11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
So far, there’s been quite a bit of good stuff spoken to us through this series, and I’m glad that you guys voted for it. Not only because it’s turned out to be a pretty good series, but as I’ve said I believe that I’m going to be moving in that direction more often. The direction of having you…the readers vote on more of the topics that we talk about. Because the truth is…even though I get ministered to by my own messages…you’re the reason I’m doing this. I want you to be challenged, encouraged, exhorted, and helped to have the kind of relationship with God that you desire to have.
Sometimes, that’s going to require me to write a lot of harsh things, and I realize that this series I’ve been much more harsh than usual…but that’s the Holy Spirit’s work, friends. You must understand that everything that is written in these messages is under the unction, guidance, and direction of the Holy Ghost…and if there’s rebuke and correction in these messages…it’s because He feels it necessary for me to take the message in that direction. I would prefer to write all the time about how we’re justified by faith, and the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. However, some times…as we know the Word of God is profitable for reproof, correction, and the whole purpose of this is to help us all grow up and be more mature Christians…and learn how to have and maintain that deep, personal, intimate relationship with God we all need, want, and hopefully desire to have.
So…let’s continue on in this series on Authentic Prayer. Today, we’re in 2 Timothy 2, and I’m already excited about what we’re going to talk about just by reading our scripture for today. Today’s one of those days…that I want you to know that I truly do rely upon the Holy Ghost to help me to write…and therefore before we get into the message…I want you to know that this Authentic Prayer is almost always the prayer I have before starting any message.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for being with me this day, and for the beautiful day that You have made. I praise You for the gift and ability to write that You’ve given me, and I come before You seeking the help, guidance, and unction of the Holy Ghost for this message. Holy Spirit, I recognize that I cannot write one sentence without Your help, and I ask You to help me. I pray that You would give me that supernatural ability that only comes from You that I may write with boldness, clarity, and purpose. I pray that everything I write would be from You, and that You would give me the unction, utterance, and direction You wish this message to go. I ask that You would be with each and every reader. I ask that You would give them eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts that will be receptive and respond to what You would speak to them. I ask that all who read this message would learn what it is that You would have them to learn, and that You would help them apply it to their lives. Lord, I give You glory and honor, and I pray that this message would glorify and honor You. Let me not write anything that would be contrary or compromise Your Word…for Your Word is truth…and I ask this in Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen
Today’s Message: “God’s Invitation”
We talked a the other day about “Call to Me”, and in that message we said quite a few things that I think were outstanding. However, I believe perhaps the most important illustration I gave was the one about how we relate to God, and how if we’d think about if our significant others treated us the way we treat God…then perhaps that would give us a better perspective on how we’re to treat our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For instance, I said this:
How would you feel if every time you wanted to hold their…they looked around to see who was watching? How would you feel if every time you wanted to hug them or kiss them in public they looked around to see who was watching? How would you feel if you were extremely excited about something, and you went to tell them about it…and they were like “calm down, don’t make a fool of yourself…you’re embarrassing me.”? Authentic Prayer Day 2 by Pastor Bryan
Listen, I’m one of those who is somewhat conservative when it comes to public displays of affection, but I believe holding hands or kissing or hugging in public is an expression of not just love towards my wife…but proof that I’m not embarrassed to be seen with her. When I don’t do that often enough my wife begins to question whether I find her attractive, and ultimately if I’m embarrassed to be seen with her.
So, let’s equate that to our relationship with God. Obviously, we can’t walk around holding God’s hand, but when the altar call is given, and you look around to see who is watching. You know God’s tugging on you’re heart because He wants to do something in your life, but you decide not to go out of concern over what the people around you are going to think. Do you not understand that when you do that…what you’re saying to God is that you’re embarrassed of Him, and that your reputation is more important to you than what He wants to do in and through your life?
God’s invitation for us to “Call to Me” isn’t just an invitation to casually seek Him…it’s an invitation to go deeper and be more desperate and intimate with Him. I don’t know anyone who can’t and shouldn’t go deeper, and become more personal and intimate with God.
