Our relationships with Him and His are key to our prayers. We must enter into right fight. We really don’t want what we want. We want what He wants. Our thoughts are too human. All our praise helps us to learn who God is, with songs and body language and instruments. (James 4:8; Deuteronomy 1:10, 19-46; Job 5:8-10; Psalm 149:1-6)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Sam Miles
Sermon # 11686
11:00 AM on 5/26/2019
Praise the Lord! We have a Hungarian visitor here, Nicky. This is Lea’s friend from Hungary. Good to have you here. Other visitors you are welcome to get some info on us at the information booth. Here it is: a good summer. Are you going to have a good summer? I don’t know. Who can tell? A good summer.
I’ll tell you one little secret about that subject. What is a good summer, right? What am I thinking about? It’s still May 26th. We have June, July, and August. When I used to live in Hungary, I realized the Hungarians liked the summer and they would go on a vacation for two years! The summer was a big deal. I started to teach them. I said, you know how you have a good summer? Give your summer to God. The things you want to do, first bring it to God. And when we started doing this, and people started spiritually to understand. When I own something, this is mine. Hands off! This is my summer. I’m going to go to the beach. I’m going to take time off and take it easy. That’s fine. Change the letter “I.” Change it. Just like everything in your life, you take it and change it. The natural man lives his life his way. When you come to God, you find there is another way. At the end of the summer in Hungary, I had people coming to me and saying, Pastor, I had an amazing summer. Why? Because God gave me a good summer. God filled my heart. God led me. God taught me. I had a great summer because of God. God gave me something I never had before. God gave me his presence and guidance in my life.
Is your favorite dog your pet dog, is that your dog? Yeah, that’s my dog. Change that. It’s God’s dog and I’m a steward of God’s dog. Is your house, your house? Your garden, your garden? Your children your children. Your wife, your wife? Change it. Who owns it? It’s beautiful. This is God’s. This is your business God. I lose my life and I gain my life. I lose my life before God and my heavenly Father knows and leads us.
My words. My words. I have an opinion on that. Thank you for your opinion. Thank you very much. You know what I’m really hungry for? God’s mind. I want God’s mind. I’m not sure your opinion is God’s mind. I don’t know that. There are people so entrenched in their own life, their own opinion and their own words and they suffer. Why am I so depressed? Why am I so lonely? Why am I so empty? Why does nothing work for me? Wait a minute. You’re like everybody else. You don’t look so good today. You’re like everybody else. You know what? You’re like everybody else but there is something about some people. You know what it is? The presence of Christ that satisfies the human heart. You might say I will live my life in the church life if it works out for me in my schedule, I’ll be in the church. What is the priority? I need these words more than my necessary food. Jesus told us we are to be instructed, guided, and led in something different, the Holy Spirit’s work. Amen.
Part two! I’m encouraged for your lives. Our visitor this weekend, P. Sam Miles from Kansas City, Missouri has been with us. We had a great weekend. We had a banquet Friday night. We had graduation yesterday. Are the graduates here this morning? We’ll have prayer for you at the end of the service. Do you know about that Luke? P. Scibelli will have prayer for all you folks so you will come up on the stage. I want to say one more thing.
We have some thoughts, prayers, for the future of our ministry and the work of God’s grace in your heart and my heart. God is speaking to us and leading us. I’m very encouraged. Don’t miss it. In your heart know God loves you and has a great plan for you. Don’t miss it. The local church is where God is speaking to people and working. We need this place. We need this fellowship. We need each other.
Look around the room and count three people you don’t know. Look behind you and to the side of you. Are there three people I do not know in this room? How many saw three people? I understand. What can we do to change that up? I don’t want to know people after the flesh. I want to encourage them in God. We have a pulpit and this is how God speaks to us. But also, the person next to you may have a gift for you, a blessing. The person behind you might have something. Hanging out being together has made our church unique. Loving each other, being together, praying together, being quiet together, encouraging each other, knowing each other by name. Praying for each other through the week. This is powerful. God is here and he does that work.
I believe our summer will be awesome. It will lead us into the fall and the fall into the winter. God will lead us and work in your life in an awesome and very real way.
