Lamb-right Lamb-left

How Are We to be Seeking God?

From All-Creatures.org
Sermons Archive

Each sermon is published in large print for use in preaching, and for easy reading by several people gathered around the computer monitor.

How Are We to be Seeking God?
 
A Sermon Delivered to
 
The Compassion Internet Church
 
14 October 2012
 
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Matthew 6:31-34
Hebrews 9:22
        10:4-13

Have you ever watched archaeologists, either in real life or on television, digging around in one of those ancient ruins? They dig very slowly.
 
Sometimes they use only very small hand tools, whisk brooms or paint brushes. They seem to sift every shovelful of dirt in their effort to uncover the slightest piece of evidence of that past civilization.
 
On the other hand, have you seen the typical construction site excavation? They use the largest possible equipment to move as much material as fast as they can.
 
There is quite a difference in the outlook of these two groups of people. The excavation contractor is looking at a hole, and what he or she has to build out of it.
 
Archaeologists, on the other hand, look at the excavation site only for what it contains.
 
In one sense, both archaeologists and excavating contractors are seeking to do the same thing. They want to excavate the site, but that’s where the similarity ends.
 
If the excavating contractor digs at the rate desired by the archaeologist, he or she will go broke.
 
And, if the archaeologist becomes impatient, and tries to dig at the rate desired by the excavating contractor, he or she will lose everything worthwhile finding and the excavation will be worthless.
 
Humans can use these same types of approaches in their effort to try to understand God. They can barge right in and end up with emptiness.
 
God is not a thing that you dig like an excavation for a building, and we can’t be anxious about digging Him up in the manner that a contractor seeks to keep on schedule.
 
He is a personal, living God who wants each of us to get to know Him – really know Him.
 
Note what Jesus tells us as part of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:31-34…

31. "Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?'

In a sense, this is the way of the contractor…everything needs to be done now.

32. "For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
 
33. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

In a sense this is the way of the archaeologists who know what they are seeking and don’t want to lose any portion of it, so they are careful and take their time.

34. "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
NASB

See, when we seek God in the manner of the archaeologist, we find the most wonderful relationship that can ever exist.
 
As we begin to sweep away the dust and dirt that has soiled us, God will reveal Himself to us.
 
But we don’t do this as the archaeologist would. We don’t use a pick and shovel, or even a broom; for we’re not dealing with the same kind of dust and dirt.
 
The dust and dirt that soils our lives and hides God from us is called sin. It is "removed" far more easily than the dirt of an archaeological dig. It can be removed by just willing it away through our repentance.
 
And remember that a lot of this dust and dirt is from the ways of the world around us:

…the injustice and corruption in our governments and industries that favor the evil ways of the world,
 
…and the indifference of people to the suffering and death of billions of animals and millions of humans every year for our human greed.

If we are truly willing to have the sin in our lives removed from God’s sight, then God is also willing to have it hidden from His sight.
 
That sounds too simple, doesn’t it?
 
Well, it is just that simple.
 
And this is where digging into God’s Word, the Bible, really helps.
 
But in the process of digging through the Bible in the manner of the archaeologist, we need to separate out the worldly ways of the people, and the concession God may have allowed, from the creation and heavenly will of God.
 
Remember that there was no suffering and death in the Garden of Eden before the Fall, and there is no pain, mourning, or death in heaven; so this gives us the main clue to our separating the worldly ways from the will of God.
 
The Bible holds the answer to this question, as well as most of those others we are seeking answers to. And the deeper and more carefully we dig into His Word, the closer our relationship usually becomes.
 
The Bible tells us that God is a holy and righteous God, and that sin brings death – our death.
 
"Now wait a minute," you may be saying; "You just said that all we have to do is will our sin away from God’s sight, and now you tell us that it will bring death."
 
Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying; but if you’re asking the question as I just stated, and doubting, you’re digging with a bulldozer. Let’s not move so fast.
 
The Bible also tells us that there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of innocent blood, as we are told in Hebrews 9:22.

22. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
NASB

That also may be true, but don't jump to the wrong conclusion.
 
This passage is not finite; it is leaving a question as to a possible other alternative.
 
Perhaps it’s better if you completely turn off your backhoes and bulldozers. They just mess everything up.
 
Let’s now take a look at what this writer says in the next chapter of Hebrews (10:4-13).

4. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Note carefully that we are being told that the whole sacrificial system was really worthless and not of God, but let the writer explain a little further.

5. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,
"Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired,
But a body Thou hast prepared for Me;
 
6. In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast taken no pleasure.
 
7. "Then I said, 'Behold, I have come
(In the roll of the book it is written of Me)
To do Thy will, O God.'"
 
