Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

03/11/2018 A.M.

 

Seeking God

 

We start with a couple of questions...

What is your relationship with God?... Do you have a... Walking... Talking... Handholding... Intimate... Relationship with Him?  Perhaps more to the point... Do we want such a relationship?

 

Secondly...What is our relationship with His people... His family?... Do we understand we can’t have an intimate relationship with one without the other?

 

Our subject for both lessons today is Seeking God... What it means and how we do it?

 

Finding God doesn’t have to be mysterious or difficult... In fact the Bible says if we seek after Him... We will find Him.

 

Perhaps the narrative that best illustrates this thought is found in the parable Jesus tells about the lost son in Luke chapter fifteen.  In this narrative... The son rejects and abandons his father to live selfishly and wildly in the far country.

 

We’ve all been there... Haven’t we... Lived the way we want to instead of how our Heavenly Father wants us to live?

 

When the prodigal sees how foolish he’s been... He decides to return home... To seek his father... So he does. Expecting his father to be... Furious... Angry... Forever put out with him...He is met with a surprise.  Instead...The father is filled with joy that his son has returned...Sees him from afar... Runs to embrace him... With Hugs... Kisses... Shoes... A Ring... Robe... And Forgiveness.

 

We gotta know that God is the Father in this narrative... We are the prodigal.

 

If I counted correctly...

There are over eighty verses that speak to us about seeking the Lord.

 

Deuteronomy 4.29... Seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

 

1 Chronicles 22.19 says... Set your heart and soul to seek the Lord your God.

 

1 Chronicles 28.9 reads... If you seek him, he will be found by you;but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

 

Proverbs 8.17 has God saying... I love those who love Me... And those who diligently seek Me will find Me.

 

Isaiah 55.6 & 7 says... Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

 

Jeremiah 29.13 Has God saying... You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

Matthew 7.7-8... Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

 

Colossians 3.1-2.... Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

 

Acts 17.27 has Paul saying that... God made us to... seek Him... Reach out for Him... find Him... For He is not far from us.

 

Hebrews 11.6 ends with these words... He rewards those who diligently seek Him... Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

 

OK....When we say we ought to seek the Lord...

What are we saying?... What does it mean to seek Him... And how do we do it?

Let’s revisit these verses and see what we can learn...

 

First... We need to decide that’s what we want.

Seeking God is a choice...

• A conscious...

determinate...

personal choice.

 

Paul tells us... Set your minds... Set your minds on things above ... Not on things that are on earth... Decide!... Decide!

 

I think we can say this morning that seeking God is a First-Principle issue... I mean by this that we must want an intimate relationship with Him more than anything in the world.

 

Can I say this and you not get upset with me... Christianity is more than... Church membership... Attendance... Having the right name over the door... Doctrinal soundness... Christianity is about a relationship with God through His Son Jesus.

 

The First-Principle issue is... Do we have or want a relationship with God?

 

Seeking God is having a deep longing for his presence... A longing to be closer to Him.

 

1 Chronicles 22.19 says...Set your heart and soul to seek the Lord your God.

 

Deuteronomy 4.29...Seek the Lord your God... look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

 

The Hebrews’ Writer uses the words... Diligently... Earnestly...Seek Him.

 

Psalm 42.1... As the deer pants for streams of water... So my soul pants for you, O God.

 

Psalm 27.4 & 8...This one thing I ask of the Lord... This is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord... Gaze upon His beauty... Seek him in his temple... Seek his face!... Your face, Lord, I will seek.

 

Church...Like David... Are we saying... This one thing I want more than anything else... This is my first priority...This is first-principle with me?

• I want to know God...

• I want to seek His face...

• Gaze upon His beauty...

• Dwell in His House?

 

Seeking His Face is a Hebrew term equivalent to seeking His presence... This must be our number one Goal in life... To live in the presence of God.

 

No wonder Jesus said we must... Love God with all our being... Heart... Mind... Strength... Soul... It’s a First-Principle Priority... It cannot be... Second... Third... Or any other priority in life... Amen?

 

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

 

I like the story that Howard Hendricks... A Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary… Tells about boarding a plane and announcement being made that there would be a sizeable delay. The man seated in front of him called the stewardess and complained... Became verbally abusive and really ugly... And finally stormed off the plane. Dr. Hendricks got up and said... MAAM... You are a fine representative of American Airlines. She smiled and said... I don’t represent American Airlines... I work for American Airlines...But I represent the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Wow...Does that put you and your preacher to shame?... Does it?  Think about it the next time… At the doctor’s office... In the checkout line... Or boarding a plane.

 

Have we really... Really...Decided to seek god?... RepResent Him by our Jesus-like behavior?

 

Secondly... We seek Him by... faith... Trust... Obedience.

Hebrews 11.6 tells us... Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly... Diligently... seek him.

 

An intimate relationship with God has always been by faith.  Church... There is no other way to please Him...  We can keep the law... Obey all the rules... But if we don’t believe in Him... It gains us nothing.  AND...Faith is more than mental assent... Faith is not just believing... Genuine Biblical Faith is trusting in God and His promises enough to obey Him.

 

• Enoch walked with God...Trusted Him enough to obey Him... How do I know that?...Amos ask... How can two walk together unless they agree?