Each of the promises from God can usually be summarized in a word. Here’s the first one: Invitation. Look at Jeremiah 33:2, God Himself is giving the invitation: “Thus says the LORD,” which is God’s way of saying, “Jeremiah, take a memo.” This title, ”LORD,” is God’s personal, covenant name. That’s God making a covenant commitment to you. If you have turned from your sin and embraced Jesus Christ by faith for your forgiveness, God has made a covenant with you. He has said, “I have sworn by My own name” (see Hebrews 6:13-20). God has promised to do some things for you. Now it doesn’t matter what you’ve done because God has made some commitments regardless of your past.
There’s a lot of good stuff in here…so let’s slow down a little bit, and take a closer look at what we just read…because it’s really time that we go deeper with God…and really get serious with Him. The time for playing and pretending that we really want to know and serve and love God is over…it’s time to get real…to be genuine…to be authentic…and the more we can understand about what we’re reading…the more we’ll be able to get to a place where we desire this authenticity with God…Amen!?!
Each of the promises from God can usually be summarized in a word. Here’s the first one: Invitation. Look at Jeremiah 33:2, God Himself is giving the invitation: “Thus says the LORD,” which is God’s way of saying, “Jeremiah, take a memo.” This title, ”LORD,” is God’s personal, covenant name.
You know why we confess Jesus not only as Savior, but Lord? It’s right that Jesus holds the key to our salvation, and when we call upon His name we’re saved or sozo’ed. For those of you who don’t know what sozo’ed means…it means: “make whole”. Everything that we need to be made whole and right with God was provided on the Cross. Salvation, healing, deliverance, provision…everything. There wasn’t anything left out when it comes to the Cross. So when I use the word sozo’ed that means we’re made complete and whole in Christ Jesus.
However, the other part to salvation is confessing Jesus as Lord. The other word here for Lord is Adonai…which means “ownership”. This is the disconnect where many Christians fall by the wayside, and it’s because they want to be saved and made whole, but they don’t want to surrender their lives to the Lordship or ownership of God. You see, many people want God to be their Jehovah-Jirah which is a long way of saying we want God’s provision for our lives, but few want Him to be our Adonai or Owner.
I like what James writes here: “This title, “LORD”, is God’s personal, covenant name. It’s this title that we give Him that confirms that we have surrendered to Him as our Owner. It’s a covenant or agreement or contract between us and God that we are His…and that all that He has promised and provided for us is available to us…as long as He remains our Lord.
We make decisions on a regular basis that either make and keep Him as Lord or make us lord over our lives. That’s why there’s verses like Proverbs 3:5-6 that tell us to acknowledge Him in ALL of our ways so that HE can direct our paths. When we seek Him as Lord…every time we seek Him as Lord…we are surrendering to His Ownership…and when we don’t then we are still the lord’s over our lives…and that has a direct impact upon our prayer life…and ultimately our entire walk with God. The more Ownership we give Him…the more His promises and provisions will be made manifest in and through our lives.
That’s God making a covenant commitment to you. If you have turned from your sin and embraced Jesus Christ by faith for your forgiveness, God has made a covenant with you. He has said, “I have sworn by My own name” (see Hebrews 6:13-20).
Something else that will have a direct impact upon your prayer life is faith. I saw an outstanding quote by Smith Wigglesworth on Twitter yesterday that fits in with what I’m about to get into right now. I’m going to give the quote, and then I believe we’ll run from there.
Faith is the audacity that rejoices in the fact that God cannot break His own Word!
Listen. Jesus said that if we ask ANYTHING of the Father in His name…it would be done. That’s a promise. That’s part of the covenant, and we know that God’s Word is the most important thing to Him. So important, in fact, that as is correctly pointed out in Hebrews 6:13-20 that He swears His Word by His own name. He swore His Word by Himself. In other words, when Jesus makes a covenant or promise like this to us…That’s God making an unbreakable covenant and promise to you that if you’ll ask anything in the name of Jesus…it will be done.
