Proposition: In lesson we will study some truths about our prayers and how, when answered, we will be tested, transformed and brought into submission to God’s will.
Objective: That everyone would understand the seriousness of our prayers to the Lord.
Introduction: There are dangerous prayers and safe prayers.
Thanksgiving prayers: “Lord I thank you for this day, for the food, etc.”
This is a type of prayer that does not require anything on my part. I am simply thanking God for His goodness and blessings toward mankind in general.
This is a prayer that reminds us of being grateful, but not demand change on our part.
Blessing prayers: “Lord please bless this food we are about to eat, etc.”
Again, this prayer does not require anything on our part, there is no commitment from me. Simply, we are asking God to do something for us.
This is a type of prayer that our comfort zone is not molested at all. This is a simple prayer that recognizes God’s power, but that is about it.
Recited prayers: These are prayers that are often handed out on cards. I equate them to generic Hallmark style poems.
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; and should I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Bless my mother, father, sister, brother and Rover.”
This is the type of prayer that is effortless and requires no commitment on our part. It is simply a recitation.
Someone wrote on a message board and asked, “I аm nеw tο (sic) christianity (sic) аnd wουld prefer аn effortless prayer tο recite еνеrу evening ahead οf (sic) i sleep. Please саn fellow (sic) christians hеlр mе wіth thіѕ οr inform mе a prayer? Maybe thе ‘Oυr father whο art іn heaven. . . ? thanks: )”
Dangerous prayers: This is a prayer where we place ourselves in the hands of God and say, “Use me however you want, I am Yours.”
This prayer requires me to change, to submit to God’s will and change, and accept whatever change is necessary.
“Prayer is the anvil upon which we beat our will into the will of God.”
In this lesson we will talk about four dangerous prayers, extremely dangerous prayers!
Title: Praying Dangerous Prayers
Proposition: In lesson we will study some truths about our prayers and how, when answered, we will be tested, transformed and brought into submission to God’s will.
Objective: That everyone would understand the seriousness of our prayers to the Lord.
The first dangerous prayer is non-verbal, it is “said” when we are baptized (Matthew 28:18-20)
When you are standing in the water, what are you communicating to God and to the world?
“I give You my life…”
“I exchange my life for Yours…”
I give You my life. I don’t know what that means, but as I learn more You are going to get more of it.”
Symbolism of baptism. Baptism symbolizes our death, burial and resurrection along with Christ’s.
We are placed into Christ because it is an action of surrender.
This prayer is the first level of danger, because things are going to change.
2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation (creature). This is dangerous to our relationships, our jobs, dangerous to a number of things because we are marching to a drummer that most of the world cannot hear the drumbeat.
“Why me, Lord?” Everyone has at one time or another asked it. Why does it always have to rain on my parade? Why are things always happening to me? Why my family? Why my children? Why my job? Why? Why? Why?
The answer is probably found in an Old Testament passage where God is pictured as sitting over a refiner’s fire making silver of His people. “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:3)
A sister read this passage during a Bible study and was intrigued. She sought out a silversmith to see if he could shed more light on the passage.
The man was sitting before a crucible, gazing intently into a boiling pot. She asked, “Do you have to sit here all the time or just come back when it is finished? Sort of like setting the oven on a temperature and timer?”
He replied, “No. I have to sit here and keep my eye on it until it is finished. If the crucible gets too hot, the silver is injured. I know the process of purifying is complete when I see my own image reflected in the silver.”
The answer to “why me” is found in the Silversmith’s shop.
The smelter’s (refiner’s) pot:
God values us more than:
a prospector does his “mother load”
a stingy person does his money
an addict does his fix
a mother does her newborn.
Psalm 116:15; “Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones.”
Isaiah 43:4; ““Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.”
We need to acknowledge that God knows what He is doing:
Lehman Strauss, an Old Testament Bible professor, knew first-hand about suffering and heart ache.
His wife had suffered a stroke and in the midst of dealing with it, he wrote a book entitled, In God’s Waiting Room: Learning through Suffering.
As he attempted to better understand the events that moved into his life, he compared his experience to childhood memories of his mother baking cakes. She used various ingredients:
flour, baking powder, shortening, eggs-
each on of these ingredients on their own do not taste good on our palate
but once they are mixed together and baked for the proper length of time, they collectively produced a delicious desert.
