This Week's Gospel Sermons
June 12 - 17, 2011 Gospel Meeting At Jackson Drive.
Speaker: Bob Hutto
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June 5, 2011
Communication with God
In our everyday life we see,talk, feel, and hear to get along. People that can’t speak orally might use sign language or write; people who can’t hear might read lips and use sign language or other visual aids; people who can’t see may listen and read braille—everyone needs to be able to communicate. Our societies couldn’t exist without communication, neither can our spiritual relationship with God exist without communication.
Through the Bible, God communicated his will for us and the reason for our being. Through the things that he made we can also see his everlasting power and divinity: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20). God has given us his word to read and his world to see so that we may know all he requires us to know.
We also must communicate. Although God knows our hearts, he has provided us with ways to communicate with him and also with fellow saints. When we use these methods of communication that he has provided—namely prayer and singing—we receive the benefits.
Prayer in general might include praises to God, adoration, confession, a giving of thanks for blessings, petition, and supplication. All of these venues of prayer are found in the scriptures. The Bible is full of examples of how to pray and how not to pray. Take the time to look through the New Testament and find examples of acceptable prayer (for instance, find where Jesus taught his disciples to pray).
Prayer should be natural for Christians. In the physical world, we find it natural to express our thoughts to one another. Even a baby or small child finds it natural to communicate when they need something like food or a dry diaper. Since God is our creator, shouldn’t it be the most natural thing in the world for us to need and want to communicate with him?
There are some principles of attitude that should guide our prayers. Firstly, we should have a humble and penitent heart. Peter told Simon that he should pray with repentance in mind after he sinned, “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.” (Acts 8:22). We know that God is faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1John 1:9-10).
We should also have an attitude of faith. In other words, we need to be willing to trust in God, that he will provide for our needs and give to all liberally, “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6-8). Jesus emphasized our need to trust in God to provide as he gave his “sermon on the mount” in Matthew 6:25-33.
Lastly, we need to have an attitude of submission. Jesus himself gave us the perfect example of this as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39).
How does prayer work? It doesn’t work at all if not done in the manner that God prescribed. We are to pray to God the Father not to be seen of men, but in sincerity: “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:1-8). We are to pray to the Father in Christ’s name. Jesus told his disciples that after he was gone from the physical world to ask of the Father in His (Christ’s) name: “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” (John 16:23). The Spirit also assists in our prayers (Romans 8:26-28). Many people pray to Mary and dead “saints.” There is no scripture for this. Interestingly, most people who engage in these practices offer no scriptural authority for their actions. How submissive are they to God?
You may not have thought of singing as communication, but it is communication that is beautiful to God and uplifting to fellow Christians. Through singing, not only can we express praise, give thanks, and ask blessings of God, but we teach, admonish and edify one another. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” (Ephesians 5:18-20). “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16).
Singing has been called “a thermometer of spiritual wellness.” From observation, this saying rings true. Those who do not sing lack enthusiasm for service to the Lord. These are people at great risk for drifting from God and dying a spiritual death. We must be enthusiastic and zealous when we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. How edifying can we be to others if we don’t sing like we mean it? We know what God thinks of hypocrites; do you think he is pleased with those who sing half-heartedly or not at all? Can you imagine Psalm 100 being read or sung without feeling?
Many times we quote the verses we used above to show that there is not authority for mechanical music. These verses do indeed provide no evidence that God accepts instrumental music. To our detriment, we often fail to emphasize what is intended by these verses—the positive things they command. Let us emphasize more that we are to sing!
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.