So…when we come to God in prayer…we’re to come with Faith believing that whatsoever we should ask in His name it will be done or given to us…and thanks to Smith Wigglesworth we have a new and much more powerful definition of what faith is. Faith is the audacity that rejoices in the fact that God cannot break His own Word. Friends…when we pray anything in the name of Jesus…it’s done, but we have to have the audacity to believe that when Jesus said if we pray anything in His name it’s done…because He cannot break His own Word.
Anyone ever half-heartedly quoted the old cliché “If God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”?. If we really, truly believed that…there would be no problem going to God in prayer about anything because when we say “in Jesus’ name”…it’s done. Why? God’s Word says that it’s done when we pray that way…and that means it’s an unbreakable covenant between God and us.
I don’t know about you…but that it awesome. That’s worth giving God praise and glory right there…Amen!?!
God has promised to do some things for you. Now it doesn’t matter what you’ve done because God has made some commitments regardless of your past.
Here lies the reason why we don’t believe God’s covenant is for us. In fact, before I go further into this I’m going to add Dr. MacDonald’s next statement because it ties in with where the Holy Spirit wants to go with this point.
The enemy would say to us, “Because of what you did, it’s over with you and God.”
Anyone other than me ever been in this place? You thought that you had blown it so bad, and that the way you lived your life was so horrible that there’s no possible way that God would ever want anything to do with you again? Has anyone ever thought that you’d disappointed God so greatly that He threw His hands up in disgust over you so as to say “that’s it, I’m done with you.”
If you listen to enough religious people, there’s no wonder why you’d come to that conclusion, and we’re not even getting into the fact that the devil wants you to buy into that garbage. However, he doesn’t even have to try because there’s people and preachers that will do that job for him. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard preachers and people both say that God cannot hear us over our sin when we pray. I also have heard many times more than I’d like to that in order for us to really be able to connect with God WE need to clean up our lives before He’ll listen to us.
First of all. If God isn’t counting our sins against us as 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 speaks of (and since it’s in God’s Word we know it’s true because He swears His Word by Himself)…then how is it that He’s deaf from something that He’s not even paying attention to? He said that our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west. He said that when we confess our sins that He remembers them no more. So…if it’s that clearly stated that as believers our sins aren’t keeping God from hearing our prayers…then why is it being preached? Because it sounds religious…it sounds holy, but the truth is…it’s a lie straight from the pit of hell.
Secondly. We cannot clean up our own lives. Anyone ever decided to quit smoking, drinking, or doing anything that you felt like you needed to quit on your own? You can’t do it can you? Yes, I know some of you may have had success for a while, but eventually we all go back to those things that we try to stop doing on our own because we feel like we need to stop doing them in order for God to be willing to allow us to approach Him before He’ll even hear us…because He cannot hear us over our horrible past…and I’ve already told you that’s a lie.
We cannot break strongholds off our lives by willpower alone because strongholds aren’t physical…they are spiritual in nature, and therefore in order to break them we cannot do so with natural means…we need supernatural help…and that supernatural help is only available through the Holy Ghost…period. There’s no natural remedy for spiritual conditions…the only way to break and heal spiritual conditions is through the Holy Ghost.
Let me say that again. There are no natural remedies for spiritual conditions…the only way to break and heal those conditions is through the Holy Ghost.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
When we have those kinds of things in our lives that the religious would like us to think disqualify us from approaching God…how many of you know that’s precisely the reason why we need to run to God? If I become aware of a stronghold in my life…how many of you know that’s a time of need…and how many of you know that because Hebrews 4:16 (KJV) says that I can come boldly to the throne of grace, that I may obtain mercy and find grace to help in my time of need…that’s a covenant?
