INTRODUCTION: We celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. The Risen Lord Jesus appeared to his followers many times over a period of 40 days. During that time Jesus prepared his disciples for something new, the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that he would give the Spirit to his followers. We receive the Spirit through a spiritual birth. We read about this is John 3:1-8.
JESUS CONQUERED DEATH AND GIVES ETERNAL LIFE.
*Jesus claimed to be the resurrection and life (John 11:17-27). “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’” (John 11:25).
*The Risen Jesus destroyed death and gave immortality and life. “Our Savior Christ Jesus…abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (1 Timothy 1:10).
*Jesus gives us eternal life. “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12)
THE RISEN LORD GIVES US REGENERATION OR NEW BIRTH.
*Jesus says that to enter heaven we must be bornagain. Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
*The prophets predicted that God’s people would get a new heart. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you…And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules”(Ezekiel 36:26-27).
*We enter the family of God through a spiritual birth from above. “But to all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
*We are spiritually dead and need regeneration. Regeneration makes us spiritually alive in Christ. “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:1-5).
*Regeneration brings us salvation.“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:3-6).
THE RESURRECTION POWER OF JESUS MAKES US A NEW CREATION.
*Jesus Christ makes me a new person inside (2 Corinthians 5:14-21). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).
*The Holy Spirit plants an eternalseed inside my life. “Love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:22-23).
*I can now put off the old nature of sin and self and put on the new nature of Christ (Colossians 3:1-17). “You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:9-10).
*My new life in Christ means that I now can have the mind of Christ.
I can choose to set my mind on things above (Colossians 3:1-4).
I can renew my mind (Romans 12:1-2).
I now have the mind of the Spirit (Romans 5:5-11).
My life in Christ gives me a spirituallydiscerning mind (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).
Every follower of Jesus Christ must be born again by the Spirit.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
INTRODUCTION: We have just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. The Risen Lord Jesus appeared to his followers many times over a period of 40 days. During that time Jesus prepared his disciples for something new, the coming of the Holy Spirit. Today we begin a new series on the Holy Spirit. You may have heard of the Holy Spirit, but you do not know him personally. Many Christians know about the Holy Spirit but have no conscious awareness of him in their lives. As one teenager asked me one time, “Is the Holy Spirit a he or an it?” The Holy Spirit completes the work of Jesus. He is the Spirit of Jesus and wants to fill your life. Jesus promised the Spirit in John 20:19-23.
JESUS CHRIST GAVE HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO US.
*Why is the resurrection important? Jesus is alive and promises his Spirit to each one of us. “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).
The Risen Lord gives us
Jesus promised that the Spirit would give us the power to do his will.
THE HOLY SPIRIT COMPLETES THE MINISTRY OF JESUS.
*John the Baptist described Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Baptizer. Jesus, the Son of God, came to die as the final sacrifice for forgiveness of sins and as the one who would baptize his followers with the Holy Spirit. “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world…I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God’” (John 1:29-34).
The Holy Spirit would complete the work that Jesus began.
THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLS AND EMPOWERS BELIEVERS.
*Jesus told the woman at the well that the Holy Spirit will provide spiritual life that lasts forever. “Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).
*Every believer has the promise that the Holy Spirit will be given to him by Jesus Christ and will be an endless supply of power. On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39).
*Jesus had to leave this earth so the Holy Spirit could continue his work. The Holy Spirit is
Our Comforter (John 14:15-16).
Our Guide (14:17)
Our God (14:15-16)
Our Righteous Judge (16:8)
Our Teacher (16:13-14).
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us, instruct us and empower us.
JESUS MULTIPLIES HIS WORK THROUGH THE SPIRIT & US.
*The Risen Lord breathed out the Holy Spirit on his disciples. As the Lamb of God he broke the power of sin and gave us eternal life. As the Baptizer he gives us the power to live abundantly and continue his ministry. “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).
*The Holy Spirit uses God’s people to do more than Jesus could do alone.
Do you know Jesus? Do you have his life within you?
INTRODUCTION: How do you respond when your walls of security come crashing down? What do you do when your ceiling of safety collapses around you? How do you recover when your dreams go up in flames? When you are standing in the debris of shattered relationships and ambitions, how do you move forward? The answer is hope. Hope is the confident expectation of obtaining something good in the future. Writing from prison, the Apostle Paul told the believers in Ephesus that “you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call” (Ephesians 4:4). Christians have hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter brings hope.
EASTER BRINGS THE HOPE OF DELIVERANCE.
