3 John 1:2-4
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
Verse 13 tells us that God’s chosen people are captives. Who caused them to be captives? Why were they captives? How long did God tell them that judgment was coming before it actually happened? Has He not said that He is no respecter of persons? Will He not treat all people as He did His chosen people?
Have you ever thought of the sinner and backslider as a captive? The unconcerned, or the prayerless, the loveless, the compromising, the lukewarm are captive as well.
When we take the first step in the opposite direction of where God is we begin to become a captive of our own desires. God demands first place in our lives. He will not be any less. When we fail to do what we know to do we are captive of our own evil desires and whims and as we give in to our own lusts we become farther and farther away from God.
God wants to bless you, but you tie God’s hands. When you dig in your heels and refuse to obey, when you refuse to make yourself a part of the family of God where He has placed you for worship and care and concern, you are a captive. You want your children serving God but are willing to pray for them or set the right example in front of them. What kind of loyal Christian does that make you?
God wants to bless you and answer your prayers, but He does not even know you anymore. You have become so estranged from His presence you cannot even feel the warmth of His embrace.
Romans 2:1-11 – Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.
What is the answer? Prayer is the answer. It is the only answer.
Where would the nation of Israel be if it had not been for the Godly that held God’s judgment at bay? Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Priscilla and Aquila, Paul, Stephen, Barnabas, James, John, Peter, and many, many more. What of later church leaders like Billy Sunday, D.L. Moody, Billy Graham and a host of others who preached in storefront churches and homes and on the mission field, who told many about the saving grace of God? Men and women of faith who went without little or no financial support. Men and women who left all and followed Him.
Jesus said, “You cannot be my disciple unless you leave all and follow me.” Not too many are willing to do that.
Jeremiah 29:12-14 – Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
What country are you captive in? The country of “apathy”, the country of “unconcern”, the country of “it doesn’t concern me.”
Romans 6:23 — For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jeremiah 21:8 – Now you shall say to this people, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.
Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.