I have had some request for my notes on the sermon preached on September 12th, 2010, here they are.
Isaiah 59:15 “And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey”
Whoever turns from evil to The Lord Jesus becomes the hunted.
The devil hates Christians and he hates our God We were once the devil’s subject’s part of his great deception of mankind. But by God’s grace we were called out from the city of destruction to walk on the narrow Path to Immanuel’s land. satan would have paid us to serve him, for the wages of sin is death. But the free gift of God is eternal life (the only kind He offers) in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Martin Luther’s Hymn
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,On earth is not his equal.
In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress Apollyon (satan, devil)(Rev 9:11) is not happy to lose one of his subjects, a man called Christian who is equipped with a new set of armor, The Armor of God. Apollyon meets Christian along the narrow path to Heaven. He tells Christian that he hates his new Master, His laws, and His people.
He reminds Christian that he already has been unfaithful to God and that Christian is not worthy to be called a son of God. He tells Christian that he can come back and he would give him all that he wanted. But if he did not renounce his allegiance to Christ that he would die a shameful, painful, martyr’s death. Christian puts up his shield of faith as he is accused and uses the sword of the Spirit (The Word of God) to drive the devil away. This illustration gives us a look into the spiritual battle that is going on around us.
The devil accuses every Christian, he even accuses God. Job 1:6
6(L)Now there was a day when the (M)sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and [a]Satan also came among them.
7The LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "(N)From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it."
8The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered (O)My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, (P)a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."
9Then (Q)Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing?
10"(R)Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? (S)You have blessed the work of his hands, and his (T)possessions have increased in the land.
11"(U)But put forth Your hand now and (V)touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face."
Today to bring to a close our series on the Armor of God we come to the last part of the Armor, Prayer, and the most essential part. It must be used with precision or it may misfire, be kind of a dud.
18With all (A)prayer and petition (B)pray at all times (C)in the Spirit, and with this in view, (D)be on the alert with all (E)perseverance and (F)petition for all the saints,
19and (G)pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me (H)in the opening of my mouth, to make known with (I)boldness (J)the mystery of the gospel,
20for which I am an (K)ambassador (L)in chains; that [a]in proclaiming it I may speak (M)boldly, (N)as I ought to speak.
At All Times
In the Spirit
With All Perseverance
For All Christians
For Boldness to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel
Some say that prayer is like breathing, just lay down at night close your eyes, relax, and pray. Or maybe in your easy chair with the lights down low.
But is it that easy? Or is it something more? Something that requires skill, like a craftsman?
Prayer is like breathing? Is breathing easy? Well if only one of the laws of breathing is broken, your dead.
The action of breathing in and out is due to changes of pressure within the thorax, in comparison with the outside. When we inhale the intercostal muscles (between the ribs) and diaphragm contract to expand the chest cavity.
That is just the first paragraph on the mechanics of breathing, the definition goes on for 4 pages.
I would like to make the case that prayer is in some ways like breathing, in that there are standards or laws dictated by the Holy Spirit that must be followed and not broken or we are not really praying, we may be wrestling with our conscience, or our desires but we are not praying.
When we break any of God’s standards when it comes to prayer, then instead of praying we may be “talking to ourselves”, not to God.
Prayer is not a method of creating a positive mental attitude in ourselves so that we are able clean our consciences or be able to go out and conquer the world.
Prayer is not something that should replace helping someone, or visiting someone in the hospital, or comforting those who mourn, or helping the needy. Prayer should be coupled with actions of compassion not as a substitute for action.
Prayer is not getting God to do our will, but through prayer we should seek God’s will and be in harmony with His Word.
It takes little faith, commitment, and effort to pray once about something, then check it off our prayer list and be done with it. Instead persistent prayer makes it apparent that our requests are as important to us as they may be to God.
Back to this issue of the standards or laws of prayer.
What is prayer?
We’ll it is to enter into the presence of our Holy God and communicating with Him.
Into the Holy of Holies
What does that definition remind us of?
The Tabernacle recorded in the books of Exodus and Hebrews.
God gave specific instructions to Moses on how the Tabernacle was to be built so that His Glory may dwell with His people. He wanted to have fellowship and communicate with them.
There were certain steps that had to be followed exactly so that sinful people could approach a Holy God.
Only priest from the tribe of Levi could touch the Tabernacle. A priest would have to wash himself after making sacrifices and before he entered into the Tabernacle or he would die.
