Growing in Intimacy with Christ

 

a) ______________________________________ Ps 119:97; 2 Tim 3:15-17

 

b) ______________________________________ Ephesians 6:18; Col 4:12

 

c) ______________________________________ Ps 25:5; 48:9; Isa 30:21

 

d) ______________________________________ Hebrews 10:25; 3:13

 

e) ______________________________________ John 14:21,23-24

 

Bishop Theonas of Alexandria (c.300 A.D.) "Let no day pass by without reading some portion of the Sacred Scriptures, at such convenient hour as offers, and giving some space to meditation. And never cast off the habit of reading in the Holy Scriptures; for nothing feeds the soul and enriches the mind so well as those sacred studies do." Letter to Lucianus, Chief Chamberlain ch.9 p.161

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (248-258 A.D.) Epistles of Cyprian Letter 7 ch.5 "Let us urgently pray and groan with continual petitions. For know, beloved brethren, that I was not long ago reproached with this also in a vision, that we were sleepy in our prayers,..."

 

How significant is your prayer?

 

James 5:15-18 _____________________

 

1 Samuel 12:23 ____________________

 

Ezekiel 22:30 ______________________

 

Revelation 5:8 _____________________

Unfortunately prayer is not always significant. While God sometimes answers our prayers as "no" or "wait" see the study at home for cases where God deliberately ignores some people's prayers.

 

But apart from God's specific warnings, He delights when we pray to Him. What do you have to do that is more important than bringing delight to God?

1 Samuel 12:23 [Samuel is speaking] "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right."

 

Ezekiel 22:30 "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, ..."

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

 

The Presence of Christ

 

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

 

The Last Checkmark ___________________________________

 

"Pat on the back" theology vs. Hebrews 10:22

 

 

1. Look at Zephaniah 3:17. Does God taking great delight in us refer to our being sinless with God in heaven, or also life on earth now? Defend your answer.

 

 

 

2. In Zephaniah 3:17, how can God quiet you with His love? What can we see in Philippians 4:6-7; Isaiah 26:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3-6, Romans 8:26-28, and John 14:27?

 

 

 

3. How close is God when He is helping us? What can Daniel 3:22-25 and Proverbs 18:24 teach us?

 

 

 

4. The idea "if you are following God, you will always feel happy, be healthy," is a comforting thought, but it is a lie. Find verses that show this is wrong.

 

 

5. Does Habakkuk 3:17-19 provide comfort?

 

 

 

6. What do John 14:15-20,23-26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 17:23 teach us about the closes of the Spirit of Christ, i.e. the Holy Spirit, to us?

 

 

 

7. Why does God want to be close to us? What does 1 John 4:12-13,16 indicate?

 

 

 

Our Response

 

"Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and meet with God."

 

James 5:14-15 "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven."

 

James 5:16b-18 "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain..."

 

In 2 Cor 12:7-10 Paul earnestly pleaded with God three times to take away his thorn in the flesh.

8. Why do you think Christians do not always reflect the attitude in Psalm 42:1-2?

 

 

 

9. Unfortunately some churches have false teaching on prayer.

 

1st false teaching vs. James 5:14-15

 

 

 

2nd false teaching vs. James 5:16b-18

 

 

 

3rd false teaching vs. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

 

 

 

10. Since intercessory prayer is not trying to inform an all-knowing, all-seeing God, not somehow giving power to an all-powerful God, and not trying to move or persuade the source of all goodness to do good, then what exactly does prayer accomplish?

 

 

 

11. What are some of the benefits of prayer?

Minor ___________________________________________

Minor ___________________________________________

Major ___________________________________________

Major ___________________________________________

 

Analogies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Study at Home

 

 

PRAYER IS A PRIVILEGE - Why doesn't everyone always immediately get what they pray for?

Write down reasons you can think of, then match them with scripture.

Us:

______________________________________ 1 Kings 18:26-29

______________________________________ James 4:3

______________________________________ Matthew 6:7

______________________________________ Matthew 7:11

______________________________________ Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-7

______________________________________ Mark 14:36

______________________________________ Ps 66:18-19; Pr 15:29

______________________________________ Zech 7:11-14; Pr 28:9

______________________________________ 1 Peter 3:7

______________________________________ 1 Peter 4:7

______________________________________ Malachi 2:13-14

______________________________________ Proverbs 21:13

______________________________________ Ezekiel 8:8-18

______________________________________ Isaiah 1:15

______________________________________ 2 Sam12:16-18;22-24

______________________________________ 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

Circumstances:

______________________________________ Habakkuk 2:3

______________________________________ 1 Sam 1:10-12; Ex 2:23-24

God or Satan:

______________________________________ Job

______________________________________ Daniel 10:2-3,12-14

 

(Bible verses are from the NIV.)

