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Ask Me Anything, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
September 21, 2023 9:00 am

Ask Me Anything, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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September 21, 2023 9:00 am

Have you ever been facing a really big decision and you prayed for God’s guidance, but all you heard back were crickets? What’s the secret to unlocking God’s wisdom?

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Today on Summit Life, J.D. Greer teaches us how to pray. God, you promised Jesus that you would build him a kind of people on earth that would bring salvation to others, that would experience your joy and your blessing, and I'm asking in his name, and I believe you're going to give it to me. Psalm 2 8, ask of me and I'll give you the nations as your inheritance. He's telling me to ask him for the nations as my inheritance. Thanks for joining us today for Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. So have you ever faced a really big decision in life and you're praying for God's guidance, but you feel like all you heard was crickets? I think a lot of us have been there. So is there a secret to truly unlocking God's wisdom? How can we hear from him when we need him most? That's our timely subject today on Summit Life as Pastor J.D.

Greer continues our teaching series called The Man Who Had It All. He's finishing up a message titled Ask Me Anything. So let's reopen our Bibles to 1 Kings Chapter 3. Here's Pastor J.D. Here's my question for you. What would you ask God for if God appeared to you and told you that you could ask him for one thing, anything in your life, one thing? Because, see, that's basically what God does with Solomon at the beginning of his reign as king in 1 Kings Chapter 3.

Check it out. Here, 1 Kings Chapter 3. At Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said to Solomon, ask, what should I give to you, Solomon? So Solomon replied, you have shown great and faithful love to your servant, my father David. You've continued this great and faithful love for him by giving him a son to sit on his throne just as it is today. Oh, Lord, my God, you've now made your servant king in my father David's place.

Yet I am just a youth and I got no experience in leadership. Your servant is among your people. You have chosen a people that are too many to be numbered or counted. So give your servant a receptive heart to judge your people and to discern between good and evil.

For who is able to judge this great people of yours? Now it pleased the Lord that Solomon had requested this. The first thing we should note is what Solomon asked for. And then we want to talk about why Solomon asked for that. The what that Solomon asked for very clearly is wisdom. He asked for wisdom to be able to guide the people of Israel.

But just as important is why he asked for it. Watch this, verse nine. So give your servant a receptive heart to judge your people and to discern between good and evil.

For, in other words, because who is able to judge this great people of yours? In other words, listen to this, he's not asking for his sake or himself. He's asking for the people's sake and ultimately God for your sake because the people belong to you.

So I'm not asking for my sake, I'm asking for their sake and for your sake. In fact, there are three ingredients here to Solomon's prayer that ought to serve as a template for any prayer that you pray about anything, whether it's wisdom or something else. Here's number one, Solomon prays, understanding that he's little. He understands he's little. Solomon recognizes that he doesn't have the wisdom that he needs. Look what he says in verse seven.

Do you notice this? You've made my servant king in my father David's place, yet I am just a youth. Some of your translations say I'm like a little child. Solomon was 20 years old here, which is probably my most arrogant time of life, by the way, when I was 20. But Solomon recognizes I don't know what I'm doing, I feel like a little kid and I don't have any experience in leadership and I just don't know what to do. Y'all, this is so smart for Solomon to pray because God promises never, never to turn away the humble who cry to him for help, no matter what situation they're in or how naturally dumb they are.

Listen, if you could learn just this one thing, just this one thing, it would totally transform your life. You see, there is nothing more malleable in God's hand than a humble, teachable spirit. And there is nothing with which God will do less than a proud and arrogant and capable hearts. The way that James says it in the New Testament is this way, God resists the proud.

Blessed are those whose hands are empty because they can be filled with the strength and the help and the wisdom of God. Number two, Solomon prays, recognizing that God's purposes are paramount. Y'all, he's asking for a big thing here, but God rewarded it because it was kingdom focused, not Solomon focused. There is nothing wrong with asking for greatness.

