What is Your Need?

James 5:13-18

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

  • Be specific in your request
    • Suffering – persecution, afflictions, torment, harassment, passions and desires.  Prayer is the answer.  Allow the fruit of the Spirit to work in your life.

Galatians 5:22-26 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

  • Cheerful – Psalms – sing songs and praise the Lord
  • Sick – Call for the elders of the church – let them pray
    • Those who know how to touch the hem of His garment
    • Anoint with oil in the name of the Lord
    • The prayer of faith will save the sick
    • The Lord will raise him up
    • Sins will be forgiven
  • Confess your trespasses, sins, faults to one another.  Praying for one another to be healed.  The individual you trust in enough to confess your sins to cannot do anything for you to forgive you, but they can be of help to you when you are bound and/or burdened.
  • Verse 16 – The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 
    • The supplication to God for me by a holy, God-fearing, devil-hating brother/sister in Christ sure does help.
    • Elijah was a man like us with the temptations, fears we have.  His prayer worked.  Ours will too.
      • He knew God
      • He served God
      • He knew how to pray

1 Kings 18:20-30 – So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers fire, He is God.”  So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”  Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.”  So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.  And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.  Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.

  • Example of a man who knew how to pray
  • There was no voice from Baal
  • Elijah repaired the altar of God that was broken down
  • He put God back in charge
  • He stepped out in faith
  • God answered by fire

1 Kings 18:31-39 – And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four water pots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.  And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”  Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”

Forgiveness Brings Healing – Healing Brings Forgiveness

James 5:13-16

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Specific needs require specific answers.  Only one answer will work in each situation.  God’s way!  Suffering, sickness can take many forms.  Healing is provided if we take the right medicine.  When a doctor gives a medicine, he writes a prescription.  There are specific ways to take the medication.  It is the same way spiritually.

Suffering and sickness is not only a physical need.  It can include

  • Emotional needs
  • Financial needs
  • Marital needs
  • Sinful problems

Healing is provided for all, but we need to follow the “prescription.”

  • Call for the elders of the church
  • Anoint with oil
  • Prayer of faith

Byproduct of following the “prescription” is – sins forgiven.

Verse 16 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 

Ephesians 4:32 – Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 6:12-15 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.   And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.   “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

  • Unity of the brothers/sisters – Let it go or retain it (anger/bitterness or forgiveness

Matthew 18:15-20 – Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.  “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Mark 11:24-26 – Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Luke 4:18 – The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.

Jesus speaks to the whole man – spiritual, physical, emotional, your whole being.  Forgiveness brings healing.

The Whole Armor of God – Prayer

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  • Prayer is spiritual warfare.  It is the supernatural provision of the Christian soldier—prayer, not just of the moment…but a constant spirit of prayer.  Prayer and the Word of God are the best things you have going for you. 
  • The Word – God talking to you. 
  • Prayer – you talking to God.
  • With all the armor mentioned in this passage of Scripture, it does no good if we neglect our prayer life.  We enter into spiritual conflict fully dressed and fully armed.  Prayer is essential.  We all live in a busy world, but not making time for prayer will hinder our walk with God and ultimately, if neglected for a long period of time, we will fall back into sin. 
  • Trust, confidence and assurance are necessary as we pray.  If we pray and do not believe our prayers will be answered, why pray?  We must face our spiritual battles with courage, and courage only comes by way of prayer and faith believing that God hears us and will answer.  Job’s faith was demonstrated in that he trusted God.  In Job 19:25 he said “I know that my redeemer lives.”   He did not have the law, not any part of the bible, but he had a relationship with his God.  Do you?  How close is it?  Could it be closer?  Well……make it closer.
  • Quick, minute prayers as a continual substitute for a consistent time alone with God will not work either.  We will very easily fall into the trap of Satan that we do not have time, too many distractions and on and on and on.  We then become a fast food prayer – instant gratification – order up – get our answer right away.
  • We can also become a bell-hop prayer.  “Go here – do this – I need – I need – I need – you provide – you provide – you provide.”
  • If our prayers are not continual, we will lose the assurance and confidence of God’s protection.  We must always maintain a constant unbroken sense of God’s presence and care; therefore we must not let our mind dwell on the things of this world.  We need to keep our communication line open with God.  As it is between spouses, if God never hears from us, He might question our love for Him. 

Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” 

Philippians 4: 6 – “Be anxious for nothing (don’t let anything bug you), but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” 

1 Chronicles 16:11 – “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” 

John 16:24 – “Ask and you shall receive so that your joy may be full.” 

James 5:16 – “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” 

  • All the above require our action…IF we do what we can do…God will do what we cannot do.
  • Be mature – no “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayers.

Hebrews 5:13-14 – “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” 

Isaiah 55:6-7 – “Seek the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.  Let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy upon him and to our God for He will abundantly pardon.” 

  • The Christian soldier must be willing to pray and, if necessary, give up sleep and food.  We must concentrate and persevere in prayer, sometimes being so intensely at prayer that we forget about the necessities of life, such as sleep, food, rest, and entertainment.  These activities are not in and of themselves sinful, but prayer must become a more pressing priority.

Matthew 26:41 – “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.”  

  • We are to pray for those with authority over us…civil leaders, the President, our governor, our senators, our representatives, military leaders and soldiers, mayors, school officials, law enforcement, judicial system….pastors, deacons, elders, musicians, instructors, school teachers, work place supervisors, anyone that has a position of authority.  Whether you voted for them or not, whether they are Democrat, Republican or Independent.  God says pray for them.
  • The soldier must pray unselfishly.  The soldier is not in battle alone…for all of God’s people are facing similar situation.  We need to pray for each other.  We must pray for each other.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.” 

Luke 22:26 – “Pray always.” 

 Ephesians 1:15-16 – “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.”

1 Samuel 12:23 – “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you.”

THE TEN-FINGER PRAYER

  • Hold up your hands – you have ten fingers – this verse has ten words. 

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

  • Yes I can, but I need to cover the situation in earnest prayer.

A Life Changing Prayer

(The Prayer of Paul and Timothy for the church of Colosse)

(All Scripture is from The Amplified Bible)

The Prayer

Colossians 1:9-14 – For this reason, since the day we heard about it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking [specifically] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [with insight into His purposes], and in understanding [of spiritual things], so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord [displaying admirable character, moral courage, and personal integrity], to [fully] please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing in the knowledge of God [with deeper faith, clearer insight and fervent love for His precepts]; [we pray that you may be] strengthened and invigorated with all power, according to His glorious might, to attain every kind of endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints (God’s people) in the Light.

For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty].

James 5:15 – “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”   

  • Asking – you have to ask

James 4:2 – “You do not have because you do not ask.”   

1 John 5:14 – “And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.”   

  • What is God’s will?
  • God’s Word is His will

1 John 5:15 And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”   

  • That you may be filled

Colossians 1:9 – “that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things.”  

  • You need to know your Father

Matthew 6:33 – “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” Amplified Version                

  • You need to know God’s way of doing things

2 Chronicles 15:2 – “the Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity], He will be found by you.”  

Proverbs 8:17 – “I love those who love me, and those who seek me early and diligently shall find me.” 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 – “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.  Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”  

  • How do you get to know someone?
  • Spending time with God
  • Prayer is a dialogue – not a monologue
  • This is not your home
  • Kingdom Principles (Laws)
  • You are an ambassador (a representative) of Jesus
  • That you may walk

Colossians 1: 10 – That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].

  • You have to pray it out
  • You have to walk it out
  • It is a walk – one step at a time
  • Start right where you are
  • That you may be “invigorated”

Colossians 1:11 – “[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy.”

  • You may not feel like it
  • It hurts the flesh
  • Do it because it is the right thing to do
  • Do it because you love Jesus
  • Call those things which are not as though they are (Romans 4:19)
  • Do not allow others to speak the contrary over you
  • Giving thanks for the Father

Colossians 1:12 – “Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God’s holy people) in the Light.”

  • Satan is a liar

Colossians 1:13-14 – “[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have our redemption through His blood, [which means] the forgiveness of our sins.”

Colossians 2:15 – “[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].”

