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Abide In Me (Parts 1-4)

                                                   

 

SCRIPTURE:  John 15:7 (ESV)

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

 

Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

o   Notice that the ‘government’ rests on the ‘shoulders’ of the anointed Messiah.

o   Now ask yourself, this question, ‘Where are the shoulders located? Are the shoulders located in the head or in the body?

o   The shoulders are located in the body and so the government rests on the shoulders of the church. It is our responsibility to pray for kings and all in ruling position, no matter their disposition.

Acts 4:23–28 (ESV)

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “ ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’— 27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

 

o   Notice the four groups that had to be in place in order to fulfill the plan of God.

o   Herod

o   Pontius Pilate

o   Gentiles

o   The peoples of Israel

o   These rulers were anointed and set in place by the Most High!

o   Note how the plan of God unfolded and learn something about the ways of the Lord.

o   The Roman government put Herod and Pontius Pilate into their respective positions as rulers from an earthly standpoint. 

 

o   You need to know that one of the reasons the Romans put them there, or any ruler in any sector of the empire, was to keep the peace.  ancient-rome[1]

o   If you were not able to keep the peace, you were removed from your position. Job security for an under ruler of Rome was ever in the mind of these individuals.

 

o   When Herod died, by the approval of Rome, his kingdom was divided among us three sons.

o   Herod Antipas – the Herod that beheaded John the Baptist

o   Herod Archelaus

o   Herod Phillip

o   Archelaus was granted rule over Judea by the Romans after the death of Herod the Great and one of his first acts was to over react to an uprising among the Jews in the Temple. Archelaus response was the slaughter of 3000 Jewish pilgrims. This and other oppressive actions led to his removal and banishment to Gaul where he spent the rest of his days.

o   If you did not keep the peace, you were out.

o   This made for some interesting politics.

 

How the Road was Opened for Jesus to Go to Calvary

 

Matthew 3:3 (ESV)

3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’ ”

 

o   The word ‘path’ here means road.

o   How was the road prepared for Jesus to go to Calvary?

o   During the time that Jesus, on trial for His life, stood before Pilate, Pilate’s wife came to him troubled by a dream.

 

Matthew 27:17–19 (ESV)

17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.”

 

o   Pilate was determined to let him go.

 

John 19:10–12 (ESV)

10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” 12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

 

o   He tried to let Him go

o   Releasing Jesus was not part of the plan

o   As soon as the ‘people of Israel’ (the fourth group in Acts 4:27) heard of that they screamed, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him”

o   Pilate said, ‘Why what evil has he done?’

o   You see even wicked leaders have moral streaks.

 

Matthew 27:22–24 (ESV)

22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” 24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”

 

o   When Pilate say that he could not prevail but rather a riot was beginning, he turned Jesus over to be crucified. judgedbypilate2[2]

o   That fear that Pilate had of being replaced, that policy that Rome had for their leaders that existed opened up the way for Jesus to go to Calvary.

o   Now, think about that!!!!

o   The mob (the people of Israel) was part of the plan!

o   The policy of Rome that Pilate feared, the job security issue, was part of the plan.

o   God planned this moment 1000’s of years ahead of time – all the way from Gen. 3:15!!!

o   This is how meticulous the plan of God is and how detailed it is.

 

o   How would you have prayed if you were observing this tumult from a window in Jerusalem? Would you have said, ‘Well, I am going to believe God that there will be no riot today.’ You would have missed God if you prayed that way, because the riot was part of the plan!

o   Now, do you remember Archelaus and how brutal he was?

o   God used that to fulfill prophecy… and here it is.

 

Matthew 2:22–23 (ESV)

22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

 

o   This prophecy that Jesus would be a Nazarene was an unwritten prophecy. That is this prophecy was not written down but the prophets had prophesied this fact about the Messiah and it was well known in Israel.

o   The plan is all important

 

Matthew 16:21–23 (ESV)

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

 

o   Peter’s sense of order (how he thought things should be) got in the way.

o   Jesus rebuked the words that Peter unknowingly uttered because those words were a direct hindrance to the plan for His life.

o   Can you understand from all of this that you cannot pray about the plan of God from your own ideas about things?