*Christians have been given hope because of their faith in Jesus. Jesus is our hope and our deliverer. “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism,one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-6).
*Paul defines the call to hope in Ephesians 1:15-18. God gives an external call to salvation, to believe the Good News about Jesus and receiveforgiveness of sins. The Holy Spirit gives an internal call to accept what Jesus did for us on the Cross and experience deliverance. “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.”
We can be delivered whatever our circumstances, pain, or sins may be.
EASTER BRINGS THE HOPE OF A BETTERDAY.
*We have hope because we have a future. Christians have an inheritance along with all the other believers in Christ. Paul prays “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18).
*God has promised us a better day and the riches of his blessings. God has
promised “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18).
Our hope for a better day is firmly based on the unfailing promises of God.
EASTER BRINGS THE HOPE OF RISINGAGAIN.
*The power of God is needed to experience the hope and obtain the inheritance. We have the power to live life to the fullest and to receive the future promises of God because we have the HolySpirit living in us. Paul prays “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:8-20).
*The Holy Spirit provides us with the same resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead. The Holy Spirit
gives us the power to live each day in victory.
will give us the future inheritance we have in Christ.
will give us the power to conquer the grave and rise again with Christ.
Jesus Christ brings us salvation, resurrection life, and future hope.
“Call to Me and I will answer you . . .” Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
3 OF THE MANY REASONS GOD says ‘No’
CAUTION: Use these to comfort yourself, but NEVER use them with someone in pain, because you don’t know why God said no to them.
1. GOD SAYS ‘NO’ WHEN He has A BIGGER PERSPECTIVE. “He knows about everyone everywhere. Everything about us is bare and wide open to the all-seeing eyes of our living God; nothing can be hidden from Him . . .” Hebrews 4:13 (LB)
“(God) guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.” Proverbs. 2:8 (NIV)
2. GOD SAYS ‘NO’ WHEN HE HAS A BETTER PLAN.
God: “This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are My thoughts the same as yours! For My ways are higher than yours.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (LB)
“These were commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better . . .” Hebrews 11:39-40 (NIV)
God has all of eternity to fulfill his promises.
3. GOD SAYS ‘NO’ WHEN HE HAS A GREATER PURPOSE
“I cry out to God Most High, who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2 (NIV)
“The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold.” 1 Peter 1:7 (GW)
“These present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they will produce in us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So, we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” 2 Cor. 4:17-18 (NLT)
“There are some things the Lord our God has kept secret, but there are some things he has let us know.” Deuteronomy 29:29 (NCV)
“Just as you’ll never understand how the mystery of life forms in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work n all that God does.” Ecclesiastes 11:5 (Message)
What SHOULD I DO When God Says ‘No’?
trust tHAT God DOES EVERYTHING IN GOODNESS &
“All the ways of the Lord are loving . . .” Psalm 25:10 (NIV)
“In everything God works for the good of those who love Him.” Romans 8:28 (ICB)
I don’t have to understand God’s answer to know that it is
motivated by love.
WHEN IN PAIN, PRAY WHAT JESUS PRAYED FACING THE CROSS
“Going a little farther, Jesus fell to the ground praying that, if possible, he might not have to suffer what was ahead of him. Jesus prayed “Abba! My Father! All things are possible for you! Please take this cup of suffering away from me! Yet I want your will, not mine, to be done!” Mark 14:35-36
The Right Way to Pray
“Father, I know you can do anything!”
ASK WITH PASSION!
“Father, please give me what I ask!”
ACCEPT GOD’S PLAN!
“However, what I want most is your will!”
EXPECT God to give his grace to handle his
(Paul) “Three times I prayed to the Lord about this and asked him to take it away. But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” So, I gladly boast about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power can flow through me! . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong!” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
“Those who know you, Lord, will trust you! You do not abandon anyone who comes to you!” Psalm 9:10 (TEV)
*material for this sermon provided by Rick Warren's 40 Days of Prayer resources
“IF my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)