The promise is that if I have a time of need I can obtain mercy and grace to help me in my time of need…that’s God’s Word. God swore His Word by Himself. There’s nothing there that says that in order for me to obtain mercy and grace to help me that I need to stop doing what it is I’m doing before I can approach God’s throne of grace…is there?
Listen…do you know why no one wants to preach or talk about the thief on the Cross next to Jesus? It’s because they don’t want it to really be that simple. The thief on the Cross came boldly to the throne of grace…right there. How many of you know that when you’re on your death-bed, and you realize you need Jesus…that’s a time of need? How many of you know that the thief’s only option to obtain grace and mercy in his time of need was to call upon Jesus? Did the thief have time to clean up his past? Did he have time to make amends, get baptized, and clean up his life? Obviously the answer to those questions is no.
What did the thief do? He took Jesus up on the invitation to “Call to Me”. He called Jesus “Lord”, and the moment he called Jesus “Lord”…is the moment he had the right to approach the throne of grace to obtain grace and mercy. Jesus promised that he would be with Him in paradise THAT day.
Friends…that story is told because I believe it’s to be made as clear as possible that it really is THAT easy, but the religious world wants you to believe that it’s not. Why? Honestly, I don’t know…because it’s good news to me that it’s that simple to approach God.
What’s going on in your life that you need to boldly approach the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help you? What are you trying to clean up on your own? What are you trying to do without God’s ownership? What spiritual conditions are you trying to cure with natural remedies? Then let me say this one last time before we move on, and work towards closing this message.
There are no natural remedies for spiritual conditions…the only way to break and heal those conditions is through the Holy Ghost.
Believe it or not, the Holy Ghost gave me that. I’m not clever enough to come up with something like that on my own…that’s Holy Ghost right there. Let’s move on…
The enemy would say to us, “Because of what you did, it’s over with you and God.”
But God says, “I am the LORD. I have made a covenant with you.”
Is it just me…or do we all need to let that sink in right there? The enemy wants us to believe that it’s over between us and God…that He’s thrown up His hands in disgust, and had finally had enough. Can I tell you that you are far too valuable to God, and that He loves us far too much to do that? Friends, there’s no surprises in the Kingdom. There’s no surprises in our lives to God. There’s nothing that we’ve done or haven’t done that God’s shocked by. So, at no time is there ever a moment where God throws up His hands in disgust, and says that He’s done with us. God will never reach that kind of moment with us…because of the covenant between us and Him when we confess Him as Lord.
Let’s move on…
Our relationship with God may look like simple exchange of affection between two parties, but the truth is we can’t keep up our end of things. We can’t match anything God does for us. But God does His part even when we fail to do ours.
“We can’t match anything God does for us.” I just said a moment ago that there are no natural remedies for spiritual conditions. We cannot break the strongholds over our lives by willpower because strongholds aren’t natural conditions…they are spiritual. We need God to break those things off our lives, and the only way to get Him to do that is to accept His invitation to call to Him in our time of need. He’s faithful, and will always do His part…even when we fail to do ours…that’s good news for some of you right there.
Many of you, feel like I have at one time of another. I can identify and understand how it feels to wonder if you’ve messed up so bad in life that God’s disappointed in me. There are many times over the last eleven years that I messed up bad, and missed God…and I can honestly tell you that there were many, many times over the last 20 years of my life I felt like I was on my own because I had messed up in life so badly that there was no way that not only could God ever use my life to make a difference, but I also bought the lie that I had messed up so badly that God was done with me…and all that did was cause me to live my life worse…and the worse I lived…the more I knew that God was up there shaking His fist at me, and eventually I thought that God had thrown up His hands in disgust…and was finished with me once and for all.
However, I can tell you that the greatest thing that God ever did was tell me He loved me, and that I was valuable to Him. In fact, there was a point in my life where He took me on my entire life’s journey to show me how many things He had walked with me through, delivered me from, and He also showed me there was much work yet to be done. He showed me how He brought me out of my own land of Egypt and began breaking bondage off of me one by one, but He also showed me at that point in my life that I was standing looking over into the Promised Land, but between me and my Promised Land was the land of the giants. He went on to explain to me that in order for me to reach the Promised Land…that I was going to have to continue to walk through and fight the giants in my life and that He was going to walk right beside me.
