ARE WE GIVING GOD WHAT HE REQUIRES?

Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

INTRODUCTION

[a] Often Christian's almost keep a profit and loss account of what they give to God!

[b] I remember one man commenting on the sermon about what we should give financially to God! He went into a long rigmarole of his fringe expenses, especially what it cost him to get back and forward to the Army - almost as if he was doing God a favour by coming!! If he'd found another viable expense, I think God would have ended up owing him money!!

[c] More often than not, when we speak about giving to God, we think about money specifically.

[d] Important as it is to maintain the work of God, we must be aware that it is only a part of what God requires of us!

POINT 1

[a] If I were to go round each one in the congregation individually, and ask you what you felt was the most important thing to give to God, no doubt I would get a variety of answers.

[b] If we were to follow the oft quoted plumb-line of looking at the life of Jesus - what was His priority during His earthly ministry?

[c] I was greatly blessed and challenged by a statement made in the UCB daily reading book this past week.

It was speaking about prayer, and spoke of Jesus so often making deposits in the morning, so that He could withdraw later in the day, when required.

[d] Now, it wasn't speaking about the TSB, or even the Bank of Scotland - it was speaking about PRAYER!

[e] When we hear something like that, we feel, (and I'm as human as you are) that it's time to shut the ears and think about what we're having for dinner.

[f] Part of the reason for that, is that we don't have a Biblical perspective on prayer.

Our perspective is that we fit in as much prayer as we have time for, after everything else. The Biblical perspective is that we start with prayer, and fit everything else around that!

[g] The Biblical perspective is that PRAYER IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE!

WITHOUT, (using the metaphor of the daily reading book) THE DAILY DEPOSIT OF PRAYER, WE CANNOT ADEQUATELY FUNCTION AS CHRISTIANS, BECAUSE WE CANNOT MAKE THE NECESSARY WITHDRAWLS WHEN WE NEED THEM!

POINT 2

[a] As Christians, we often seem to accept as a matter of form, that there is no revival, and therefore, it mustn't be God's time!!

[b] Well I want to tell you, that there is revival happening in other parts of the world - AT THIS VERY MOMENT!!

[c] Did you know that in Korea the church, in this century, has grown from almost zero per cent of the population, to a projected fifty per cent by the end of the century!

[d] Korean Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho, has a church with 750,000 members!!

THEY HAVE A MONTHLY CONVERSATION RATE OF 12,000!!

[e] So what sort of wonderful system do they use??

Pastor Cho says that it is possible for any church to see the same sort of amazing growth - IF THEY ARE WILLING TO 'PAY THE PRICE!!'

The price, he says is 'TO PRAY AND OBEY'.

[f] IN KOREA, IT IS NORMAL FOR CHURCH MEMBERS TO GO TO BED EARLY, SO THAT THEY CAN RISE AT 4 am TO ATTEND A PRAYER MEETING!

IT IS NORMAL FOR THEM TO GATHER FOR PRAYER ON A FRIDAY NIGHT AND PRAY ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT!

[g] Cho himself, sees his whole life revolve around the hub of prayer!

He personally spends 3 to 5 hours every day in prayer!

POINT 3

[a] At Larry Lea's church in Texas, the church grew from 13 members to 11,000 in 8 years.

[b] Monday to Friday they meet every morning for prayer at 5 am!

If they see the number of people saved dropping off, even for one week, they treat it as a red alert, and seek the Lord to see why??

[c] Larry says, he didn't start a church - HE STARTED A PRAYER MEETING!

[d] Can we with any honesty say we don't know why there is no revival, in Scotland, in Peterhead, in our corps?

[e] We would have to have totally closed minds not to acknowledge that PRAYER IS THE KEY TO REVIVAL!!

[f] The old and worn cliché says,

'MUCH PRAYER - MUCH BLESSING,

LITTLE PRAYER - LITTLE BLESSING,

NO PRAYER - NO BLESSING'

It's just as true today.

[g] If I were to ask for a show of hands as to who wants revival - I'm sure every hand would shoot up!

BUT IF I WERE TO ASK WHO WOULD BE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE - WHAT REACTION THEN??

[h] It would literally mean a new priority taking over our lives!

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER - AROUND WHICH EVERYTHING ELSE WOULD HAVE TO REVOLVE!!

I AM ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED THAT IF WE WERE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE - WE WOULD SEE REVIVAL IN OUR MIDST.

[I] The problem is, that getting Christians to a prayer meeting is often worse than getting them along to the dentist to get teeth pulled - they seem to find it just as painful!

CONCLUSION

[a] Salvationists are very busy people, and in so many corps they wouldn't dare to miss a practice or an open-air - BUT WHERE ARE THEY ALL WHEN IT COMES TO A PRAYER MEETING??

GOD WILL ONLY BE REAL WITH US, WHEN WE ARE REAL WITH HIM!! THAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE!!

[b] Any company of God's people, has two options! They can be involved in the work of self preservation, or the work of bringing about revival through prayer. I know which I would rather be involved in!!

[c] It does us well to take our example from the Lord. Often, in the midst of all the clamour, cries for help, and opportunities to preach, Jesus would withdraw to a quiet place to pray.

PRAYER FOR HIM WAS TRULY A PRIORITY AROUND WHICH EVERYTHING ELSE HAD TO FIT!

THE CHALLENGE IS, ARE WE WILLING TO TAKE HIS EXAMPLE??

Songs from Salvation Army Song Book

SONG (TUNE)

633 (66)

Prayer Chorus 133

499 Alter Service (199)

Chorus Coming this way, yes ….

625 (126)

608 (512)