 

Praying About the Plan

o   How do we pray about the plan?

o   Praying about the plan involves something called ‘abiding’ in Him

o   Praying about the plan entails waiting on God

o   To help us with that lets look at some prayer life moments in the life of Elijah

 

The Issue of Praying Down Fire versus Praying Down Rain

1 Kings 18:36–38 (ESV)

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

o   Illustrate this by ‘timing’ this prayer and pointing out that this 15 second prayer was not how Elijah prayed about the rain.

 

1 Kings 18:42–45 (ESV)

42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. 43 And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’ ” 45 And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel.

 

o   Note the differences between these two accounts:

o   Praying down fire represents a single manifestation of the Spirit of God

o   Praying down rain represents a continual manifestation or outpouring of the Spirit such as you see in revivals or in this coming last day move of God

§  James 5:7

§  Acts 2:16-21

 

o   It’s one thing to call down fire (it happens all the time in here because of the corporate anointing – people come together and there is fire!), it’s another thing to pray for rain!

o   But this other part of the plan – the Great Outpouring of the Spirit of God in Acts 2 where all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved – that outpouring where world leaders have to be in place and minute events have to come into manifestation as we saw above with Jesus- that stuff doesn’t happen in a 14 second prayer – that kind of stuff happens in the abiding – in the waiting on God.

 

John 15:7 (ESV)

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

      

o   One key to answered prayer is abiding

o   DEFINITION: abide/μένω/menō  – to remain, stay, to wait for.

o   When people hear the words ‘Abide in me’, they think that means ‘stay saved’. But, it does not mean that because this scripture is in the prayer domain. The verse is about prayer and praying. It is a conclusion to Jesus whole discussion about abiding.

 

John 15:1–8 (ESV)

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

 

o   The fruit talked about here is not the fruit of ‘good works’ or doing good things or ‘witnessing’. The fruit that e isJesus is speaking of is prayer fruit!

o   Is your prayer life bearing fruit? i-am-the-vine1[1]

o   The fruitfulness of the prayer life depends on the ‘abiding’.

o   To the degree that you ‘abide’ is the degree that you bear fruit

o   This waiting on God is not a formula for prayer – it is not an ‘okay now what do I do next’ type of thing

o   Waiting on God is the natural conclusion that you come to when you understand your dependence on God, when you understand that you need His help in order to bear fruit in prayer – in order to pray effectively.

o   Because we are limited beings, we do not know often times how to pray as we ought.

 

o   The connection that we have to the vine is a statement of our utterance dependence on Him in this prayer domain.

o   You could read John 15:5 this way and you would not do injustice to the verse…

 

John 15:5 (ESV)

5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing in this realm of prayer.

 

o   This is all that Romans 8:26 is saying to us…

 

Romans 8:26 (ESV)

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

 

o   Do you want some help?

o   The only way you are going to know what to pray for and not be just spouting out things…;

o   Spouting out your own ideas of how you think the plan of God should be (as Peter did); is to abide in Him.

o   Abiding in Him has an element that we the Bible calls waiting upon the Lord.

o   That is wait on Him until the Spirit tells you what to pray or leads you where you need to go in the prayer realm.

 

Soap Box Moments on the Issue of Prayer

o   Being Led by the Spirit soapbox[1]

o   We do not talk about being ‘led by the Spirit’, and then ditch that idea when it comes time to pray.

o   Prayer is one of the main areas where being led by the Spirit is understood and developed.

o   Being led by the Spirit should be prominent in the prayer life.

o   Tongues has become the ‘poster boy’ for LAZY praying

o   Many do not pray in English – they switch right over into tongues all the time – Why?

o   Tongues have become a way of masking our hearts in front of God – we do not want to expose ourselves to Him or to anyone else for that matter – we hide our feelings behind tongues.

o   It has turned many of us, baptized in the Holy Ghost believers, into mechanical prayers.

o   No, learn to express your heart to God in English and then when you have gone as far as you know to go, switch to other tongues and you will find an element of passion in your praying.

o   Prayer Should Be Passionate!

 

Hebrews 5:7 (KJV 1900)

7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

 

o   Prayer is talking to God

o   When we ‘talk’ to our spouses about issues that we feel deeply about we do not lack passion – we tell our significant other exactly how we feel.

§  Why don’t we do that with God? – that’s that religious junk – we are one way with our spouse and people – we are another way with God.

o   Look – tell Him how you feel!!!

§  Personal example – how I became miffed with God because He told her my surprise (writing a poem) for Sharon… tell the story

§  Elijah said to God ‘Look I am the only one left – they have killed everybody else – God told Him – ‘There are 7000 left who have not bowed to the image of Baal.’

