How do you come to God in prayer? Do you see Him as a distant being who probably has little or no personal interest in you, or perhaps as a stern boss you are reluctant to approach? The opening line of the Lord’s Prayer teaches us the correct view we must have of God. He is our loving Father, but He is also the holy God of heaven, and in that, we find both the comfort and the confidence we need to pray.
How much do you value your salvation? Did you know that your salvation is so glorious and so wonderful that the Old Testament prophets spent their lives trying to understand it all, and even angels long to know more about it! How would we live differently if we truly understood what our salvation was worth?
“I’m not a bad person.” This is the response many people give when asked why God should allow them into heaven. But believing that we are good enough for heaven will actually send us to hell! No amount of religion or good deeds can ever save us. This only happens when we see our sin and admit our need for a Savior. So, are you good or are you saved?
The early church faced persecution from its inception, but after a few decades, a new enemy appeared that was even more deadly. False teachers arose from within their own ranks and began to destroy the church from the inside. John wrote this letter to give clear ways to distinguish false doctrine from authentic Christianity. Does your life show evidence of these marks of a genuine believer?
Jesus enters Jerusalem a few days before His crucifixion and examines the spiritual condition of the people. What He finds is a nation bustling with outward displays of religious activity, but beneath the surface, there is nothing but dead religion. He curses a fruitless fig tree as a sign of judgement against them, and then He throws the corrupt money changers out of the Temple for defiling His Father’s house. If Jesus were to examine our lives today, would He see a cold, dead heart beneath the outward religious appearance, or would He find fruit growing for His glory?
As Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, the crowds threw their coats on the road before Him and shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel!” They wanted a king who would rule their nation, but they didn’t want a King who would rule their hearts. When they realized that Jesus was not the kind of savior they wanted, they turned on Him and shouted, “Crucify Him!” What kind of savior are you looking for? One who will give you everything you want, or one who will reign in your heart?
People have many false views of who God is. It seems that everyone has created their own version of God; a “god” they are comfortable with. They choose the parts about God they like and ignore the parts they don’t. But God’s true identity cannot be changed to suit us. He alone is God, and we cannot fashion Him into our own image. Until we have a right understanding of who God really is, everything in life will be off course, and we will never know how to really live. Do you truly know who God is?
If someone offered you a glass of water from the purest spring on earth, but told you they had mixed it with poison, would you drink it? Of course not! And yet thousands of people in churches every week drink in sermons tainted with false doctrine. Today’s message exposes two extremely dangerous trends sweeping through pulpits across America, and reminds us of the vital importance of keeping the gospel message pure.
Jesus reserved His harshest words–not for those who were down and out and lost in their sin–but for those who claimed to be the most religious. Why? Because religion puffs us up and blinds us to our need of a Savior. It causes us to focus on external modification instead of heart transformation. We all have religious rules that we still struggle with which keep our hearts unchanged. What areas might God want you to lay aside in order to live out a fully surrendered relationship with Him?
It’s easy to show up at a church service on Sunday morning and worship… but how many people are merely going through the motions? God does not accept worship if our hearts are far from Him and if our lives are not fully committed to Him. Do you know what God is looking for in your life before your worship will be pleasing to Him?