January 27, 2016
Fr. Roberto M. Jorvina
God is good all the time! It is truly a blessing that we gather again tonight. Every moment of our lives is a blessing. Now that we are on a third week of this series, hopefully, we are constantly challenged to grow. God’s desire and heart is to see His children grow into the full measure and stature of Jesus Christ. Every moment of our lives; every little step that we take in progression toward the greater things of God; everything that we say; every little levelling up of our lives; things that we have not done before that we can start doing now; and we say, “Lord, I am committed and I am persuaded to believe I am destined to grow, to develop in my life.”
The journey from Egypt through the wilderness and into the Promised Land is a journey of deliverance, development, and destiny. But the destiny will not come until there is first the development, the growth. We must begin to see that our journey to the fullness of Christ in our lives involves an intention and a resolve on our part to say, “Lord, I want to grow. I desire to grow. I want to grow into the stature of Christ. I desire to be like Him, to be a servant, and to be able to bring my life from a point of just being the multitude. I want to enter and cross the line and become a disciple of your Kingdom. I want not just to be going through the motions of Christianity and religion saying, ‘Well, I attend every Sunday. That is enough.’” This is not enough; there is always room for growth and development.
For the past two weeks, we have seen the Cross and the work that we have to do – to know Him and to make Him known. The Word and prayer are means by which we are to know Him. You cannot know Him apart from these two. Galatians 2:20says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Memorize this and hopefully, you are challenged to memorize other Scriptures that will make you meditate on them wherever you are. Begin to let that sink into your heart and richly dwell in your life and we continue to know Him more. Then, we can make Him known by fellowship, not forsaking the assembly of the brothers, and by witnessing as we touch other people’s lives.
Perhaps, there are some of you who haven’t shared your life testimony with another person. This is a challenge for you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. How can you share Jesus? How can you make Him known? Start with people on Sundays that you see and invite them to come on Wednesdays. Break the habit of not attending Wednesdays. Let it be a lifestyle that we do not want to forsake the assembling together of God’s people.
We come with the understanding of God, through prayer. Prayer is a measuring stick of our life in the Spirit with God. We cannot grow as a Christian apart from prayer. Our prayer life is an indication of how much we are growing in God. If we are doing it already, do even more. The challenge I took as I began to share this is that I set my cellphone to alarm every nine o’clock in the morning and twelve o’clock noon where I would pause and take time to spend time in prayer, which doesn’t have to be long. Work with something that you can say, “I am levelling up, Lord. I want to grow and to increase in knowledge of You.” Maybe, it is a time that you spend every morning with Him. Maybe, it is a time every night before you sleep. Maybe, it is reading the Bible. Maybe, it is being able to come for Daily Office of Prayer everyday here at the Parish Center, even once a week. There are many opportunities that we can do and share.
Prayer is a command of God, a command of Jesus Christ. Prayer is also our relational communication with God. In the battlefield, we cannot move on unless we are communicating with headquarters. What direction do we take? How do we now move in the very warfare of life? As a teenager, as a father, as a mother, how do you face your challenges? As a student, how do you face your challenges in the school? This is warfare – the fight of faith. To be able to strategize how you can attack it, you need to call headquarters who has a very broader communication and intelligence group that can see the bigger picture. Prayer is a link between the spiritual and the physical. It is a means to bring heaven on earth.
Last week, we started with the purpose of prayer. We saw that to pray, we need to see its purpose. Today, we will look at the requirements of prayer – the three F’s of prayer. Next week, we will be looking at the attitude that we must take in prayer. Finally, we will be looking at the yield, the effect or benefit of prayer. We will see how we can work on our lives and be transformed. We need to challenge ourselves constantly. Remember, spiritual growth is intentional. It will not just happen. We have to intend and set our hearts to do it. There will always be excuses that will come our way that we will say, “Well, I won’t do it for now.” We may forget or we might find ourselves too busy. There will be an excuse that the enemy will put in us or there will be situations that will give us a reason to say, “Well, God will understand.” Man’s ways are always right in his own eyes, but it is not our eyes to evaluate our ways, but God’s.
Prayer is important. Maybe in the sixteen years that we have studied in school, we have been trained to think that, “If there is going to be something, I have to do it.” God is basically marginalized. God, in His mercy, has placed a mechanism in man and has allowed it to warn us that we are slowly being stagnated in our lives. This mechanism is called worry, anxiety. When you begin to worry, we live like there is no God. When we begin to worry, it is as if there are not thousands of promises in the Bible that God has given. When we worry, it is, “If it is going to be, it is up to me. If I can’t solve it, then, I have to worry.”
We forget that there is power that can be drawn from the heavenlies – an infinite, unending, unlimited power. Worry is practical atheism. It is living like there is no God because we have to do it. God is saying, “No, you don’t have to do it.” This is why Jesus said, “Come to me, you who are heavily laden. I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.” Jesus is saying, “We are here together. You are not alone.” Stop worrying and Matthew 6 is a beautiful challenge. Don’t live as if there is no God because there is a God. His power is available. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding, abundantly, beyond all that I can ever ask or even imagine.” If you imagine a scenario, whatever you imagine, God is able to do even exceeding, abundantly, beyond what you can imagine.