• Noah trusted enough to build an ark...

• Abraham enough to leave his... Farm...Extended family... And friends... And follow God...

• Moses had faith enough to desire God’s way over the pleasures of sin in Egypt.

 

The Hebrews’ Writer concludes... Time will not allow me to tell of others who had an intimate... Walking... Talking... Handholding... Relationship with god through faith.

 

Jesus said... Unless you believe that I am He... Messiah... You will die in your sins... He that believes and is baptized will be saved.

 

It was Paul who tells us... We are children of God by faith... For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

 

Church... Do we believe in God enough to turn all of life... Every arena of life... Over to God?... Trusting Him to work all things out... To our good?... To our benefit?... Or betterment?

 

• I’m talking about having the faith of...Enoch... Noah... Abraham... Moses... Peter... Paul... John.

• I’m talking about... seeking God... Loving Him with all our being... believing in him... Trusting Him enough to obey His commandments...

So that God and Jesus will come live in us through the Spirit He gave us.

 

This is the promise of Jesus... Made twice in John chapter 14... Anyone who loves me... Will obey my teaching. My Father will love him... And we will come to him and make our home... Our presence... Our abode… with him.

 

Seeking God is growing in faith and obedience... With an ever increasing desire to love and honor God more and more each day.

 

May God help us seek Him with a true Biblical Faith... Amen?

 

Thirdly... We must seek him through repentance... A changed life.

Read with me again... Isaiah 55.6-7... Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near....Listen now... Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

 

This forsaking of sin is not just a surface thing... It goes much deeper... Not only are we to give up our wicked ways... We are to give up our unrighteous thoughts.

 

No wonder Jesus is found saying that...

• Looking lustfully on the opposite sex is mental adultery...

• Hate is mental murder.

God has never been pleased with moral purity ONLY in behavior... He desires moral purity in thought... Amen?

• It was Solomon who said... As a man thinks in his heart... So is he...

• Jesus affirms... Out of the heart comes evil thoughts and deeds.

 

Here it is... We do evil because we think evil.

Repentance... Seeking God... Is changing the way we think... That in turn changes the way we behave.

 

It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who spoke of Cheap Grace...

• Preaching forgiveness without repentance...

• Baptism without discipline...

• Communion without confession...

• Forgiveness without discipleship.

We must become changed people.

 

There is no salvation without repentance... Without our becoming different folk.

• We can come to church...

• Walk down the aisle...

• Fill out a card...

• Confess Jesus

• Join the church...

• Maybe even be baptized...

 

But if nothing changes... Can we expect salvation?... I think not!!

If we keep living in the immorality that is explicitly condemned in Scripture...

• If we keep hanging out with the same sin-seeking crowd...

• Keep participating in their drinking, drugs and immorality...

• Keep living like the world...

• If we keep doing as we’ve always done...

Bonhoeffer says… If there’s… no repentance…No discipleship… No changed life…

• How can we expect forgiveness and salvation?...

• How can we expect the presence of God in our life?...

• How can we have an intimate relationship with God... His son and His people?

Jesus said... Unless we repent... We will perish.

 

Listen to God in Second Chronicles 7.14... If my people... Who are called by my name... Will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

Paul names the wicked ways we must forsake in Galatians 5.19-21... Sexual immorality... Impurity...Debauchery... Idolatry... Witchcraft... Hatred... Sowing discord... Jealousy... Acting out of rage... Selfish ambition... Creating dissensions and factions...Envy... Drunkenness... Orgies... And the like.

 

Then he goes on to add... I warn you... as I have before... That those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom ofGod.

 

Indeed... How can we deny that seeking God is turning from our wicked thoughts and behavior.

 

Here it is church... If we’re serious about SEEKING GOD...

• We can’t fill our mind with garbage and expect purity to be in our heart.

• We can’t seek the filth of the world and wonder why we don’t feel clean and close to God.

• We can’t live on the dark side and expect the light to shine on and in us... Because it won’t.

• We can’t seek the world and the things of the world and find God!...

There has to be a change... A turning...A seeking!

• We must turn from our wicked ways.

Give up our favorite sin... That sin that so easily besets us.

WHY?... Because Scripture tells us there is no continual sin cleansing... No blood purifying of sin... Unless we’re willing to confess the sin... forsake the sin... Repent... Turn from it...And walk in the light with Jesus... Amen?

 

Well... We end our lesson with a short self-test... An honest self-inventory... READY?

Have we made the decision that... We want... More than anything in life... An intimate... Walking... Talking... Handholding... Relationship with God… His people… His family???

 

Are we trusting Him and His guidance in every arena of life?

 

Are we seeking to fill ourselves with the knowledge of God... Seeking to obey His will daily?

 

Are we seeking to… Acknowledge Him... Worship Him... In our daily walk.

 

Are we seeking to serve Him by becoming a changed person...

• Forsaking the world and the things of the world...

• While seeking to be like Jesus in… Thoughts...  Attitude... And behavior? 

 

Has the lesson spoken to you this morning?

 

Has God touched your heart in any way?

 

Seek Him...

• By becoming His child...

• By acknowledging some sin...

• By vowing to strengthen your faith and trust.

 

We’re here to help if you need assistance in seeking God... As we stand and sing.