§  If Elijah had been mini mouth about that and just walked around with that thought in his head – feeling that issue but never expressing it – he would have never have found out about the 7000 who had not bowed their knee and he would have walked around with this ‘O woe is me’ complex. But because he blurted out – he found it out!!!

§  Some of you just need to unload your baggage to God. Just let it fly!!!!!

o   Lack of Passion and Tongues

§  Sometimes we lack passion when we pray with other tongues. It becomes mechanical sounding and this comes from a lack of articulating our heart. Go deep in your heart – slow the expression of tongues down.

o   The Holy Ghost gives the utterance – you give the expression – you speak that out.

o   Your tongue is a bucket that you draw water from out of the depths of your spirit.

o   Some are not going deep into their hearts – they are praying from the neck up.

o   Some say to this ‘Well, I am just quiet.’ My response to that is ‘Your full of bologna’ – If we hit that secret button of yours – that hot spot – that hot issue – you’ll come all out of that quiet – No, that’s a cop out.

 

o   Let’s look at this concept in Isaiah 30.

 

Waiting on God or Abiding Scriptures

Isaiah 30:1–3 (ESV)  waiting-on-god-001[1]

1 “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; 2 who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! 3 Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.

15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,

18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

 

o   You can see some of the essential components of this type of praying – you see God’s desire for Israel was

o   to rest,

o   to get quiet,

o   to trust and

o   to wait

o   …rather than just to go jumping off in a self-picked direction

o   I think that you can see the importance of getting direction from Him and not just jumping out on your own. This is not a 26 second type of praying here…

o   So let’s introduce a phrase into your spiritual vocabulary.

o   When you think about prayer, when you think about the leadership of the Holy Spirit, when you think the plan of God… think….

o   ‘Praying to Pray’

o   Pray to get direction so that you can pray

§  Illustrate this ‘Lord show me how to pray about this’ – and then what do you do? – you wait!!!

o   Here are some verses to help you with this idea.

 

Habakkuk 2:1 (KJV)

1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, And will watch to see what he will say unto me, And what I shall answer when I am reproved.

 

John 2:5 (NKJV)

5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.

 

Statistics on Waiting

 

o   Waiting is a part of everyday life.

o   We wait in lines:

o   in order to purchase groceries;

o   to be served at popular restaurants;

o   to be attended to in a bank;

o   at stop signs and traffic signals;

o   at amusement parks;

o   to see a play or film.

o   We must also wait for flowers to grow and bloom;

o   for babies to be born;

o   for wounds to heal;

o   for bread to rise and cheese to age;

o   for children to mature;

o   for friends to call;

o   for love to deepen.

 

o   As much as life is about getting things done – life also is about waiting.

o   The average human spends 62 minutes a day waiting.

o   In 70 years that amounts to 3 years’ worth of waiting.

o   Another interesting statistic in this modern computer age…

o   According to efficiency experts, the average computer user spends 9 minutes every day waiting for files and web screens to download.

o   And just to have a little fun, the average husband waits (how long J) for his wife to get ready? (if you think I am filling that number in, you are nuts!).

o   The point is, we spend a great amount of our life simply waiting on life to happen but it seems when it comes to God, we want our answers and our problems solved at the snap of a finger.

Psalm 37:7

7Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

 

o   Waiting on God is simple.

o   Sit down, be quiet and wait.

o   Then ‘whatever He says to you, do it’

o   Waiting on God is quieting the soul

o   The soul consists of the mind, the will, and the emotions.

o   Part of waiting on God is causing your soul to calm down so that you hear Him.

o   Sometimes it takes quite bit of time to get to the point of quietness

o   Waiting on God is waiting in your time of prayer in His presence. While you wait, you silence your mind and you put your concentration on your heart or spirit man and observe what goes on down there.

o   What is He saying to you?

o   Is He saying anything in your heart?

