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← Some Thoughts on Walking with God - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 111 created 04/09/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Would you please open in God's Word
  2. to 1 John 1:1.
  3. 1 John 1:1.
  4. "That which was from the beginning,
  5. which we have heard,
  6. which we have seen with our eyes,
  7. which we looked upon
  8. and have touched with our hands,
  9. concerning the word of life -
  10. the life was made manifest,
  11. and we have seen it,
  12. and testify to it
  13. and proclaimed to you
  14. the eternal life,
  15. which was with the Father
  16. and was made manifest to us-
  17. that which we have seen and heard
  18. we proclaim also to you,
  19. so that you too may
    have fellowship with us;
  20. and indeed our fellowship
  21. is with the Father and with His Son,
  22. Jesus Christ
  23. We are writing these
    things so that our joy
  24. may be complete."
  25. Brothers and sisters,

  26. when we read John's Gospel -
  27. not this first epistle, but his Gospel -
  28. John is pretty plain to tell us
  29. who he's addressing.
  30. Let me just quote John.
  31. John 20:30.
  32. You don't need to
    turn there but listen.
  33. This comes from John's Gospel.
  34. It gives us John's own reason
  35. for writing the Gospel.
  36. "Now Jesus," he says,
  37. "did many other signs
  38. in the presence of His disciples
  39. which are not written in this book."
  40. The book is the Gospel of John.
  41. "But these are written,"
  42. here he is going to tell
    us the reason why,
  43. "so that you may believe
  44. that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
  45. and that by believing you may have life
  46. in His name."
  47. John writes his Gospel to the lost,

  48. so that they might believe.
  49. But when we come to John's first epistle,
  50. John is not seeking to convince the lost
  51. in hopes that they will believe.
  52. John distinctly writes this letter
  53. to those who are already Christian
  54. and I want to show you this.
  55. Let your eyes go down to 1 John 2:1.
  56. "My little children,"
  57. he's writing to Christians,
  58. "I'm writing these things--"
  59. what "these things"?
  60. All of chapter one.
  61. "To you so that,"
  62. well all of chapter one
    and all of the epistle.
  63. "But I'm writing these things to you..."
  64. to who? To "little children."
  65. 1 John 2:7:
  66. "Beloved."
  67. You use beloved because
    they're beloved of God.
  68. "I'm writing you,"
  69. that's who he is writing too.
  70. 1 John 2:12:
  71. "I'm writing to you little children..."
  72. who are these little children?
  73. Well, they're the ones
    whose sins are forgiven
  74. for His namesake.
  75. He says in verse 13,
  76. "I'm writing to you fathers
    because you know Him."
  77. These are people that know God.
  78. If you go to 1 John 2:18:
  79. "Children."
  80. 1 John 2:21:
  81. "I write to you," who?
  82. "Not because you do not know the
    truth but because you know it."
  83. These are people that know the truth.
  84. 1 John 3:1: "See what kind of love
  85. the Father has given to us."
  86. John's including himself
    with his audience.
  87. That what?
  88. "We should be called
    the children of God."
  89. That's who this is to and for.
  90. And so we are.
  91. We're the children of God.
  92. If you go to 1 John 3:2,
  93. "Beloved, we are God's children..."
  94. That's who this is written to.
  95. 1 John 3:7,
  96. "Little children;"
  97. 1 John 3:13,
  98. "Do not be surprised, brothers..."
  99. 1 John 3:18,
  100. "Little children."
  101. 1 John 3:21,
  102. "Beloved;"
  103. 1 John 4:1,
  104. "Beloved."
  105. I mean what you see is:
  106. "Little children,"
  107. "beloved,"
  108. "God's children."
  109. You see this kind of terminology
  110. literally every few verses.
  111. 1 John 4:11,
  112. "Beloved."
  113. 1 John 5:13,
  114. "I write these things to you who believe."
  115. That's who he's writing to.
  116. 1 John 5:21, the book ends:
  117. "Little children, keep
    yourselves from idols."
  118. I think you get the idea.
  119. 1 John is not written for
    the same purpose

  120. as John's Gospel.
  121. It's not written to unbelievers
  122. that they might believe.
  123. This epistle is specifically targeting
  124. God's children.
  125. It's not like James
  126. You remember when David
    went through James?
  127. I mean when I read James
  128. I try to follow,
  129. "Ok, is he talking to a believer here?"
  130. "Is he talking to an unbeliever?"
  131. When you were going
    through it, I always thought,
  132. "How's David going to handle this?"
  133. Because with James,
  134. you're just not certain
    a lot of the times.
  135. But there is no doubt
    with John in this epistle
  136. who he's writing to.
  137. There's no doubt whatsoever.
  138. Now that doesn't mean
    the lost can't read it
  139. and even, you know, perhaps get saved
  140. through exposure to its truths.
  141. But the principle audience
  142. John has in mind are Christians.
  143. Now there is a reason
    I am emphasizing this.

  144. I emphasize this
  145. because it helps us recognize
  146. what's going on back up in 1 John 1:3.
  147. When you hear this,
  148. "So that you too--"
  149. he's saying we "proclaim this truth
  150. about this Christ whom we felt,
  151. and heard, and saw.
  152. We proclaimed this to you
  153. so that you too may
    have fellowship with us
  154. and indeed our fellowship
    is with the Father
  155. and with His Son Jesus Christ."
  156. We don't want to imagine
  157. that these words are aimed
  158. primarily at unbelievers.
  159. Listen.
  160. 1 John 2:13
  161. "I am writing to you, fathers." Why?
  162. "Because you know Him."
  163. These are people that do know Him.
  164. They do have some intimacy with Him.
  165. Again in verse 13.
  166. of chapter 2.
  167. "I write to you children
  168. because you know the Father."
  169. There's some level of intimacy there.
  170. Verse 14,
  171. "I write to you fathers
    because you know Him
  172. who is from the beginning."
  173. Look, John speaks about fellowship
  174. to these people much the same way
  175. and in much the same manner
  176. as he speaks to them
    about abiding in Christ.
  177. You go to 1 John 2:28,
  178. What does it say?
  179. "Little children, abide in Him."
  180. Now let's think about that truth,