  • Remember who you are
  • The son or daughter of the Great and Almighty God Jehovah
  • You sit in heavenly places
  • Remind Satan of who he is not
  • He wants to take your anointing
  • You do not have to live in his kingdom
  • You do not have to be in bondage to his laws and rules
  • This is God’s Will for You
  • Start right where you are
  • Pray this prayer daily
  • Speak the Word out loud
  • Believe for these things to be manifested in your life
  • Receive them.  They belong to you
  • Listen for the Holy Spirit to begin speaking to you
  • EXPECT THE GLORY!

God, I ask that I may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom (in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of You) and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things.  That I may walk (live and conduct myself) in a manner worthy of God, fully pleasing to You and desiring to please You in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of You (with fuller, deeper and clearer insight, acquaintance and recognition.)  I pray that I may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of Your glory, (to exercise) every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy, giving you thanks Father, for You have qualified and made me fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (Your holy people) in the Light.  Father, You have delivered and drawn me to Yourself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and have transferred me into the kingdom of the Son of Your love, Jesus, My Lord and Savior, in Whom I have my redemption through His blood, (which means) the forgiveness of my sins.

Requirements of the Christian

1 Timothy 1:3-4

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,  nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

  • Know what you believe

2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  • Be a person of prayer

1 Timothy 2:1 – Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.

  • Be an example

1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity

  • In speech – in all you say, be godly
  • In conduct – in all you do, be godly
  • In love – in the way you love, be godly
  • In spirit – in attitude and behavior – be as God would be
  • In faith – always trusting and believing in God’s Word
  • In purity – in all areas of life be pure and innocent
  • Exhibit positive qualities

1 Timothy 6:11 – But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

  • Pursue righteousness – right standing before God
  • Pursue godliness – walk according to the Word
  • Pursue faith – continue to trust in the things of God
  • Pursue love – strongly desire to love as God loves
  • Pursue perseverance – be obedient to what is right
  • Pursue gentleness – be calm and peaceful toward others
  • Continue onward

1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

  • Fight the good fight of faith
  • Grasp firmly, lay hold, do not let eternal life slip away
  • Maintain your confession of faith, do not give in to sin
  • Continue to be a witness of God’s grace

I Can (With God’s Help)

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

John 15:5 – “I am the Vine; you are the branches.  Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit.  However, apart from Me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing.”  The Amplified Version

James 4:7 – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

CAN

  • Growing up, I learned in English classes the difference between the words can and may.  Repeatedly, I heard “You can if you are able.”  The next time you go through a drive through to order something, note how many people on the other end of the microphone ask, “Can I help you?”  That obviously tells you they did not grasp the correct grammar in English class or the teacher did not teach them properly.
  • I can because I am able.
  • Through Christ, I am more than able.  Not in my own strength, not in my own power, but through the power of Christ Jesus, my Lord, who dwells within.
  • “I may” gives the impression that you may not be able.  There is a doubt in your mind that you may not be able because you are too weak, you will change your mind, you question your ability to follow through.

I WILL IS THE NEXT STEP AFTER WE KNOW “WE CAN.”

  • Over and over in the Psalms we see the statement I will.
  • It was I who determined that I would do these things.
  • It was I who put the plan in motion.
  • Remember the statement about Daniel – “He purposed in his heart.”  It was Daniel who made up his mind and determined within himself that he would be who God had called Him to be.

Psalm 145:1 – “I will extol You my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.”

Psalm 145:5 – “I will mediate on the glorious splendor of You majesty, and on Your wondrous works.”

Psalm 138:1-2 – “I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You.  I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”

Psalm 144:9 – “I will sing a new song to You, O God; on a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You.”

  • It is I who must go to God when I need help
  • It is I who must praise God when I want to thank Him
  • No one else can do it for me
  • I must
  • I can
  • I am able

TEN FINGER PRAYER

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I CAN DO

  • Action word – I can do…move, talk, look, walk, think, eat and breathe and much more…all these things you and I can do without thinking.  How much more do we do with our strength that God has given to us naturally?  .

I CAN DO ALL

  • I can do whatever I want to if I put my mind, heart and energy and will power to the task that is before me.  Nothing then, can stop me…There are no exceptions…With God’s help I can accomplish more than I can even imagine…but lest I get puffed up in my own strength, I must remember that it is God who gives me the strength.

