The misunderstanding of prayer is hurting people. It’s leading them astray into frustration and faithlessness. It’s not uncommon to hear of people’s exasperation at ‘unanswered’ prayer. Still others are ‘on the outs with God’ because their prayers are unfulfilled.
Not only that, but mockers are using it against the faithful when they see evil in the world. They say things like, “your thoughts and prayers are meaningless.” In one sense they’re right because they’re attacking the MYTHS about prayer that many believers are telling!
We must understand prayer. We need to teach it to people. To this end, here are the top 5 MYTHS about prayer.
The first MYTH is that MONEY & prosperity shows up without effort. I’ve heard people say, “if God had meant for me to be rich, I would be rich.”
He does want us to be financially secure and has given us laws about money that we can follow to become financially secure. Laws like…
Debt: “…borrower is servant to the lender.” [Prov 22:7]
Work: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” [Eph 4:28]
People pray for financial prosperity while simultaneously break the rules of God about finances.
The 2nd MYTH is that God will say YES to every petition. Experience should show them this is wrong and scripture says it directly.
If you doubt, “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” [Jas 1:7]
And, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” [Jas 4:3]
God gives no guarantee when we ask amiss.
A 3rd MYTH is that God will TAKE away all pain & evil. Where did you get that? This is the one the MOCKERS cite in their criticism of God. “Since there’s so much evil in the world God is either powerless, unkind or non-existent.”
This myth assumes that heaven is on earth. It’s never taught that way in scripture. Heaven is a place prepared for the obedient faithful (but I repeat myself) after the destruction of the world & it’s evil. [2Pet 39-10; Rev 21:4]
The 4th MYTH about prayer is that God will HEAL everyone everywhere of everything. That’s absurd. This myth misses the teaching about the purpose of miraculous healing done by Christ and the Apostles in the first century.
Miraculous healing (1 of 9 spiritual gifts) were for the express purpose of showing God’s confirmation of those who were teaching the Gospel and the New Covenant of Christ. In one instance, Jesus said, “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” [Mark 2:9-11, emph mine seb]
This is just one of many proofs to show that the miraculous healing of that day was for the purpose of confirming the word of God.
Does God want good health for us today? I believe so because the bible teaches it, but not in the way MYTH tellers say. We need to learn about this and teach it accurately.
The last MYTH about prayer is that God will just beam SCRIPTURE into their mind without study. It’s true that God gave inspiration to some for the purpose of revealing His will and they wrote it down for us today [Eph 3:3-4]. It IS NOT TRUE that you should expect that same inspiration today. When you read what is written you can;
BELIEVE, UNDERSTAND, PROFIT, PLEASE GOD, & KNOW GOD’S WILL.
[John 20:30-31; 2Tim 2:15; 3:16-17; 2Pet 3:15-16]
Misunderstanding prayer is making spiritually weak and lazy believers. God wants us to pray to Him, but He also commands it be done “according to His will” [1John 5:14] which means we must know what He wants and be obedient to His will.
This morning’s sermon will cover this and more about Godly prayer.
The first chapter of John’s gospel is powerful in that it delivers 7 titles of Jesus. Last week we noted 4 of the 7 (THE WORD, GOD, LIFE, & LIGHT). This week we continue with three more titles of Jesus in John chapter 1.
7 Titles of Jesus in John chapter 1:
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
This title, “the Christ,” carries great significance.
Stong’s definition; anointed, i.e. the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus:–Christ.
It is used over 300 times in the New Testament and means “the anointed one.”
Andrew, the brother of Peter, went to him telling him that he had found the MESSIAH. [v41]
By divine revelation Peter recognized Jesus as the Christ [Mat 16:16]. Prophets foretold of His coming as the Messiah.
From “Christ” comes the name Christian,” and “Christianity.” By calling ourselves Christ-ones we are seeking to do His will by keeping His commandments.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15]
What a sham it is when people call themselves ‘Christian’ without obeying & serving him.
“He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.”
Lord is a name expressing His sovereignty. [cr. 1Tim 6:15] Is it any wonder then that Jesus asked; “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” [Luke 6:46]
I can’t tell exactly how Jesus is asking this. Is He saying it as if they’re acknowledging Him as King? Or, is He indicating that they’re calling on Him with much pleading for help? The context indicates the latter as He is discussing those lost in the final judgment. [cr. Matt 7:21-23].
In either case He is indicating how ridiculous it is to call on Him in your time of need after living a life rejecting His authority & position as the Son of God and the creator! [John 1:1]
LAMB OF GOD: (v29)
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
This last one drives home the point about who Jesus is to us.
He is the only worthy sacrifice, sent by God, to take away the sins of the world, you and I.
