writing down like, there's some really nice stuff here. One day we're going to come back and steal this stuff.

And that they did. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. Some of your own sons who shall be born to you shall be taken away. And they will become eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylon, which involved castration, which meant the end of Hezekiah's line. Verse 19. Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, the word of the Lord that you have spoken is good. For he thought, why not if there will be peace and security in my days?

What? After all that God had richly blessed Hezekiah with, He's demanding and needy and proud and selfish, it became about him. To the point that he says, who cares about others?

As long as it's good for me. The next verse says he lived for those 15 years and then he died. How his life ends should serve as two things for us. One is a warning and the other is a promise.

The warning. It is so easy to receive the blessings of God and make them all about you. God has blessed you with life and prosperity and family and salvation and a good church. And it becomes about you. It becomes about your comforts. It becomes about your needs.

It becomes about your glory. So you're not concerned with whether or not the church is able to reach people in our community. You're concerned with whether or not the church is taking care of your needs. You're not using the blessings that God gave to think about others. You're just saying, am I comfortable? Am I blessed?

Here's a question. Are you using your success that God has given you in your life? Are you using it to give glory to God? If you're a prospering athlete, are you using your success as an athlete to lift up God's name or your own name? Whose exaltation are you more worried more about? Are you spend most of your time thinking, how do I take what I've been given and how do I direct attention to Jesus to show that He's the real hero?

He's the real champion. I was nothing when He saved me. Glory doesn't belong to me.

It belongs to Him. If you're a prospering businesswoman, a businesswoman who has overcome incredible odds to get where you are, are you thinking more about how much people admire you for your success or are you using that success to direct attention to God? And are you saying, I am what I am simply because of God's grace? When the armies of Satan were around me, there was not a thing that I could do. God delivered me.

God saved me from the point of death. I don't deserve glory. I don't deserve attention.

He deserves glory. So don't admire me. Look to Him. Hezekiah is evil in his last days.

Listen to this. Hezekiah's evil was not immorality or murder or idolatry. Hezekiah's evil was simply not leveraging his success to give glory to God. You're using, you're leveraging your success to give glory to God.

Here's another way of asking that. You leveraging your health and your resources for the mission of God? Have you been blessed by God with salvation, with family, with resources? And you know that people all around us perish. But you think, like Hezekiah, you might never say this out loud, but you think, who cares? As long as me, I'm saved, my family's saved, my needs are taken care of, not die happy, as long as it happens, I'll be okay.

Sure, kids right here in my own city are growing up without mothers and fathers. And there are people all around the world that are dying with no chance to hear about Jesus, but it's okay. Because in my days, we'll be okay. We'll have freedom, we'll have peace, we'll have blessing.

The people that I love right now are blessed. And so you spend all your money and all your time on personal comforts, personal pleasures, personal ambition. You work for most of your life so you can get to where you take the last 20 years of your life on vacation. So you say, now that I've gotten to where I saved all my money and I got to where I could rest, and I'll die with peace and happy. Who cares about my grandkids? And who cares whether or not they in the society they grow up in know about Jesus? Who cares if people all around the world in these unreached people groups ever have a chance to hear, as long as I die happy and my kids die blessed. Here's why I don't think I can ever pile up luxury in my life or could at least do it with a good conscience. Not now, not when I retire, because I get one shot to bring salvation to a world around us that is dying body and soul.

And I just don't feel like we can look around at them and say, who cares? I'm saved, I'm blessed. My kids are going to know the gospel.

Who cares? We're going to heaven. The warning. This is how so many of God's people in their lives, they pass the test of adversity, but they fail the test of prosperity. Because in the time of adversity, they turn to God. And in the time of prosperity, they turn back into themselves.

That's the warning. Don't be Hezekiah. Here's the promise. Hezekiah's tragic end, like the end of every other king in the Bible, points us to the need of a greater king. A king who would not think about his own interest, but a king who would think about his people's interest and God's interest. King David, Israel's greatest king by far, the king after God's own heart, ended his life in failure using his position of power for sexual conquest and murdering those who got in his way. Solomon, the wisest Jewish king that had ever lived, that God bestowed with incredible wisdom and military power, ended his life in failure, leveraging his great wisdom and power to please himself. Hezekiah, arguably the most faith-filled king who ever lived, ended his life in failure, leveraging that great faith to bring healing to himself, but not caring at all about the welfare of others. But one day, another king of Judah would arise. Like Hezekiah, he would trust God in the face of impossible odds.

When the armies of Satan came against him, even to the point that they nailed him to a cross, he would never stop trusting God. But unlike Hezekiah, when death came to him, he didn't ask God to extend his life and say, who cares about future generations as long as I'm okay? This king would lay down his life willingly so that future generations could live. He would say, yes, if there's any other way, let this cup pass from me, father, but not my will, but yours be done.

I'll gladly drink the cup of death if it means that my children get to live. And because we were precious to him, he did not pray for an extension of his life. He eagerly laid down his life.

Do you understand the irony of this? Hezekiah asked God to extend his life because he could care less about the death of his children. Jesus eagerly laid down his life and tasted death for his children so they would never have to. And so Paul, the apostle, would say, that's my king.

That's my king. And I'm convinced that if one died for all, if that's he died for me, then those of us who live should no longer live for ourselves. We should live for the glory of the one by whose life and death we now live.

And we should leverage our lives to extend his salvation to those who have never heard about him. See, that's what this is all about is that's a whole posture of our lives. It's not a posture we adopt for a season. It's a posture we take for the rest of eternity. And with that, we've completed our short teaching series called It's Not About Me here on Summit Life.

If you missed any part of this series, you can always hear it again online at jdgrier.com. So J.D., we all know it's important to spend regular time in scripture. We do that every day on the program here, but why is it especially important at Christmas time?

Well, you're right. It is, of course, important all year long. We love Jesus all year round. But I think in this season in particular, we can get so distracted with all the commercialization of the holidays that we can forget that this really is a time to reflect on how lost we were and how dark the world was without Jesus and how he really is here. And that's what these 25 devotionals do is they walk you through preparing your heart to experience the presence of Jesus. It gives you some great insight into Old Testament stories showing you how all the Old Testament struggles were pointing you forward to a Savior and a King you could hope in and how your struggles are really pointing you also to the hope that you can only find in Jesus. We prepared this 25-day Advent Guide that will help you gain insight into what God might be doing in your struggle and how he is the light and the presence in your darkness and your loneliness. I think this will make you worship and draw closer to Jesus this season.

I think you'll find it wonderfully enriching for yourself, for your family. So I'd invite you to get a copy of this, this 25-day Advent devotional called He Is Here. And you can get yours today at jdgrier.com. Give us a call at 866-335-5220. And remember to ask for the book titled He Is Here, 25 Devotions for Advent. That number again is 866-335-5220.

Or you can give and request the book online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Join us tomorrow for the beginning of a new teaching series where Pastor JD offers biblical wisdom on healthy sexual relationships. See you here Friday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-01 10:19:06 / 2022-12-01 10:29:19 / 10

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