In our lives we experience ingredients that seem unpalatable, and our temptation is to tell God that He is ruining everything.
at those times we find greater strength and peace when we acknowledge that God knows what He is doing.
What kind of furnace does the Refiner use? He uses the furnace of:
prolonged sickness (Corinthians 12:7-8; “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.”)
difficulty in raising our children
problems with parents
This kind of suffering is an effective teacher of life. Some important lessons are only learned at her feet.
“I walked a mile with Pleasure, she chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser, for all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow and ne’er a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her, when Sorrow walked with me! At the same time, God watches to see that the fire never gets so hot that it injures us. ‘There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it’ (1 Corinthians 10:13). These things hurt us but they do not permanently injure us-unless we turn from the Refiner.” (Robert Browning Hamilton)
The Smelter’s Purpose
God does not waste our time.
Amy Carmichael (missionary in India) wrote, “A wise master never wastes his servant’s time.”
No matter what set of circumstances we receive, God is not wasting our time. He is educating us; improving us; molding us.
A young Christian was suffering and complained to an older Christian woman, “If God loves me as you say, why then does He make me so?” The elderly lady replied, “God’s purpose is to prepare us for heaven.”
The Refiner wants to make heaven attractive to us:
2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1.
The Refiner wants to test our faith (Genesis 22:1; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). The worthiness of the ship is not determined while it rides at ease in the harbor, but when it rides the waves of a storm. Our faith is worthless is it cannot get us through life’s storms.
The Refiner wants to teach us to appreciate our blessings (Luke 17:17-ten cleansed only one returned; Colossians 3:15).
Bullfinches are placed in a darkroom for several weeks before they learn to sing. Once they are brought out into the sunlight, their song is much sweeter and beautiful.
God often takes us into a dark room of suffering so that when we come back into life’s sunshine, our song will be sweeter than before.
God wants to teach us to learn to comfort others (1 Corinthians 1:3-7).
It is almost impossible to feel compassion for someone if we don’t know what he is going through. It is only when we have passed through the Refiner’s crucible that we can truly understand the sufferings of others.
The Refiner wants us to learn to trust Him (Luke 14:11; Proverbs 16:18; James 4:10; Jeremiah 10:23; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Abraham Lincoln said, “I have often been driven to my knees by the sincere conviction that there was nowhere else to go.”
Conclusion: The Refiner’s product:
Just like the refiner told the Bible class student, silver is ready when he sees his image in its reflection. God also looks to see His image in our lives. Paul said, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18; cf. Romans 8:29; Colossians 3:10).
A silversmith will make many pieces over the course of his career, but only a few of them are deemed worthy of display in his own house.
God is fashioning of us what He wants to display in His own house.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was once approached by a concerned and inquiring person who said, ‘Mr. Emerson, they tell me that the world is coming to an end.’ Emerson calmly replied, ‘Never mind, we can get along without it.’When God finishes refining us, we all will be very happy ‘doing without’ this world and its suffering.
Introduction: “It is notable that nearly all the poisonous fungi are scarlet or speckled and the wholesome ones brown or grey, as if to show us that things rising out of darkness and decay are always most deadly when they are well dressed.” Ruskin
Some say that if you believe in the devil, you never grew up.
Yet someone else said, “Belief in a personal Satan is part of mankind’s nursery furniture.”
While others hold to the belief in a quasi-devil who is really not as bad as everybody makes him out to be.
Many folks picture him as a red-suited, pointed-horned, long-tailed, fun-loving cartoon.
The Bible, however, does not take the devil lightly, nor is it unclear about his existence or evil intentions.
Jesus acknowledged Satan and often spoke of him (Matthew 25:41; John 8:44)
“Satan” is found 55 times in the Bible (19 in Old Testament; 36 in New Testament).
“Devil” is found 59 times and all of them in the New Testament.
Every Christian is a soldier in the Lord’s Army and as a soldier we should now our enemy. There are two major enemies, the first is the Devil and the second is ourselves. Today we shall analyze the first one only.