Monday is Memorial Day. We have a short video for us as we reflect on those soldiers that have given their lives, men and women, for our freedom. We want to have a moment of reflection and respect for them. If you served in the military, would you stand? We want to recognize you and thank you. Our freedom has been bought and preserved by people highly dedicated and we want to recognize that today and continue in a free country with our freedom being very precious to us and our military forces being fundamentally important in that preservation.
P. Sam Miles (Kansas City)
It’s really great to be with you. Let’s go to the Lord and ask him to bless our time in his word. It is a privilege to be with you guys this week.
I called in on Wednesday and was on the radio show, Grace Hour, with you. Then on Friday I got into town and I was in the Grace hour again. We were talking about this week the fact that our prayers can be hindered, which on one level seems like almost crazy. God commands us to prayer and expects us to pray. The Lord Jesus says when you pray, here’s how you do it. God tells us to. We assume we will pray and yet our prayers can be hindered. There are times in our lives it seems our prayers are not getting passed the ceiling. Why is that? What is hindering our prayer? If there is a problem, it can’t be with God. The problem must be on our end.
So one of the things we talked about is the fact that God allows hindered prayer to help train us, to help develop us and mature us in the faith. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord says talk to the hand, right? He will not hear us. I need to pray according to his will. I also need to pray in right relationship with him. If I love my sin more than I love my Lord, if I’m taking what I want in the flesh and putting it ahead of a right relationship with God, God says your prayers are hindered. So it helps protect the relationship with him. We saw that if I’m not right with my brothers or sisters in Christ, if I’m not right with my wife, I can’t say I’m right with God. Husbands are to dwell with their wives according to knowledge. Why? So that our prayers are not hindered. We are heirs together of the grace of this life. There are things that will happen that will get in the way of an effective prayer life.
One of the things we talked about Friday is the fact that God will allow trials in our life. There will be big decisions. There will be big problems that come up. There will be trials that God allows in order to try, to test our faith. Will we believe God or will we shrink back? Will we move forward in the faith in the face of some giant, of some trial of life, or will we excuse away the word of God. Yeah, I know what the Bible says but here is what is happening and here is why I got to take care of myself. The trials that come in life are an opportunity to believe God.
Rom 5:1-2, we glory in tribulations also. When life throws giants at us, when life throws trials at us, we can say praise God! Why? Knowing tribulation worketh patience and patience experience and experience hope…When a trial comes, my world looks like it may be coming apart, will I believe God? Will I move forward in obedience to his word? Will I call on God for his promises and his provision in the face of this trouble, in the face of this trial; or will I react in the flesh and explain away God’s word and just do what is right in my own eyes? Bible tells us our faith is to be exercised. Just like I would go to the gym and work out if I want – I got to lift some weights. We are to exercise our faith. When the trial comes and say I believe God. I don’t shrink back from God’s word. I move forward in his word. I move forward in prayer, calling on God for his provision and promises. Guess what? God comes through and he takes me through that trial. Then I have some experience now. I’ve seen that God is enough. And then tomorrow when the bigger trial comes, I’m like, bring it on! My God is able. My faith is growing and my capacity to believe God for more is continuing to increase.
If I’m going to have a growing faith in the midst of a trial, that means I have to know God’s word. James talks about the fact we lack wisdom, and we ask of God and he rewards us liberally. vs. 6. A lack of faith is a great hindrance to prayer. You get to James 4, the reality is you can pray wrong. You can ask for the wrong things for the wrong reasons and that will hinder your prayer life.
James 4:2, Asking amiss, asking wrong hinders our prayer. A lot of God’s children are struggling and fighting and can’t get what they want. God says the problem is you’re not asking. And then when you do ask, vs. 3, you ask wrong. You miss the mark. You fall short of my will and my word. You are not asking for my will, my word to be made reality over your life. You’re asking about what you want, the way you want it. It’s all about you. You’re treating me like a vending machine. A5 hot wife. That’s what I want. B26. Sweet ride. That’s what I want Lord. If you give me that sweet ride, I’ll be happy. No, you won’t. You won’t take care of it. You’ll crash it and then you need another sweet ride. We ask amiss that you can consume it upon your lusts. Watch. Look at how James frames this. He says you adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship with the world, building a life for the kingdoms of this world is enmity with God.