 

 

Psalm 62:1

1For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.

o   Notice the companions of ‘waiting’ – here the companion is salvation

o   DEFINITION: salvation – help, deliverance, prosperity

o   Salvation or deliverance comes as we wait upon Him

o   Salvation is not necessarily in our taking the ‘bull by the horns’ and doing something, it is in the waiting before God

 

o   This brings you face to face with ‘performance mentality’

o   Our society is a performance-oriented society. 

o   Our school structure, as it is today, is a performance-oriented set-up. 

o   Some get A’s and some get B’s and some get C’s and some get well you know!

o   If we are not careful and teach our children correctly, our children will be tempted to derive their sense of self-worth from the grades that get or their performance.

o    Of course our colleges are set – up similarly – those that get the scholarships are those that perform the best to their standard.

o   And as we go on, we see that the corporate world takes the students the performed the best into their field of endeavor.

o   The job world perpetuates that thinking in the working environment with performance reviews.

o   We get raises based on how well we do, on how well we perform.

o   Many of us have also experienced the cruelty of individuals who have deemed us and made us feel less than a person because we do not measure up. This is the whole peer pressure thing that teenagers face. You’re not like us – you don’t measure up to us – you are not part of our group – and so all kinds of condemnation are heaped on young people.

o   However, let me ask you a question. What about the person that just does not measure up to the scale that they are being evaluated against? What about the person that is performing up to the level of what they are able to do. They are making full use of their abilities – their character is deep and their values are certain and sure. Should these people feel condemned simply because they’re not able to perform to a certain standard set – up in the world? Are you less of a person because you can’t perform like the next person can? The answer to this is of course a resounding NO! No every man has value, every man has worth, and I am not less of a person because I cannot do what maybe the next person can do.

o   If we are not careful and watchful this performance type of thinking gets into the spiritual life.

o   It happens all the time. Someone comes up sick, or comes up distressed and we think ‘Well if you had any faith, you would not be in this position.’ What are you saying to them? You are not performing like you are supposed to.

o   In the spiritual life, performance mentality is a cancer that must eradicated.

o   In the things of God, it is not how you perform it is how Jesus performs.

o   In Jesus Christ everyone is the same. 

§  In Christ there is neither male nor female

Romans 8:14 (ESV)

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

 

o   What happened to the daughters of God?

o   There are no daughters in God, only sons!

o   ‘Sons’ is not gender in the family – ‘sons’ is position!

 

Jesus Sets the Record Straight About Performance Thinking

Luke 18:9–14 (ESV)

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

o   The Pharisees Approach To God was based on his performance of two things

o   What he didn’t do

o   I do not extort, I am not unjust, I do not commit adultery.

o   What he did do

o   I fast and I pay my tithes

o   The other man leaned back on God’s mercy

o   Do you see the difference between these two men?

o   The point is, you do not base your Christianity on what you do or what you do not do. 

o   Salvation is not determined on your performance. I do not drink, I do not smoke, I don’t fuss, fight, or kick the cat.

o   Salvation is determined by Jesus performance. 

o   This thinking is engrained in the world of men. Men think they go to hell because of what they do. They think they go heaven because of the moral good deeds they perform.

o   Men go to hell because of who they are, not because of what they do.

o   You go to heaven because you are a born again child of God with the life of God in you.

o   All of which comes by accepting what Jesus did or Jesus performance.

o   In conclusion, my soul waits in silence for what God is going to do in my life – what salvation God is going to bring – salvation comes from God and is entirely His work – rather than what I can muster up on my own and to that end I wait on what the Lord is going to do.

 

Psalm 25:1–5 (ESV)

1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. 3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. 4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

o   Notice the two areas that are connected to waiting

o   Instruction – ‘teach me your ways’

o   Guidance – ‘Lead me’

§  Connect this with what is happening in our class – the things that happened in our class are a result of our waiting on Him for direction and we get direction we get results – we get salvation.

§  Instead, what people think is ‘the reason things are happening is because Emery is spiritual, Emery has great faith, Emery prays a lot etc. What is that? Performance thinking… Could it possibly be that the things that you are seeing are simply a result of coming in line with the Bible? Coming in line with this idea of waiting? And then ‘what ever He says to you – do it’?