Nothing, but do it for the sake of God's great name, not your own. There is no limit to the kind of prayers God will answer when you pray them according to his mercy and for the glory of his name. And Solomon understood that and he asked according to that. Number three, Solomon prayed, believing that God would do what he said. Solomon prayed, believing that God would do what he said. Solomon really believed that God was gonna give this to him.

Y'all, this is really important. This might be my favorite part of this sermon. I want you to notice what Solomon grounds his confidence in. Right after God said, ask me anything, here's what Solomon said. God, you have shown great and faithful love to your servant, my father David. You have continued this great and faithful love for him by giving him a son to sit on his throne as it is today.

Now, you know what that is right there? Listen, that is Solomon reviewing the past activity of God. He is reviewing the past activity of God and he is repeating back to God a promise that God had made to him. And that promise in scripture was, David, I'm going to make your throne great and you will never fail to have a descendant sit on your throne. That is the basis that Solomon is going to ground his request in. This is super important because honestly, y'all, if I'd been Solomon right here and God had just appeared to me and said this, when I was gonna give him a basis for answering the prayer that I was about to pray, I would have started with, well, God, just about 90 seconds ago, you appeared to me in a dream and you said I could have whatever I wanted, he's swearing or take backs, so I'm gonna ask. But that is not what Solomon points to because he recognizes, listen, he recognizes there is an even stronger claim than his dream and that is what God has promised in his word. And that is really good news because see, that's a promise that you and I can share in because chances are you've never had a dream like Solomon did where God appeared to you and said, ask me anything.

I've never had that dream, but I hold the same Bible in my hands that Solomon held in his and that means that the promises there that are made in the Bible are the same promises I can believe for myself. We have the promises that have been made to Jesus who is David's ultimate son and Jesus tells us to ask in his name. And my prayers sound like this, God, you promised Jesus that you would build him a kind of people on earth that would bring salvation to others, that would experience your joy and your blessing and would extend that joy and blessing to the ends of the earth and I'm asking in his name and I believe you're gonna give it to me.

Honestly, y'all, when I read passages like this one, I get completely fired up and wanna preach for like two hours. But Psalm 2.8, ask of me and I'll give you the nations as your inheritance. He's telling me to ask him for the nations as my inheritance. That means, God, will you give to the summit church an ability to transform nations with the gospel? James 1.5, if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of me and I will give freely and without reproach. First John 5.14, and we have this confidence that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. Matthew 21, 22, and all things that you ask in prayer, believing you shall receive them. How do you not get that and just get filled with the sense of, you're like, well, JD, I didn't think you were into the prosperity gospel. I am into the prosperity gospel. Just not the prosperity of your kingdom, the prosperity of God's kingdom. And I want us to pray big, huge things about what God wants to do.

And I look at these stories in scripture and I'm like, God, you did it back then. Can't you do it today? God, you did it in their generation.

Won't you do it in mine? Lord, you're the same yesterday, today, and forever. My kids need to come to faith in Christ. My generation needs to experience that. This generation of believers, we're responsible for this generation of people all over the world. We are their only hope of hearing about Christ. And so Lord make us great, not for our sake, but for theirs. Make us great for the sake of that great people. It's like, I've often told you some that we make a huge mistake when we think that God's greatest works are a thing of the past. They are not.

So Solomon guided by these three principles, ask God for wisdom. Now I know that some of you are really cynical and I know that because I'm one of you. So that's why I understand cynics because I am one. And you're still not convinced. You're like, I don't know, man. I feel like this was a one-time current and I feel like this whole dream thing's a little weird. And so I don't really feel like I get to do this. And I mean, hey, if God ever appears to me in a dream and says that's whatever you want, I'll know what to do, but I just don't feel like it's the same. Okay, all right, I hear your cynicism.

So let me just take a minute and answer that. First thing, Jesus is the greater Solomon, which means that through his spirit in us, we can be even wiser than Solomon. But second, the promise of this story is repeated for us verbatim in the New Testament.

Check it out, James chapter one. Now, if any of you lacks wisdom, that was Solomon, right? If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly and it will be given to him. You know what I noticed there about that?

First thing I notice is I noticed the impartiality of God's wisdom. It means that he gives, you say to all, that means to you. There's no qualifications. There's no reason to give. There's no reason to give. You say to all, that means to you.