8. After saying above, "Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast not desired, nor hast Thou taken pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the Law),
 
9. then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Thy will." He takes away the first in order to establish the second.

This is digging like the archaeologist, and not drawing conclusions from the first discovery (sacrifice), but waiting to see the whole picture before forming our conclusions.
 
There is also another very important clue that the sacrificial system was not desired by God; it’s the fact that it was never a part of His creation, nor is it in His heavenly will, because sacrifice involves the shedding of blood and death.

10. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
 
11. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;
 
12. but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,
 
13. waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.
NASB

By following the same understanding of no death in God’s plan, we can understand that we are not to kill and eat animals.
 
Besides being a holy and righteous God, God is also a loving, merciful, and forgiving God, which means that He wouldn’t want any innocent animal’s blood to be shed for any purpose.
 
He loves His creation so much that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, here to save the world and us from the death caused by our sins.
 
Unlike the innocent animal that was supposed to be sacrificed in the corrupt world each time a person sinned, Jesus ended the whole sacrificial system with His death.
 
Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of the world. Yes, every sin we committed in the past and all that we may commit in the future.
 
According to the Bible, the shedding of His blood was so perfect that it is good for all time, and brings about forgiveness for all who truly repent.
 
But, we need to remember that if we humans had remained obedient to God and His will, there would have never been any sacrificial system, nor would Jesus have had to come to save us.
 
However, this is not the way it is today.
 
Now, don’t start jumping on your bulldozer again, and jump to the wrong conclusion; for that is the same mistake we also make when something in our life doesn’t work out the way we want it to.
 
Perhaps someone told you about Jesus before, and then he went off and did something wrong. So you jumped on your bulldozer and buried him and what he was telling you, because you were in too much of a hurry to check it out for yourself.
 
Or maybe something went wrong in your life, and you blamed God for it. Then you promptly jumped on your backhoe and dug a pit in which you hoped to bury God.
 
Well, these approaches just don’t work with God. He’s still there no matter what we or anyone else may try to do to make it otherwise.
 
Instead of running from God, or blaming Him for everything that goes wrong in our lives and in the world, and trying to hide from Him, seek God, and an amazing thing will happen. All the things that you were so worried about were really not so bad after all.
 
God will take upon Himself all our burdens, and help us through the tough times.
 
He has even given us, who truly believe, the right and ability to help free creation from the corruption it has been subjected to.
 
Trust Him! He's God, you know!
 
And additionally, don't worry so much about the other guy who did something against you; for perhaps he feels the same about you.
 
Just pray for him, and let God solve the problem.
 
The answer to all of this is right in front of us, if we will accept it.
 
See, God's Word ties all this together. It tells us that if we are willing to have our sins covered from God's sight, they will be, just as I said before.
 
If you turned off that bulldozer I was talking about, that was a step of faith. You acted upon a belief that I was telling you the truth.
 
And that's exactly the same kind of attitude that God wants us to have with Him.
 
See, first He wants us to believe that Jesus is who He said He is. That He is the Son of God, and also God. They are One.
 
Next, God wants us to believe that Jesus died for our sins.

And then He wants us to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

And finally, God wants us to be willing to step out in faith by asking Him to forgive us for our sins; that is, if we are truly repentant.
 
If we do this, He is faithful to forgive us.

Yes, it is as simple as that.   
 
But, are you willing to do it?        
 
Those of us who have been listening and following our teachings and study courses we have been doing understand what it means to "walk with God."
 
Stated in simple terms, walking with God is really a continuation of that first step of faith: That of submitting to God’s will by repenting for our sins, and trusting Him to make our life over into something new and wonderful.
 
All of us here today have sinned against God. That's right, every one of us.
 
And, when we confess our sins to God, and ask for His forgiveness, a tremendous load is removed from us. He sets us free. He gives us a peace that surpasses all earthly understanding.
 
God doesn’t really care as much about what we have done wrong, as what we’re going to do about it now.
 
He wants our repentance.
 
He wants a heart relationship with us.
 
He wants our desire to do His will to be greater than our self pride.
 
He wants us to return to the cross every day.
 
Today is just that perfect day to start, if you're not doing it already.
 
I know God is speaking to some of you right now. Answer Him.

Don't harden your heart to Him.
 
Accept His free gift of love, forgiveness, and eternal life.
 
Turn your life over to God, or set straight those things in your life that are still a little twisted, or out of joint. You will never regret it.
 
And together we will help end the warring madness and corruption in the world around us, and usher in His heavenly peace.
 
Amen!