THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 2-7-10
LESSON TITLE: “EXCEEDINGLY GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES: IF YOU ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL”
What a wonderful Lord’s Day it is, as we again gather together before the throne of God to Worship our Maker! We are so happy that you have chosen to be with us today and to give this time to the Lord. In fact, it is our privilege to be with you every Sunday morning, as we consider together, God’s Living Word.
It is my hope and prayer today that we are all uplifted in our fellowship together. Furthermore, I pray that we will glorify and praise our Creator in these acts of Worship which we participate in collectively as those who love God.
As we begin our homage to God on this day, will you bow with me in prayer!
I hope everyone is ready to worship God in song at this time! This morning we will begin by singing a beautiful hymn that reminds us that we are never alone with God. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “He Leadeth Me.”
(SONG # 1)
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” How wonderful it is to know that the very Savior, who died for us, is the same Jesus who was given complete authority from the Father! With this in mind, we need to understand that if Jesus was given all authority, then the words He spoke are authoritative.
I remember what our Lord said in John 14:10-11, there we read, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” Later in the same book in chapter 17, and verse 17, Jesus further said, “God’s Word is truth!” Now if Jesus was given all authority from God, and that which He spoke was of the Father, and the Father’s Word is truth - then we can know that Jesus words are truth and thus all authoritative! Furthermore we can know that this truth can give us freedom, just as we read in John 8:32, where Jesus proclaimed, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
With this in mind, the real question is, “Do people in our time really respect the authority of God?” And what about you, “Do you respect the Word of God and it’s authority? Well, if you don’t it’s nothing new, because many in New Testament times did not respect Jesus or His authority and thus were considered to be those who “knew not God.” You must decide today who you will submit to! You must determine who is most worthy of our praise and devotion. For the Bible clearly teachers that all authority rest with God and His Word!
Today, we will again be considering a lesson concerning the blessing from God. Our series is entitled, God’s “Exceedingly Great and Precious Promises.” Our discussion of the day will deal with a statement concerning Jesus, “If You Ask Anything According to His Will!” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Brent Green will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. Brother Brent is the minister for the Carthage Church of Christ in Carthage, Missouri. We’re glad he is with us today and we thank him for giving his time to guide our thoughts from God’s Word.
But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “He Lives.”
(SONG # 2)
By Brent Green
What a privilege it is again to open and study God’s Word and study from it at another occasion. We think about this life as the opportunity to rise many times that we simply do not take. Sometimes when job opportunities or advancements come up, sometimes we let them slip away, thinking, “Well maybe there’s something better coming down the road.” Even times in life when health may be good and then we increase in years and we look back and think, “I wish I would have done this or I wish I would have done that.” We simply didn’t take advantage of all those opportunities. Well sometimes even in the spiritual realm, there’s opportunities that we often pass up, those great and precious promises of God that we sometimes don’t take advantage of because we simply don’t realize that maybe they are there or maybe all that entails those great promises of God.
We first look in 2 Peter chapter 1. There in verse 1 as Peter writes to these Christians who he says have “obtained a like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus as His Divine Power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises that through these you may be partakers of the Divine Nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” And so he says here at the end of verse 4 of chapter 1 of 2 Peter, “You have escaped that corruption because now you have obtained a like precious faith, but remember what is it that you have.” Well they have this faith that was in common one with another, these fellow Christians, but he also reminds them of what God had given to them. He says in verse 3, “You’ve been given all things that pertain to life and godliness.” You’ve been given this knowledge that he speaks of and in this knowledge is where we find those great and precious promises. And so he reminds these Christians that in the knowledge of God’s Word we find all these great promises that God has given and we should not let them go aside or go to waste but to take advantage of what God has blessed us with according to His Word. You see in this life many times people make promises and they break them. They say, “Well I’m going to be there for you on this day and I’ll help you move and I’ll help you do this,” and then they don’t show up.
Well we know of God there in Hebrews chapter 10 verse 23 that “He who is faithful is the one who makes these promises.” God is not a liar. He’s not the Father of lies. When he makes a promise, He will keep those promises. And so we begin to think about all these great and precious promises that God has given to us. Some of them are unconditional. The fact that Jesus will come back someday. There’s nothing we can do about that. He’s coming back and only the Lord knows the appointed time that He will come back as a thief in the night but He will come back. There will be a Judgment Day. That’s an unconditional promise of God. We can’t get around that fact. (Inaudible) A man will die and then the judgment.
But there are many other promises that we might consider to be conditional promises. We think about the fact that we have a freedom. As long as we know the truth, Jesus tells us that we shall be made free. But we have to know that truth in order to experience that freedom. The fact that we have salvation. If we are those who follow the plan given by God. We are immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins. We can have salvation. But there’s the condition there. The fact is if we go out and spread the gospel into all the world, Jesus there in Matthew chapter 28, “Lo I am with you always.” That promise that He would be with us as we go take that gospel, that if we seek the kingdom of God first that all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew chapter 6 verse 33) If we’re faithful to the end, we will receive a crown of life. Many different promises that God has given to us but conditions put with those promises. Many times we have got to be faithful in order to receive those many different promises that He has given to us.