The Tabernacle was divided into two sections.
The Holy Place and The Most Holy Place or (The Holy of Holies)
In the Most Holy Place is where The Glory of The Lord dwelt on The Mercy Seat. The high priest would sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat to atone for his and the people’s sins, but the priest was only allowed to enter in once a year on The Day of Atonement or he would die. They would even tie a rope on his leg to pull him out if he was killed in the process, because no one could go in and fetch the body.
Well we don’t need to follow these steps as New Testament believers this side of the work that The Lord Jesus did for us when as our High Priest He sacrificed His own blood to atone for our sins. The veil that separated the Most Holy Place was torn from top to bottom, from God to man.
Any sinner may enter in now. But there are steps or conditions that must be obeyed our we may not have our prayers heard.
1. You must have repented from your sins and put your trust in The Lord Jesus as Savior. If not God does not hear your prayers.
Isaiah 59:2 2But your (A) iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does (B)not hear.
Hebrews 10:22 22let us (A)draw near with a sincere heart in (B)full assurance of faith, having our hearts (C)sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies (D)washed with pure water.
Call on the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, fall on the Stone the builder’s rejected or it will fall on you.
2. If we have wrong motives
James 4:3-5 3You ask and (A)do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
4You (B)adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with (C)the world is (D)hostility toward God? (E)Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
5Or do you think that the Scripture (F)speaks to no purpose: "[a]He jealously desires (G)the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"?
Because of our desires for worldly pleasures we make ourselves a enemy of God
3. If we hold iniquity or wickedness in our hearts
Psalm 66:18 18If I [a](A)regard wickedness in my heart, The (B)Lord will not hear;
Isaiah 1:15 15"So when you (A)spread out your hands in prayer, (B)I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you (C)multiply prayers, I will not listen (D)Your hands are covered with blood.
Proverbs 15:29 (New American Standard Bible)
29The LORD is (A)far from the wicked, But He (B)hears the prayer of the righteous.
4. If we are living in willful sin
Hebrews 10:26 and 29 26For if we go on (A)sinning willfully after receiving (B)the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
29(A)How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve (B)who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean (C)the blood of the covenant (D)by which he was sanctified, and has (E)insulted the Spirit of grace?
John 9:31 31"We know that (A)God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.
5. Those who turn away from the needy
Proverbs 21:13 13He who (A)shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be (B)answered.
James 2:13 13For (A)judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
We should help and pray
6. Those who live in such a way that they make unbelievers turn their backs to God.
Psalm 18:40-41 40You have also made my enemies (A)turn their backs to me, And I [a](B)destroyed those who hated me. 41They cried for help, but there was (C)none to save, Even to the LORD, but (D)He did not answer them.
Psalm 50:16,17 and 21 16But to the wicked God says, "What right have you to tell of My statutes And to take (A)My covenant in your mouth? 17"For you (B)hate discipline, And you (C)cast My words behind you. 18"When you see a thief, you (D)are pleased with him, And you (E)associate with adulterers. 19"You (F)let your mouth loose in evil And your (G)tongue frames deceit. 20"You sit and (H)speak against your brother; You slander your own mother's son. 21"These things you have done and (I)I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will (J)reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.
If we are not right with God, and we think we can pray to Him, we are wrong. You are just talking to yourself.
If you have not repented and trusted Christ for your salvation. The Lord may only hear the request for forgiveness and the commitment of a life in Christ.
If we are saved in the Lord Jesus Christ but hold wickedness in our hearts, ask amiss, turn from the poor, make a mockery out of God by our lives, or we live in willful sin. We cannot enter into His presence by the “New and Living Way”
We are just “Talking to ourselves”
Psalm 24:1-6 Reminds us who we are and who God is
What do we need to do to enter into His presence in prayer?
Turn with me to 1 Peter 2:1-12
Put aside malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander, desires for pleasure.
This is not a legalistic system that I am proposing, it’s really about loyalty. Who are you going to serve, who’s side are you on? Who is your Master, who is your Lord?
Put on the whole Armor of God
Belt of Truth Romans 1:25 truth for the lie, Christ is the way, the truth, and the light.
Breastplate of Righteousness Joseph
Gospel of Peace That our Lord commanded in Matt 28
Shield of Faith evolution, all roads
Helmet of Salvation Justin Martyr they can kill us
Sword of the Spirit Matt 4
And put it all on with prayer
Study up this week, check out what I had to say, desire God’s Word.