  181. "abiding in Christ".
  182. Do you know that John tells us
  183. in John 15
  184. that if you don't abide in Christ
  185. what happens to you?
  186. "If anyone does not abide in Christ
  187. he is thrown away like
    a branch and withers,
  188. and the branches are gathered,
    thrown into the fire and burned."
  189. Here's the truth:
  190. does every Christian abide in Christ?
  191. Yeah!
  192. Well if they do,
  193. I mean if that's part of the essence
  194. of what it is to be a Christian,
  195. why do you tell the little children
  196. to abide in Him?
  197. Brethren, that's just
    consistent with the way
  198. Scripture operates.
  199. Scripture all over the place,
  200. gives us these indicatives, these truths.
  201. This is the way it is.
  202. And then it comes right around
  203. and gives us the imperatives.
  204. And it commands us to do the very things
  205. that over here it tells us
  206. will always be true of the Christian.
  207. Over here it tells us to do those things
  208. that are always true of the Christian.
  209. That's the way it is.
  210. "Little children, abide in Him."
  211. And it's the same with fellowship.
  212. John presses us into the inner circle
  213. of this fellowship with the
    Father and with the Son.
  214. Why?
  215. Not because he thinks
    we are on the outside
  216. of those windows
    out there looking in,
  217. wishing, well, you know
  218. we could have a part
    with the people of God.
  219. That's not it. But
    because we, as Christians,
  220. need to be pressed.
  221. We need to be pressed to continue
  222. more and more in this fellowship
  223. and to dive further and further in!
  224. In fact I want you to notice

  225. what John says in 1 John 2:1.
  226. Now we looked at it
  227. but I want you to look at it more closely.
  228. "My little children,
  229. I'm writing these things to you
  230. so that you may not sin."
  231. Now notice three things about this verse.
  232. First, again, who's John
    specifically writing to?
  233. Believers!
  234. "My little children."
  235. Second.
  236. What's his purpose for writing to them?
  237. That they may not sin.
  238. But third,
  239. what are "these things?"
  240. that he writes to them
    that they may not sin.
  241. I mean if someone just got done writing
  242. to you, and they just wrote
  243. a couple paragraphs
  244. and you're reading through the letter
  245. from them to you
  246. and you've read a couple paragraphs
  247. and then you come to where it says,
  248. "I'm writing these things
    so that you may not sin;"
  249. it's pretty normal and naturally intuitive
  250. to think that "these things"
  251. are the things he just
    got done writing to you.
  252. Now that doesn't mean that there's
    not application to the whole letter.
  253. But certainly he's
    talking about chapter 1!
  254. Chapter one is in view here.
  255. And chapter one is about fellowship.
  256. Listen, fellowship gets mentioned
  257. four times in chapter one.
  258. Fellowship with God is
    certainly a major incentive
  259. to not sin, is it not?
  260. Isn't fellowship with God
  261. an incentive not to sin?
  262. Maybe you're not making the connection.
  263. Why is fellowship with God
    an incentive not to sin?
  264. Well, obviously because sin is the major
  265. disturber of fellowship with God.
  266. But again, my point that I'm making to you
  267. is that I want you to see that John
  268. is addressing Christians in chapter 1.
  269. He tells us that
  270. by the very thing that
    he says in 1 John 2:1.
  271. You know what John's doing?
  272. He's coming alongside us believers,
  273. in 1 John 2:1,
  274. and he's encouraging purity.
  275. I mean he's saying,
    "I'm writing these things..."
  276. the encouragement to purity
  277. is in the things that
    he's writing. But he says,
  278. "I write these things to you
    that you might not sin."
  279. Now yes, there may be failure,
  280. and if so we have an advocate,
  281. Jesus Christ the Righteous.
  282. But we're to be pressing towards
  283. more and more purity.
  284. I'll tell you this,
  285. fellowship with God
  286. and purity go hand and in hand.
  287. There's a real connection there.
  288. Now, if we fail, there's blood.
  289. If we fail, we can confess.
  290. But they go hand in hand,
  291. and he's encouraging purity and progress.
  292. He's pressing us onward and inward
  293. fighting to maintain fellowship,
  294. striving to abide in Christ.
  295. And so, I come to the
    question of the hour.

  296. How is your fellowship with God?
  297. That's the question that
    I want us to think about.
  298. Every Christian ought to be able to say -
  299. doesn't John say it so boldly?
  300. He says, "Our fellowship
    is with the Father
  301. and with His Son Jesus Christ."
  302. I mean are we all able to say that?
  303. Can we say that boldly?
  304. Can you come in here today and say that,
  305. "Yes! I know it!"
  306. "That is my life!"
  307. "My life is one of fellowship
  308. with the Father and with His Son.
  309. I know it!"
  310. "Since I've been saved, that is true!"
  311. That is normative of my life.
  312. That is descriptive of my life.
  313. That is true!
  314. I see it!
  315. Oh it's not where I want it to be!
  316. Some days, I can't find Him
    the way that I want to find Him.
  317. But as a rule,
  318. I have walked with the Lord,
  319. and I know what that is.
  320. And it's heaven on earth.
  321. It's as best as it gets here.
  322. And the little bit that I've tasted
  323. I would not turn back from the world."
  324. Can you say that?
  325. Can you say that dogmatically
  326. like he says it?
  327. Or are you seized by hesitation?
  328. Does conscience hold back?
  329. And look you know what
    I'm talking about here.
  330. John hit on it.
  331. We're not talking doctrine here.
  332. We're not talking just the knowledge,
  333. a head knowledge.
  334. I'm not talking about whether you
    made it to church on Sunday.
  335. I'm talking about this, can you say
  336. "I walk with the Lord"?
  337. Can you say that?
  338. Are you walking with Him?
  339. Jesus Christ died to purchase us
  340. the privilege to walk with God.
  341. That's what He died for.
  342. That's what this is all about.
  343. So let's think about this
    relationship with God.

  344. Let's put our minds there.
  345. Let's think about how we nurture this.
  346. And I want to give you
    some thoughts this morning.
  347. Maybe that's what we'll call it,
  348. "Some Thoughts on Walking with God."
  349. That's the title.
  350. Here's the first point
    that I want to make.