1. ADMIT I’M NOT IN CONTROL!
“If my people will humble themselves . . .” 2 Chronicles 7:14a
IF I’M HUMBLE, God will guide me
“God leads the humble in the right way and teaches them his will.” Psalm 25:9 (TEV)
IF I’M HUMBLE, God will bless me
“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts . . .” Isaiah 66:2 (NLT)
IF I’M HUMBLE, God will give me the power to change
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
IF I’M HUMBLE, God will reduce my stress
Jesus, “Take the yoke I give you . . . and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble, and I will restore deep rest to your soul.” Matthew 11:29
2. ASK GOD FOR HELP! “If my people . . . will pray . . .” 2 Chronicles 7:14b
Jesus: “. . . I tell you the truth, my Father will give you anything you ask for in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you’ll receive, so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.” John 16:23-24 (NCV)
“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; theLord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” James 5:13-15 (NIV)
“Pray in the Spirit at ALL times with ALL kinds of prayers, asking for ALL you need. To do this you must ALWAYS be ready and never give up! ALWAYS pray for ALL God's people.” Ephesians 6:18 NCV)
3. SEEK GOD, NOT A MIRACLE! “If my people . . . will seek my face . . .” 2 Chronicles 7:14c
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Proverbs 8:17
“God rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6b (NIV)
“If you seek the Lord your God, you will find him IF you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. For He is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you . . .” Deut. 4:29-31a (NIV)
“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
4. TURN MY ATTENTION FROM THE WORLD TO THE WORD “If my people . . . turn from their wicked ways . . .” 2 Chronicles 7:14d
“If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. But if you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 (NCV)
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16 (NIV)
“Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. And always pray for all God's people.” Ephesians 6:18 (NCV)
BY DEVELOPING 2 HABITS
1. KEEP A RUNNING CONVERSATION WITH GOD
“Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads.” Ephesians 6:18 (TEV)
“Never stop praying! (Pray all the time!)” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (GW)
2. SCHEDULE PRAYERTIMES THROUGHOUT MY DAY
“Seven times a day I praise you!” Psalm 119:164 (NIV)
A DAILY SCHEDULE BUILT ON THE LORD’S PRAYER
1. GET UP WITH GRATITUDE! (THANKSGIVING)
Jesus said, “ . . . Your Fatherknows what you need before you ask him. So then, this is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven’ . . .”
“Every good gift and every perfect presentcomes from your Father of light
in heaven . . .” James 1:17
I thank my Father in heaven for his consistent love & I recall
all of the ways that He is good to me
2. BLESS GOD’S NAME AT BREAKFAST! (PRAISE)
“Hallowed be your name . . .” Matthew 6:9b
“Every day I will bless your name, and praise it forever and ever!”
I review God’s names & the promises they imply
GOD SAYS “I AM . . .”
Abba Your Loving Father!
El Deah Your God Who Knows Everything!
Jehovah Rapha Your God who Heals you!
El Shaddai God Almighty – with all the Power you need!
“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never
abandoned those who truly seek you.” Psalm 9:10
3. AT MIDMORNING, REMEMBER WHAT MATTERS MOST (DEDICATION)
“May your kingdom come, and may your will be done, on earth as it
is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
I align myself with God’s purpose & plans for my life
“If you seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, all the other things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
4. LIST MY NEEDS AT LUNCH (PETITION)
“Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
I ask for ANYTHING I need.
“You can ask for anything in my name” – Jesus
I ask for what other people need too (Intercession)
“I’d be sinning against the Lord if I failed to pray for you.”
1 Samuel 12:23
“Jesus has the power of God, by which he gives us everything we need to live, and to serve God. We
have these things because we know him.” 2 Peter 1:3 (NCV)
5. ASK FOR FORGIVENESS IN THE AFTERNOON (CONFESSION)
“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”
I admit my sins and I forgive others who’ve frustrated me..
“I confessed my sins to you and didn’t try to hide them . . .
Then you forgave me and now all my guilt is gone!” Psalm 32:5
6. ASK GOD TO HELP ME MAKE WISEDECISIONS
“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
7. END MY DAY WITH AN ENCOURAGING TRUTH (BENEDICTION)
“For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever! Amen!”
Matthew 6:13c (NAS)
“If anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, that person is guilty of sinning against the Body and the Blood of the Lord. This is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking from the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without recognizing (committing to) the Body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God's judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died! BUT IF we examine and judge ourselves, we will not be judged by God.” 1 Cor. 11:27-31 Memorize Psalm 139:23-23
COMMUNION REMINDS US OF 5 TRANSFORMING TRUTHS
1. NO ONE LOVES US MORE THAN OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN. “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’" 1 Cor. 11:23-25 (NIV)
Q: When (time, day, or situation) am I most likely to forget how much my Heavenly Father loves me?
Q: What sin(s) do I habitually fall for when I forget God’s love for me?
2. WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER IN GOD’S FAMILY
“I hear that there are divisions among you when you MEET AS A CHURCH! (so)...When you COME TOGETHER, it is NOT the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat it, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else! One member goes hungry among you while another gets drunk!” 1 Cor. 11:18,20-21
Q: What issue (or issues) have I made more important than being in harmony and unity with my brothers & sisters in God’s Family?
Q: Would God be pleased with where my first loyalty has been?
“So, dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord's Supper wait for each other.” 1 Cor. 11:33 (NLT)
Q: Can I give any example of where I’ve put the needs of my brothers & sisters in my church family ahead of my own needs?
Q: Do I know anyone in our church in need?
3. THE SPIRIT OF JESUS LIVES INSIDE MEJesus: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and ILIVE IN THEM. The Living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father. So, whoever eats me will live because of me.” John 6:56-57 (NCV)
Q: What happens when I forget this fact?
4. THIS LIFE IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY Jesus: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. BUT those who eat my flesh and drink my blood HAVE eternal life, and I will raise them at the last day.” John 6:53-54 (NLT)
Q: Am I using my time and money as if all that matters is this life? Am I investing anything in the next life where I will spend eternity? What would change if I kept reminding myself to ask, “How long will this last?”
5.JESUS IS COMING BACK SOME DAY TO JUDGE & REWARD“For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again!” 1 Cor. 11:26 (NLT)
o WE SEE IT IN GOD’S CREATION “Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen (in) what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 (NIV)
“Can you fathom the limits and bounds of the greatness and power of God? The sky is no limit for God, but it lies beyond your reach! God knows the world of the dead, but you do not know it. God's greatness is broader than the earth, and wider than the sea.” Job 11:7-9 (TEV)
o WE SEE IT IN JESUS’ INCARNATION “The Word became a human being and lived among us! We saw his glory . . .and he was full of grace and truth!” John 1:14 (NCV)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
“Grace & peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come.” Revelation 1:4 (NIV)
o WE SEE IT IN HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT MOVES. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you don't know where the wind comes from or where it's going. That's the way it is with everyone born of the Holy Spirit.” John 3:8 (GW)
“He does wonders that cannot be understood; he does so many miracles they cannot be counted. When he passes me, I can’t see him; and when he goes by me, I don’t recognize him!” Job 9:10-11 (NCV)
2. BECAUSE GOD IS MULTIDIMENSIONAL I’M NEVER ALONE “Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I ever get away from your presence? If I went up to heaven, you’d be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you’d be there. If I flew way beyond the east or lived in the farthest place in the west, you’d be there to lead me. You’d be there to help me. I could ask the darkness to hide me . . . but even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you.” Psalm 139:7-12 (TEV)
HOW TO PRAY IN FIVE DIMENSIONS
AS I PRAY . . .
1. I lookBACKWARD TO THE CROSS “God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life . . . He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 (NLT)
The Cross reminds me
o How deeply God loves me
o How costly evil & sin is
o How completely I’m forgiven
2. I look UPWARD TO MY FATHER’S LOVIING FACE “You should not act like cowering, fearful slaves, since God’s Spirit has adopted you as children into God’s Family! Instead, by his Spiritwe simply cry outAbba! Father! and God’s Spirit affirms that we really are his children! And since we are now God’s children, we’re also heirs with Christ, and will share in both his suffering and his glory!” Romans 8:15-17
GOD WANTS MY PRAYERS TO BE
o Abba! Daddy! PERSONAL
o Cry Out! PASSIONATE
o By His Spirit A PARTNERSHIP
3. I look INWARD TO JESUS LIVING INSIDE ME “Examine yourself to see if your faith is real and growing. Test yourself. Remember that Jesus is living in you – unless you’ve failed your test.” 2 Corinthians 13:5
“Jesus, produce the Fruit of your Spirit in me today!”
4. I look AROUND AND ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO USE ME “ . . . Give yourself completely to God – every part of you – since you’ve been given a new life, and you want to be used as a tool in the hands of God, used for his good purposes.” Romans 6:13 (LB)
5. I look FORWARD TO MY FUTURE IN FAITH “I am confident of this, that God who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until it is finished on the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Your understanding of what God is really like shapes everything else in your life, including how you pray.
“The Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and his faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation.” Psalm 100:5 (LB)
BECAUSE GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD . . .
