Children Of The Day (Part 2)


1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

Last week we talked about the purpose of the Christian. We are created by the Spirit of God to be light, to shine and reflect the glory of our Savior into a darkened world. This is our calling. Jesus said of Himself:

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

and of His Church:

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Bringing Himself and we who are His together Jesus said:

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

The purpose of the Christian is to walk in Christ’s light, to live in His glory, to shine for Jesus where we are. Without your light the world is in darkness.

The Christian Is Empowered To Shine
By The Spirit And Prayer

I have no power to shine of myself, and neither do you. To be children of the Day and the Light of the world we must “pray without ceasing”. When we pray, we contact God through Jesus Christ our High Priest. When we pray, the Holy Spirit is enabled in our lives. When we pray we become conduits through which God can speak to the lost and dying.

Jesus emphasized continual prayer. In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable that explained why “we ought always – ALWAYS pray – and NOT “FAINT” (Greek ἐκκακέω ekkakéō, {pronounced ek-kak-eh’-o}) or literally “be spiritless or exhausted”. Do you become weary or hopeless at the state of our nation? Do you feel like throwing up your hands as you see the fallen nature of our political system? Do you ever just want to merge into the background like all others, and be part of the crowd? Then you have lost purpose. The darkness has won.

The parable Jesus told in Luke 18 emphasized how the light overcomes the darkness. Jesus’ parable went this way:

Luke 18:2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

This is a picture of a person who is in total darkness. This judge does not fear God, has no respect for God’s glory. He does not see people as created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). There is nothing worse than a judge, a person of great authority over others, who has no concept of God nor of the inherent value of God’s creation. Jesus continues:

Luke 18:3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

Here now is a widow in that city. If the judge is a picture of power unshackled, this widow is a picture of absolute powerlessness. She is nameless. She is faceless. She is not beautiful, just a common person. She has no funds, no way to bribe the judge who is in utter darkness. She has been hurt, and has no family to stand up for her. She has but one request: Avenge me of mine adversary“. What does the widow do? She does the one thing she can do.

She goes to the dark judge with a simple request.

How did the judge react? Jesus said (verse 4) “And he would not for a while:”. At the end of that statement is a colon (:). Do you see it? That colon (:) represents who knows how many visits by the persistent widow. I can see this judge every day coming to his chambers. He asks the clerk: “Do I have any business today?”. The clerk says, “Yes, lord. You have a full docket today. But first in line is that little old lady you saw yesterday. She’s back again!” The judge says, “Tell her I don’t have time to see her again. After all, I don’t chew my cabbage twice! Send her away.” The clerk says, “I tried to, my lord, but she refuses to go. She keeps screaming she needs to see you. When I threatened her, the Jerusalem news team showed up in droves, and said any abuse of her would be on the front page. After all, my lord, few people like you!” The judge grudgingly sees her, and turns her away once more. The next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning, it is “Deja Vu all over again”. On the right side of that colon (:) you read:

Luke 18:4-5 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

Jesus said “Hear what the unjust judge saith.”

Luke 18:7-8 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Prayer is the key to power for the Christian. As we pray, God opens our eyes. As we pray, we are changed and the world around us is changed. We must be persistent in prayer.

For Prayer To Be Effective We Must Not
Sabotage Our Prayer Life

The word “sabotage” was coined in the 1890’s by anarchist Émile Pouget. The anarchist suggested that French labor unions promote work slowdowns and inefficiency. The poor workers wore sabots or wooden shoes, whereas better paid management wore leather shoes. Since those who wore sabots were clunking along it made sense for them to slow down in protest. What slows down or stops our effectiveness in prayer?

1 To Live In Sin Infects You Prayers. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 66:16-20 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. 17 I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. 18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: 19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

When we pray, we approach not just another Person, but the Perfect and Holy Creator of all things. The angels declare of God that He is holy, holy, holy. “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3). And the four chief angels of Heaven “rest not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8). We cannot approach God with known sin in our lives. The Prophet declared:

Isaiah 59:1-3 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

We must approach the Throne of Grace with clean hands and purified hearts. We do not do this with our own power, but come to God first in prayer, repenting of any known sin, and pleading the Blood of Jesus Christ. What has our Lord told us?

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:7 … the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

That which saved us, saves us still. Cast off the works of darkness, the old man, and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). Confess your sins, and trust Him Who saved you to purify you still.

