Seeking God and Walking Close to Him

Sunday, 18 August 2013
Sermon Notes:

          Seeking God and walking close to Him
            How do we grow closer in our walk with Jesus?
 How can we see revival in our lives, church and community?

Do you know the Lord? Perhaps you have never really touched His presence, or may have given your life to Him in the past but have lost touch with His Spirit. Before reading on, you need to “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19). The “times of refreshing” are the wonderful sense of God’s presence we find when we are genuinely in touch with Him throughout the day and especially in the meetings.

Jesus gives us this parable to illustrate seeking God: “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” The merchant is like someone seeking the best in life. Then he discovers the Kingdom of God. It is the pearl of great price, and he sells all the other pearls in order to buy it. If we are to find the joy of walking hand in hand with Jesus we can’t serve both God and money or live for anything else. “He who saves his life will lose it and he who loses his life for my sake and the gospel will keep it for eternal life.”

Thegoalforthe Christian is summed up in John 17:3: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” It’s also summed up in Micah 6:8: as “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” But in a busy and demanding world, how do we achieve this on a daily basis?

The word “Know” in the Greek is the most intimate form of the word, used when Mary, a virgin, said to the Angel: “But I do not know a man”. It’s not an intellectual knowledge but a real and intimate experience of God on a daily basis that produces fruit. In the case of Mary, it produced the fruit of the Son of God. In our case if it’s real then it will produce the fruit of Jesus being formed in us and others coming into the Kingdom as the fruit of our relationship with Him.

Start seeking God now
If what’s described above is not your experience then start today by calling out to God and asking Him to come close to you. Here are some ways of helping this:

Confess your sins
We always start by pleading His mercy. However bad we think we are, the scripture says in 1 John 1:9: “
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Read God’s Word daily
If you don’t yet do this, start with a chapter of the New Testament each day. Read it prayerfully, asking God to speak to you through it. It is God’s letter to all mankind and in it is the secret of life.

Speak in tongues, sing and pray regularly
The first gift of the spirit the early Christians received, and the one we normally receive when hands are laid on us to receive the Spirit, is the gift of tongues. It’s given as a sign and because it’s really useful in developing our relationship with God. Paul declared confidently: “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all”. He said it was primarily for personal edification. We recommend praying in tongues for a while at the beginning of the day. Accompanied by faith, it will result in us being filled with the Spirit. The missionary to the Walled City in Hong Kong, Jackie Pullinger, said that before she spoke in tongues the gospel didn’t seem to penetrate the hearers’ hearts. She dedicated herself to praying in tongues for fifteen minutes a day, and from that point on she saw daily fruit. It’s the faith exercised while speaking in tongues that is the operational factor. Speaking in tongues bypasses your mind and is saying that only God working through you can do miracles. Speaking in tongues, singing praises, strong prayer or proclamation, when mixed with faith, are all effective and will cause us not just to be full of the Spirit but to overflow to others all day long.

Speaking in tongues keeps us humble. We can be sure that if nothing happened before we spoke in tongues and now that we do, Jesus is touching everyone around us, then it must be his work, working through us!

Seeking God as a Church.
Our individual walk with the Lord leads to seeking Him together. Praying,
praising and worshipping Him together is our main activity. As we come together in prayer before meetings, we will see a growth in our relationship with Him as a church and also we will see Him add to the church those who are being saved.

When Jonah prophesied that Nineveh would be destroyed the whole city fasted and prayed. God heard their prayer and relented. Before starting His ministry Jesus
fasted for forty days and nights. The church leaders in Antioch fasted before sending out Paul and Barnabus. Many Christians fast regularly each week and find that it helps them to pray and to maintain a close walk with Jesus.

Seeking God together as a Church.
During the spring of 1904 a young Welshman named Evan Roberts was repeatedly awakened at 1:00 a.m. He met with God until 5:00 a.m. The Welsh revival followed. Churches were packed for prayer meetings. In a prayer meeting for young people, Pastor Joseph Jenkins asked for testimonies. A young girl named Florrie Evans, who had only been a believer a few days, rose and with a trembling voice said simply, "I love Jesus with all my heart." The other young people's hearts were melted. A powerful spiritual awakening that brought 100,000 people to Christ was under way.”

God can move in any way He wants to. On the Day of Pentecost when the Church was born it was tongues of fire on the heads of the believers. In the Welsh revival it was one man who sought God and the fire transferred to those around him. One thing we can be sure of: if we seek God as an individual and as a church then God will speak and act.

Regular Prayer meetings.
In most churches these take place before the meeting, perhaps for 30 or 45 minutes. If we really want to see God moving, then these need to be constant. Aim to get to the meetings on Sundays at 4:45pm and on Tuesdays at 6:30. Calling out to God together will sow a seed that will transform the church, transform our meetings and the area we live in.

How to pray.
When the disciples askes Jesus: “teach us how to pray” he said “When you pray say: “Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name, Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven….”  This model shows us how to put Him first. It is for corporate prayer, “Our Father”. Even praying on our own, we need to be conscious of our role in His Church as the first thing that matters to Him. He said “I will build my church” and our prayers need to be in line with His work.

Seeking God and remaining close to Him is the pearl of great price. Life takes on a different hue and becomes brilliant when we live close to Jesus. From a foundation of walking close to him, let’s pray together, calling out to God for revival, first in us, then in our church and then in the world around us. Amen

Songs: Teach me to live for You today; Just a closer walk with Thee
; We’re looking to Your promise of old (Send revival, start with me.)

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