ASKING THE HARD QUESTIONS--PART VI
SERMON TITLE: WHY DOES GOD SEEM FAR AWAY?
SERMON THEME: SEEKING GOD'S PRESENCE
· DO YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE FELT THE PRESENCE OF GOD?
· HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU HAVE FELT THE PRESENCE OF GOD?
· WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU WANT TO FEEL THE PRESENCE OF GOD?
I WANT TO BELIEVE THAT GOD IS WITH ME, BUT I DO NOT ALWAYS FEEL THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
TURN TO YOUR NEIGHBOR AND SAY: GOD IS WITH YOU TODAY!
PSALM 16:8-9; 11
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN GOD FEELS FAR AWAY?
cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my
prayer comes before you.
14 Why, Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?
WHY DO YOU NOT ALWAYS FEEL GODS PRESENCE?
I) MAYBE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A SIGN OF GOD'S PRESENCE?
30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?
1. YOU CANNOT DEPEND ON FEELINGS WHEN SEEKING THE PRESENCE OF GOD, OTHER WISE YOU WOULD NOT NEED FAITH.
Show me your ways, Lord, teach
me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
2. THE SIGN IS ALREADY IN FRONT OF YOU, BECAUSE JESUS HAS DISPLAYED HIS LOVE FOR YOU ON THE CROSS.
II) MAYBE YOU HAVE ALLOWED YOUR HEART TO GROW COLD TO GOD'S
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
3. WHEN YOU ALLOW A SIN TO RULE IN YOUR HEART, THAT YOU ARE UNWILLING TO CONFESS, YOUR HEART WILL GROW HARD.
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
4. SIN IS MOORE OFTEN FOUND IN THE LITTLE THINGS OF OUR LIVES VERSES THE BIG THINGS WE DO.
III) MAYBE GOD WANTS TO SEE HOW YOU MIGHT SEEK HIM IN HARD TIMES.
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
5. HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW CHALLENGES AND DIFFICULTIES OFTEN PRODUCE THE BEST IN YOU SPIRITUALLY?
FOUR GOOD THINGS THAT COME OUT OF HARD TIMES
1. HARD TIMES CAN STRETCH YOU.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
2. HARD TIMES CAN EQUIP YOU
II CORINTHIANS 1:4
4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
3. HARD TIMES CAN TEACH YOU.
10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
4. HARD TIMES CAN REACH YOU.
2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
· JUST BECAUSE GOD FEELS DISTANT DOES NOT MEAN GOD IS ABSENT.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
CONCLUSION: WHETHER YOU FEEL GOD OR YOU DON'T, FAITH TO BELIEVE IN GOD IS ALWAYS WITH YOU.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[a] because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[b] (which means “God with us”).