The Hebrew writer reminds us, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” [Heb 9:22].
He also reminds us that there are no worthy sacrifices found on the earth, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4]
Paul wrote that no human is worthy either, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” [Rom 3:10].
All of this being true, there was no hope for mankind because of their sin. What is impossible with men is possible with God.
And so, the only remedy for our disobedience is the LAMB of GOD.
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” [Heb 9:12]
God’s love is so great for us that He gave Himself for us.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” [Rom 5:8-10]
TRULY AMAZING! Let us consider these Titles of Jesus and walk worthy of wearing His Glorious Name.
We know that the central theme throughout scripture is Christ Jesus. He can be seen on nearly every page. Some chapters stand out among the rest. The chapters of Isaiah 53 & Exodus 12 to name a few.
John one is remarkable for the titles it tells us that our Lord and savior wears. This article attempts to describe the meaning of those titles. For the sake of room, we will study the first 4 titles, then next week we’ll finish with the other 3.
7 Titles of Jesus in John chapter 1:
THE WORD: (v1) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,”
Jesus is called the Word because His life, death, burial & resurrection will become the GOSPEL, the good news. It will be the message all must hear and obey. It is this word by which mankind can be saved.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved,” [1Cor 15:1-2a]
GOD: (v1) “…the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
This verse clearly states that Jesus is God. Some may deny it, but scripture supports it.
“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.:”
“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” [Col 2:9]
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” [1Tim 3:16]
[Jno 5:18; cr. Col 1:15; Phil 2:6]
LIFE: (v4) “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Jesus would go on to say later,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Eternal Life can only be found through Jesus.
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” [Col 3:4]
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” [John 10:10]
“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” [1John 5:11]
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Romans 6:23]
LIGHT: (v7) “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”
God is often described as light. So too His ways. The Light that is Christ is pure & holy. Several passages use light to describe God.
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” [Rev 21:23]
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” [John 3:19]
“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” [John 12:46]
Next week we’ll examine the next 3 titles of Jesus in John 1.
Hell is a serious subject, that is if you believe it’s a REAL place. If, however, you’re one of those who don’t believe hell is REAL, then everything in this article will be ignored.
I HOPE YOU DON’T IGNORE THIS TOPIC. If you do, there are serious consequences to YOU if you don’t believe that hell is a real place.
It matters what one believes as our beliefs drive our actions and attitudes.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” [Prov 23:7a]
WHAT ARE THE FOUR CONSEQUENCES if you don’t believe that hell is REAL?
First, you will have little to no REGARD for the gravity of sin. You have a lowered view about sin and you underestimate the purity of God.
Sin is a direct disregard for God and His sovereignty. There is no sin in God, not one drop.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent:” [Num 23:19a; cr Titus 1:2]
From the very beginning this lesson is taught. In the garden, when Adam & Eve took of the fruit of the KOGAE tree, they had to be separated from God.
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” [Isaiah 59:2]
Sin is that bad.
The next thing that begins to change in you is that you will lessen your EVANGELISM.
The magician Penn Jillette, an atheist, said it this way;
“How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”
When we fail to realize the reality of HELL, we fail to take it seriously and fail to warn others about it.
The third consequence is we begin to believe that the lost are simply ANNIHILATED from existence. While this may be palatable to our senses, this too is a mistake.
If we believe in annihilation of the lost, we belittle the justice of God. He has said,
“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” [Romans 12:19]
Where is the justice for the rape, murder and every manner of wickedness that man has done to other men?
We have no problem with the idea of Hell for the Hitlers, the rapists and the pedophiles, but we have a problem when it comes to those who sin against God. (I refer you back to the first point.)
“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” [Jude 7; cf Heb 2:1-3]
Which brings us to the final point. We start to rationalize by saying, “a LOVING God would never send anyone to hell.”
This last point encompasses the previous three. Many denominational preachers have said that they won’t speak about sin or hell as it’s too negative. One said, “”No, I really don’t, because it’s a different approach.” This is a direct contradiction of how Paul preached;
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” [Acts 20:27; cr v20]
We ought not project what we want onto our Creator; “”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” [Is 58:8]
HELL IS REAL. As these scriptures describe.
Lake of fire (Rev. 20:10)
Furnace of fire (Matt. 13:42)
Flaming fire (2Thess. 1:7-9)
Baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11-12)
Unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43)
Brimstone (Rev. 21:8)
Wailing & Gnashing (Matt. 8:12; 13:50)
Prepared for Devil (Matt. 25:41)
Outer darkness (Matt. 25:30)
Torment (Rev. 14:10-11)
Friends, Hell is real and we don’t want anyone, even our worst enemy to go there.