I CAN DO ALL THINGS

  • I can praise God if I want to
  • I can get out of bed if I want to
  • I can help others if I want to
  • I can live a Christian life if I want to

OR

  • I can blame my upbringing, sexual abuse, an abusive relationship, poverty or many other things for the reasons that I cannot go forward to live my life in the way God has called me to live it.

I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH

  • It’s not me and me alone who is able to do all these things, but it is through the help of the Lord.
  • When your wife has cancer
  • When you have financial difficulties
  • When a loved one dies
  • When you have surgery
  • When you have problems in your marriage
  • When you have problems with your kids
  • In all areas of life…it is God who gives us strength

THROUGH CHRIST (THE ANOINTED ONE)

  • It is He, Himself, He cares

1 Peter 5:7 – “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

  • WOW!  This God that we serve promises to show us great and mighty things but He wants us to call on Him…He wants us to fellowship with Him.  You stay in touch with Him; He will stay in touch with you.  It is in Him and through Him by His anointing power that we have our being, our life, our very existence, our breath, that our heart regularly beats.

1 John 5:14-15 – “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

WHO STRENGTHENS ME

  • The same person as the I in the beginning of this verse…I am the receipt of my actions.  I am the one who steps out by the faith God has instilled in my heart and helped me to exercise the faith…I WIN.

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Giving to God’s Cause

Philippians 4:10-19

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

THEY GAVE ONCE AGAIN

  • 2 Corinthians 9:8 indicates that the church had supported Paul in his ministry at one time.  For whatever reason, it appears their support had stopped.  Now, Paul rejoices that it has “flourished again.” 
  • Gospel must be carried world-wide
  • Missionaries and ministers must be supported to do the work

Luke 10:2 – “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” 

John 4:35 – “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’  I say to you, ‘lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’” 

  • Jesus clearly stated that the problem is not the harvest – it is the need for laborers.  We must go and do all we can to reap the harvest.  Where we cannot or will not personally go – we must commit ourselves to support those who can and are willing to go.

GOD DOES NOT NEED YOUR GIVING

  • God has taught his servants to be content in whatever state they find themselves.

1 Timothy 6:6-9 – “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

Hebrews 13:5 – “Let your conduct be without covetousness; bet content with such things as you have, for Him Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” 

  • God meets the needs of his servants.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect (to complete, reach a goal, bring to maturity) in weakness.’  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

Psalm 28:7 – “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.” 

YOU NEED TO GIVE TO GOD

  • God wants you to be a part of His kingdom work.  When you give you are obeying God.  When you obey God, He has promised to “take up residence” in you – (John 14)

Acts 20:35 – “…And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed (supremely happy, a condition in which congratulations are in order) to give (giving an object of value freely, unforced) than to receive.’”   The Amplified Version

  • NOTE:  Jesus did not say it would more natural or easier to give than to receive, but that the giver would be more blessed than the receiver.
  • Giving to God’s work will bring God’s blessings.

Luke 18:30 – “There is no one who has left house, or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” 

Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Malachi 3:8-12 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’  ‘In tithes and offerings.  You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts,  ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven  and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ says the LORD of hosts; and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

WE MUST LOOK TO GOD FOR OUR NEEDS – MINISTER AND LAITY ALIKE

Philippians 4:19 – “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 

  • The source of our supply – God Himself
  • What needs are met – All our need
  • What is the limit of meeting our need – All of God’s riches in glory
  • Who is the one who provides the supply from heaven to us – Jesus Christ
  • NOTE:   When we speak of giving, most of the time we think about “money or material items.”  True, that is one of the main sources of giving to God’s work.  Missionaries, ministers have to eat, need clothes and a room over their head.  Their children need toys and books and an education like other children.  They need Bibles and books and supplies to reach out in ministry.  All this takes money.
  • However, we need to think of giving to the work of Christ in other ways.
  • Prayer – One of the best ways to give to God’s servants is to pray for them.  Too often we spend time criticizing, complaining and very little time praying.
  • Communicate – We need to let God’s servants know we are praying for them.  Write to the
  • missionaries – send your pastor a card.
  • Time – We need to give of our time to God’s work.  We can help in the work of God by volunteering some of our time to help in his work that needs to be done.
  • Talents, abilities – God’s servants cannot do everything.  They – like you – are limited in their skills.  You can share your skills in areas where God’s servants are lacking. 
  • Friendship – It can be lonely when you work for God.  You can be a friend to the missionaries by writing, sending magazines or newspapers from home, sending a “care” package of spices, packaged food or other items they cannot get and miss.  You can be a friend to your pastors by sharing a cup of coffee, a visit to their home or yours. 