  351. Fellowship with God takes effort.
  352. Look if I were to ask you this,
  353. "Does God want your love?"
  354. I mean you can think about the
    chiefest of all commandments.
  355. Are we to love the Father?
  356. Are we to love the Son?
  357. Well, any of you that are married
  358. for any amount of time,
  359. you're past your honeymoon,
  360. is love always easy?
  361. I mean, fellowship with the Father
  362. and with the Son is not automatic.
  363. And it is not effortless.
  364. Any relationship in this world
  365. that has any sort of real depth or value
  366. takes time.
  367. And it takes effort.
  368. I mean you answer this,

  369. do good marriages happen spontaneously?
  370. I hear "no's."
  371. I mean does anybody raise their hand
  372. and says, "yes mine
    happens spontaneously."
  373. Della.
  374. She's laughing, so I take that as a no.
  375. There's effort there. Effort!
  376. Look, you know what you know.
  377. if you look over and you
    see a good marriage -
  378. I mean it's good.
  379. You can see, they are happily married.
  380. You can be certain about this.
  381. You can be certain that somewhere
  382. in that good marriage,
  383. you're going to find somebody
  384. who's doing something to keep
  385. that marriage close, warm, healthy.
  386. Are you not?
  387. I mean somebody in there
  388. is working to communicate.
  389. Somebody is working to keep
  390. the kind of words and actions that tend
  391. to cause distance.
  392. They're working at that.
  393. They're working to keep
    those things out of there.
  394. They're going after them.
  395. Somebody is committed to
    battling through hard situations
  396. and hurt feelings and suspicion
  397. and anger that crops up
  398. and distrust and hostility and grudges
  399. and resentment and offenses.
  400. I mean somebody there
  401. is making an effort.
  402. And look, the thing is God regards Himself

  403. as our Husband.
  404. This is a relationship that we're in.
  405. The Lord is our Husband.
  406. Is this any different? Yes.
  407. In some ways it is different.
  408. He is invisible to my naked eye.
  409. He is high and He is holy.
  410. And He is lifted up.
  411. And that is true.
  412. But you remember this,
  413. we have a personal God.
  414. Scripture tells us He feels.
  415. Scripture tell us He is sensitive.
  416. That's what it tells us.
  417. And I recognize that this is different
    about the relationship too,
  418. one of us -
  419. one of us is perfect.
  420. And it's not me.
  421. That's different.
  422. And you know what that means.
  423. It means that whenever
    my relationship with Him
  424. becomes strained or there's distance,
  425. it's never His fault.
  426. It's mine.
  427. That I know.
  428. It's always my fault.
  429. But it is a relationship.
  430. And it's one that we have to
    work at and make time for.
  431. Listen, any relationship in
    your life that's healthy,
  432. you need to work at it.
  433. And we need to work.
  434. There's priorities.
  435. This walk with the Lord
    needs to be a priority.
  436. It needs to be something that
    we are giving thought to,
  437. that we are giving our mind, our heart to.
  438. There has to be a prioritization.
  439. We must make choices
  440. that nurture this relationship.
  441. We must turn away from the things
  442. that create distance between us and God.
  443. Priority! Priority!
  444. This takes effort!
  445. This takes time!
  446. There's going to be an exertion.
  447. It doesn't happen for free.
  448. Oh yeah you get into it for free.
  449. But there's effort.
  450. That's the thing we need to recognize.
  451. There is effort.
  452. Did James not say, "draw near to God."
  453. God says that to us,
  454. "draw near to Me
  455. and I will draw near to you."
  456. When you think about fighting
    the good fight of faith,

  457. fighting the good fight of faith,
  458. I mean one of the points of that fight
  459. is just staying where we trust God.
  460. That's what faith is all about.
  461. We're fighting to trust Him.
  462. We're fighting to keep our hope in Him.
  463. We're fighting for that.
  464. There's a battle in this.
  465. You have all manner of enemies
  466. that are moving at you
  467. to distract you away.
  468. And to take your time away.
  469. And to take your eyes off.
  470. To move you away from this relationship.
  471. You've got to fight for this relationship.
  472. A man will fight for his marriage.
  473. We got to fight for this.
  474. This is the chiefest of all relationships.
  475. We've got to fight for it!
  476. That means priorities in your life!
  477. Is it a priority in your life?
  478. You know, if you hesitated,
  479. your conscience wouldn't let you say,
  480. "Yes, I can boldly say
  481. my fellowship is with the
    Father and with His Son!"
  482. One of the reasons you may have hesitated
  483. is because you don't
    have your priorities right.
  484. And your conscience knows it.
  485. Your walk with God is not
    what it ought to be
  486. because your priorities are
    not what they ought to be.
  487. Effort brethren!
  488. Effort!
  489. The second thing.

  490. Worship and honor are essential
  491. to this relationship.
  492. Now John was telling us in
    the Sunday school about missions.
  493. And he's calling us, you
    know, to give ourselves
  494. to one another in love
  495. and help encourage one another
  496. so that we might see this church grow
  497. and people being able
    to be launched forth.
  498. But you just remember this,
  499. missions is never the end.
  500. Missions is not the goal.
  501. What does God want most?
  502. He wants our heart.
  503. He wants our love.
  504. He wants our worship.
  505. This thing is about worship, by and large.
  506. That's the chief thing.
  507. Piper said it in his book on missions.
  508. You know the reason we launch
  509. off to those foreign coasts
  510. is because there isn't worship there.
  511. That's what we're after.
  512. That's what we're longing for.
  513. Now look, I want you to
    all turn to over to Malachi 1.

