SEEKING AND FINDING GOD
Date: 26 June, 2017
Text: Isaiah 55:6-13
Title: Those Who Seek FIND.
ill. We enjoyed seeing my mom's cousin and his wife. We found out that we share a common love for rocks and specifically agates.
Jeff expressed that they wouldn't find any - because they have done other holidays where they have specifically tried - and went home empty.
I didn't want him to think that way as I believed his chances were good of finding some great rocks. I DIDN'T REALLY THINK LIKE THIS AS I SPOKE WITH HIM - AND OUR CONVERSATION WASN'T FOCUSED ON ROCKS. But, even still....
I wanted him to KNOW some things to help them find some.
I wanted to share with him what to DO to find them.
I wanted a CHANGE in his agate finding circumstances.
We aren't going to look this morning at finding agates, but are going to look at finding God.
We will follow those points.
1.) What to KNOW when you seek God.
2.) What do DO when you seek God.
3.) What will CHANGE (Gloriously) when you seek God (because you found Him.)
I think there are many people discouraged in their fruitless search for God. It may be that they have looked in all the wrong places. Perhaps seeking Him....
In religious systems, buildings, or religious teachings.
In nature or meditation - paganism.
On their own terms instead of His, Outside of His Word, without following his plan.
This morning, I want to encourage ALL OF US that we can and must suceed in finding God!
To find Him is to find LIFE.
Have you found JESUS? Do you know the Lord as your personal Saviour? Does your life evidence the CHANGE that He makes?
What to KNOW when you seek God.
exp. Knowledge helps when you are looking for something.
ill. If I took you agate hunting and never described an agate or showed you an example, never directed you as to wear to go.... it is unlikely you would suceed and you'd likely give up and never want to go agate hunting again.
arg. Maybe that is why many have given up on finding God. Nobody gave them a basic knowledge what they need to KNOW when they seek God.
A. GOD is findable. 6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found,
exp. Since He is findable - then you will know when you find him.
ill. Have you ever played hide and go seek with someone who wanted to be found. (Maybe a child) It's not a hard game.
exp. God wants to be found. He's only hidden because of your sin and your rebellion against Him.
1. He is LIGHT. (It's not hard to find light.)
2. He is CREATOR. (It's not hard to see His creation.) Psalm 19:The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
exp. The brook, birds, thunder, - declare the glory of God.
3. We have His WORD.
exp. He's given us a Book to know everything we need to know about Him.
app. Nobody will die and say to God - I could not find you because you hid yourself from me.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
GOD IS FINDABLE!
B. GOD is nearby. ...call ye upon him while he is near:
ill. Sometimes when you are playing hide and seek - you wonder if the person has left the room to return at a later time. Maybe you have actually done that to somebody.
exp. God hasn't left the room yet. He is close to any sinner who wants to find Him.
Romans 10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
app. The nearness of God is as close to you as YOUR PROXIMITY TO HIS WORD. (That is very close today as His Word goes forth today. (He's passing by in His Word - are you aware of His presence - you find Him through His Word!)
C. GOD guarantees mercy. ...he will have mercy upon him
ill. Hitting missionary kid in head with bat and running - hiding in church window well. Coming back and it seemed like nothing had happened BUT IT WAS EASILY FORGIVEN.
exp. I was miserable because I thought that there was no mercy for me - BUT MERCY WAS THERE ABUNDANTLY.
App. Are you like that today? Are you fearful, hiding from God, thinking that there is no way there is mercy for you? THOSE WHO HAVE FOUND GOD AND FOUND HIM FULL OF MERCY.
D. GOD guarantees pardon. ...and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
exp. Don't you love that word, "Abundantly?" It isn't JUST a pardon - it is an abundant pardon.
ill. The power to grant pardons and reprieves in the United Kingdom is known as the Royal prerogative of mercy. It was traditionally in the absolute power of the monarch to pardon an individual for a crime, whether or not he or she had been convicted, and thereby commute any penalty;
exp. There are human reasons - at times questionable reason - for pardoning a criminal.
ill. In 1996 - 2 drug smugglers were pardoned - 12 years later they were sentenced to 20 years because the reason for their pardon was called into question.
app. For God there is a perfect DIVINE REASON - JESUS PAID FOR YOUR TRANSGRESSION BY DYING ON THE CROSS FOR YOU. His abundant pardon is irriversable.
E. GOD is far above you.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
ill. I feet pretty good about my running until I googled running speeds and found that men who win 5k's finish in sub15 minutes.
exp. Mankind feels pretty good about their ways and thoughts until they find comparison with God in His Word.
2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; (Psalm 18:30 repeats this.)
Pro 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
exp. God doesn't think about His failures (He is perfect) he thinks about our failures.
app. To find God - you need to know that HE IS PERFECT and you are anything but perfect.
Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
WHAT WE KNOW - God is findable, nearby, full of mercy, will abundantly pardon - BUT He is far above us!
transition. To find God - something is going to have to CHANGE - but CHANGE doesn't take place by what we KNOW - but what we DO.
II. What to DO when you seek God.
ill. A year ago today - we saw the queen for our first time. We were out and about - we KNEW that the queen was in Edinburgh opening parliament - later that day we had a photo of the queen just 15 feet from us as she exited parliament. But FINDING HER was not simply because of what we KNEW - it was more importantly because of what we DID.
