Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Build and Maintain a Right Relationship With God

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Build and Maintain a Right Relationship With God

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Build and Maintain a Right Relationship With God

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1. Communicate with God in prayer. 2. Let God communicate with you through Bible Study. 3. Meditate on the spiritual things. 4. Humble yourselves through fasting to draw closer to God. 5. Stir up the spirit and live by the fruits of the spirit. 6. Keep the 10 commandments and submit to God. James 4:7-8 7. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Sermon Notes

Our lives are based upon relationships. People seek out relationships because God has created in us a need for friends and companionship. We have relationships with our employers, employees, co-workers, neighbors, friends and relatives. We have a special relationship with our mate. Our mate should be our very best friend. Whether we realize it or not, we even have a relationship with God. TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE: We must SPEND TIME with them. Let's use our kids as an example: We should support our kids in YOUTH functions at school and at church. Go to the games with them. Attend their school plays and year-end awards programs. We need to spend time with our children. TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE: We must SHARE EXPERIENCES with them. Go eat a meal together. Go to a concert together or to the park with a picnic lunch and play together. We can share experiences with others by working together or playing together. TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE: We must COMMUNICATE with them. Friends talk with each other. Friends talk about their hopes, their dreams and their fears. TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE: We must RESPECT them. To RESPECT someone is to honor them, esteem them, be considerate and polite to them.

The Bible says in: Philippians 2:3 Philippians 2:3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
American King James Version×
" Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." We need to respect each other. We all need to be careful in what we say to each other and about each other. LET'S LOOK ON THE SPIRITUAL SIDE How is your RELATIONSHIP with God? LET'S LOOK AT SEVEN (7) POINTS IN: HOW WE CAN BUILD AND MAINTAIN A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. POINT #1: TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: We must communicate with God through prayer. We must SPEND TIME with God. Let's think of a TELEPHONE. When we talk on a telephone we can't see the individual on the other end but we know that they are there. We talk and they listen. Then they talk and we listen. Our relationship with God is similar. We talk to God through PRAYER and we listen to God speak through BIBLE STUDY and through sermons, by having the Word of God expounded to us. James 5:16 James 5:16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
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says: The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. We need to ask ourselves: Are our prayers fervent and effective? One way to be more effective in prayer is to spend more time on our knees. One way to be more fervent is to realize that God is our friend. He is not out to get us. He only wants what is best for us. God wants to be our friend. (John 15;14-15). One trait of a good friend is the ability to be a good listener. God is a very good listener. God wants you to share your successes and your failures with Him. Talk to God about your TRIALS and TESTS. Also talk to God about your blessings and the good things that are happening in your life. We should talk to God about things before we do them. Are you going to buy a car or a house? Talk to God about it. God is your financial partner. Pray to God about major decisions. God wants us to talk to Him.

Matthew 6:5-7 Matthew 6:5-7 [5] And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. [6] But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly. [7] But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
American King James Version×
says: "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. {6} "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. {7} "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words." Notice that these scriptures say, WHEN you pray not IF you pray. Notice in verse 6 that it says that God will reward you openly if we pray in a proper manner, in secret not to be seen of men. It is interesting that the disciples lived and walked with Jesus and yet they asked him to teach them how to pray. "The Lord's Prayer" was given to us by Jesus as a model prayer to show us how to pray to God. (Luke 11:1-4 Luke 11:1-4 [1] And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. [2] And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. [3] Give us day by day our daily bread. [4] And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
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). We can use "The Lord's Prayer" as a guideline in what to pray about. Put it into your own words. How should we talk to God?

• We should talk to God as we would talk to our own human father.

• We should talk to God in a natural way, not in a monotone voice.

• Don't talk to God in a syrupy manner or with King James English with Thees and Thous.

• Talk to God as you would talk to your very best friend. You respect your friends. You would not want to do anything to offend them. We don't want to offend God in how we talk to Him.

• Talk to God as if He would answer immediately. Always Realize to Whom You Are Praying! As you come before God in prayer, be aware to whom you are praying. This being, to whom you are praying, is the eternal Creator God, who has all power and glory.

• Don't approach God sleepily or carelessly. You might say something that you shouldn't.

• Always have a humble attitude in prayer. Abase yourself. Exalt God. He is the creator and we are the created. He is the potter and we are the clay.

• Realize that you are coming before the very throne of the ruler of the universe!

• Always remember that God Is Listening!

• Just as important, realize, as you pray, that you have God's undivided attention. How can we build on this relationship with God?

• Spend more time on your knees praying.

• Praise God! The Psalms are filled with praises to God.

• Read the Psalms as you are praying to inspire you in how to praise God. David was a man after God's own heart. Read the Psalms to see how David praised God.

• Read a song from your church Hymnal. This may inspire you and give you ideas as to how to pray to God.