1. GOD’S PLANS FOR MY LIFE WILL ALWAYS BE GOOD.
“‘I know what I’ve planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you! My plans will give you hope and a good future. And when you call to me and pray to me, I will listen to you!” Jeremiah 29:11 (NCV)
“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)
Joseph: “Your plan was to hurt me, but God turned your evil plan into a GOOD plan to save the lives of many people!” Genesis 50:20
“So, we can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are GOOD for us – they help us learn patient endurance.” Rom. 5:3 (NLT)
2. GOD ALWAYS GIVES ME WHAT I NEED, NOT WHAT I DESERVE.
“He has not treated us as we deserve for our sins or paid us back for our wrongs . . . (In his goodness), he has taken our sins away and removed them as far as the east is from the west!” Psalm 103:10, 12
“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close . . . my enemies are waiting for me to fall . . . Yet I remain confident that I’ll see the goodness of the Lord while I’m living here in the world.” Psalm 27:10-13 (NLT)
“(Jesus) understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly with confidence to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find the grace to help us when we need it.” Hebrews 4:15-16 (NLT)
3. GOD PUT MY GOOD ABOVE HIS OWN GOOD. “I am the GOOD shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me . . . And I will sacrifice my life for my sheep.” John 10:14-15
“Jesus died for our sins and rose again to make us right with God, filling us with God's goodness.” Romans 4:25 (LB)
“Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave Christ up for us all, won’t he now also give us everything else we need?” Romans 8:32 (NLT)
4. HE DOES NOT SAY YES TO EVERY REQUEST!
“You fathers – if your children asked for a fish to eat, would you give them a snake instead? Or if they asked for an egg, would you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you, as sinful people, know how to give GOOD gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13 (NLT)
Jesus replied, “You don’t realize what you are asking for!”Matt 20:22 (NLT)
God says, “My thoughts are completely different from yours, and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
5. HE INVITES US TO LIVE WITH HIM FOREVER.
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, and God our Father who loves us, has given us by his grace an everlasting encouragement and a good hope that will last forever. May this encourage your heart and give you strength for every good thing you do and say!” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, then I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!” Psalm 23:6 (NIV)
PRAY THIS WEEK
“Lord, keep me from paying attention to what is worthless. (Instead) let me live by your Word . . . I want to obey your principles. Please renew my life with your goodness!” Psalm 119:37, 39-40
Revive My Heart . . . My Small Group . . . Our Church Family
“Bring us back to you, God; we’re ready to come back. Give us a fresh start.” Lamentations 5:21 (The Message)
*based on material from 40 Days of Prayer by Rick Warren
Prayer is a universal topic but there are 3 basic facts about prayer.
Our Creator wired human beings for prayer!
Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has planted eternity in the human heart.”
We’re not very good at prayer
Romans 8:26 “We don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray...” (NLT)
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of the disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’” Luke 11:1 (NIV)
Our frustrations with prayer are caused by: Our misconceptions
not a magic wand
not a fire extinguisher
not a tug of war
not a ritual to relieve guilt
Matthew 6:7 “When you pray DO NOT use meaningless repetition thinking that you will be heard for your many words.” (NAS)
4 FOUNDATIONAL TRUTHS ABOUT PRAYER
GOD LOVES FOR ME TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT ANYTHING
“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who reverence him.” Psalm 103:13 (NLT)
“We can be confident in approaching God, knowing that he listens to us whenever we ask him for anything according to his will. And since we know that he hears us when we make our requests, then we can be sure that he will answer us.” 1 John 5:14-15
PRAYER IS: A CONVERSATION, NOT A CEREMONY
____________A RELATIONSHIP, NOT A RITUAL__________
“I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NCV)
GOD LISTENS TO PRAYERS THAT ARE SINCERE & SIMPLE__
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they’ve received their reward in full. Instead, when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling on and on like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:5-8 (NIV)
“Let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith . . .” Hebrews 10:22 (TEV)
3. GOD LIKES TO SHOW HIS GRACE BY ANSWERING PRAYER
“Call to me and I will answer you. I will show you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” Jeremiah 33:3 (Message)
“If you, being imperfect and sinful parents know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?” Matthew 7:11 (NLT)
“You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2 (NIV)
4. GOD LONGS TO BE CLOSE TO ME!
“The Lord waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion.” Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)
“I don’t want your sacrifices – I want your love! I don't want your offerings, I want you to know me!” Hosea 6:6 (LB)
Jesus said, “I don’t call you servants…I call you my friends!” John 15:15
“Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him. With them He shares the secrets of his covenant.” Psalm 25:14 (NLT)
“Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” James 4:8 (NLT)
The Closer I Am To God, the less stressed & more blessed I’ll be.