One such great and precious promise is found there in the book of 1 John. If you have your Bibles, and I hope you do as we study these inspired pages, we turn there to 1 John chapter 5 and we see one of the greatest promises that we have, the ability to talk to God and know that He hears our prayers. (1 John chapter 5 verse 14) It says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us.” What a great and precious promise we have from God knowing we can bring our prayers up, knowing we can bring our petitions and He is going to hear us. This is one of those conditional promises that He has given to us because if you’ll remember that first part there, He says that “If we ask anything according to His Will.”
So what does it meant there to ask according to the Will of God? God’s promised to hear. Well what is that condition that we must meet in order that He might hear us as we bring our prayers before Him? Well to ask according to His Will requires an understanding, and understanding of the fact is that our prayers have to be in line with His Word. We can’t ask for things that contradict the scriptures that He has given to us. We’ve got to make sure we are in line with that holy teaching, but also to ask in accordance with His Biblical plan and in accordance to that plan He has set out for us.
I want you to think about some of these things. We might have to remember that when we ask things in prayer, it must be for that which God has declared one, that he is willing to bestow. So things that we find in the scripture, forgiveness. After we become a Christian, we have that avenue to pray to God and ask forgiveness for our sins then that we commit upon becoming a Christian. And so we have that avenue, God willing to bestow that upon us when we ask. Things like comfort. Things like needs that we might have, even grace and wisdom, those things that God has said He is willing to bestow. Those are things in accordance to His Will. So we can ask for those things. We can ask God for those different blessings that He has told us He is ready and willing to bestow upon us.
But also as we think about asking things according to His Will, we’ve got to remember that sometimes what we think is best may not be what God thinks best. So we may think about our wants, even our needs, and we have a plan laid out for our lives, but our plan many not always match up to the plan that God has for our lives. So when we ask according to His Will, we’ve got to remember that maybe God’s plan was different than the plan that we might have in our lives.
But also remember that what we ask has to be consistent with what God can bestow. Well think about even concepts there in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 and verse 10 where it says, “If a man will not work, he also will not eat.” Would it be right for a lazy man who sits around all year and does nothing to the field and just waits hoping that somehow this is just all going to work out itself, and then at the end of the year he prays and says, “God, bring me harvest.” Well if he didn’t sow any seeds, and he didn’t do any work, could God bestow a miraculous harvest to that man? You see we have got to make sure we ask those things that are in concordance or consistent with what God is able to bestow upon us and not ask things that are contradictory to His Will.
Also we have got to consider that it must be good for the whole. You see our lives are just not an individual life. We have a family make-up. We have a greater spiritual family make-up with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Something I ask that I need in my life may not be what is good for the entire congregation of God’s people. We’ve got to remember all these things when we ask in accordance to God’s Will; we’ve got to remember that it requires a certain understanding as to what we ask.
But also ask remembering that when we ask according to His Will, it requires righteousness on our behalf. I want you to consider a couple of verses with me. One is in the Old Testament in the book of Proverbs, Proverbs chapter 28. We find here the words of wisdom most likely from Solomon, a man who himself was bestowed wisdom by God. It says here in Proverbs chapter 28 and verse 9, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination.” So the requirement of making sure we don’t turn our ears away from listening to God’s Word. Well that goes back to the idea of making sure it is in accordance to His Will. If we throw God’s Word aside and we put it up on a shelf and we never think about it, then our prayers become an abomination. If our lives do not reflect the scriptures which we preach, then our prayers will be hindered. So making sure our prayers do not become an abomination by making sure we do not turn our ears away from the Word of God.
But also if we go back to the New Testament, just a chapter or two back from our text there in 1 John chapter 5. If we go back to 1 John chapter 3, there in verse 22 we see a very similar passage that reminds us of the necessity of making sure we are righteous before we bring our prayers before God. It says, “And whatever we ask, we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” He says, “Whatever you ask, we receive.” But were the conditions? There in verse 22 again because we keep His commandments! Well that details our faithfulness, our righteousness, of not turning our ears aside from the Law of God, of not turning our lives away from the righteous paths but sticking to the book, sticking to God’s Word, and so when we ask in prayer, making sure that we obey those commands of God, making sure also as He says here in verse 22 to, “Do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” When we do those things that are pleasing to God, when we live faithful, righteous lives for God we can know that God hears our prayers, and making sure we ask them again according to His Will.