Luk 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
app. Seeking God is a combination of actions. What should you do?
A. Look for Him. 6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found...
exp. We've already discovered that HE IS FOUND IN HIS WORD.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
ill. Article for Advertiser - woman who had 650,000 pound diamond - which she wore daily not realizing the immense value - MOST OF BRITAIN HAS AN INCREDIBLE TREASURE.
app. If you are serious about finding God - read His Word and believe it!
B. Call for Him. ...call ye upon him while he is near:
exp. I encourage people to pray when they seek God. I tell them just to be honest - "I don't really believe - but if you exist - please help me to know you."
question: Is there any Biblical basis for that kind of prayer?
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
app. You will never find God without His help. Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
ill. God has given us the joy recently of seeing some trust Jesus. But, what has stood out to me is that these (maybe without realizing it) we're seeking God and being drawn to God! Better asks God's help in FINDING HIM!
C. Forsake for Him.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
question: Can a policeman be friends with a known criminal? What would have to change for that to take place. Either the policeman or the criminal - God isn't going to change Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; (and you don't want Him to.)
exp. If you want to walk with him your WAYS and your THOUGHTS must change.
3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
app. Why don't you repent of your way today - and go His Way? Why don't you reject your thoughts today and accept His thoughts? YOU WILL NEVER FIND HIM WITHOUT THIS FORSAKING.
D. Return to Him.
....and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
exp. That seeking, calling and forsaking - have the happy result of allowing you to COME BACK TO GOD - RECEIVING HIS MERCY AND HIS PARDON!
Ill. Being frustrated by the mess in the shed for weeks - then hanging up a few bikes/ moving a few things - and everything was in it's right place. IT WAS SO EASY - I SHOULD HAVE DONE IT BEFORE.
App. Finding God isn't complicated. It's so easy that when it takes place, you are going to wish you had done it before. (Don't let Satan make you delay by thinking it is TOO COMPLICATED.)
ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS LOOK - CALL - FORSAKE - FIND!
III. What will CHANGE (Gloriously) when you seek God (because you found Him.)
exp. This change ONLY takes place because of what God does in the heart and life of those who seek Him. When you read this passage in it's entirety you see the Gracious hand of God at work in the life of the person who seeks Him!
A. Appetites will change.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
Exp. God's Word LIKE RAIN goes into the soil, brings seed for the planter, and provides nourishment for the hungry!
Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
app. Where nothing impure ever satisfied your appetite. God's Word brings intense satisfaction and also leaves an appetite FOR THE WORD!
B. Actions will change.
it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please,
exp. What pleases God is when men's actions are in accordance with His Word. HIS WORD WILL BRING MEN TO THAT OBEDIENT PLACE.
Pro 16:7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
ill. Mac - I love telling him - your attitude is sweet, you're being a good boy, I love giving you a hug.
app. God loves encouraging us WHEN OUR ACTIONS ARE RIGHT IN HIS SIGHT.
C. Ability will change.
and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Exp. It is a good thing when God says it is going to prosper - because that enablement takes place in our lives.
Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
app. Stay in your sin - and your life is like the chaff. Get with God in obedience to Him and you have ABILITY to prosper.
D. Attitude will change.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace:
exp. Listen - life is good WITH GOD!
Isa 57:21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
LAST SUNDAY NIGHT - Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
app. That attitude that we see of sorrow - will change - if they find God. God gives peace! God gives joy!
E. Applause will change.
the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
exp. Even nature understands that something has taken place in your life to the glory of God.
ill. Jordan - camp - Dad, Willie, was a drug addict. At a funeral in Arklow - the mayor asked, "Willie what has changed - "I tried everything then I tried Jesus!"
app. When someone finds God - others will rejoice and applaud the amazing changes God's brings into our lives.
F. Autumn will change.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree:
exp. God changes the harvest of that life from the curse to His blessing.
question. What is the harvest of sin? Debt - Emptiness - Unfulfilled desire - sickness - disease - .
ill. Policeman - fought terrorist with his baton - until stabbed and blacked out. "Seeking to save as many lives as he could."
app. You and I get to seek to save men from hell - BECAUSE WE HAVE FOUND GOD - SO CAN THEY. THAT IS A RICH HARVEST INDEED! HAS YOUR AUTUMNT CHANGED!
G. Honor will change.
and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
exp. God get's everlasting glory from the testimony of that life.
ill. Jordan's testimony at camp - 15 year old boy - standing in front of 100 men - sharing how God is changing his life! GLORY TO GOD.
App. What is sad today - is that Jesus died for men's sins - BUT BECAUSE MEN ARE REMAINING IN THEIR SIN AND REFUSING TO COME TO HIM. HIS GLORY IS NOT BEIGN SEEN!
CONCLUSION: You may never find many things in life. But don't go through life without finding God.
Do you KNOW? He is findable, nearby, merciful, will abundantly pardon - way above you!
Have you DONE anything to find Him? Looked, Called, Forsaken, Found!
What has CHANGED since you found Him? Have your appetites, actions, ability, attitude, applause, autumn, honor? WHAT STILL NEEDS TO CHANGE?