Little Words – Big Meanings

1 Thessalonians 5:17

pray without ceasing,

  • The Gettysburg Address contains 272 words and was spoken by our sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln, to dedicate a National Cemetery.  One of the statements in that address was “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”  What student in school has not heard of the Gettysburg Address or, possibly, had to memorize it.
  • Edward Everett, a great orator of that day spoke before Lincoln and later wrote “I should be glad if I came as near to the central idea in two hours as you did in two minutes.”
  • The Lord’s Prayer contains a mere 67 words, and most Christians can easily pray that prayer.
  • The length or volume of a prayer or statement of scripture does not necessarily indicate the meaning or the intent of that prayer or statement. 

I Kings 18:20-41 – “So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel.  And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.  Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it.  Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.”  So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.” Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.”  

So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.  And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.”  So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.  And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.  And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.”  Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed.  And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four water pots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.”  Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time.  So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.  And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said,

 “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.  Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”   

Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.  Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”  And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there. Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.”

Our prayers to God do not need to be long, full of big words and “spiritual” words.  Just talk as you would to a good friend.  He wants honesty and is not impressed with false piety.  

  • In this famous story that shows the mighty power of God we find a perfect example of few words and great manifestation of results.  Sixty-three words are contained in the KJV of the Bible.  Yet, look at the great results.
  • How about Joshua’s declaration in Joshua 24:15, only 11 words at the end of the verse and quoted by many.  “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
  • John 11:35 and only nine letters but everyone knows “Jesus wept.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16 is the second shortest verse in the Bible.  “Rejoice evermore.”
  • Other short verses or statements include the following and have profound meanings to all.
  • I Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”
  • I Thessalonians 5:19 – “Do not quench the Spirit.”
  • I Thessalonians 5:20 – “Do not despise prophecies.”
  • I Thessalonians 5:25 – “Brethren, pray for us.”
  • Hebrews 13:1 – “Let brotherly love continue.”
  • Matthew 6:11 – “Give us this day our daily bread.”
  • Matthew 7:1 – “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
  • “Follow Me.” was spoken to the rich young ruler and at the call of several disciples.  Christ calls to us also to follow Him.

Rev 3:20 – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

Little words – bit meanings

“Here I am Lord.  Use me!

Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:17

pray without ceasing

  • Prayer is our privileged access to the Creator of the universe. 
  • Prayer is the key to our staying in a state of grace.
  • Prayer is talking to the Father.
  • Prayer is an utmost responsibility of the believer.
  • Prayer is invigorating.
  • Prayer is calming and peaceful to a troubled spirit.
  • Prayer is fellowship with God.
  • Without prayer we cannot please God.

James 5:16 – “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

  • Confession of sins to another believer is a humbling experience and prayer for a friend in need is a delight of the soul. 

I Samuel 12:23-25 – “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.  Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.  But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

Luke 21:36 – “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Isaiah 59:1 – “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.”

I Samuel 14:6 – “Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few.’”

  • When we firmly realize the possibilities of answered prayer, why then, do we not pray?

I John 5:14-15 – “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

  • Anything that is within His will is worthy of prayer.  You have not because you ask not.

Grow in Grace and Knowledge

2 Peter 3:10-18

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.  You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

  • How should we grow in grace and knowledge?  The Word of God is the best place to go to find direction in all areas of our life. 
  • Growing in my prayers

Philippians 4:6-7 — Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

  • Growing in my involvement

Galatians 6:10 – Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  • Growing in my dependence

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  • Growing in my fellowship

Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

  • Growing in my commitment

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

  • Growing in my maturity

Ephesians 4:11-16 – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

  • How do we then grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord?  Grow in your prayers, involvement, dependence, fellowship, commitment and maturity.