Experiencing God, Week 12

Experiencing God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:02:30
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Have you ever felt as though your relationship with God is not where it used to be? Many of us have felt as though we were not as close as we used to be in our walk and our relationship with God. Hopefully through this study we have learned how to realign ourselves with God and draw closer to Him. As we have said before, God does not move! It is us that moves away from God.
As a result, we may not hear from God, we may not have the same joy we once had, and we feel as though we are not as fruitful as we once were. Again, we must re-align ourselves with God.
Deuteronomy 30:17 ESV
17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them,
John 15:4–5 ESV
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.
Scripturally, if we look at these two parts of scripture, what or who is involved with moving away with God? What leads us to this decision, based on these verses?
Additionally, we can find the same example in Luke 15 where Jesus uses the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son.
In each case, the sheep, the lost coin, and the son, what is the theme? In the case of the sheep and the son, what was the root cause of the loss? The sheep wandered away, and the son deliberately walked away. The sheep, wandered, the shepherd went looking. The son deliberately left, and voluntarily returned. But, in both cases there is rejoicing when they return. It shows us that in either case, God still rejoices when a wayward Christian returns.
Also notice that when we move away from God, there is discipline that will increase until we return. Just as we would discipline one of our children, God will discipline us. If we think back a few years ago, we talked about crisis occurring in our lives - decisions that had to be made. This discipline IS a crisis, and the level of discipline really depends on our decision. Once we return to God, and repent, He WILL forgive us.
1 John 1:9 ESV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So, what is repentance? Restoring our fellowship with God through humility, prayer, seeking Him, and turning from sin. He then promises to hear, forgive sin, and heal the relationship.
Now, we must also look at how we PREVENT ourselves from turning away from God, or at least from walking away from God (intentionally or unintentionally).
Proverbs 4:23 ESV
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
We must guard our heart.
Proverbs 11:14 ESV
14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
We must seek counsel with one another for encouragement and warning.
Matthew 22:37 ESV
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
We must focus on our love to God.
Matthew 7:24 ESV
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
We must follow God’s Word. It does us no good to hear God if we do not follow God.
John 14:23 ESV
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
If we want to have a relationship with God, we have to WANT, or a better word is DESIRE, a relationship with God.

Experiencing God as Couples

Day 2 focused on experiencing God as couples. So, how should our relationship with God be a model of our relationship as a couple? First of all, God helps us choose the love of our life by preparing someone for each of us. But, it is up to us to both choose and then live the life modeled after what Christ wants for us. It is easy to sometimes forget that it is not just me, but it is we, and we need to do what God desires.
Now, if it’s hard for ONE to follow the path Jesus has laid out following as two gets increasingly difficult and when you add kids…
So, God intends for us to not be alone. In the beginning God created both male and female. Matthew 19:4-6
Matthew 19:4–6 ESV
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Marriage is meant to be a lifelong commitment. Marriage implies that you are no longer on your own. So, regardless of how hard life gets… God still says you two are one. When it gets rough… remember, you chose them. So, if you think your marriage was a bad one…remember you chose them. So, it is your mistake…right?
We have to understand that life moves us in different ways. Right, wrong, indifferent. But, we have to determine which direction GOD intends us to go, as a couple. That means praying, talking, praying, discussion, praying, more talking, praying, more discussion, praying....you get the point?
Being on the same page as your spouse, though, is critical in our ability to hear from God.
2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
1 Peter 3:7 ESV
7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Ephesians 4:26 ESV
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
Pray with and for your spouse. Talk about God and spiritual things. Look at key moments when God moves and talk about those as a couple. Work together in ministry as a couple. Give (time, tithes, offerings) as a couple.

Joining God’s Activity in Your Children’s Lives

If God blesses your marriage with children, it takes love to another level. It puts another level of responsibility on us, as parents, but it also gives us pride in seeing them come to know Jesus as Savior and watch them walk their Christian walk. But, we would not ask our children to get up and run a marathon the day after their birth. We have to guide them, watch them, protect them, and help them determine God’s will in their lives. That means we have to be an active part of their spiritual life, as well as their physical life.
Pray for and with them. Talk to them about God’s work in their lives. Minister with your children.
Parents, no matter how good we are, we cannot do it alone. You can teach, you can pray, you can lead, but you will never be good enough alone. It takes the BODY to be complete. That includes taking your children to church, and involving them in the church ministries.
How do we ensure our children will grow up to be a positive, productive, God fearing person? We can’t. But we can do everything in our power to point them to God and allow HIM to lead and guide them however they are individual persons with an individual spirit and and individual decision to make.
Proverbs 22:6 ESV
6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
We can make sure they know God’s truth when they are older, though. And that will never leave them.

Experience God in the Marketplace

All too often, we think God only works on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening (or insert the days of your service). In reality, when we look through scripture, what days of the weak did God move in His people?
The book uses examples on pages 261.
These examples were of ordinary people called to do extraordinary things. We shouldn’t think that will change today. Remember, Jesus was trained as a carpenter, most disciples were fishermen, with a few other vocations mixed in. If we notice, Jesus did a majority of His work in unconventional places also - not just in the “church” (temple/synagogue). God’s activity was accomplished not only on the day of worship, but into the week also.
So, does God expect us to be disciples during the work week? Does He expect us to share the Gospel in our daily life and at work? Many times, people we can have the biggest influence on are people who may never think of attending a church service on Sunday. God works through us every day.

Continuing to Experience God

So, how do we continue in with our walk of Experiencing God? Today does not end our work. If we allow what we have learned to end today, then we will be let down by this study. We must reflect on the things we have learned and apply them during the days to come. So, how do we keep going forward? The book makes these recommendations:
Stay immersed in Scripture study and memorization.
Act on what we sense God asking us to do to stay connected in the body of Christ.
Pause to pray. Ask God to cultivate the relationship we have with Him.
Review the spiritual journal we have been keeping. Make a list of commitments we have made to God. Read that list regularly.
Take time to process what God has said to you or done in your life through this course.
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