We are limited with three dimensions in our lives today. God may have infinite number of dimensions when you get to heaven. We are limited by time here, but God is not limited with time. We are limited with money here, but God is not limited with money. If we want to increase our spiritual power, we must begin to increase our spiritual capacity. We need to increase our container.
In 2Kings4, King Jehoram was in charged and was basically an atheist. Israel was on the verge of being taken into captivity in Babylon because they have deserted God. In the midst of that problem, “There was a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets who cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves. Elisha said to her, ‘What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?’ And she said, ‘Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.’ Then he said, ‘God, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few. And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels, and you shall set aside what is full.’” The woman was in a point of desperation but God responds like how Elisha responded, “What do you have? I will fill what you have because I am able to do exceeding, abundantly. I can satisfy what you need.”
“The woman went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels to her and she poured. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’ And he said to her, ‘There is not one vessel more.’ And the oil stopped.” The oil stopped when the vessels were already filled. Our capacity and power is not dependent of the resources of heaven. The oil will continue as long as we have a vessel to give. When we stop to say, “Lord, I think this is enough. I am okay attending Sundays. I am okay if I have little involvement in praying. I am okay to be a little bit involved in the Youth Ministry or in the Counselling Ministry.” The oil will stop! Let us not wonder why things are happening in our lives. God is willing and desiring to give more and more and more, but we must bring vessels to Him.
Verse 7, “Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” She was able to live, but she could have asked for more if she had more vessels. We can ask more from God if we have the capacity. We want to increase capacity and increasing capacity comes from increasing our time of intimacy with God. It is called prayer and this is the vessel we want to present to God. “Fill my cup, Lord.” How much can we give to Him?
In the gospel of Mark, it says, “To the measure that you give, will be the same measure that will be brought to you.” If you come to the Lord with either one teaspoon, one cup or one drum, God will fill that up with the same measure of grace. The measure is not God, but what we have. It is us who limits Him because He is able to do exceeding, abundantly, beyond all that we can ask. We have to develop this. It will not come overnight. We can’t say at once, “I am convinced that God will do everything,” and everything will be changed. This doesn’t happen that quickly because it is a growth process that we need to see in our lives.
There are three requirements in prayer. The first is faith. E. W. Kenyon, a famous writer and theologian said, “Prayer is the voice of faith to the Father.” In James 5:14-15, “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” Faith is the connection of the invisible, of the unseen, of the supernatural realm. Faith is a requirement of prayer. We must have faith to believe. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God. If you spend your whole time listening to the music of the world, you will get a blank space in your life. Your faith has not improved. You need to meditate on the Word of God for us to grow.
In this room, there are things that you and I do not see. They are called radio waves and these waves carry channels. We have the physical faith called antenna and the television which will grab what is unseen and will make it visible to us. Faith is like a spiritual antenna to God who can do exceeding, abundantly. We are already blessed with super blessings. Calvary has provided so much for us. If we say, “I don’t have one,” fix your antenna. This is why we have faith so that you will be able to grab it and see and say, “Yes, God heals.” “Yes, God provides.”
God causes all things. God is settled. It is finished. For us, it is not yet finished because we have to undergo a learning process. We have to go through a dry run or a drill because when we get to be with Him forever and ever, we will live that way. Christ wants us to experience how to live in heaven. If we are not interested, Christ will not force it on us; but He wants us to experience a life that has no Ibuprofen, Mefenamic Acid, or Paracetamol. There is the prayer of faith. The Scriptures says, “Is anyone sick among you? Let the prayer of faith heal you.” God wants us to level up. If we experience headache, colds and cough, or flu, we immediately go to our medicine cabinets. Let us eliminate one by one these medications in our body. God wants us to grow.
In the Amplified Translation of Mark 11:24, Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. For this reason I am telling you whatever you ask in prayer, which is in accordance with God’s will, believe and with confident trust you will have receive them and they will be given to you.” Believe and ask in prayer in accordance to God’s will. We have to come in prayer and believe. We cannot just pray things and expect things to happen. We have to grow in our prayer life. 1John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
The second requirement in prayer is forgiveness. This is seen in Mark 24:25 and James 5:14-15. Prayer, faith, and forgiveness are all lumped together. Jesus said, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.”
The last requirement is fortitude or persistence. This is one saying, “I am strong! I am all the way! I will not give up!” In Luke 11:5-8, Jesus said, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”
We know that we can’t twist God’s arms. If it is not His will, even if we are persistent, we will not get it. It is according to His will. In verse 9, Jesus said, “Because of this, I say to you, ask, and keep on asking and it will be given unto you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock, and keep on knocking, and the door will be open to you.” One of the greatest tragedies of man’s life is giving up right at the point when our prayers will be answered already. Don’t give up! Acts 12:5 from The Message translation says, “All the time that Peter was under heavy guard in the jailhouse, the church prayed for him most strenuously.” Colossians 4:12, “Your own Ephapras who serves Christ Jesus send his greetings, he always prays hard that you may fully know what the Lord wants you to do that you do it completely.”
Pray! As we go through each day, pray. We are calling on the resources of heaven. Don’t worry; pray! Don’t be anxious; pray! Don’t live as if there is no God. There is a God who is willing and who is more than willing and it is His Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. He rejoices whenever we pray. It is like God is saying, “Wow, they ask Me for this. They believe that I can do it and I can and so, I will send the answer because the answer is already given.”