Not long ago, God let me know yet again, that He was my personal protector, and that He was my shield…and that He had a purpose for me. One of the giants I had to conquer was the thought that I had done such bad in my life that He couldn’t use me. Another of the giants was simply getting off the sidelines…and into the ministry He had called me into.
I’m 250 messages into what God’s called me to, and He uses a lot of what I’ve been through in life to help me illustrate things. He also uses what I’ve been through to encourage others that if I can go through all of that, overcome, and be used by God…so can you. I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am God’s. I belong to Him, and that there’s nothing I can do to remove myself from the palm of His hand.
Do you know that? You belong to Him, and there’s nothing you can do to remove yourself from the palm of His hand. That’s the meaning behind Romans 8:38-39…because there really isn’t anything that can separate us from Him…once we are His.
Friend, I don’t know your life’s story, but I do know that there’s nothing between you and God that is keeping you from Him other than your own belief that you’re ineligible to approach Him. You are not only eligible, but He’s always giving us that invitation…”Call to Me”…I am your Lord…and I can and will help you…but you have to call to Me.
Paul captured how this works in 2 Timothy 2:11-13, “If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.” God has made a covenant with us and He will not deny Himself. This is an awesome promise.
I’m going to close this message right here…because I feel like we need to pray…and I’m going to simply ask you to pray this with me…
Lord…You know my heart…You know everything about me. There isn’t anything that I’ve done, anywhere that I’ve been…there’s nothing that’s unknown to You about me. You know the areas of live that I struggle in, You know the strongholds that are in my life, and You know the places in my heart where I struggle to believe that I belong to You…because there are still places in my heart where I’m not sure that I’m Yours…because of the lies of the enemy. I know, Lord, that You have set me free from my past. I know, Lord that You have forgiven me of all my unrighteousness, and that I’m justified not because of anything within me, but because of the Blood of Jesus that continually washes and cleanses me. Lord, help my unbelief…help me to see that there truly isn’t anything or anyone that can separate me from You…again not because of me…but because of Your covenant with me. Help me to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m Yours…not because of anything I’ve done…because of everything that You have done. Thank You, Lord…that the my life in You is because of You…thank You for the Cross…thank You for the Blood of Jesus…and thank You for Your unbreakable promises to me because You swore them to me by Yourself…help me to surrender more and more to Your Ownership…help me relinquish more of the control and ownership of my life to You…because it’s not my life…it’s Yours…I am Yours…and You are mine. I accept Your invitation to Call to You…and I thank You that I can come boldly to the throne of grace so that I may obtain mercy, and grace to help me in my times of need. Thank You for all that You’re doing in, with, and through my life…and I thank You for all that You’ve done, all You’re doing, and all that You have yet to do…in, with, and through my life. Thank You for making me Yours…and thank You for helping me to know that I AM YOURS…in Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen
There’s no assignment for today…and I don’t really have anything to add in closing. So, I hope that you’ve enjoyed this message, and will be back for the next one. I love you, and I thank you for your support…and pray that this message sinks deeply into your heart…and helps you to achieve that deeper and more intimate relationship with God…so that you can come to Him as you are…and begin to have that more authentic prayer life. I cannot say this enough that authentic prayer isn’t some beautifully eloquent speech…it’s just simply being yourself…being real before God…and coming to Him out of your heart…like the prayer we just prayed…that’s authentic prayer…friends…from my heart…and now…it’s your turn.
Prayer: (Say this with me):
Father, I quiet myself before You right now in awe and fear, knowing I desperately need Your constant help in the dying with You and living with You part of that promise. Thank You for revealing to us that You will never deny Yourself, despite our faithlessness. I’m living and believing that You’re holding on to me so much more than I am holding on to You! And for that, I am forever grateful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.