His nature: What is Satan like?
He is a slanderer! (Job 1:7-8; Psalm 109:6)
“Devil”-slanderer or accuser.
He slandered Job, but we should take heart, God defended him.
When Satan accuses us as Christians before God, we should remember that Jesus defends us as our Advocate in heaven.
A faithful Christian’s case is in good hands (1 John 2:1-2; Romans 8:31-39; Revelation 12:10)!
He is a counterfeiter of God (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
He seeks to confuse us, and the easiest way is to duplicate-with significant but hard to notice changes-God’s creations.
Parable of the tares:
the enemy (Satan) sows tares (poisonous weeds that look like wheat) among the farmer’s wheat (God’s world).
Satan is in the religion business! He has counterfeit gods, counterfeit churches, counterfeit bibles, and counterfeit preachers.
Satan would rather we all become atheists, but is content with us becoming idolaters, members of false religions, and living by false standards.
The only way to determine what is genuine and what is false is to shine the light of God’s Word upon it. (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1).
He is a liar, deceiver, and murderer (John 8:44)
Since Eden he has been lying to us, bringing death to Adam and Eve and then to the entire world.
“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)
He is the ruler of this world (John 12:21; John 14:30; John 16:11; 1 John 5:19) and the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Presently, the devil has more fans than does God (Matthew 7:13-14)
The only time God had more on His side than the devil had on his side was when Adam stepped into Eden and Noah stepped out of the Ark.
But, there will come a day when even the devil will bow at the knee before God, just as will every one of his followers (Revelation 22:2-3; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10).
He is our adversary, our enemy (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Satan means “adversary”. Even though we do not see him, he is there laying traps for us (2 Timothy 2:24).
Armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-12).
He is a destroyer (Revelation 9:11); Abaddon means “destruction”.
It is his goal to destroy everyone’s marriage!
It is his goal to destroy every man’s sanity!
It is his goal to destroy everyone’s peace!
It is his goal to destroy every virgin’s virtue!
It is his goal to destroy every church’s ministry!
He snatches away God’s Word (Matthew 13:19). (concentrate)
He traps (1 Timothy 3:7); i.e. and alcoholic with one drink (watch)
He wants to control the mind (1 Chronicles 21:1ff; Acts 5:3): books, television, internet, etc. (discern
He attacks our bodies as he did to Job (Job 1:13 ff) (endure)
He wants to destroy our possessions in hopes of destroying us (Job 1:13ff) (trust)
He hinders our spiritual work (1 Thessalonians 2:18) (persevere)
He seeks to make you proud (1 timothy 3:6-7) (resist)
He persecutes (Revelation 2:10) (withstand)
When we sin, he accuses us to discourage us from doing the right thing (2 Corinthians 2:6-11), and he never gives up (Luke 4:13) (go on)
In an ancient legend Satan summoned his top three aides to a planning session. One lieutenant, Rancor, said, “Let’s convince them there is no God.” Satan sneered, “That won’t work. They know there is a God.” Another aide, Bitterness, spoke up. “We’ll convince them God does not really care about right or wrong.” Satan toyed with the notion, but rejected it because he knew that too many already know He does care. Malice came with his idea. “We’ll let them think there is a God and that He cares about right and wrong. But we will keep whispering ‘there is no hurry, there is no hurry.’” Satan howled with glee and promoted Malice.
Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, but people who reject Christ and believe Satan’s lies will suffer there with him (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15). Do you need to make preparation to avoid spending time with the devil? God requires faith, repentance, confession, and baptism (Acts 8:35-40). One must remain faithful to Christ in order to avoid returning to the devil’s ways (2 Peter 2:20-22; Revelation 2:10).
Fornication is not just tolerated in our society but is actually being encouraged. The sin of fornication is being committed even among Christians, as many couples “live together” and have sex before marriage. The Bible tells us to flee this sin. We have counseled Christians of the opposite sex who share an apartment and they told us they were not having sex so this surely wasn’t wrong. Night-crawlers come to mind. The Bible declares these words in 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23; “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Example: Drinking parties
1 Peter 4:3; 1 Corinthians 6:10 (Bible condemns drunkenness and idiots)
“Revelry” is “a wild party or celebration” according to the dictionary. When one participates in a party where the alcohol flows freely and things are said and done that are unbecoming of Christians, he is guilty of revelry, not just social drinking. Other New Testament passages also condemn revelry (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:21).