There's no qualifications on that. It means it doesn't matter how you've gotten yourself messed up. Doesn't matter how smart or dumb you think you are. No matter what brings you in here, you are in that all, you. All right, the impartiality of God's wisdom. Second thing I noticed is the individuality of God's wisdom. He's not making a general promise that he'll make the human race smarter by reading the Bible. He's saying, if you lack wisdom in your situation right now and you've read the Bible and you don't know what to do, I give you wisdom to make the right decision if you ask, you. All right, third thing I noticed is the indulgence of God's wisdom. This is my favorite part. He gives to all generously and ungrudgingly.

Some of your translations ungrudgingly say without reproach, which would mean like without lecture. You know I love that part of the promise because that means when I ask God for help, God in heaven is not sitting on his throne when he hears my prayer. He doesn't turn to Jesus and say, can you believe this?

It's Greer again. And he has gotten himself into another situation through being an idiot like he always is. And now he has the audacity to call out to me in this situation after he did what I told him not to do and got himself in this mess. I'm gonna go down there and give that kid a piece of my mind.

That's what I'm gonna do, right? Do you ever have a friend that when you go to them for help, they'll give you help but only after you endure a 30 minute lecture about how stupid you are to get yourself in this situation? Maybe your parents were like that with you. God says, I'm not like that. God says, I'm not like that. The moment that you turn to me in repentance and help, all you get from me is help.

Some of you feel like you have messed up your life so bad. Listen, that you can't really call out to God for help because you feel like there's a lot of repair work that you gotta do to get yourself in a condition in order for God to be able to hear you and for God to be able to help. The gospel is that Jesus took the full punishment for your sin, which means that not a drop of suffering or payment remains for you. That means you don't have to endure a lecture to make up for what you did because Jesus endured the lecture in your place.

All that got poured out on Jesus. So now the moment that you call on God, He has nothing for you except help. When it comes to your relationship with God, repentance doesn't start you on a path home. Repentance places you in the best room in the house. Now cleaning up the effects of your sin may take time, but restoration with God, getting God on your side, that happens immediately when you humble yourself, when you call on Him. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. As we take a brief pause from today's teaching, I want to share with you about a fantastic resource that's available to you free of charge each day. Our daily email devotional is a great way to develop a regular habit of staying grounded in the Word of God. The devotionals even follow along with the current teaching series here on Summit Life, and they include a scripture reading, a devotional thought, and a prayer prompt to help you start your day on the right foot. Have you struggled finding consistent time in God's Word or maybe you're not sure where to start? Then this resource is for you.

It's completely free, and you can sign up today at jdgreer.com slash resources. We hope that these devotionals will be a source of encouragement and growth in your walk with Christ, so go and sign up today. And remember, our resources are made possible by the generous support of listeners like you. Now let's return to today's teaching with Pastor J.D. Greer here on Summit Life.

There are a couple of qualifications that James gives that I want to go through. And I don't know, I hear the cynic. I can hear you like, I knew it. Fine print, there's always fine print.

These are so obvious. These are how you short circuit your prayer. He says, first thing, when you ask, you can't ask with doubt, don't doubt. Letting them ask in faith without doubting, for the doubters like the surging sea driven and tossed by the wind, that person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord because he's double-minded and unstable in his way.

So if you're gonna ask God for wisdom, you gotta believe that he's gonna give it to you, and if you don't believe he's gonna give it to you, then he's not gonna give it, and it's not his fault, it's your fault, okay? So don't doubt. Second qualification, as he says, don't defy.

Don't defy. Everybody say the word double-minded. Double-minded is I'm not totally sure if I'm gonna do what you say.