  514. Some of you, you're familiar with this.
  515. But I want you to see this,
  516. I want you to feel this.
  517. We're talking about
  518. some thoughts on walking with God
  519. and we're going to let the Lord Himself
  520. speak to us about some things that,
  521. to Him, are of chief importance
  522. in this walk that we have with Him.
  523. If you go to Malachi 1:6.
  524. Watch this. Last book
    in the Old Testament,
  525. if you're looking for it.
  526. Right before Matthew.
  527. "A son honors his Father
  528. and a servant his master.
  529. If then, I am a Father,
    where is My honor?"
  530. God wants honor.
  531. God deserves honor.
  532. God is worthy of honor!
  533. "If I am a master, where is my fear?"
  534. Now you see, intimacy - yes.
  535. But you need to remember this,
  536. the one that we are
    in relationship with here
  537. is God Almighty.
  538. And there needs to be a fear on our part
  539. and there needs to be an honor.
  540. We are not equals.
  541. "'Where is My fear?'
  542. says the Lord of Hosts,
  543. 'To you, O priests who despise My name.'
  544. But you say,
  545. 'How have we despised your name?'"
  546. And you know what that
    happens to many of us.
  547. If God could speak to you right now -
  548. well, He can.
  549. But if He did speak to you audibly
  550. or in written word through a prophet
  551. just like this,
  552. He may say the same things about you.
  553. "You despise Me."
  554. And for many of you who do despise Him,
  555. you would say, "Where do I despise Him?"
  556. "Well, by offering polluted
    food upon My altar."
  557. Now look, we offer sacrifices
  558. as New Testament believers.
  559. Our sacrifices are good works.
  560. Our sacrifices are sharing what we have.
  561. Our sacrifices are the praise of our lips.
  562. You get many texts in the New Testament
  563. that talk about the
    sacrifices that we offer.
  564. But you say,
  565. "How have we polluted you?"
  566. "By saying that the Lord's
    table may be despised."
  567. Now watch this,
  568. "When you offer blind animals in sacrfice
  569. is that not evil?"
  570. Now here's the thing.
  571. Here's a thing that I want you to see.
  572. These priests were making the offering.
  573. You say, you know, I do this.
  574. I do that. I'm at church! Right?
  575. I mean I'm there.
  576. God looks at the quality
  577. because the quality has a lot to do with
  578. where your heart is.
  579. He says, when you're offering
  580. substandard sacrifices
  581. God says, "Is that not evil?"
  582. And He's looking for
  583. an answer that you all know.
  584. Yes, it is evil when you offer
  585. substandard sacrifices to God.
  586. "When you offer those that are lame
  587. or sick is that not evil?"
  588. Present that to your governor.
  589. You know when I think about worship,

  590. I think, oh, I want to be in my seat
  591. when God's word begins to be preached.
  592. I want to be in my seat
  593. when they begin to sing His--
  594. I want to hear from Him.
  595. I want to be ready.
  596. You know,
  597. the problem with this whole setup here is
  598. everybody that walks in late
  599. you all see it.
  600. And you know, the thing is
  601. would you guys walk into work like that?
  602. Offer it to your governor!
  603. Offer it to your boss!
  604. Will he accept it?
  605. And I'm not saying
  606. that whether you make it on time
  607. is the pinnacle of all this.
  608. But I can tell you this,
  609. when somebody's
    walking with the Lord
  610. and their heart - their heart is hungry,
  611. Oh, I want to be there when
    the Word's opened up.
  612. I don't want to miss any of it.
  613. I want to be there when they sing.
    I don't want to miss any of it.
  614. Where are your priorities?
  615. You see this has to do
    with walking with God,
  616. not just appeasing
    those who are watching.
  617. But as what are you offering to Him?
  618. What are you offering?
  619. Are you giving?
  620. And I know some are.
  621. There's sacrifice.
  622. But when you walk with the Lord,
  623. He watches to see the qualtity.
  624. Why? Because the quality matters.
  625. Men, you come to this woman
  626. and you say, "will you marry me?"
  627. And then she finds out you got
    the ring from a pawn shop,
  628. Is she going to be affected by that?
  629. Well, some might not be.
  630. But some might just be prudent,
  631. "Well I'm glad he did that."
  632. He saved a bunch of money,
  633. now we can get into a house sooner.
  634. Ask her first if that's ok.
  635. But look, the reality is,
  636. I mean he might as well say
  637. not just your governor,
  638. would your wife accept that?
  639. I mean the truth is,
  640. that we become negligent
  641. with the way that we serve God.
  642. We give Him the leftovers.
  643. You wake up in the morning
  644. and boy, the best part of your day,
  645. and what do you do with it?
  646. Well you wake up fifteen minutes
    before you got to be at work,
  647. and so the best part of your day,
  648. those first hours
  649. you give to your employer.
  650. Or you hit the weights.
  651. Or you turn on the news.
  652. Not all of you do that.
  653. But are you giving God the best?
  654. I mean when you walk with Him,
  655. He's mindful of that.
  656. You can see it right
    here in the Scriptures.
  657. I mean He says,
  658. "Present that to your governor,
  659. will he accept you or show you favor?"
  660. says the Lord of Hosts.
  661. I mean, come on!
  662. Don't give to God
  663. what you wouldn't give to your parents!
  664. Don't give to God what you
    wouldn't give to your spouse.
  665. Don't give to God what you
    wouldn't give to your boss.
  666. Or to your governor.
  667. Don't do that!
  668. God is worthy of your best.
  669. Walk with Him this way.
  670. He's says,
  671. "For from the rising of
    the sun to its setting
  672. My name will be great among the nations."
  673. Do you all remember when David -

  674. remember David did a foolish thing,
  675. and he went and he numbered the people.
  676. And you remember the prophet
    came to him and said,
  677. "Well God sent me with a message.
  678. David, you got to pick
    one of three bad things.
  679. I mean you're either going to get
  680. three days, three months, or three years
  681. of some really horrible stuff."
  682. And David said,
  683. "I don't want God to turn me
    over into the hands of men;
  684. let God do it."
  685. And He brought three days of pestilence.
  686. And you may remember what happened there.
  687. In the end of that whole scenario,
  688. he was to go to this man Araunah.
  689. To his threshing floor.
  690. Araunah saw him coming and said,
  691. "I am coming and I have to build
  692. an altar and make a sacrifice here."
  693. And Araunah said, "David, it's all yours."
  694. Do you remember what David said?
  695. He said, "I will not give to the Lord
  696. that which cost me nothing."
  697. Are you giving to the Lord
    that which costs you nothing.
  698. The lame thing,
  699. You see when they brought the blind thing,
  700. what did that say?
  701. Well, it was the lamb they didn't want!
  702. Don't do that to God?
    David wouldn't do it.
  703. He was a man after God's own heart.
  704. Imitate David in this.
  705. You remember what was
    said in the days of Eli?
  706. That God honors those who honor Him.
  707. Just that's the second thing.
  708. Worship and honor are essential
    to this relationship.
  709. The third thing I would say.