 

 

How We Grow in Intimacy - some brief answers

 

Speaker Notes:

 

Name: Yesterday we had to sign some papers, and sometimes I sign my name "Steve" and sometimes "Steven". My wife asked me, "so exactly what is your name, as given on your birth certificate?" I said, you mean after all these years, you don't know? It's Frank! My wife was not too shocked, as she's known me and had to put up with my sense of humor for over 22 years. But regardless of how well we know our spouse, a more important issue is how well do we really know our God? We minister to others, pay money for His work, and try to obey what He says, but do we really take time to get to know Him?

 

Legalism: Since we have been talking about legalism in the last few weeks, let's take a moment and practice some legalism. Are you reading the Bible? Check. Doing what God commands and not doing what He forbids? Check I see everybody here came to church this Sunday. Check. Are you spending enough hours a week witnessing and in Christian ministry? But as you work hard on all these things, do you ever stop and just enjoy God? There are two kinds of legalism: legalism doing wrong things, such as Jewish observances and traditions of men, and legalism that does the right things, but out of abiding in Christ and love for God. Now I am not criticizing anything on our checklist at all; we should be doing these things. But the second type of legalism is not because we are doing to much, but while we are so busy on sometimes minor things, we are failing to do enough to nurture our relationship with God. If you can do the last checkmark, then you do not need the other checkmarks, because you will want to do them automatically. You can throw the checklist away. But if you do not do the last checkmark, then all the checklists in the world will not help supply what you lack.

 

I have a question for you: "Are you filling a bowl?" - a prize to the first person to figure out what that means.

 

Too busy for God? Some people are too busy doing worldly things to really love and enjoy God. Some people can be too busy doing "churchy" things to really love and enjoy God too. In the front door of our house, is a plaque I like, that says, "Lord, you know how busy I will be today - If I forget You please do not forget me." Let's not forget God.

 

Pat on the back theology vs. Hebrews 10:22 Some people can have an implicit "pat on the back theology". When a person comes to Christ, God pats them on the back, saying "good job. I hope you live a good life on your own, and I'll see you again in heaven. -bye" That is not the kind of relationship God wants to have with us now. Hebrews 10:22 tells us to draw near to God. Let's see what Zephaniah 3:17 has to tell us.

 

Analogies

 

The parable of the king and his son: Once a year the king's son would visit him, talk to him and ask for his yearly allowance. The king would give it, but then would not see the son again for another year. The king loved his son, but he was also wise. When the son came again, the king only gave his allowance for a day. If the son wanted the allowance for the next day, he would have to come back again.

 

The obedient son: Imagine you heard of a son who studied hard in school, obeyed his parents, but he never talked to them more than he had to, and he never said he loved them. He was never around them more than he had to be, and he never showed that he cared for them at all. Would he be a good son or not? If we did not like to talk to God in prayer, don't you think the angels might wonder the same about us?

 

a) Study God's word diligently Ps 119:97; 2 Tim 3:15-17

b) Pray constantly to God Ephesians 6:18; Col 4:12

c) Fellowship with other believers Hebrews 10:25; 3:13

d) Meditate and ask God to guide you Ps 25:5; 48:9; Isa 30:21

e) Obey God's word that you already know John 14:21,23-24

 

Bishop Theonas of Alexandria (c.300 A.D.) "Let no day pass by without reading some portion of the Sacred Scriptures, at such convenient hour as offers, and giving some space to meditation. And never cast off the habit of reading in the Holy Scriptures; for nothing feeds the soul and enriches the mind so well as those sacred studies do." Letter to Lucianus, Chief Chamberlain ch.9 p.161

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (248-258 A.D.) Epistles of Cyprian Letter 7 ch.5 "Let us urgently pray and groan with continual petitions. For know, beloved brethren, that I was not long ago reproached with this also in a vision, that we were sleepy in our prayers,..."

 

How significant is your prayer?

 

James 5:15-18 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective

1 Samuel 12:23 Samuel would have sinned if he ceased to pray for them

Ezekiel 22:30 With our prayers we can stand in the gap for people

Revelation 5:8 Our prayers are as incense in bowls poured out to God

Unfortunately prayer is not always significant. While God sometimes answers our prayers as "no" or "wait" see the study at home for cases where God deliberately ignores some people's prayers.