Example: Engaging in illegal activity
Romans 13 condemns the person who breaks the laws of the land.
Not paying taxes, buying stolen goods, selling vehicles with known issues but hidden from the buyer (lemons), lying on applications, speeding, driving without a license, driving without insurance, etc.
By no means do I intend to leave the impression that we should ignore sin because we are in sin. I am teaching that one should take care of his own sin before he starts pointing out the sins in others.
The expressions, “Who am I to talk?”, “I’m no one to talk…”, “I’m in no position to say/judge/criticize something”, an attempt at drawing his attention to his own problems.
(Having warned us about the speck and beam let us move on to the subject on hand about Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage.)
What does God say about marriage?
Covenant between three parties: God, man and woman (Genesis 2:18-24).
Notice the absence of a modern day ceremony.
Modern day ceremonies are acceptable but not necessary (i.e., wedding party, reception, bridesmaids, etc.)
God is the witness of the marriage union (Malachi 2:14). The immoral woman of Proverbs 2:17 had forsaken her husband and “forgot the covenant of her God.”
It is “till death do we part…” (Genesis 2)
There are obligations in the marriage:
Love his wife, love her husband and the relationship is exclusive (Ephesians 5:25).
Provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8).
Render affection for each other (1 Corinthians 7:3).
Obligated to each other, bound to each other, married to each other for life (Romans 7:1-4)
What does God say about divorce and remarriage? (Malachi 2:16)
From the very beginning God intended marriage to be between one man, one wife and for life!
But, there were man-made problems that God dealt with…
Matthew 19:3-6: The Pharisees questioned Christ about divorce “for just any reason,” He reminds them that God intended for one man and one woman to live together for life. He also said that in marriage a couple is joined together by God Himself.
Matthew 19:7: They then asked Jesus that if this was so, then why did Moses allow the Jews to divorce their wives.
Matthew 19:8: Jesus explained that while God had tolerated their immorality for a while, “from the beginning, it was not so.”
Matthew 19:9: The Pharisees had many reasons to divorce their wives, but Jesus stated that there was but one reason for a man to divorce his wife and be married to another, adultery.
Since it God who joins (marries) a couple together in marriage, He is the only One who can release them from the contract.
It is possible for a person to get married by the laws of the land, but not joined together by God.
This is what happened in Mark 6:17-18, where Herod had married (civil marriage) his sister-in-law and John the Baptist told him that his marriage was not lawful, that God did not accept it.
Romans 7:2-3: The woman in this passage was still bound by God to her first husband as long as he lived, even though she might be married to another man.
To recap the points made:
Marriage was instituted by God in the beginning.
Marriage is between a man and a woman, for life.
Moses allowed the Jews to divorce their wives for “grey-area” reasons, but it was not God’s plan from the beginning-it was tolerated.
Jesus gives us His law in the New Testament and restates God’s original law: One man, one woman, for life.
He also gives us the exception to this rule: A man may divorce his wife and remarry another if she has committed adultery.
If a man and woman divorce for any reason other than adultery they are bound to each other for life, neither one has the right to remarry.
Does God forgive the sin of divorce?
Keep in mind that we are talking about a person who divorces for any reason other than fornication (they are in sin and do not have the right to remarry).
Numbers 5:6-8; Leviticus 6:1-7; Matthew 3:8; Romans 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38, John 8).
God does forgive the sinner, but the consequences of the sin are not removed.
This means that Romans 7:2-3 and Matthew 19:9 teach that one who divorces for any reason other than fornication can be forgiven if they repent, but can never remarry another person, unless he reconciles with his original spouse. Sounds confusing! But it can be understood.
We cannot ignore Matthew 19:9!
God warns us to make sure that we are not actively sinning before we go and accuse someone of being in sin. Remove the beam from your eye. This means that if your life is full of purposeful and committed sin then you have not right to accuse someone else of sin.
God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden between one man, one wife and for life. He did not provide man with an exception.