• Thank God for your blessings. Are we taking the time daily to talk to God? POINT #2: TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: We must let God COMMUNICATE with us. Remember the example of the TELEPHONE. We talk and they listen. Then they talk and we listen. Our relationship with God is similar. We talk to God through PRAYER and we listen to God speak through BIBLE STUDY, sermons and sermon tapes. Today there is no reason not to be able to study and learn from God's word. Bibles, concordances, and other Bible helps are moderately priced. You can get Bible software for your computer and do all kinds of word searches and compare scriptures of different translations. There are websites on the internet that have Bible software that you can use, that is free of charge. There are all kinds of Bible articles and literature on the internet that you can print out and read. We, in the Church of God, live in the era of the sermon CD’s and audio tapes. There are so many CD’s and audio tapes around that we could probably listen to a different tape for 24 hours a day for 5 years without repeating any. Even with all of the tapes and religious literature around, we still need to stick our noses in the Bible. We need to know what is in the Bible. We need to know that we know! If anyone questions us, then we can say: I have read it for myself and I know what it says! We must be ready to give an answer to every man that asks us a reason of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15 1 Peter 3:15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
American King James Version×
). We must be like the Bereans in Paul's day, who searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11 Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
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). We must study the Bible to show ourselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15 2 Timothy 2:15Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
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).

We need to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21 1 Thessalonians 5:21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
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). How can we answer another person's question, even our children's or grandchildren's questions, if we don't read and study the Bible? Are we taking the time daily to let God talk to us? POINT #3: TO BUILD A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: MEDITATE on SPIRITUAL THINGS. How many times have we heard a good sermon and one hour later we don't remember anything about it? It seems that people today are afraid to be alone with their thoughts. Usually as soon as we enter our house the TV gets turned on. It is easier to turn on the tube than turn on our minds. We live in the age of the paid entertainer, and the hired specialist who can provide the services we are unable to perform for ourselves. But this is also the age in which we can even become accustomed to letting others do our thinking for us. The most unfortunate part of our "no-think" environment is its effect on the mental outlook of many of us in God's Church. As a consequence, we don't spend the time or effort we should in active thought and meditation about God, His law's, His word, and how they all relate to our lives. We all need to learn the Art of Meditation. How long can you meditate and stay focused on a subject without your mind wondering? For most of us, it is probably just a few seconds. When we meditate, we need to roll it over in our mind. We need to bounce it off of the Ten Commandments. It takes real concentration and practice to stay focused on a certain topic. Meditation is simply taking a certain theme, problem or scripture and dwelling on it -- asking why, how, when, where and what is the end result -- then determining whether or not that is the result you want. It is a matter of looking at things from God's point of view. We need to ask, would God be pleased with our conclusion? We need to meditate on the things of God. The next time you are lying in bed and can't go to sleep, begin meditating on God. Think about how great God is.

• He created the universe and all things that are within it.

• Think about John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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.

• Think about how loving and kind God is.

• Think about how gracious and merciful God is. When we sin God doesn't zap us or step on us like a bug.

• Count your blessings that God has given you.

• Thank God for the talents that He has given you. We are to meditate on God's law. Notice in Joshua 1:8 Joshua 1:8This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.
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how often we are to meditate: "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. " We are to meditate day and night. Why should we meditate? Meditation is used to convict ourselves of the need for personal change. Meditation internalizes God's way of life within us. Meditation helps to build a strong Relationship with God. POINT #4: TO BUILD A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: We should FAST to DRAW CLOSER TO GOD. In order to have a good relationship with someone, we will want to spend premium time with them. We may invite them in for dinner and have some stimulating conversation. This way we can get to know them better. Sometimes we may give them gifts or send them a card to let them know that we really appreciate them. How can we draw closer to God? One way is to FAST. God, in both the Old and New Testaments, commanded His people to fast.

Matthew 6:16-18 Matthew 6:16-18 [16] Moreover when you fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men to fast. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. [17] But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; [18] That you appear not to men to fast, but to your Father which is in secret: and your Father, which sees in secret, shall reward you openly.
American King James Version×
says: "Moreover when you fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. {17} But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; {18} That you appear not unto men to fast, but unto your Father which is in secret: and your Father, which sees in secret, shall reward you openly." Notice it says WHEN you fast, not IF. Make sure you comb your hair and brush you teeth. Don't brag or tell others that you are fasting. The Pharisees did these things to appear religious. We are to appear as if we were not fasting and the Bible says that the Father will reward us openly. God wants us to learn spiritual lessons from fasting. When we fast we become physically weak. This lesson teaches us that we are human and frail. Without food and water we would die. Spiritually the lesson to be learned is that without God we will die spiritually. We are very dependent on God's creation, the earth, with its soil and rain, to sustain our physical lives with food and water. If we will draw closer to God through fasting, He will help us to overcome and sustain our spiritual lives. Fasting is one of the greatest tools God gives to help us think like Him and to act like Him. So WHY FAST? To humble yourself and draw closer to God.