 

But apart from God's specific warnings, He delights when we pray to Him. What do you have to do that is more important than bringing delight to God? nothing

1 Samuel 12:23 [Samuel is speaking] "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right."

 

Ezekiel 22:30 "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, ..."

 

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

 

The Presence of Christ

 

"... And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Name story:

The Last Checkmark But do we enjoy God? This lesson is a check, that as we learn, fellowship, walk in obedience, minister, and witness, we are still drawing near to simply enjoy God.

"Pat on the back" theology vs. Hebrews 10:22 Some people think that when you are saved God pats you on the back and says, "Good job! I hope you live obediently, and I'll see you again in heaven. -bye." That is not at all what the Bible teaches.

1. Look at Zephaniah 3:17. Does God taking great delight in us refer to our being sinless with God in heaven, or also life on earth now? Defend your answer. It is not only in heaven, but we are also to please God now. He loved us not only when we become perfect, and not only now, but even while we were still sinners.

2. In Zephaniah 3:17, how can God quiet you with His love? What can we see in Philippians 4:6-7; Isaiah 26:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3-6, Romans 8:26-28, and John 14:27? God not only can calm a restless heart, He does more. He gives us His genuine peace, that can weather any storm, withstand any temptation, find hope beyond any disappointment, and find joy despite the sorrow of any loss. God is not just a sympathetic spectator, but the Holy Spirit is interceding for us, and working all things together for good for those who love God according to Romans 8:26-28.

3. How close is God when He is helping us? What can Daniel 3:22-25 and Proverbs 18:24 teach us? The Son of God was in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Proverbs tells us there is one who is closer than a brother. He wants what is best for us even more than we want what is best for us. He loves us not only more than we imagine, but more than we can imagine.

4. The idea "if you are following God, you will always feel happy, be healthy," is a comforting thought, but it is a lie. Find verses that show this is wrong. Here are a few. Distress: 2 Cor 1:8-10; Rom 9:1-2; 1 Ki 19:3-10; 2 Ki 19:1-3; Ps 6,7; Job; Disagreement with other Christians: Acts 15:1-2,36-41; Gal 2:11-21; Titus 1:10-11 Sickness: Gal 4:13-14; Job; Php 2:26-28; 2 Kings 13:14; 1 Timothy 5:23; Abandonment by other Christians: 2 Tim 4:9-10; Rejection and unfair criticism by other Christians: 2 Cor 10:10-12; 12:11-20; Gal 4:15-16; 3 John 9-10

5. Does Habakkuk 3:17-19 provide comfort? More than calm in the eye of a hurricane, we have a perpetual calm and hope.

6. What do John 14:15-20,23-26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 17:23 teach us about the closes of the Spirit of Christ, i.e. the Holy Spirit, to us? God promises to dwell in those who obey Christ's teaching, whether we feel it or not. We have a responsibility to abide in Christ and realize who lives in us though.

 

 

7. Why does God want to be close to us? What does 1 John 4:12-13,16 indicate? God lives in us, sees the world through our eyes; and shares His life with us.

 

 

Our Response

 

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul earnestly pleaded with God three times to take away his thorn in the flesh.

 

For Study at Home

 

 

PRAYER IS A PRIVILEGE - Why doesn't everyone always immediately get what they pray for?

Write down reasons you can think of, then match them with scripture.

Us:

Praying to the wrong God! 1 Kings 18:26-29

Spend on our selfish desires James 4:3

Babbling with meaningless prayers Matthew 6:7

Request must be for good things Matthew 7:11

We have to meaningfully persist Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-7

Is it not God's will for us to have them Mark 14:36

We cherish sin in our hearts or are wicked Ps 66:18-19; Pr 15:29

God does not hear us when we do not hear Him Zech 7:11-14; Pr 28:9

We must be considered of our wives/spouses 1 Peter 3:7

We need self-control 1 Peter 4:7

We have sinned, such as divorce Malachi 2:13-14

We ignore the cry of the poor Proverbs 21:13

If they are still worshipping idols too Ezekiel 8:8-18

Their hands are filled with blood Isaiah 1:15

God is disciplining us 2 Sam12:16-18;22-24

God knows what trials are best for us 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

Circumstances:

Now is not yet the right time Habakkuk 2:3

We or someone else needs to change first 1 Sam 1:10-12; Ex 2:23-24

God or Satan:

We have no idea, but God allows us to be tested Job

Delay because demons are opposing the angels Daniel 10:2-3,12-14

 

(Bible verses are from the NIV.)