 

Valuable Lessons from the ‘Waiting Room’

o   (1) When you ask the question, ‘What do you want me to pray about today?’, that question is based on an understanding of Bible authority.

o   – that men have authority because Jesus gave it – and that God does nothing in the earth until that authority is exercised – prayer gives God permission to move

o   God given authority is one the most powerful weapons on planet earth

§  Authority stops demons dead in their tracks and demons run this world’s system

o   It is important that we do not pray shot-gun prayers

 

o   There is an element where you must understand the tremendous power at your disposal. True power must always be under control.

o   Christians are shooting off their faith gun without direction – without waiting for God’s direction and that’s why sometimes you say things and they don’t work!

o   God created the heavens and the earth with words. God said let there be light. We have had valuable teaching on our ability to speak words of faith.

o   How come when I say ‘Let there be light’ nothing happens?

o   Power must be under control – it’s because ‘I said’ let there be light. Did you wait on God about that? Did the Lord tell you to say that?

o   Illustration of what the Lord told you to say to the lawsuit mountain.

o   Be led by the Spirit of God and wait for His direction.

o   (2) When God doesn’t say something (in your time of waiting) to you that means that He IS saying something to you

o   One of the main things that He is saying to you is ‘Everything is okay’.

o   I have leaned back on this many, many times – If I have waited on God, If I have gotten quite before and given Him an opportunity to speak to me and He doesn’t say anything than I know that everything is okay because if it wasn’t okay – He would have said something to me.

o   Mothers quit worrying about your children, if God is not saying anything to you about your kids, that means your kids are okay. I don’t care what it looks like… the Bible is right…

o   If you raised them in God its okay –

§  The Psalmist waxed eloquent in the 139 Psalm – he said, “where can I go to get away from your Spirit? If I go to heaven, you are there. If I go to hell, you are there.”

§   I do not care what road my kids go down, when they get to the end of the road they are going to run into God. All roads that my kids ever travel will dead-end in God.

o   (3) Waiting on God is Trusting God

o   What if He doesn’t say anything to you? – the answer will stretch you here – if He does not say anything then you do not do anything! You do not pray anything. You just wait.

o   That’s trusting God because you know something needs to be done here and instead of doing something on your own you are trusting Him and doing nothing!

o   The question comes ‘How long do you wait’? The answer is however long it takes.

o   (4) Waiting On God and ‘Nothing Happening’ are not the same thing.

o   If you pray and have a season of waiting before Him and He does not say anything to you during that time that does not mean that nothing occurred during that time of waiting.

 

Isaiah 64:4

4From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.

 

o   Waiting on God and doing nothing are not the same thing.

o   Understand that God is always moving.

o   He is acting on your behalf while you are sitting in His presence not saying anything, not praying anything, or not doing anything.

o   We think many times that it is our great praying and our great words that get the job done but here God is moving for you while you are in a holding pattern before Him.

o   It takes a measure of faith to operate this way. That faith expresses itself this way, “Lord you know that this situation is occurring (maybe it’s a personal situation that you need direction in or maybe you are praying for a world ruler or someone in authority) and I need direction to know how to pray. I just trust you for this while I wait before you.”

o   Here is a Bible verse for those who wait on God…

 

Isaiah 49:23 (NKJV)

23 Kings shall be your foster fathers, And their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, And lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord, For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”

 

 

Isaiah 40:29–31 (ESV)

29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

 

o   This famous verse on ‘waiting on God’ indicates that during times of waiting there can be transformations taking place in your life.

o   Strength renewal and replenishment come into your spirit when you are in His presence waiting upon Him.

o   You need these times more than you realize, more than you know.

o   The New Testament version of Isa. 40:31 is found in the book of Acts

 

Acts 3:19–20 (ESV)

19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,

 

o   Here are some more ‘waiting on the Lord’ verses.

 

o   Jesus waited on His Father in prayer.

 

Matthew 26:37–42 (ESV)

37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

o   The term ‘watching’ is a descriptive way of saying ‘waiting on the Lord’. You might ask, “What was Jesus watching?”

o   Some people ‘watch’ TV

o   Some people ‘watch’ movies

o   Jesus ‘watched’ or observed His own spirit to see if God would say anything to Him. Jesus immediate concern at this point was this question, ‘Is there another way than Calvary?’

o   He waited on the Father God to see if He would say anything to Him about that.

o   Note what happened…

 

Luke 22:41–43 (ESV)

41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.

 

o   Notice the ‘strengthening’ occurred during the watching and the waiting which is Isa. 40:31 that we looked at above!

o   The strength Jesus received that day, by waiting on God is the strength that carried Him all the way through to Calvary!

 

Conclusion:

o   This method of praying is largely unpracticed by many believers. Giving yourself to it will yield rich rewards. Being still and being quiet and listening for instruction in prayer causes one to both grow in Him and be fruitful for Him:

 

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