The vision God gives us may inspire us to:
* Go farther than we’ve gone before
* Do more than we’ve done before
* Get more than we’ve gotten before
In order to get us up and out of our comfort zone, at times we are blessed with what could be described as:
* A Holy Frustration
Content on the one hand and yet wanting more on the other.
There will always be reasons why we should not attempt greater things for the glory of God.
The children of Israel found this to be so as did Gideon, Ester, Moses, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, The Young Rich Ruler and even Jesus Himself.
In these trying moments we must remember the inspired words of the Apostle Paul who said:
Acts 20:24 "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (NKJV)
This scripture was given by inspiration and is useful for teaching ourselves, correcting ourselves and instructing ourselves as to how we also ought to live.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Today we are looking at the subject of: Petitioning God.
The Apostle Paul gave us a glimpse of his prayer life.
There are basically 5 prayers of the Apostle Paul recorded in the scriptures. These give us insight in how we ought to petition God.
When I say ‘petition God’, I am referring to simply bringing our desires, hopes, requests to Him and offering them to Him for His consideration.
One of the prayers of Paul which I would like to refer to this morning is found in the book of Ephesians Chapter Three
Ephesians 3 (NKJV)
14 ¶ For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—
19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Verse 15 refers to the whole family of God:
* You know, people like to talk about their family.
* Have you ever seen one of those bumper stickers, “Ask me about my Grandchildren.”
* I like to talk about my family, too.
Let me tell you about our immediate family. Children we’ve birthed together.
The true birth of the vision God gave to GTCOTR came about on the last Sunday in August, 1988. With no disrespect to former things, I have calculated the birth of this church to coincide with the birth of the current vision.
The vision of GTCOTR was 16 years old this past August.
* During these 5 years we established our missions
The vision of YOCC was 11 years old last July.
* During these 2 years we did India/Africa/Russia
The vision of TNC was 9 years old this past August.
* In these 4 years we did RU100%SURE & IIFBC/CCCC
The vision of NLCOTR is 5 years old today.
* In these two years we did Water Wells & a New Building
The vision of Rock Church Southeast is 3 years old this month.
* During this year we re-focused on our local church.
The vision of Conroe COTR will be 2 years old next month.
* During this year we birthed Church Online
The vision of Bridge City COTR will be 1 year old next month.
* During this year the whole world could hear our whisper.
We just had a new vision born, Cowboy COTR, last night.
* We break ground next month on another new building.
Sour Lake COTR will officially have its vision birth on March 20.
* You are all invited, it will be at 7pm in Sour Lake.
The Pt Arthur Vietnamese COTR vision will be born this Summer.
* This coming fall we will dream again the dreams of God.
We also have a few close cousins in our area:
* Father’s House in Fannett
* God’s House, a Messianic Jewish Congregation in Beaumont
* Counseling School, Clinic, Health Services, Water Wells …
Pastors often ask me how we do it.
I know the real question they have is, ‘Why do we do it’?
It’s A Kingdom Expansion Thing. “Thy Kingdom come” … not my kingdom come.
Now back to Ephesians 3 and the art of petitioning God.
Paul prays that his followers, his family in Christ, be spiritually strengthened, full of faith, rooted in love, able to comprehend the love of God and be filled with the fullness of God.
That’s a pretty good prayer … a pretty tall order for God to fill.
Why could Paul feel comfortable petitioning God with such a grand request? Because he knew God was able!
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.
There is no question God is able.
* There is a question however, whether God will grant our petition or re-direct us in light of His greater purpose and will.
* Just because we know God is able does not give us license to presume He will.
There is a great difference between Petition and Presumption.
It is not presumption when we know the will of God.
It is presumption to assume we know God’s will before He makes it plain.
Our prime example of this comes from Jesus Himself as He petitioned God in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He did not presume that what was best for His moment, what seemed right and reasonable to Him and His friends or what He wanted was the will of His Father, God.
Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
Jesus prayed and petitioned God not once, but three times before God made it plain that He had other plans.
Later Jesus reaffirmed that God was able when He told Peter that God could send more than 78,000 angels to deliver Him if necessary. Matthew 26:53
It is not a question of “Is God able?”
It is a question of, “What is His plan?”
What seems like a surprise to us is often a plan to God.
* Ask Jacob or Rachael and Leah
* Ask Judah and Tamar
* Ask Joseph in the O.T. or Joseph in the N.T.
* Ask Paul and Silas or the jailer of Acts 16.
We must be careful what we commit God to - because just like you,
* God may not pay for something which He did nor order.
* Petition God with your greatest desires
* Petition Him again and again.
* Don’t presume to commit God based on your desire.
* Accept the answer when you know it comes from God.
How do I know if the answer comes from God?
* That’s what the Apostle Paul was praying about in Eph. 3.
It’s not difficult to walk in faith after God has made His will plain.
It is difficult however, to get people to believe the next time, after we have presumed to speak for God before we knew His plan.