  710. Sin wrecks intimacy.
  711. And here we might go back to 1 John 2:1
  712. where it says, "My little children
  713. I am writing these things to you
  714. so that you may not sin."
  715. Remember one of the things
    he's written to them
  716. or he's mentioned four times
  717. in that first chapter
  718. which is clearly an emphasis to him
  719. is he's talking to Christians
  720. about fellowship with God.
  721. It's the perfect thing to
    talk to God's children about,
  722. who you want to encourage not to sin.
  723. And why?
  724. Is the danger that they're
    going to go to hell?
  725. Perish forever?
  726. Well, not for God's true children
  727. who are trusting in Christ alone.
  728. Who are clinging to His cross work
  729. as their only hope.
  730. For the true Christian,
  731. sin - there's no condemnation.
  732. And we have an Advocate.
  733. That's what he's assuring us of.
  734. But it ruins close
    fellowship and intimacy.
  735. Brethren!
  736. Throughout history, the men and the women
  737. who have, among God's children,
  738. who have had the privileges
  739. to ascend that hill of the Lord
  740. into the secret places
  741. of God's most glorious manifest presence.
  742. Brethren, throughout the age of man,
  743. there have been those
    that had been invited
  744. most closely into manifestations of God.
  745. And I'll guarantee you this,
  746. you're hard pressed to find
  747. that it's ever been
    the spiritually sloppy.
  748. We have too many professing Christians
  749. who sin cheap!
  750. You just sell it for a song!
  751. Walking with Him.
  752. Some of you need to stop and think

  753. before you do and say
    the things you do and say!
  754. You need to count the cost
  755. of the intimacy with God
  756. that's going to be lost
  757. for doing those very things
  758. that some of you do
  759. and some of you say.
  760. Brethren, we have to walk
  761. recognizing God is sensitive.
  762. Our sin hurts closeness.
  763. And I know, the Lord is gracious.
  764. And I know that there are times
  765. that when we do stupid and foolish things,
  766. and we are expecting Him
  767. to turn His back on us
  768. or to take the rod to us,
  769. and He just lavishes us
    with hugs and kisses.
  770. I know that, but listen,
  771. the innermost regions
    of fellowship with God
  772. goes beyond anything in this world.
  773. It's glorious without description.
  774. Those that have tasted of it
  775. can barely put words together
  776. to describe to other people.
  777. But it's a very sensitive place to walk.
  778. Very delicate.
  779. Martin Lloyd-Jones,

  780. I came across this,
  781. I don't even know where I got this from,
  782. but he said,
  783. "The air here in this region--"
  784. these innermost regions,
  785. he said, "it's very pure and very rarified
  786. and slight changes are immediately felt."
  787. You know we can grieve God.
  788. Ephesians chapter four warns us
  789. against grieving the Holy Spirit.
  790. Brethren you think
    about grieving the Spirit
  791. We don't have a God who is
  792. cold and indifferent
  793. and distant and disinterested.
  794. Brethren, grief.

  795. You think about grief.
  796. Who has the greatest
    ability to cause you grief?
  797. I mean, you think about it.
  798. If John happens to be walking over
  799. somewhere in Mozambique or in Nepal,
  800. and somebody, you know,
  801. somebody just said,
  802. "I hate you Christians!"
  803. Well, John just shakes that off.
  804. If his wife said that to him...
  805. Who has the greatest
    ability to cause you grief?
  806. And here we have God,
  807. He's bidding us not to grieve Him.
  808. The more one person loves another
  809. the more the person doing
    the loving is affected by
  810. any coldness or any distance
  811. or any failure
  812. on the part of the one who they're
  813. extending their love to.
  814. Brother. Sister.
  815. Would you suppose that your sins
  816. don't grieve God?
  817. I mean do read that text and say,
  818. "Well, that's for somebody else
  819. it's certainly not for me when I sin."
  820. Brethren, that's given to common
  821. brothers and sisters at Ephesus.
  822. People just like you and just like me.
  823. I mean did Jesus not say -

  824. speaking of His manifest presence -
  825. He said this,
  826. "I will love him and
    manifest Myself to him."
  827. Who is that?
  828. Well, "whoever has My commandments."
  829. You see this is a person
    that's walking in truth.
  830. This a person walking in righteousness.
  831. They are walking in obedience.
  832. "Whoever has My commandments
    and keeps them,
  833. he it is who loves Me,
  834. and he who loves Me
    will be loved by My Father
  835. and I will love him and
    manifest Myself to him."
  836. Look, are you going to forsake
  837. a closer walk with Him
  838. for some cheap sin?
  839. Is Jesus not making it clear
  840. that our fellowship with God
  841. is clearly impacted by our obedience?
  842. I mean look, the doctrine of justification
  843. is a wonderful doctrine.
  844. But the reason some of you walk around
  845. with a cloud hanging over
    your head all the time
  846. is because you sin way too easily.
  847. Yeah, the doctrine of
    justification is wonderful,
  848. but if you're living an impure life -
  849. you're regularly giving God
  850. the off-scouring, the leftovers;
  851. if you're walking like that,
  852. brethren, it's not surprising
  853. that you're not enjoying
  854. the manifestations of God
  855. the way others are.
  856. I mean the more we humbly obey Him,
  857. empowered by His Spirit,
  858. helped by His grace,
  859. the more intimate is our fellowship
  860. with the Father and the Son.
  861. I mean ask yourself this,

  862. (incomplete thought)
  863. Choices.
  864. Sin.
  865. Intimacy.
  866. Do I want this empty, fleeting pleasure
  867. of this sin, or do I want
  868. the unsearchable riches
  869. of what this fellowship
  870. with the Father and with His Son
  871. is going to be.
  872. John tells in chapter 1
  873. how this deeper walk with God
  874. can become a reality.
  875. What did he say?
  876. He said, "Walk in God's light."
  877. Bring all your words,
  878. bring all your actions into the light.
  879. Bring your sin into the light.
  880. Be honest about your sins.
  881. Confess them to God for
    forgiveness and cleansing.
  882. But press on brethren.
  883. Walking in the light.
  884. Walk in the light.
  885. That's where your fellowship with God is.
  886. It's in the light.
  887. And he says, "I write these
    things to you that you sin not.
  888. Well, that's the third thing.
  889. Sin wrecks intimacy.
  890. Let's move on even into the realm

