"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . . Our Website is UNDER CONSTRUCTION, please be patient!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

DRAW NIGH

This article is not written by me (why is it every time I say that, I keep hearing applause??!) but by guest writer, John Lord.

My name is John Lord. I've been a Christ-follower for 20-years; abiding in Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I died to myself October 10, 1998, and the Lord raised me anew, to serve Him; in whatever capacity exalts His name and gives Him glory. I currently live in Chesterton, Indiana with my new bride, Zoila (married Sept. 1, 2019) and her son, Anthony (age 16). We attend Emmanuel Baptist Church of South Haven (ebcsh.org). 
When not penning bible studies or sermons we're most often listening to sermons or doing bible studies. My wife and I have devotions every morning and pray every night; giving thanks to God for His provision and pleading for the salvation of our friends and family members. I aspire to be an author of some-sort someday, Lord willing, but in the meantime I work as a Benefits Analyst to support my family. 

JAMES 4:8-10
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

My goal today is to explain what it means to draw near to God. The study of the bible, and delving deeper into His word can be equated to drawing near to Him. (Sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth; JOHN 17:17). The more time you spend in the word the more aware you are of your sin, and how far short you fall of His standards, and the more you appreciate your helpless state and your need for a savior. Fear God, hate your sin. 


I took a Public Speaking Class in college. One of the assignments was to give a speech on a controversial topic. At time, a space probe called Cassini was in the news.  
To power the craft on a trip to Saturn the engineers needed an alternative to the sun. Solar panels wouldn’t work at so great a distance, so they chose a radioactive material. This choice is what led to the controversy. What if it exploded on the launch pad, or in the atmosphere, etc.? 

In my speech I explained why no other source of power would work for so long, and at such a great distance from the sun.  
I include this in our study this morning to give a visual of how distance relates to power, or more specifically; how (slow) distance relates to intensity. 

Mercury is 36 million miles from the sun. Venus is roughly 66 million. The earth, on average, is 93 million. Mars is 140 million. All are relatively close, and missions to these planets utilize the power of the sun via solar panels. 
The next furthest planet is Jupiter, which lies 484 million miles from the sun, or over 3-time further than Mars. Saturn, the destination of Cassini, orbits the sun nearly 890 million miles away, which is almost twice that of Jupiter. Our sun appears as just a spot of light from Saturn, no brighter than many of the surrounding stars. 

It took 7-years for Cassini to reach Saturn. My teaching today should only take half that long for you to read (just kidding). 
No, what I want to show is that the further you are away from the light of the sun the more difficult it is to receive power/energy from it.

The speed of light is a constant. It travels at 186,000 miles per second. The speed remains constant, but the intensity of the light decreases at an inverse square relationship the further away you get. The further away you are from the light, the lower the intensity. 
Another way to illustrate distance and intensity would be if someone was to shout at you. One inch from your ear would be really loud. One block away and you would barely hear them. One mile away and you probably wouldn’t hear them at all.
One last way to illustrate distance and intensity – How many of you woke up with fresh breath this morning? Have you ever had your spouse roll over close and say, “How are you this morning, my love?” Whoa! Just like that…the honeymoon is over. 

ISAIAH 65:5 
Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.
 

Speaking of sin.
So, just remember, and keep that relationship in the forefront of your mind, how distance affects intensity. 

JAMES 4:8
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded.

When God saves us, He draws us to himself (JOHN 6:44 – Jesus speaking. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”), but then it appears, as James states, that if we want God to draw near to us, we must draw near to Him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. The text itself implies a distance between God and us, and also that that distance will always be there (this side of heaven). You can see that, can’t you? 

This mission; OUR MISSION, unlike Cassini, will never end (again, this side of heaven). We will always be needing to draw nearer to God and He will always, according to this promise, be drawing nearer to us, if we’re drawing nearer to Him. This process is called, Sanctification. 

1 THESS 4:3 tells us that it is God’s will that we be sanctified, and Jesus himself prayed to the Father that those who belonged to him would be sanctified. 

JOHN 17:17 
Sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth.

Clearly, it’s important, if it’s God’s will for us, and the subject of Jesus’ prayer.
So, what does it mean to be sanctified?

The word sanctified in the bible means, to be set apart; consecrated, or dedicated to God. The word sanctification means, to make holy, to purify, or consecrate. I think we will see here that these verses deal with sanctification, or, our being set apart and made holy. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Cassini had a mission; to travel to Saturn. 
We also have a mission. If you do a study on God’s will for you—for the believer—you will find numerous passages dealing with our sanctification (over 30 of them in the NT), but I just want to focus on the words we see here in JAMES 4:8-10, because sanctification, if you think about it, IS our relationship to God. 

Sanctified – Set Apart. We are set apart for God. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, IS sanctification. Our getting closer to God, being more set apart, consecrated, or dedicated to God, is the process of us, the believer, being made holy. Be holy as God is holy (1 PET 1:16). How do we become holy? The answer. By getting closer, or, by drawing near to God. 

When I first started this study, I asked myself the who, what, why, where, and how questions we should always ask, and stopped momentarily at the question of why: If the bible says, 
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Why would we…or anyone…want to draw near to God? This might seem like a stupid question, but think about it for a minute. What happens when you draw near to God? Much like if we were to draw near to the sun, we would feel more intensely the light and heat from the sun (remember that relationship between distance and intensity). 

