He Who Comes To God
Hebrews 11:6 | Shaun LePage | December 10, 2006
A. God wants to be with us. Before Jesus’ birth—an angel of the Lord, an amazing promise: Matt 1:23.
B. Herbert Lockyer: “The living bond and most intimate fellowship between God and man was summed up in one word—Emmanuel.” (All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible, p.148)
C. Jesus’ final words: Matt 28:20. Promise stands. How? Not really leaving; changing realms.
D. Foundations of prayer; final message (though more could be said): Seeking God—the greatest pursuit of the human soul. Seekers need to know, be and do something!
A. What do I need to know? Reality!
1. The Spiritual is just as real as the physical.
a) Col 1:13. Two kingdoms: Trust Christ—in “the kingdom of Christ.” Not “someday!”
b) Eph 2:4-6. “Heavenly realms”—spiritual realm. Not future tense—it’s a done deal.
c) There is a spiritual reality all around us right now. It is invisible, so we don’t give it the attention it deserves, but it is as real as physical. Ephesians 6:12—Spiritual reality.
2. God wants us to be close to Him forever.
a) Luke 11:2. “Father”—God is personal; Person we can know in personal relationship.
(1) Everyone believes there is a God—Rom 1:18-20.
(2) Some perceive God in vague ways—a mysterious, unknowable force.
(3) The Bible: God is a loving Person who wants to be known in personal relationship!
(a) Heb 9:1-3. “holy of holies”—only high priest could enter—God’s presence. 9:3—“veil”—highlighted the separation between God and man.
(b) “Holy” means “separate”—from what is sinful; only the holy can approach Him. This was the picture God gave to His worshipers in the Old Testament.
(c) Matthew 27:51. Jesus’ death opened the way to God’s presence. The veil and tabernacle were no longer necessary in order to approach God.
(d) Hebrews 9:24-26. 1) “Most Holy Place” on earth was just a “copy.” Heaven is the true dwelling place of God. 2) Work is finished—“once for all” (9:12).
(e) Hebrews 10:19-22. Jesus’ crucified body was the true “veil.” The God-man stood in that gap between Holy God and unholy man and brought us together. He opened the way for us to be in God’s presence.
(f) “Draw near.” God went to a lot of trouble (Jesus died!)—take full advantage!
b) Revelation 22 tells us God’s plan of redemption is to restore the closeness He shared with mankind in the Garden of Eden (e.g., “tree of life, no more curse.”). That will be permanent.
c) Not just future! Ps 105:4. God wants us to be close to Him forever.
B. What do I need to be? In Christ! Our relationship starts by faith. John 14:6; Eph 3:12 says, “…In (Christ) we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”
C. What do I need to do? Believe! Our relationship begins by faith and continues by faith. Do you know God in close, intimate relationship? If not, it is because of you don’t believe something—You don’t believe your relationship with God is all-important; you don’t believe God is all that interested; You don’t believe the spiritual is as important as the physical. It’s an issue of faith! Hebrews 11:6.
1. What is faith? See vs. 1-2; Not a definition as much as a description.
a) Faith is taking God at His Word. (v.1) “Assurance of things hoped for” What God has promised will happen; sure hope, not wishful hope (sun rise tomorrow. Hasn’t happened, but we know it will). What God has promised is just as certain.
b) Faith is taking action. “…conviction of things not seen…” “Conviction” means “evidence or proof.” When we’re “convicted”—we act. The men in Hebrews 11 had faith, and proved faith was real by obeying (Ex: Noah). The end of v.2 tells us Noah and these other men “…gained approval” with this kind of faith. Takes us back to v.6.
2. Why do we need faith? To please God. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him (God).” Faith—like vs.1-2, and like men in Hebrews 11—pleases God; “impossible” to have a close, intimate relationship without faith. Rest of verse explains: “…he who comes…” is the one who wants to please God. How?
a) To please God, we must believe that He is. God really does exist! Believing pleases Him. Everyone “believes” but not everyone “trusts”. Those who “trust” sometimes act like “fools” (Ps 53:1-3). Do you believe? Don’t live as a practical atheist. It only makes sense to seek Him.
b) To please God, we must believe that He rewards seekers.
(1) Seekers are those who have trusted Christ (Rom 3:11). C.S. Lewis: “…Agnostics will talk cheerfully about ‘man’s search for God.’ To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for the cat.” (Quotable #31).
(2) If we believe that He is, it only makes sense to trust Him with our eternal destiny. When we trust Him for salvation, we receive the Holy Spirit. Then we are able to seek Him.
(3) How does He reward? He lets us find Him! God rewards those who seek Him—who want to know Him—Phil 3:7-8.
(4) Revelation 3:20. One who “opens the door” rewarded with fellowship.
(5) Revelation 3:16-17. Laodiceans thought they were rich—only looking at the physical realm. In the spiritual realm, they were “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”
(6) The ultimate reward is to know God. If you really believe He rewards seekers—seek Him! Prayer is not an end in itself. Prayer is about seeking God and the end—the goal—of seeking God is to know Him.
A. We need to (get to) seek God daily—not complicated: Bible reading and prayer (listening and talking)—not daily Bible duty; not religious ritual; but relationship. When we meet with God consistently, it reminds us that the spiritual realm is real and that God wants us to be close to Him today.
B. A.W. Tozer put it this way: “Every man must choose his world…we must avoid the common fault of pushing the ‘other world’ into the future. It is not future, but present. It parallels our familiar physical world, and the doors between the two worlds are open.” (The Pursuit of God, p.55)
C. We’ve talked about prayer a lot. Let’s keep at it. Ps 27:8. God invites us to “seek (His) face.” Let’s respond from our hearts with “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”