vs. 5-6. We quit vaunting our will against God’s will. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. We need to submit to God and resist the devil and draw nigh to his word. We need to humble ourselves before his will. We need to believe him for his promises for our lives. We need to be afflicted. We need to cleanse our hands. We need to purify our hearts. We need to repent of a life seeking for self. We need to submit to the savior.
vs. 7-8. James’ whole point is when we, the focus of our life and our prayer is on ourselves for the things we want in life, when our prayers are on ourselves versus the will of the Savior, we are missing the mark. We are asking amiss and in rejecting God’s promises we are framing God as our enemy. I want a blessed life in this present world. I want it to be built it out of wood, hay, and stubble. I want the transitory things. I want it my way. What we are doing is saying, Lord, I don’t want what you want for me. I want what I want for me. In rejecting the promises of God, we end up framing God as our enemy. Lord, not your will, mine. Because he loves us, he has to correct us. We ask, we ask amiss. You ask and you receive not that you may consume it upon your lusts.
I want you to see a picture of this in the life of the O.T. nation of Israel.
De. 1. We are going to survey this passage and see if we can see a picture in prayer in asking amiss. Moses is speaking to God’s people. vs. 1. You already got the promise of God’s word in your life. God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that he would multiply and make them a mighty nation. Now we are walking in the reality of that prophecy. vs. 10. God has been faithful. According to the word, the promise of the Lord, he has now made that reality in the life of his people. vs. 11-18 he talks about how they were organized through leadership and in vs. 19, now it’s time to receive the promises of God. To get the word of God, the will of God. It’s now to be made reality in their life. vs. 19-20. What’s the promise? We will come to the mountain of the Amorites where you will be slaughtered. Praise the Lord. NO, that’s not the word of the Lord. This is for you. God is giving you this. Go up and be slaughtered. Is that what God wants for his people? NO, go up and possess it.
vs. 21. Here’s the problem. God’s people are saying we want the will of God. But we see they want God’s blessing on their terms. They begin to plan. How are we going to possess this land? In planning, they get the human will, the human mindset, the sensual wisdom takes over. They end up rejecting the word of the Lord. They end up framing God as their enemy. vs. 22-24. Great plan. It looks like great motivation but the outcome of our planning can never undermine simple childlike obedience to the word of the Lord.
vs. 25. Sounds like they are buying in? They bought into excuses and reasons for rebellion. Some people always have a reason for why they can’t obey the word. Why they can’t live in the fullness of God’s promises. I hear this all the time. Pastor, I know what the Bible says but. And what follows that word “but” is just a horrible, smelly, crazy line. I know what the Bible says but here is why I have to do what I have to do. They end up framing God as their enemy. If you refuse to move by faith into the right fight, you’ll end up in the wrong one.
vs. 26. They brought an evil report. That’s what we see in Numbers. They bring an evil report. So the murmuring started. You murmured in your tents. I know what God promised us but have you seen these giants? vs. 27-28, we have seen the sons of the Anakims, not the sons of the Anakims Sky Walker clan. These are the giants. These are the giants in the land of Canaan. They have a bad case of fee-fi-fo-fum phobia, and they wet their tunics for fear. They had to go change their uniforms. Okay, fee-fi-fo-fum phobia, for everyone watching on line. We all grew up watching stories about Jack in the Bean Stock. He gets up to the giant, and what does the giant say? Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. He’s going to drink your blood and eat your bones for bread and all of that stuff. They went into this mountain and these Anakims are like, fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of a Hebrew. I’m going to make a sandwich. Whatever!