2 I Must Heed And Respect God’s Word. Just last week a couple of visitors took offense at something my brother in Christ Jerry said about abortion. What he said was right and Biblical, but this couple, angry, got up and left the Church. So be it. Light and darkness do not mix. Beloved, you must cherish God’s Word above all else. What God has said is true. Let God be true, and every man and woman a liar (Romans 3:4). The Bible says:

Proverbs 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

You know that thing Jesus said:

Matthew 22:37 … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

He was serious about that. Do you remember when He said:

Matthew 22:39 … Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Jesus wasn’t joking. He wasn’t joking when He said “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34; 15:12). In fact, everything that God has commanded in this His Word is not optional. So when you read it, or hear it rightly expounded from the pulpit, and your response is “well, that was then and this is now, then you need not expect your prayers to be heard. God does not answer even one prayer from a disobedient heart. It is God’s Word that shows us the will of God. If you cherish His Word and strive to do it, the Bible says:

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

3 God Will Not Hear Prayers That Are Not Directed Heavenward. If I were to stand up here and preach to no one but Eddie Estes – looking at him, talking to him, focusing on him while ignoring the rest of you, would you even listen to me? Of course you wouldn’t. If I never directed my words to you, you would ignore me. The same is true of God. Too often we pray not to God, but so that others can hear what we say. And God knows what you are doing. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

When you pray in public – especially in public – shut out others. Pray heavenward. Speak to your Heavenly Father. He will hear.

4 When We Pray Doubting, God Will Not Answer. The Bible says:

James 1:6-8 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Know that God loves you as you pray. Know that He has numbered the very hair of your head (Luke 12:7; Matthew 10:30), and your Heavenly Father knows what you need (Matthew 6:8). Trust Him, and love Him. If you harbor unbelief share that with Him. I love the story of the man who came to Jesus with a child possessed of a devil. The man told Jesus:

Mark 9:22 … {many times this devil} hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters to destroy {my son}. .. If Thou {dear Jesus} canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

Jesus said unto him (Mark 9:23) If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

The man looked at Jesus, saying with tears:

“Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Confess your faithlessness to God and ask Him to increase your faith. Cast yourselves upon Him Who loves you and gave Himself for you (Galatians 1:4; 2:20; Ephesians 5:25; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14). Our God is so good. Trust Him, and ask in faith, never wavering!

5 When Pray For Our Selfish Needs Rather Than For The Glory Of God, The Lord Will Not Hear. The stepbrother of Jesus wrote:

James 4:3-4 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

As Children of Light all that we pray for should be for God’s glory. I am reminded of a selfish prayer that God answered in the Old Testament in the life of King Hezekiah. Hezekiah was a good King who feared God. His name means “God has strengthened”. This King re-established the worship of the true God in Israel. Hezekiah got sick one time, The Bible says:

2 Kings 20:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.

The Bible tells us that we all have an appointed time to die, appointed by God our Savior (Hebrews 9:27). Our lives are gifts from God. When we have reached the end of our usefulness for God on this earth, our God takes us into His glorious Heaven. We are told in Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die”. We should not fear death, dear Christian. When our time comes, run into Christ’s embrace! Do not allow the gods of science and medicine to extend your appointment beyond your effectiveness for God. Look up! Look up!

Anyway, I digress. Hezekiah prayed and sought God for an extended life – and God gave it to him. God told Isaiah the Prophet to tell Hezekiah:

2 Kings 20:5-6 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years

Hezekiah’s prayer was not for the glory of God, but for himself. But God allowed it so we could see what happens when we make life about ourselves. Not long after God gave Hezekiah 15 more years of life the Babylonians send a delegation to his palace. Hezekiah shows off his treasury to the Babylonians, which was like showing red meat to a starving wolf (2 Kings 20:13). God told Hezekiah:

2 Kings 20:17-18 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. 18 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

Pastor J.D. Greear writes:

“{Hezekiah} shows us that it is so easy to receive the blessings of God and make them all about us. God blesses us, miraculously, with life, with prosperity, with family, with salvation from sin . . . and all we can then think about is our comfort, our needs, our glory. Tragically, many of God’s people end their lives just like Hezekiah. They forget that God blesses us to be a blessing. They may never say it out loud, but their lives scream, “Who cares about anyone else? As long as my needs are taken care of and I die happy, it’s all fine! So what if kids in my city are growing up without mothers or fathers? So what if people around the world are dying without hearing the gospel? I’m going to heaven, so it’s all good.”

6 When Our Personal Lives Do Not Shine For Jesus, This Hinders Our Prayers. The Apostle wrote:

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with {your wives} according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

The spouse you have is a gift from God, just as your salvation is. We are to be good stewards of what our God has entrusted to us. Put down the remote control and turn off the television. Put your phones on silent mode. Focus on and love the wife or husband you have. Treat your partners as if they are created in God’s image – for they are!

When You Pray, Be Aware Of What You Are Doing

Prayer is communication and fellowship with the Greatest Being ever. We are talking to God our Father when we pray. We are approaching God through the glorious gift of Christ our Savior. We are empowered to pray by the Spirit of God. Let us be aware of Whom we are talking to when we pray. John Piper put it this way:

“Jesus does not kiss a drunk wife. He may carry her off the street and back to bed. He may be utterly patient with her, and set before her hot coffee and fresh starts. But he will not kiss a drunk wife. What do I mean? I mean that when the bride of Christ, the church, is drunk with the world, she may turn to him for a brief kiss of prayer, but her breath reeks so bad of worldliness that he turns his face away.”

Let us glorify God in our lives and He will hear us – and bless us – as we pray. May God touch you with His Word and Spirit this very night! Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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