Sunday, March 6, 2016

Who's Your God

Guest Speaker: Richard O'Conner
Audio: Who's Your God?

Who’s Your God?


  1. When you look at the tile you would say, “well that’s easy” or you may even be offended by my asking such a question.

  1. Now we know what the answer should be (The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/the God of the Bible/the God of heaven/The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  1. Yet knowing the answer and knowing God can be two very different things.

  1. There is an interesting story in 1 Samuel 4
    1. Israel went to battle the Philistines and lost 4,000 men (verse 2)
    2. And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines?
    3. Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies” (3)

    1. Ark comes from Shiloh – now the Philistines are in a panic, they say, “woe to us for God is in the camp.”  They have to be motivated to go fight.
    2. The result Israel loses 30,000 soldiers and are defeated and the ark is captured.

  1. Now why did that happen?  1 Samuel 4:3.  “Go bring the ark here so that when it comes here it will save us.”

  1. The ark did not free them bondage, part the Red sea, feed them from heaven.  God did all of that.

  1. The problem was they had taken God and placed Him in a box, they trusted the symbol more than God.  God does not live in symbols!

  1. They saw God in the ark.  People today see him like that too.
    1. China, 10,000 God’s garden.
    2. California; the city of 10,000 Buddah’s
      /they’ll even create one if you don’t find the one you like.

  1. That seems strange, create your own God…but they did the same thing in Isaiah 44.
Describe story.  House/shed/fire/food/ “with the leftover he makes a god.” (17)
And then he bows down to it and says deliver me for you are now my god.”

  1. The sin of 1 Sam. 4 and Isaiah 44 is the sameidolatry.
    You may be thinking, “Well I’m good, because I don’t do that!”  Don’t be so sure.

  1. We can turn anything in to an idol pretty quick! (Family, job, church, ministry, missions, etc.).

Title Side

  1. Don’t get me wrong I think there are a lot of people who do all these things well and keep God at the center and heart of it all, but those who don’t concern me. I’m speaking of those whose only relationship with God is through some ministry, mission or man.

  1. And when the storms of life hit, and they will.  A ministry, mission or man will not save you.

  1. It’s then when you will need God!  Not an image of God, a symbol of God but God!
    1. Psalm 23:4, “Yea tho I walk….”
    2. Why did David not fear?  Killed bear, lion, killed his 10K, King?
    3. Psalm 23:1, The Lord is MY shepherd!

  1. We all need a true, living and active relationship with God!

  1. So how do we get that relationship with God?

I.  A Relationship to God Must Be Intentional

  1. You will not have a deep and lasting relationship with God by accident.

  1. Some folks want something mystical or magical to happen to them so they KNOW…

  1. Same God of the Bible and the miracles of it is the same God who wants to transform your life.

  1. Intentional: Diet/Exercise.  Buy right food/gym membership card but no change???

  1. Thesaurus for intentional: Pre-meditated, calculated.  Think it out/count the cost (Luke 14:28).

  1. R’ship with God is not rocket science it still comes down to being in the book and communicating with God through prayer!  
ILLUSTRATION: D.L. Moody once wrote,  “I prayed for faith and thought that one day it would come and strike me down like lightning but faith didn’t’ seem to come.  Then one day I was reading my Bible in the book of Romans and I read these word, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”  I had up until this time closed my Bible and prayed for faith.  Now I opened my Bible and began to study and my faith has been growing ever since.

G.  See what he says. . . . Get in the book!

H.  What we should be doing is complementing these times with personal Bible study because  
our ultimate goal is John 17:3.  “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  

I.  To Know God IS TO KNOW His word!!  And to know His word is to know the great stories of
    the Bible!

Title Side

ILLUSTRATION: Story of 6th grade boys Bible class studying Old Testament stories.  
Who tore down the walls of Jericho?

J.  Hosea 4:6 says those people were destroyed for lack of KNOWLEDGE.

K.  A real relationship with God must be, first of all, INTENTIONAL!

II.  A Relationship to God Must Be INTIMATE

A.  You cannot have relationship with anyone without conversation and communication.  The
     same is true of our relationship with God.  

B.  We need to be people of the book AND PRAYER!

C.  Prayer must be complemented with periods of study.  If you are praying all the time, all God
is hearing is you and you’re never hearing Him.  So you have to read His Word to hear Him too.

D.  Not a more intimate setting of prayer than we see in Matthew 26:36ff: 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

E.  There are elements in this prayer we need to have in our prayer lives.

  1. Sincerity
    verse 38“Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”
  • Jesus is being honest.  
    Jeremiah 29:13 – “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
  • Sincerity
  • Honesty of kids – Story of little boy who was sent to his room.  Came out and told his mother he prayed.  She said, I hope you prayed that you would be better.  He said, “No, I prayed that God would help you put up with me.”
  • Our private times with God don’t have to be like our public times.  Just be honest.  Talk to Him.  John refers to God as Father more times in the book of John than in the complete Old Testament.

  1. Steadfastness
    v. 39“Going a little farther he fell with His face to the ground and prayed…”  
  • Luke 22:44:  “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly.  Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
  • Romans 15:30: “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me.”
  • He was pouring out his whole heart to God honestly and earnestly.
  • Steadfastness
  • Early African converts to Jesus found places in the thicket to have their private devotion times.  So as they went, they wore a path in the thicket.  This helped them to notice when one of their brothers was not meditating and praying as he should and they would go to him and say, “Brother, your path has become overgrown.”  
    Sometimes our paths are overgrown because we aren’t steadfast.
  • We pray in emergencies or when we think about it.  Be steadfast in prayer.

  1. Surrender Matthew 26:39“Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
  • Steadfastness
  • It takes a spiritually mature person to pray this prayer and mean it.
Don’t just tag that on your prayer if you’re not ready for His will to be done.

    4.  Seeking – verse 44 – “So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time,
          saying the same words.”  
  • Seeking
  • There is nothing wrong with saying the same thing over and over.  Just don’t do it vainly or without thought.  
  • Luke 10 – The man comes at midnight, knocking needing bread for his children.  Keeps knocking. Ask, seek & Knock – Keep asking, Knock Again, Keep seeking

  1. Surety Mark 11:24“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
  • James 1:6“But when he asks he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts, is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind.”
  • Surety
  • The prayer of faith believes that God can and that God will.
    • Walls of Jericho – God could, God should, God did
    • David & Goliath – God could, God should, God did
    • Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego
    • Mary & Martha – God could, God should & God did
  • Story of little girl that didn’t get invited to her friend’s birthday party.  Then the little girl called and invited her.  She was still mad, “Too late, I already prayed for rain.”

F.  So when you pray, remember . . .
  • The love of God that wants the best for you.
  • The wisdom of God that knows what is best for you.
  • The power of God that can accomplish both.

ILLUSTRATION:  Story of Earthquake in Armenia
– 1989 – 30,000 people died. Dad promised son everyday – “I’ll always be here for you, no matter what.”  Classroom in back left corner of rubble.  Began uncovering.   Other parents said, “Wasting your time”
After 38 hours of digging, pulled back a boulder, and saw the face of his son, “Armand, is that you?”  “Dad, I knew you would come.  I told my buddies if my dad was alive, he would come and save me and when he saved me he would save you.  
I always remembered what you told me. “You would always be there for me – no matter what.”
He focused on the promise of his dad.

A.  The relationship between that boy had with His father gave him hope in the darkest and
     scariest time of his life.

Title Slide

B.  A relationship with our heavenly Father will provide us the same comfort!

C.  Start a relationship or Renew your relationship today!

Richard O’Connor  Una Church of Christ March 6, 2016