  891. where we're not talking
    specifically about sin.
  892. I would say fourthly,
  893. beware of distractions.
  894. Of course sin always hinders fellowship.
  895. But so often our problem is not with sin.
  896. It's with the things that are permissible.
  897. And you remember how Paul said it.
  898. He said, "All things
    are lawful," but what?
  899. He said it various ways.
  900. But what?
  901. Not all things are profitable.
  902. Not all things edify.
  903. Not all things build up.
  904. Beware!
  905. Beware of the things that pull you
  906. away from the Lord!
  907. I'll tell you this, the devil
  908. will happily have you doing lawful things
  909. if it keeps you away from
  910. intimacy with God.
  911. Be sure of it.
  912. Be sure!
  913. How many professing Christians
  914. squander precious time?
  915. O brethren!
  916. If we could have all the time
  917. from every one of you that has been
  918. spent foolishly in social media!
  919. And we can just put it together
  920. that precious time like gold
  921. and take it back from Facebook
  922. and whatever other things
    they got out there now.
  923. They're just inviting new
    ones one after another.
  924. They're just time
    absorbers for Christians.
  925. How many professing Christians squander
  926. that precious time spent with the Lord
  927. not just on social media but
  928. laying in bed!
  929. Or, TV.
  930. Or movies, music, and clothes,
  931. and houses and gardens and yards,
  932. and hobbies.
  933. There's all this stuff that just chews up.
  934. If you live a life
  935. where you regularly make choices
  936. allowing other things,
  937. it just becomes a pattern.
  938. You're making these choices.
  939. Constantly making choices that crowd out
  940. time spent with the living God
  941. and in His Word,
  942. and talking with Him,
  943. and in meditation;
  944. You're not going to grow closer.
  945. You're not going to grow more intimate.
  946. Brethren, the place where the glory comes;
  947. the place of transformation,
  948. Paul tells us is when
    you behold His glory.
  949. And that doesn't mean,

  950. oh, you wake up in the morning
  951. and five minutes you're there
  952. and then you're out.
  953. That's all you gave God.
  954. The best of your time
    you've given to the world.
  955. You've given to other stuff.
  956. You think that is just going to emblazon
  957. the image of Christ on you?
  958. No!
  959. You do not have a quality walk with God,
  960. any less then you can have
    a quality walk with a wife
  961. if it's just five minutes.
  962. That doesn't work.
  963. Beware of the distractions.
  964. Beware! Beware! Beware!
  965. Brethren, if you can
    put on spiritual glasses

  966. and but see and look with me
  967. at the Song of Solomon.
  968. Go back there.
  969. Right after the Proverbs.
  970. You have this Song of Solomon
  971. after the Psalms
  972. and after the Proverbs.
  973. Like I say if you can put
    the spiritual glasses on,
  974. did Christ not tell us
  975. that Scripture is all about Him
  976. and I believe the Song of Solomon
  977. is not just a story about Solomon
  978. and one of his earthly wives.
  979. I believe that this is a picture,
  980. as many of the forefathers
  981. have down through history
  982. believed that this is a picture
  983. of Christ and His Church.
  984. And if you look at the Song of Solomon 5:2
  985. the church is saying this,
  986. "I slept, but my heart was awake."
  987. I mean this is a person
    who's thinking on Christ.
  988. "...the sound;
  989. my Beloved is knocking."
  990. Christ has come knocking.
  991. "Open to Me, My sister."
  992. This is Christ calling out to the church.
  993. My sister open.
  994. I want even a greater closeness.
  995. "My love, My dove, My perfect one,
  996. for My head is wet with dew,
  997. My locks with the drops of the night."
  998. How the church responded,
  999. with an excuse.
  1000. That's all this is.
  1001. "Well, I've put off my garment,
  1002. how can I put it on again?"
  1003. I've bathed my feet;
  1004. I'm going to get them
    dirty if I go on the floor.
  1005. And do you known what this moment
  1006. of hesitation cost her?
  1007. My Beloved put His hand to the latch
  1008. and my heart was thrilled within me.
  1009. I arose to open to my Beloved,
  1010. and my hands dripped with myrrh,
  1011. my fingers with liquid myrrh,
  1012. on the handles of the bolt.
  1013. I opened to my Beloved,
  1014. but my Beloved had turned and gone.
  1015. Brethren, there are times when the Lord

  1016. is bidding us to come.
  1017. You feel prompted to pray.
  1018. You feel prompted to get alone.
  1019. And you don't do it.
  1020. You know what?
  1021. It's not even that she didn't do it.
  1022. She did it.
  1023. She just took too much time
  1024. thinking about it.
  1025. Give yourself freely to Christ.
  1026. Oh, be ready when He prompts, to go.
  1027. To you who are young,

  1028. you're full of health and strength.
  1029. We need to stop and think.
  1030. What are all those
    things that you're trading
  1031. for time with Christ?
  1032. What are they? You tell me!
  1033. What real rest have they
    brought to your soul?
  1034. What real joy have they brought to you?
  1035. What quietness in your spirit?
  1036. What true satisfaction?
  1037. You know it. You know it as well as I do.
  1038. Their pleasures are fleeting
  1039. and they're quickly hollow.
  1040. But Christ is never that way.
  1041. He's truly satisfying.
  1042. Do those things that you trade,
  1043. I mean are they really fit
  1044. objects for your highest love?
  1045. Think about what you're
    giving your life to?
  1046. You're walking with God.
  1047. Christ bought us the privilege!
  1048. Don't squander this in idleness
  1049. and foolishness,
  1050. wasting your precious time!
  1051. I can remember reading -

  1052. I think Spurgeon tells this story
  1053. about a man who was in his eighties,
  1054. and he got converted.
  1055. Yeah, I think he got
    converted in a meeting,
  1056. and in the very same meeting
  1057. he just wailed.
  1058. Seeking to console him,
  1059. "You've been saved."
  1060. He just wailed because
  1061. he had wasted his life.
  1062. It was gone.
  1063. I mean Isaiah says it,
  1064. "Why spend your money for that
  1065. which is not bread?"
  1066. And I would say fifthly this,

  1067. prayer is vital to this fellowship.
  1068. Prayer.
  1069. Listen to this again in Song of Solomon.
  1070. If you're still there look at 2:14.
  1071. Song of Solomon 2:14.
  1072. This is Christ speaking
    to His church again,
  1073. "O My dove, in the clefts of the rock,
  1074. in the crannies of the cliff,
  1075. let Me see your face,
  1076. let Me hear your voice,
  1077. for your voice is sweet,
  1078. and your face is lovely."
  1079. It's like Christ is saying to His people,
  1080. "Don't go hide
  1081. in the cracks and crevices.
  1082. Come out and speak to Me.
  1083. I want to hear your voice."
  1084. I mean sometimes we feel like
  1085. oh, we can hardly pray.
  1086. All it is groans and sighs.
  1087. But Jesus is saying,
  1088. "Your voice to Me is sweet.
  1089. Come out to Me in all your weakness."
  1090. I mean, it's like a parent whose child
  1091. struggles to get these words out.
  1092. The child is not despised by his parents.
  1093. Christ is saying,
  1094. "Your sighing and groaning is sweet to Me.