I said unto you, dread not, neither be afraid of them. What are you afraid of? The Lord your God he shall fight for you. Remember the Red Sea? Remember the ten plagues? That’s our God. And you’re afraid of a guy because he was corn fed and got a little bigger than you? Come on. Yet, in this thing, you did not believe the Lord. vs. 32. God himself led you to this place and you don’t believe him? This miracle working, this promise keeping God? Now they end up engaged in the wrong fights, vs. 34. How terrifying. When we rebel against the word of the Lord, when we frame God as our enemy, God hears it. God heard what they were saying. Not one of these men of that evil generation shall see that good land. Whenever we shrink back and we refuse faith, and we frame God as our enemy, see what they are doing? He just brought us here to be destroyed. Our children are going to be consumed. They are going to be giant sandwiches. We’re framing God as our enemy. God says, according to your faith be it unto you. You don’t believe, you will not receive. You’re not going to get that good land that I promised to your fathers. Caleb and Joshua were full of faith and they didn’t bring an evil report so they will receive.
vs. 39-41. Our rebellion isn’t working out for us. We got caught. Life isn’t working out for us. We’re going to be stuck in a miserable wilderness existence. They are trying to fix things with their human passion and their human strength. There is no victory there. God’s not in that. God says trust and obey, there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, brothers and sisters, but to what? Trust and obey. Little kids got it, right? Wherever the Sunday school class is in this large facility. Trust and obey. For there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. Never forget that song. That is a key to life, isn’t it?
It’s an evil generation. You framed me as your enemy. If God is not in what you are doing, don’t do it. We want to stay in this place where we can say, if God be for us, who can be against us? Rom 8:31. God’s presence never goes before a rebellious heart. What’s happening? The word of the Lord is still speaking and they’re still rejecting it. No, we’re obeying God. No, listen to the word of the Lord.
Have you ever been destroyed by bees? There is a little bee cousin called the yellow jacket. How many know what I’m talking about. You guys got yellow jackets in Baltimore, right? We have them in the Midwest. These little bees live in the ground where they work and wait for you. I was newlywed, newly married and mowing my lawn. I’m going to mow my lawn. I’m going to keep a beautiful lawn for my neighbors and my wife. And a bee stung me. That’s okay. I’ll give a bee some slack. I steal their honey all the time. I love how they work for me. If one of them has a rough time with me, I can handle that. Then another one stung me. Then another heart beat later, I’m being swarmed. It’s not bees; it’s yellow jackets. I must have been stung 20, 40, I don’t know how many times. I had to flee two blocks before they gave up chase. I’m all the way at the top of the hill in my neighborhood. Then what do I do? This is before I had cell phones. Don’t let Cheryl come out of the house. Save my wife. Can I come home? These bees swarmed. That’s like these Amorites.
They got all over the children of God and took them apart. Are you in a place where the world is tearing you apart? Is life a turmoil? Could it be that you are in the wrong fight? You’re not a prayer warrior seeking the word of God to be made reality over your life and the life of those you love. If you are not on the battlefield for the Lord, you are on it for yourself. Here’s the problem. Now God’s people have selfish sorrow versus godly repentance. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord does not hear me. A lot of God’s people are crying out to the Lord in sorrow, because they didn’t get what they wanted. And the Lord will not receive it. There’s a big difference between you crying over an offended God or the fact that you got caught.
James 4:3 says we cry out to God, and we are asking amiss, that we might consume it upon our lusts. What we need is a godly sorrow. We are crying out over an offended God. We need a godly sorrow that brings true repentance, 2 Cor. 7:10. Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of. The sorrow of the world – there is a way that seemeth right unto a man. My way. The way that makes sense to me in terms of my worldly wisdom. My fleshly desires. This feels right. This looks right. This seems right. This is what I want. There is a way that seems right unto a man but the end of that way is what? It’s death, isn’t it? The sorrow of the world worketh death. There it is. I know the promises of God but I’m not asking for that. I’m asking for what I want.
Brothers and sisters, God is so good to not give us what we want. There have been so many times in my life when I have been crying out to the Lord for what I want, asking amiss, and God in his mercy and his love and his grace said nope. Then time passes and I see who I could of married and what that would have ended up being, or I see what I could have had. The trap that would have been for me. Oh, God, you’re so good. Thank you for shutting me down. All of the tears of disappointment and bitterness over not getting what I want. That’s nothing compared to the life I would have constructed for myself. God is so good to tell us no, but we have to come to the place where we yield, where we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.
Here’s the worst thing. When we pray, asking amiss, we end up going through the motions. You end up living a life doing time until you die. You met Christians who have a form of godliness but no reality. There is no vitality in their life and they are praying for stuff, things, and their way, their own personal victories. They end up walking through the wilderness of sin just doing time until they die. vs. 46.
