Complete Sermon Notes
To Be Heard On High
So we fasted and sought our God and He heard our prayers (cf. Ezra 8:23).
And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify [consecrate] yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you (Joshua 3:5).
Principle – All Scripture is not written “to me” but it is “for me” (J. McGee)
Joshua 3 Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over. 2 So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp; 3 and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. 4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” 5 And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
New season – Prepare, Align, and Position yourself to receive from GOD!
The Spirit is the sanctifier but obedience turns the key.
- Hearing God and obeying Him go hand-in-hand – to be Heard on High we must sanctify ourselves.
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement…perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).
“Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst” (Exodus 34:12).
“Like a bird that wanders from the nest, so is a man who wanders from his from his place” (Proverbs 27:8).
“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, O take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.” It is GOD who makes us stand firm in Christ!
Walk in Unity – “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).
It’s hard to hear from God when you’re disconnected from the Body.
Unity has to be fought for – it doesn’t come naturally.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. (Phil. 2:1-2, NASB)
THERE IS TOO MUCH AT STAKE TO ARGUE: Bob Fu was tortured in a Chinese prison for his faith. After his release he and his wife were forced to flee Beijing in the middle of the night. “Both my wife and I knew that sooner or later we would face ‘prison theology’,” Fu told Christian Today of his early days as a home-church pastor. “That’s the experience of Chinese Christians. We were always told that if you wanted to be a faithful follower of Jesus, you would have to take that course. So I remember [my wife] Heidi and I prayed specifically: ‘Lord, at least give us three years to set ourselves up with a more solid ground.’ We were still weak in faith and wanted to prepare ourselves. Three years later…we were both arrested.
It’s hard to hear from God when we foster disunity because we’re not connected to the Vine…the source of life.
“For you are still fleshly [Carnal]. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” 1 Cor. 3:3…NASB
Persevere in Prayer – All of us must return to the prayer closet where full surrender takes place. E.M. Bounds believed that without prayer, “The church becomes a graveyard, not an embattled army. Praise and prayer are stifled; worship is dead. The preacher and the preaching encourage sin, not holiness … preaching which kills is prayerless preaching.” The dry, dead lethargic condition of the church simply reflects an impotent prayer life.
It’s hard to hear from God when you don’t talk to him and listen patiently.
EXAMPLE – remove yourself from business and put on worship.
Apply the Truth – It’s hard to hear from God when you don’t know the heart of God.
~ “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22, KJV).
- Excerpt from Motivating Yourself
- Your true Father wants to you to know Him: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32)
Matt Moore: “I am convinced you cannot live the life of faith and obedience Jesus calls you to without setting aside time daily to draw near to God through the Word and prayer. In early 2013, my walk with Jesus was such a…mess that I came terrifyingly close to walking away from him. Why? Because I had a lackadaisical approach to seeking him. The apathetic nature of my devotional life left my faith malnourished and no match for the passions of my flesh and the deceptions of Satan.But by God’s grace, and at the prodding of wise friends, I started taking this quiet time stuff seriously. Every morning I latched onto rocks of Biblical truth with trembling hands, climbing higher and higher out of the pit of spiritual numbness. And every evening I lunged into the fiery furnace of prayer, letting God burn away callouses of unbelief that had grown around my heart. Without a doubt, seeking the Lord daily through the Word and prayer is why I am still here today…”
Pursue Self Denial – TO BE HEARD ON HIGH
- “So we fasted and besought our God for this, and He heard our prayers” (cf. Ezra 8:23).
GOD’S CHOSEN FAST by Arthur Wallis: “If humility is the basic ingredient of true holiness, the soil in which grace flourishes, is it not needful that from time to time we should humble ourselves with fasting?…Fasting is a divine corrective to the pride of the human heart. It is a discipline of the body with a tendency to humble the soul.” …“If you have been brought low through personal defeat; if there is a call in your soul to a deeper purifying, to a renewed consecration; if there is the challenge of some new task for which you feel ill-equipped – – then it is time to inquire of God whether He would not have you separate yourself unto Him in fasting.”
The purging of the flesh purifies the soul.
- We think we are waiting for God – but God is waiting for us.
- You cannot seek God with all your heart and not set aside time for prayer and fasting – a full stomach does not produce a full heart.
Life verse for WCF: “If My people …” ~ 2 CHRON. 7:14
1. IF MY PEOPLE HUMBLE THEMSELVES: “Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you” (Andrew Murray).
If we are to see a genuine move of God (which is our only hope) then we must humble ourselves and confess our pride…confess our sins.
2. IF MY PEOPLE PRAY: Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). When was the last time a church dedicated as much time to prayer as to preaching? When was the last time we spent more time in prayer then with social media?
Prayer is the life source for faith; the building block of the soul. “When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live” (E.M. Bounds). When God brings healing and revival, prayer has been the catalyst.
God is not too busy; He’s not on vacation; He’s not sleeping…He is an ever present help in time of need.
3. IF MY PEOPLE SEEK: Church is boring because the power of God has vanished from many congregations…there is a lack of desire to pursue Him in the pulpit as well as in the pew. Like Samson, they “know not that the Spirit of the Lord has departed” (cf. Judge 16:20).
But there is hope. “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
4. IF MY PEOPLE TURN – 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Cf. Isaiah 40 – Is there harm in camping out and worshipping? Is there harm in filling our hallways with the sound of prayer? Is there harm in being desperate for more of God with heads bowed and hearts emptied?