One other New Testament passage that reminds us of this same thing is found there in 1 Peter chapter 3 as Peter actually quotes from an Old Testament passage quoting from the book of Psalm, but he reminds us again of the fact that we need to be righteous before God when we bring these petitions, and that’s one of the prerequisites there for it being according to His Will. There in 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 12 it says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to the prayers but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” When we set ourselves against God, meaning we choose to do evil, James describes it as being those who “are enemies of God.” We set up a wall between ourselves and God and we are at war with God. While we are at war with God, because we choose evil, well He is not hearing our prayers. So we’ve got to make sure as Peter says here that “we remember our righteousness, that the eyes of the Lord are on those who are righteous, on those who are living faithfully here, that His ears are opened to the prayers of those who are trying to do and follow His book. And so remembering that when we ask according to His Will those conditions that are there that there must be an understanding that it has got to be in line with God’s Word and also an understanding that our lives have to mimic that Word that we’ve been given.
But when we think about praying to God and we again think about that scripture there in 1 John that reminds us that now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us, understanding this great and precious promise, understanding already its condition but now realizing that God’s promise to hear us should bring us great confidence. You see there in verse 14 that first word “now.” The King James uses the word “and.” But it links that verse 14 to the verse previous to it. Verse 13 there of 1 John 5 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” He’s talking to Christians similar as Peter said, “Those who have obtained a like precious faith, those who believe in the Son of God.” And what did they know because of that belief? Did they doubt their eternal life? Did they doubt the promises that God had made to them that He would save them if they were obedient to His plan? Did they doubt any of that? No they knew that they had eternal life and knowing that led them in verse 14 to know what? That they could be confident that when they prayed to God He would hear their prayers, to remember that there was a great confidence that comes within this great and precious promise of God hearing our prayers. This confidence in salvation there in verse 13 leads us to have a confidence in the prayers that we offer unto God. So just as they knew they had salvation, they knew matter of fact that God heard their prayers.
Is there any doubt in the minds of those who are living righteously, living faithfully, those who have that hope and assurance of their salvation? Is there any doubt in their minds that God hears their prayers? When doubts arise? Well doubt arises as to whether God hears our prayers when we are not living as we should, when we are not righteous, when we are not faithful, when we know we are not living by the book then we wonder, “Well, is God really hearing my prayer?” You see when we live righteously we meet that prerequisite. We meet that condition, and then we can know for a fact that our petitions go up before the Father. Even as He says there in verse 15, the verse following the main text here. He says, “And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask we know that we have the petitions that we have ask of Him.” He says that just as we have confidence not only in our salvation, just as we have confidence in our prayers to God, we have confidence in God’s response. We don’t have to doubt if God is going to answer our prayers. It may not be the answer that we desire, but again according to His Will. Sometimes God’s answer is “Yes,” sometimes it’s “No”, sometimes it is “Wait!” You see God’s plan may not always be the plan that we have for our lives, but to know that God does hear us and to have that great confidence in this life, to pray with confidence.
Even the same book. We have already looked there in 1 John chapter 3, but another verse that we didn’t look at, going back there to chapter 3 again and verse 21 says, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.” Do we not all know what’s in our hearts? We do. We each have to look every morning in the morning as we stand up out of bed and we put our feet on the floor, we know the lives that we are living. We know what is in our hearts. Maybe we have hidden things from even our family and our friends, but we know what dwells there. We know what resides there. We know whether it’s the love of God or the love of the world. And so making sure as John says here if our hearts do not condemn us, we have great confidence towards God. That’s the great and precious promise here of this avenue of prayer. If we ask according to His Will, He hears us. That’s a great confidence, even as James said, “The effective fervent prayer of” what kind of man or woman? “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5 verse 16)
To know with great confidence as we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have an avenue in which we can come to the Father and bring our requests, bring our petitions, give thanks to Him. What a great avenue it is and what a great and precious promise it is to know that we have this from God. We’ve got to remember this in this life that there are many opportunities, many things in this spiritual life that we could not take advantage of because we overlooked it. We have a great opportunity here to cherish this great opportunity of prayer and to know that we can come to God and ask Him for these things that we might need, but to remember again in this life that we have got to do it the right way. We’ve got to do it God’s way. Never forget those great and precious promises. Never forget the conditions put there upon this promise of God and never forget the great confidence that you can have in this life by living for God and talking to Him in prayer.
Think about those times in your life when you were in great struggles and maybe you had a difficult decision and maybe you went to your parents and what confidence it gave you to be able to talk to somebody about what was going on. Do we not have a Heavenly Father, God Himself who is always there for us? We know that we have Him there and we can turn to Him as He speaks to us through His word. What a great and precious promise it is to know that we have this wonderful avenue by which we can talk to our Father in heaven. May we never neglect that promise.
(SONG # 3 - “A Wonderful Savior!”)
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Praise be to God for the truth, that God always hears our request! May we have the faith and commitment necessary to God to know that He will always answer them according to what is best, as well as our desires.