So I'll tell you what, God, why don't you give me your ideas, and I'll listen, I'll take some good notes, I'll take it back to the committee, and then we'll come out with our decision. And God says, you ain't get nothing from me like that. In order to hear my wisdom, you gotta be pre-surrendered to do it before you even hear what it is. Psalm 66, 18, if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. What that means is until I'm pre-surrendered to do what God tells me to do, I'll never get the wisdom from him that I am asking. If you are not surrendered to God in every area of your life ready to do what he tells you to do, you will be getting no wisdom from God. So don't doubt, don't defy. Number three, don't disregard. Don't disregard means that you cannot pray to God for wisdom and then disregard the means that God has given you to obtain wisdom. The chief of those, of course, is his word.

One of my family's memory verses for the summer is Psalm 119, nine. I learned it in the King James Version years ago, so that's how I quote it. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Now, wherewithal, you're like, what does that word mean?

Is that like a white shirt you wear with all? No, wherewithal just means how, right? I don't know why they didn't just use the word how, it's so much simpler. But how can a young man keep his way pure? How can he understand the path of wisdom? By taking heed according to your word. The more you know the Bible, the more instinctively wise you will become.

There are other means that God has given us for to obtain wisdom. One of the chief of those after the word is the church. The church is God's body that he puts his spirit in to counsel you when you go into a situation where you need wisdom. It is insincere for you to ask for wisdom from God about something and not be deeply connected to the church.

I'm talking about being in a place where people know you, can speak into your life, you are known. And until you do that, you cut yourself off by the very means by which God wants to put wisdom into your life. Job 12, 12, specifically, he wants to use older people in the church to speak wisdom into your life. So quick, critically asking God for wisdom and then separating yourself from the means of that wisdom.

Right? I mean, if you've been in Sunday school at all, you heard the story about the guy who's walking along the mountain cliff hiking and he trips and falls and falls over the cliff and it's like a thousand foot drop but right as he's falling over, he grabs hold of a branch. He's holding on to the branch, but he knows he's not gonna be able to hold on forever and he's gonna drop to his death. So he's like, God, God, I believe in you, please God, save me, save me God. And just about five seconds later, another hiker looks over the edge, he's like, oh, lowers him down a rope, puts it right in front of his face. The guy says, nope, I've prayed to God and asked him to save me and I'm trusting him for a miracle. And the guy's like, well, okay.

And then the branch breaks and he falls to his death and he gets to heaven. He's like, God, why didn't you answer my prayer? And God says, you idiot, I did answer your prayer.

I sent another hiker with a rope. Now we all look at that and we're like, well, that's dumb. Okay, of course you would know that's God's answer to prayer. Yeah, honestly, I'm not trying to be mean, but that's no more dumb than you asking God for wisdom and then separating yourself from the very means he said he was gonna give you wisdom, right? If you are casually connected to church, you are casually connected to the wisdom of God. So don't complain when you make really bad decisions because you have separated yourself from the very means by which God has given you to make wisdom. And for some of you, the action step here is you need to get into the church. You need to become a part of a small group.

You need to get connected, okay? Some of you are not just neglecting the relationships in the church. You're avoiding relationships because you don't like what people in the church have to say. Let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord. Now, let me take you to one other passage where Solomon applies this to the question of guidance in our lives.

It's probably his most famous writing of all time because it just sort of ties everything together. Watch this, trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don't lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

What that means is he'll make it go the way that it's supposed to go. You'll choose correctly. Don't be wise in your own eyes. Oh, I love that promise because in that promise is everything that I need to make decisions.

All of it's right there. It tells me that I very clearly have some jobs to do. I should trust in the Lord with all my heart, which means I should trust that he will give me the help that I need. I should not rely on my own understanding, my ability to figure it out. I should not rely on my wisdom, my ability to make good choices. In all my ways, acknowledge him. You know what that means? That means that I don't disregard the things that God has told me to do. It means I do everything that I know that he's told me to do and I don't disregard or I don't, I avail myself of all the means that he has given me to obtain wisdom like his word and his church.

Watch this, this is awesome, right? And then a comma. That's one of the best comments in all of scripture because at that point God's part starts and he will make your path straight. He's the one that will guide you and make you where you need to go.

That's awesome. If you could learn that, it would liberate you from all this stress. I pray now based on this verse, I pray a prayer that I call my sheep prayer.

