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Evangelist, Baptist, Husband, Father, Mid-30's.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pray This Prayer...and Really Mean It...

This morning, in order to prove a point, I prayed that God would give me a billion dollars, a beautiful wife with which to demonstrate the Ephesians 5 marriage, a Ford GT, the “Low Coolant” light in my truck to go off (it isn’t low on coolant), and just to tempt God a little farther, I prayed that work would call and tell me not to come in for a week or so.

I really, genuinely, absolutely, sincerely meant this prayer. And nothing happened...I didn’t even get struck by lightning, not so much as an inconvenient static discharge.

A few months ago I was preaching in the open-air and a young man came up and declared, “God is not real, I asked him to strike me dead and he didn’t.” I don’t propose to know the genuineness of this young man’s prayer for suicide-by-invocation, but giving him the benefit of the doubt, I suppose he was probably pretty sincere. My response to him was that he “ought not presume on the patience and forbearance of God as slackness to act, but that the kindness of God was meant to lead him to repentance.” I concluded by telling him that God does not like him and will not answer, nor even hear, his prayers.

Now, for the church application,
“If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!”
writes one author practicing a form of simony. God does not accept bribes, moreso if he were hungry or needed anything, he would not tell you.

Josiah is one of the more famous kings of Israel, having discovered a long-lost copy of Moses’ sermons (Deuteronomy) in the rubble of a once-great temple. Manasseh, his grandfather, was possibly the all time chiefest of sinners causing untold damage to the nation and souls of Israel, but he was saved and started a reform throughout the land, but his son, and Josiah’s father, Amon once again wrecked everything. Josiah inherited a godless and pagan land, but upon reading the Revelation through Moses, attempted to reform the people. He went so far as making a covenant with God (2 Kings 23:3), and Israel and Judah were cleansed of much unrighteousness, but still the Lord did not turn from the burning of his great wrath, by which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him. (2 Kings 23:26)

Why wasn't God's wrath turned? Did Josiah not genuinely, sincerely, and actively mean his prayer? Of course he did, but men are not able to make covenants with God.

To the wicked God says:
"What right have you to recite my statutes
or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
and you cast my words behind you.
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
and you keep company with adulterers.

"You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
you slander your own mother’s son.
These things you have done, and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

"Mark this, then, you who forget God,
lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!" – Psalm 50:16-23

This salvation was purchased on Calvary by the Lord of Glory who canceled the record of our debt when God nailed him to the cross. There is one mediator between God and men, that is the man Jesus Christ; to all who receive him, who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God, who are born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Call out to Jesus Christ to save you, ask him to be your advocate to broker the peace-treaty between you and God, ask him to intercede on your behalf that your sins have already been to the cross and that by faith in the Son of God you may be saved.

But beloved, I don’t care how much you mean it genuinely, sincerely, really in your heart...if the Son of God does not mediate for you, then you are dead in your sins. Unless he applies the covenant to your sake, the wrath of God continues to abide on you.

To conclude, take a look at an exceedingly beautiful Psalm, number 34, especially verse 6:

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.

Notice the action, the poor man cried…the Lord heard…and who did the saving? The Lord, not the man, not the cry, but the faith in God results in the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the sinner. Your prayer doesn’t save you, your faith doesn’t save you, your sincerity doesn’t save you, quit trying to bribe God, and trust in the grace of God by which you are saved; his works, not yours.

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:15-18

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Enjoyed reading the scripture you chose. Thanks for putting it together.