1 Cor. 10:1-5 we find out this is where God was dealing with the people in whom he was not well pleased. Israel was led by God. They were following Moses, baptized in the cloud and the sea eating that spiritual meat. Following the Rock. Drinking the spiritual Rock, that Rock is Christ. They had God himself leading them. vs. 5. With many of them, God was not well pleased. Why? They refused his word. They framed him as his enemy and they were determined to get what they wanted after the flesh. They were asking amiss. They were overthrown in the wilderness. Only two men of that generation entered into that rest. They entered into the promises of God in their life. So much potential and glory for God and it’s lost.
I want to ask you this morning: is there anyone here that has something that you have in your life that is hindering you from believing God’s promises and receiving God’s promises, trusting him for his will over his life. Oh, but I want what I want. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Well, you don’t understand the problems that I’m facing, pastor. I can’t afford to trust God for my finances because the giants attacking my bank account are so huge. You don’t understand. I got to spy on my spouse because I can’t trust God to deal with my spouse’s heart. You don’t understand the giant. I can’t just love my husband. I can’t just reverence my husband. I can’t just love my wife. You don’t know what is going on there pastor. There are giants attacking that thing. And for me to just trust and obey and to take God at his word and just trust him for the reality of that in my life, there is no way that that can work, pastor. That’s a bad bud. Framing God as your enemy.
There is another great example of King David facing something very similar. You guys know the story in 1 Sam 17. An entire nation is facing a trial and this giant his name is what? Goliath. Because they don’t have a spirit of love, power and a sound mind – they are not sound thinking, believing God for his promises. They are hiding from this trial, hiding from this giant. A little shepherd boy shows up and sees what is happening. Have you people lost your mind? What is wrong with you? How is this guy getting away with doing what he is doing? How come we are not slow roasting him for our dogs? What are you being so naughty David? What are you doing stirring it up? Is there not a cause? This man is the enemy of our God. He’s defying the armies of the living God. He’s not just against us. He’s against our God. Why are you guys putting up with this? David shows up. The Philistine sees David in vs. 42. The Philistine says to David, oh, I’m a dog. He curses David by his gods. David starts talking trash in Jesus’ name. There is a right time to talk trash. You don’t want to talk trash but every once in a while when it’s biblical. I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts. This day will the Lord deliver thee into my hand. I will smite thee and take thy head from thee. You think you are going to feed me to the beasts? Guess what? I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistine to the fouls of the air and the wild beasts of the earth. Why? That all the earth may know there is a God in Israel. The battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hands. You guys know the rest of the story. They made lunch meat out of Goliath.
The trial comes and after the flesh you are going to be thinking God has got me in over my head. God must be against me. I know what his word says but look at that problem. Here’s how I’m going to react. Oh, God, give me what I want. We are asking amiss. We are not asking according to his will. When we ask according to his will, we have what we ask because it is his will. Lord you promised and so we received. Oh God, help us to believe you and all of your promises so that when we cry out to you, it’s your heart coming right back to you.
A lot of you this morning are in a place where you may be tempted to fight the wrong fight because of fear. You have forgotten that God is for you and that his promises are sure. He is a promise keeping God. What’s the result? We end up fighting the wrong fights and we end up reaping what we’re sowing and somehow all along we keep blaming God. It’s God’s fault. We are framing God as our enemy. Then we wonder why our prayers are being hindered.
The most beautiful thing in the church is when we as little children just believe God and come to him humbly. Oh God, can I just bring up to you, can I just talk to you about what you promised in your word. I don’t want this for me or my glory. I want your word to be a reality so all of Baltimore knows there is a promise keeping God. I want it to redound and abound to your glory. God hears that and it blesses his heart and it’s biblical. You are in the right fight. You are a prayer warrior in the word. You have what you ask and God is glorified and the giants fall. Without these battles how are we going to have these great stories of our promise keeping God?
Thank God for the giants. Thank God for the trials. Thank God for the opportunity not to shrink back in fear. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. We have the mind of Christ so let’s live in the promises of Christ, amen!
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