Question 1 - To get us thinking – Why has God given us grace?
1. To forgive/take away our sins
2. To redeem us from darkness and death
3. To free us from guilt and the burden of guilt
4. To give us a new abundant life
5. To enable us to live at peace with others
6. To remove the separation from God that sin caused in our lives, making it possible to have fellowship with God
Is that at least a start of the answers to that question?
Question 2 - What do you think the ultimate goal was for God when He extended His grace to us?
I believe the last answer we listed - #6 was the ultimate goal for God.
To make it possible for God to have fellowship with each of us in a personal way.
Does that make any sense to you?
I’ve been giving this some thought lately. It seems to me, that Churches today are loosing ground. They tend to not be growing. They are not attracting young families like they once did. Churches are aging.
What is missing?
Why is this happening?
Question 3 - Why are so many people searching for meaning to life... yet not finding it in today’s churches?
Is this God’s fault? No, of course not.
I began to wonder if people who go to church have forgotten why we are here. What our purpose is today.
People go to church, sing hymns, pray, give offerings, listen to sermons, talk to each other and go home. Some even read their bibles and pray for others. Some do church work… good work.
But is what we are doing accomplishing what we want? Is it accomplishing what God wants?
When I started this study, I had no particular Scripture in mind. I had a burning in my spirit to share this though... and as I started typing, a Scripture came to mind.
Revelation 3 came to mind. Starting with verse 14:
Revelation 3:14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Head of the creation of God, says these things:
Revelation 3:15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would that you were cold or hot.
Revelation 3:16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
Revelation 3:18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold purified by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be clothed, and so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear. And anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; therefore be zealous and repent.
It seems to me that this passage of Scripture is speaking to us today. Do you feel it too?
The Lord is saying that this church does not know that they are blind. That they do not know that they are not clothed... (with His Righteousness?) That they do not know that they are poor (in Spirit?). That they are wretched and miserable.
This is a church the Lord is speaking to… what about us today?
We do works for God, but is there deep passion and enthusiasm in our efforts?
Is there a ZEAL in our work? Where is the power of God showing in our efforts?
You know... it is possible to do works without God being involved in our efforts. Even works that are very well intentioned and needed. The result is no fruit. And the workers soon tire, because it is in their own strength.
Another passage of Scripture comes to mind now.
Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men;
Colossians 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance. For you serve the Lord Christ.
This speaks of enthusiastic and zealous service. “As unto the Lord”
Have we put our whole heart into what we are doing for the Lord?
I asked earlier, is what we are doing accomplishing what God wants.
Do you remember what we said then, about God’s ultimate goal in giving us grace?
It was removing the separation from God that sin caused in our lives, making it possible to have fellowship with God.
God has done His part. He gave us His grace. He removed the sin that caused a separation between us and God. He opened the way to fellowship for us with Him.
Do you remember this verse:
Matthew 6:33 But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.
The real question then for us…
Have we personally sought that deep fellowship with God?
When this question came to my mind… I felt tremendous conviction. Do you feel it?
Question 4 - I began to wonder then. What happens when a person draws closer to God?
Exodus 34:29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of the Testimony in his hand, he did not know that the skin of his face shone and sent forth beams by reason of his speaking with the Lord.
I know this is an extreme example, but when people draw near to God, there is just something about them. People notice it and wonder. Perhaps they even think to themselves… “I wish I had what they have”.
Question 5 - When Jesus started His ministry here on earth, what happened?
People were drawn to Him. They followed Him. They sought Him out.
Jesus spent a lot of time with God in prayer. He had a need to have fellowship with God. Are we any different?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that deep personal, intimate relationship with God? Remember how it was in the beginning… Jesus was everything to us. Our first love for Jesus… it was amazing, energizing, freeing.
Is it possible to return to that relationship again?
Do you need to seek God more? Do you need to have a deeper personal fellowship with him? Do you have that hunger for God? A “hot” desire for Him instead of a “lukewarm” kind of relationship with Him? Is your love for Him what it should or could be?
How about your love for others?
Can others see Jesus in you? Do they seek you out? Are they drawn to you?
Perhaps there is a need for repentance in your life. An absence of repentance can cause your relationship with God to be strained, even lukewarm. Repentance means to turn back to God… draw near to Him.
We desire revival… but there can be no revival without true repentance.
Our whole Nation needs revival today. America needs to repent. Can it begin with you and me?
I can’t speak for you. I can’t tell you what to do. I can only ask the question, and let you decide.
I know the answer for me. I pray this message will touch your hearts as it has mine.
May God bless you abundantly this day.
Bible Study by InAwe