You probably heard me explain it before, but it goes like this. Sheep prayer is like this. God, I've got a big decision to make. And God, when you were looking for an analogy in the Bible, for me, you chose sheep, which is a little insulting because sheep are idiots. You could have chosen lion, bear. I would have liked those, but no, you chose sheep. Sheep, I mean, they really are. They're like the dumbest animals on the planet. They can't take care of themselves.

They will get eaten by whatever. That's the analogy you chose for me, which means that I probably don't have the wisdom to make this decision, whatever it is. So God, I need my shepherd to guide me.

And God, listen, listen. If you guide me by putting the wisdom in my heart, I'm ready to receive it. But if I'm just too dumb and imperceptive to get that wisdom, then I'm just gonna pray that if I'm making the wrong decision, you'll just kind of work in the background to guide me into the right decision, because that's what shepherds do with sheep. And then I make whatever decision I need to make, I make it to the best of my ability, listen, stress-free.

Why? Because I did what I was supposed to do. And if I did what I'm supposed to do, then I can be real sure that God's gonna do what He said He would do. If you, it's just such a liberating way to live, it means that the biggest decisions in your life you can make stress-free, not because they're not important, but because you trust that you got a shepherd who is doing what he said he would do when you didn't rely on your understanding and you trusted in Him to guide you.

Oh, it would set your life free. Well, I could spend another hour on that, but let's close by asking, what happened? Did God actually answer Solomon's prayer?

What do you think? Oh, did He ever? Did He ever? I want to say to 1 Kings 3, 10, not pleased the Lord, as Solomon had requested wisdom for God's sake. So God said to him, because you've requested this and did not ask for long life or riches for yourself or the death of your enemies, or you asked for discernment for yourself to administer justice, because of that I will therefore do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and understanding heart so that there has never been anyone like you before and never will be again. In addition, I'll give you what you didn't ask for, both riches and honor so that no king will be your equal throughout your entire life because Solomon prioritized God and His kingdom, God threw in all these other things as a bonus. Now I want to be really careful here because I do not want to imply that if you pray this prayer this week that next week you're going to win the lottery, but it does show you something about the character of God, something that scripture attests to again and again and again and again. And that is if you seek first God's kingdom for God's kingdom's sake, then God will throw in so much more, right? What does Matthew 6 33 say?

Isn't it the same thing? Seek first the kingdom of God, put Him first and His righteousness. All these things, all these other things will just be added to you.

You know what all these things refers to? Provision, it refers to relationships, abundance, joy, contentment, these are what God supplies for you when you seek Him above everything. In scripture when you search for Jesus, along with Him you find happiness, you find peace in your relationships, you find contentment in your possessions. So listen to me, if you start out searching for those things, if you start out searching for great sex, a lot of money, you start out searching for contentment, even if you start out searching for a great marriage and a happy family, if you start out for searching for those good things, ultimately you're not going to find them. But if you seek Jesus and His will first, you'll not only find Him, but He will also fill your life with so much joy and satisfaction and abundance, you will know how to contain it all. When God told Solomon to ask for anything that he wanted, instead of asking for health or wealth, Solomon asked God for wisdom.

Take some time now to do the same. Ask God for the wisdom to know and to do His will. What an encouraging message on seeking God first from Pastor J.D. Greer and Summit Life. I want to give a special shout out once again to our gospel partners, our team of monthly financial supporters who make every resource and every Summit Life broadcast possible. With each gift, we send this faithful crew a special resource as a way to say thanks. This month, our featured resource is Goodness in the Middle, an eight-part study through Psalm 23.

And our goal is to help you take one of the most popular chapters in the Bible and really understand the message that Christ is our Good Shepherd. You can become a gospel partner or a one-time financial partner today by giving us a call at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Or by visiting us online at jdgreer.com. While you're on the website, don't forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter. This is a great way to stay connected with Summit Life, and it's completely free to subscribe.

Sign up when you go to jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Thanks so much for being with us today. Be sure to join us next time as we continue our teaching series on the life of King Solomon, right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-29 03:08:08 / 2023-10-29 03:20:44 / 13

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