POINT #5: TO BUILD A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: We must STIR UP THE SPIRIT. Romans 8:9 Romans 8:9But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
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says: "But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man HAVE NOT the Spirit of Christ, HE IS NONE OF HIS." It says in Romans 8:16 Romans 8:16The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
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: "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" The Holy Spirit is the unifying factor that ties us to God. The Holy Spirit is the common denominator of all of God's people. We have all heard the phrase: Blood is thicker that water. This means that family ties are stronger than most friendships. With God, the Spirit is thicker than blood. It is the Spirit that makes us the children of God. The Holy Spirit is a GIFT. The Bible says in: Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." 2 Timothy 1:6-7 2 Timothy 1:6-7 [6] Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands. [7] For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
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says: "Wherefore I put you in remembrance that you STIR UP THE GIFT OF GOD, which is in you by the putting on of my hands. {7} For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." One of the reasons we are to STIR UP THE SPIRIT is so that we can utilize the Fruits of the Spirit: which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
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) How do we stir up the spirit? Through Bible study, we stir the spirit so we can attain knowledge. Through prayer and meditation, we stir the spirit so we can attain understanding and wisdom. By putting the fruits of the spirit into practice, we develop character. Do we set the right example by reflecting the fruits of God's spirit?

POINT #6: TO BUILD A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: We must KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS. John 14:15 John 14:15If you love me, keep my commandments.
American King James Version×
says: "Jesus said: If ye love me, keep my commandments." The ten commandments govern our relationships with God and man. The last six of the commandments tell us how to get along with our neighbors. The first four of the commandments guides us in our relationship with God. The first four commandments are related in Exodus 20: 1. {3}You shall have no other gods before me. 2. {4} You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: {5} You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; {6} And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 3. {7} You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain. 4. {8} Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. {9} Six days shall you labour, and do all your work: {10} But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your gates: {11} For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. The commandments tell us what God requires in our relationship with him. God wants to be first in our lives. We can put nothing ahead of God. We cannot put our mates, children, job, country, our favorite sport or hobby ahead of God. We must put God first. We must respect and honor God's name. We would not like it if someone defamed our name. We don't like it if we hear someone putting down our mate, our children, our mother or our father. This upsets us. Why then would we want to disrespect and profane the name of our spiritual Father. The fourth commandment is special. In our relationship with God, He wants us to spend time with Him. He took the seventh day of the week and ordained it and blessed it as holy time and called it the Sabbath. He wants us to keep this day holy by worshipping Him, singing psalms and praises and learning more about Him and Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation. The keeping of the ten commandments are a very important part in our relationship with God.

POINT #7: TO BUILD A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD: We must TRUST GOD. Relationships are built on TRUST! Where would a marriage be without TRUST? Both the husband and the wife must be faithful to each other. Trust and faithfulness give a marriage stability. It helps the love between a husband and wife to grow for a lifetime. Relationships are built on TRUST not RULES! The Pharisees had rules, rules and more rules. Some churches today have rules, rules and more rules. Without trust there can be no reconciliation between individuals or churches. God knows no boundaries. He knows His people by their having His spirit. Jesus Christ is our saviour and the head of the Church. We must have faith in Jesus and trust Him that He is guiding the Church, which are the people with God's Holy Spirit. We have to put our TRUST in God and in Jesus Christ. Everyone knows the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. They would not bow down to the image that Nebuchadnezzar made, even if punished by death in the fiery furnace. They had to make a stand and obey God even to the death. They had no guarantee that God would deliver them from the fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego put their trust in God. Daniel 3:28 Daniel 3:28Then Nebuchadnezzar spoke, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
American King James Version×
says: "Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!" We must put our trust and confidence in God. He is our fortress, banner and our high tower. We must put God first in our lives. A synonym for trust is faith and the Bible says in: Hebrews 11:1 Hebrews 11:1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
American King James Version×
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×
says: "Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Trust is a two way street. We must trust God and God must be able to trust us. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God is faithful and will not change. Hebrews 11 is the faith chapter and lists many who placed their trust and faith in God. We can trust God, but can God trust us? At the resurrection, God will give us eternal life and tremendous power. Can God trust us to use that power in the responsible way?

IN CONCLUSION: Our relationship with God needs constant nurturing like a plant that needs watering. By applying these seven points, you can BUILD and MAINTAIN a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. 1. Communicate with God in prayer. 2. Let God communicate with you through Bible Study. 3. Meditate on the spiritual things. 4. Humble yourselves through fasting to draw closer to God. 5. Stir up the spirit and live by the fruits of the spirit. 6. Keep the 10 commandments 7. Trust God James 4:7-8 James 4:7-8 [7] Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [8] Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.
American King James Version×
says: (7) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. {8} Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.