  1095. I'm not going to mock at it.
  1096. I'm not going to mock at your weakness."
  1097. Look, you won't enjoy
  1098. the deepest of fellowship with God
  1099. unless you learn to speak
  1100. with your Beloved in prayer and praise.
  1101. I mean, brethren, we need
  1102. seasons of prayer.
  1103. We need seasons where we talk.
  1104. I would say sixthly,

  1105. God's Word is vital to this fellowship.
  1106. I mean you know this text well,
  1107. most of you, Isaiah 66:2.
  1108. Don't turn there. But God says,
  1109. "This is the one to whom I will look..."
  1110. who does God look to?
  1111. He looks to those who are
  1112. humble and contrite in spirit
  1113. and tremble at His Word.
  1114. Coming to His Word.
  1115. Trembling at His Word.
  1116. "To them I'll look."
  1117. That look of God.
  1118. That means He'll look on them with favor.
  1119. It means, it's a look
    that is very desirable.
  1120. It's not only that God needs
    to be hearing our voice,
  1121. we must hear the voice
    of God in our souls.
  1122. You're never going to enjoy
    fellowship with Him
  1123. unless your ear is
    trained to hear His voice.
  1124. It's in the Word, yes.
  1125. It comes from pulpits, yes.
  1126. We see that the Psalmist says,
  1127. "The heavens declare it."
  1128. It's in the creation.
  1129. God speaks to us by His Providence.
  1130. He speaks to us in creation.
  1131. He speaks to us through His preachers.
  1132. He speaks to us in His book.
  1133. He speaks to us in
    promptings of the Holy Spirit.
  1134. He speaks to us in conscience.
  1135. He's given Himself a voice
  1136. through many means.
  1137. We need ears,
  1138. not just that are trained to hear,
  1139. but take time to hear.
  1140. O, when you got all the noise coming!
  1141. That's one of the things
  1142. about all the technology today
  1143. it just bombs us with noise!
  1144. I would say seventhly, meditation.

  1145. Close, sweet communion with God
  1146. is kept up by meditation.
  1147. You remember there in Genesis 24.
  1148. Remember what Isaac was doing?
  1149. Here comes his bride-to-be.
  1150. And what was he doing?
  1151. He was walking in the fields.
  1152. Oh, if there is a time
    to walk in the fields -
  1153. sunrise and sunset.
  1154. Especially here in hot Texas.
  1155. But there's a time to get out.
  1156. I don't know, maybe not
    all of you need to walk.
  1157. But oh, walking outside is the place
  1158. for me to meditate.
  1159. I know
  1160. you know Charles and
    John Wesley's mother,
  1161. hers was under an apron.
  1162. The place isn't what's most important.
  1163. But Isaac was out there meditating.
  1164. Meditation is giving real time
  1165. to think and chew,
  1166. to contemplate God's works,
  1167. and His wonders, and His glory,
  1168. and His beauty, and what He says
  1169. in His word.
  1170. And what our needs are, our wants,
  1171. it's how He's working.
  1172. Meditation just rivets the mind
  1173. to biblical truths, and it brings
  1174. God and the soul close together.
  1175. Those of you that know
    something about meditation,
  1176. you know that's true.
  1177. Meditation tends to open our eyes
  1178. to the invisible glory of God.
  1179. Brethren, I'll tell you,
    there have been times -
  1180. Yes, you go in the Word.
  1181. Yes, you have some time in prayer.
  1182. But you walk and you walk,
  1183. and you linger in prayer,
  1184. and just communing with God
  1185. and meditating.
  1186. And you get into that
  1187. maybe a half hour, an hour,
  1188. an hour and a half
  1189. and suddenly God comes!
  1190. If you only did that for ten minutes
  1191. it wouldn't have happened.
  1192. Meditation, brethren.
  1193. Oh, Psalm 63:6, we read there today.
  1194. "I remember You upon my bed
  1195. and meditate on You in
    the watches of the night."
  1196. And I would end with this last point.

  1197. Number 8.
  1198. Christian,
  1199. Scripture says that you are God's garden.
  1200. That is a such a picture for fellowship.
  1201. If you're still there in Song of Solomon
  1202. I want you to turn to chapter 4.
  1203. Scripture describes you as God's garden,
  1204. which means it's a place He wants to come
  1205. and delight Himself in the beauty.
  1206. It's a place God delights to walk.
  1207. I mean, what this is
  1208. is it's God telling His people,
  1209. "I want fellowship with you.
  1210. I want to find the sweetness there.
  1211. I want to enjoy it.
  1212. I want to delight in it."
  1213. If you look at the Song of Solomon 4:10.
  1214. Look what Christ says.
  1215. Christ says this to His church,
  1216. "How beautiful is your love
  1217. My sister, My bride!
  1218. How much better is your love than wine
  1219. and the fragrance of your oils
  1220. than any spice!
  1221. Your lips drip nectar, My bride;
  1222. honey and milk are under your tongue;
  1223. the fragrance of your garments
  1224. is like the fragrance of Lebanon."
  1225. He says this in verse 12.
  1226. "A garden locked is My sister, My bride."
  1227. And then you go to verse 16.
  1228. And the church says,
  1229. "Awake, O north wind,
    and come O south wind!
  1230. Blow upon my garden,
  1231. let its spices flow.
  1232. Let my Beloved come to His garden
  1233. and eat its choicest fruits."
  1234. And then you go to 5:1
  1235. and Christ responds,
  1236. "I came to My garden, My sister, My bride
  1237. I gathered My myrrh with My spice.
  1238. I ate My honeycomb with My honey,
  1239. I drank My wine with My milk.
  1240. Eat, friends, drink,
    and be drunk with love!"
  1241. I just ask you this,