People in the days of Moses wanted to divorce their wives for several reasons, none of which God had ordained to begin with. Moses, because of the hardness of their hearts allowed them to divorce their wives.
Malachi reminds us that God hates divorce. There are several reasons why God hates it: it is not His original plan, it hurts many people and it causes a lot of confusion–to name a few.
Jesus restates the law of marriage and says that man cannot divorce his wife just for any reason and be remarried. He can only divorce (put-away) and remarry for the cause of fornication.
Notice that the Bible does not speak to who does the sinning, how many times the person sins or the amount of times a person my put away a fornicating spouse.
We live in an age of depersonalization. Everyone is known by a number (i.e., last four digits of your social, your pin, phone number, driver’s license number, passport number, account number)
Many do not know their neighbors and feel alone.
Most people no longer stay in the same employment for years, move around every 2-3 years-discourages friendships.
There is one thing that all humans need: the know that they are loved, noticed, appreciated and important. Most of us base our level of importance on four standards:
Our appearance, our achievements, being approved by others, our wealth and power
When our self-worth is based on our appearance we set ourselves up for failure. With time, no matter how many surgeries we might be able to afford, our appearance will change. Then what will we do? When we value our self-worth on our appearance the next area of problem is being accepted by others.
When our self-worth is based on being accepted by others then we must constantly adjust to what other people like or dislike. When we add friends to our circle, that is another person we must be accepted by. This can be a problem. The other standard that most use to feel important is that of personal achievements.
When we value our self-worth based on our personal achievements we will be crushed when we realize that there is always someone that can do it better than we can, can run further than we can run, etc. This leads us to the fourth standard most people use to value their self-worth is wealth and power.
When we value our self-worth based on our power and wealth we set ourselves up for failure. It takes a lot of hard work to become wealthy and powerful. Yet it takes one small mistake to lose it all.
Gem story. $10.00, accept $15.00, was 1905 carat, worth 2.28 million
It is not healthy to value our self-worth using these standards. There’s good news today. You no longer have to worry about being important to others. You no longer need to fret about how you look. There is no need to be a people pleaser. No more! You are important to God. He values you highly!
You are important to God because He created you in His image
You are God’s highest creation!
Genesis 1:27; “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”
Psalm 8:4-8; “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (5) Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. (6) You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, (7) all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, (8) the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.”
We are God’s offspring
Acts 17:26-29; “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, (27) that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, (28) for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ (29) Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.”
Genesis 9:6; “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.”
You are important to God because He cares for your everyday needs
God providentially cares for the needs of mankind
Matthew 5:45; “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Acts 14:17; “Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
God has put the seasons and the rain on the earth to care for all of us (Acts 14:17).
You are important to God because He loved you so much that He gave His only Son to die for your sins (John 3:16)
We are all lost and in desperate need of salvation
Romans 3:23; “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Romans 6:23; “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ephesians 2:1-3; “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins (2) in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– (3) among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
The coming of Jesus to earth and dying for you is proof of God’s love for you
Romans 5:10; “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
Ephesians 5:2; “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
1 John 4:10; “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Your importance to God is seen in the fact that He knows your name
God has a record of everyone who has ever lived. He knows us all by name, and knows all of our deeds.
Revelation 20:12-13; “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. (13) And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.”
2 Corinthians 5:10; “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
If we are Christians, we can rest assured that God knows us personally as His children.
Matthew 10:29-31; “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (30) But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
2 Timothy 2:19; “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
In this world it sometimes is easy for us to think that no one cares about us. So many feel alone in a crowd. But there is no need to feel all alone. God cares about us! He wants us to accept His friendship. He sent His Son so that we might be forgiven.
Explain Zacchaeus: He felt down and was not liked or accepted by the people. He was short and a tax collector. Yet, Jesus said, “Come on down. I must dine in your home!.” He was important to God, and that’s what mattered. You can have supper with Jesus today. Obey the word of God.
Plan of salvation:
Hear (Romans 10:17)
Believe (Hebrews 11:6; John 3:16)
Repent (Acts 17:30)
Confess (Matthew 16:16; Romans 10:9-10)
Baptize (Acts 2:38, 22:16; John 3:5; Romans 6:3-6)