  1242. I mean this is a picture of Christ
  1243. wanting to come and enjoy
  1244. the delights of His garden.
  1245. We really need to see
    the Lord desiring that.
  1246. I think sometimes we have this distant,
  1247. austere idea.
  1248. We don't see God really wanting
  1249. this fellowship.
  1250. Desiring it.
  1251. So I ask you this, how you would you

  1252. rate your fellowship with God?
  1253. We're going to move
    on in 1 John after this.
  1254. But as we leave this topic,
  1255. at least for now,
  1256. how would you rate
    your fellowship with God?
  1257. Is it distant?
  1258. Is it sloppy?
  1259. Disrespectful?
  1260. Casual?
  1261. Is it close?
  1262. Is it precious to you?
  1263. I mean, can you really say that?
  1264. Walking with the Lord is precious.
  1265. How would you rate it?
  1266. Is it intimate?
  1267. Are you the sort of garden
  1268. where God comes looking for fruit
  1269. and He finds it?
  1270. Delights in it?
  1271. I mean this, brethren,
    this is heaven on earth
  1272. for the lover of God.
  1273. It really is.
  1274. And no matter how long
  1275. that you have been a child of God,
  1276. you've got to protect this.
  1277. You've got to make efforts at this.
  1278. This has to be a priority.
  1279. We all make choices.
  1280. We all have priorities.
  1281. We all get up in the morning
  1282. with the same number of hours in a day.
  1283. Those who walk close with God
  1284. have the same number of hours.
  1285. How do we spend them?
  1286. What are we doing with them?
  1287. You need to guard
  1288. your relationship with the Father
  1289. and with the Son
  1290. and with the Holy Spirit.
  1291. I mean brethren, ask yourself this.

  1292. Ask, "When was the last time
  1293. you had a sweet time with the Lord?"
  1294. Where your heart jumped because He came!
  1295. Oh, maybe it was overwhelming.
  1296. Maybe it was just that still, small voice.
  1297. He just came.
  1298. He thrilled your souls.
  1299. You felt your soul melt because His Word
  1300. came to you personally.
  1301. I mean, you know when that happens,
  1302. "He spoke to me!"
  1303. I mean you're in the Word and it's for me!
  1304. Or you're out in prayer and
    He comes and He says,
  1305. "I'm going to give you
    what you just asked."
  1306. And you know it!
  1307. Or you're just
    mediating on something
  1308. and suddenly you are so
    blown away by His glory.
  1309. And it's because His Spirit has come
  1310. and opened your mind
  1311. and your understanding
  1312. and just swept you away.
  1313. Brethren, when has that happened?
  1314. Look, I'm not talking about
  1315. knowing God in theory.
  1316. I'm not talking about
  1317. just knowing in theory that He loves you.
  1318. Do you personally drink the love
  1319. of the Father and the Son?
  1320. Manifestly?
  1321. I'm not talking about just
  1322. diving into the theology book.
  1323. Do you know this?
  1324. Brethren!
  1325. Do you know this?
  1326. I mean, we have a Husband.

  1327. Didn't He give us that picture in Hosea?
  1328. But we're like Gomer.
  1329. What a name! Gomer.
  1330. But we're like her!
  1331. I always think of Gomer Pyle.
  1332. It's like a ridiculous name.
  1333. But, Gomer.
  1334. She's unfaithful.
  1335. And Hosea is like Christ.
  1336. Brethren, He comes along
    to a bunch of prostitutes.
  1337. That's what we are.
  1338. That's what we were.
  1339. You'd say that's what
  1340. some of us are now.
  1341. That's what many of us were before.
  1342. Just prostitutes!
  1343. Just these unfaithful -
  1344. we were harlots.
  1345. We just gave ourselves freely
  1346. to our whoredom out there.
  1347. And He comes along
  1348. and He buys us off the slave block.
  1349. Is that not what He did?
  1350. He says, "I pay for you with My blood."
  1351. And now, I want you for Me.
  1352. I don't want you going and giving yourself
  1353. to all your other lovers anymore.
  1354. I want you for Me.
  1355. Brethren, that's a picture of the gospel.
  1356. That's what this is all about.
  1357. He wants us for Him.
  1358. He's bought us with a price.
  1359. Calls us to leave our other lovers
  1360. and surrender to His love.
  1361. To be that garden that He delights in.
  1362. If you all you ever
    heard is Christianity is
  1363. just be saved from your
    sin and saved from hell.
  1364. Brethren, this goes much deeper.
  1365. This thing is beautiful and
    precious to the uttermost.
  1366. Don't sell it for a song.
  1367. Brethren, priorities.
  1368. Priorities.
  1369. Choices.
  1370. May God help us.

  1371. Father, we ask for Your grace.
  1372. We ask for the power
  1373. of the Spirit of God.
  1374. Make this a reality.
  1375. Oh Lord, we know that you want us
  1376. to walk with you in worship, in honor,
  1377. in praise, in love.
  1378. We know that this is
    indeed the chief thing.
  1379. Giving our lives to You.
  1380. Giving ourselves entirely;
  1381. a sacrifice upon the altar of God
  1382. to be consumed
  1383. by Your fire of love for Your people.
  1384. Lord, I pray for the
    grace for this church.
  1385. That above all things
  1386. no matter what you do with us,
  1387. Lord, I pray,
  1388. pray that you would make this church,
  1389. at whatever cost necessary;
  1390. whatever you have to bring,
  1391. whatever fire to purify,
  1392. whatever comforts to help,
  1393. whatever is necessary, Lord.
  1394. I pray that You would make this church
  1395. what You want it to be.
  1396. Fruitful, beautiful in your sight.
  1397. Lord, spare us nothing
  1398. that you've given to your elect people
  1399. through the ages.
  1400. Spare us nothing
  1401. that will propel us forward
  1402. into these degrees of glory.
  1403. That will propel us forward
  1404. into a deeper intimacy
  1405. and knowing you with that knowledge,
  1406. that oh, that is so sweet and so valuable.
  1407. Help us, Lord,
  1408. we pray in Christ's name.
  1409. Amen.