Would we feel more or less comfortable? We would feel less comfortable, for sure. In fact, the closer you draw to holy God the more uncomfortable you will feel. The more you read the Word, which is how we draw closer to God (sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth), the more convicted you’ll become of your sin, and the more you’ll see your need to change, let go of, or give up the desires of your sinful flesh. 

The closer we get to God the more we see how short of His holy standards we fall, and we begin to see ourselves as He sees us. The closer we get, the more we appreciate Jesus and all He did for us at the cross, as we realize how unworthy we are of the sacrifice he made for our sins. His holiness stings, like the heat from the sun. 

In ISAIAH 6, Isaiah sees the Lord seated on His throne. His robe fills the temple, and the seraphim all say of Him, “holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah cries out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” 

When Jesus performs a miracle in the sight of Simon Peter in LUKE 5:8 it says, “…when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord'.”

When John sees Jesus in His glory, in REV 1:17 he says – “When I saw him [Jesus], I fell at his feet as though dead.”

I don’t think we can really imagine what it would feel like to be in the presence of holy God. Why would anyone want to feel more uncomfortable, or to see themselves as Isaiah, or Peter, or John did? Why would any of us desire to be sanctified? Why would we want to draw near to God, if that means God will draw near to us? 

Those who don’t know Christ as Lord and Savior would find this to be a ridiculous desire; something completely undesirable. As a Christian though, a believer in Christ, having God draw near to us becomes our greatest desire. To know God more and be known by Him: The relationship goal of every child to a loving Father. 

The closer you are to something the more influence, or the greater effect it will have on you. We all see this…we care almost nothing for strangers dying on the other side of the world, but when someone close to us dies, it affects us in a powerful way (distance and intensity). When I disappoint a stranger, I feel little shame, but when I disappoint my father, mother, spouse, friend, pastor, or boss, I feel really bad about it. I care about what they think. When we disappoint God, by sinning against Him, if we’re close to Him, we’re devastated. 
Have you ever felt that way? 
Our conscious convicts us.

The Puritan writer Thomas Watson once said that a sure sign of sanctification is a hatred and loathing of sin.  
Jesus said in JOHN 14:15 – “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” If we don’t love Jesus, or have a relationship with Him, we will have no desire to obey His commands, but, if we love Jesus, as Savior and Lord, and have a close, personal relationship with Him, obedience to His commands becomes our greatest desire. 
We desire to draw near to God and we cling to the promise that He will draw near to us in return. We want to get clean through the washing of the word. 

The closer we are to the sun the hotter it feels. It’s much warmer at the equator than it is as the poles. Just like with God, the closer we get to God, the more aware we become of our sin in light of His holiness. The more uncomfortable we feel (we squirm in our seats when a sermon convicts us). 
I hear John MacArthur say all the time, “Either the Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Word.”

We want to hide ourselves from that which makes us uncomfortable, especially the non-believer, as we all once were and some still may be. JOHN 3:19-20 – “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”

The light exposes our sin, and the brighter, or the more intense the light, the more we see our sin. 
Have you ever vacuumed and dusted a room; cleaned it spotless, then drew open the curtains to behold thousands of dust motes dancing along the rays of sunlight filtering in through the window? You thought the room was clean, but the light exposed things you couldn’t see before.

We all think we’re good. The Bible says man will proclaim his own goodness. We can all see the dump truck coming to kill us, so we step out of the way. We know we shouldn’t murder so we don’t, but the Bible equates hate with murder. Whoa! Have you ever hated anyone? It’s not the dump truck that will kill us, it’s the microscopic organisms – the small, invisible-to-the-naked-eye, bacteria and viruses that will kill us. Just as one microbe makes a clean-room unclean, or contaminates an operating room. 

It’s our comparing ourselves to others that will kill us. We clean ourselves on the outside and think we’re good enough to go to heaven, but God judges the heart.      
God’s holy standard exposes man’s rebellious heart. Our hearts are wicked, whether we think they are or not. Here’s how God sees our hearts.

JEREMIAH 17:9 
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?

MARK 7:21
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

PROVERBS 12:21
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.

One of the most powerful stories I ever heard on the nature of the heart was from Ravi Zacharias, as told to him by Malcolm Muggeridge:
Working as a journalist in India, Malcolm left his residence one evening to go to a nearby river for a swim. As he entered the water, across the river he saw an Indian woman from the nearby village who had come to have her bath. Muggeridge impulsively felt the allurement of the moment, and temptation stormed into his mind. He had lived with this kind of struggle for years but had somehow fought it off in honor of his commitment to his wife, Kitty. On this occasion, however, he wondered if he could cross the line of marital fidelity. He struggled just for a moment and then swam furiously toward the woman, literally trying to outdistance his conscience. His mind fed him the fantasy that stolen waters would be sweet, and he swam the harder for it. Now he was just two or three feet away from her, and as he emerged from the water, any emotion that may have gripped him paled into insignificance when compared with the devastation that shattered him as he looked at her.She was old and hideous...and her skin was wrinkled and, worst of all, she was a leper. 
“This creature grinned at me,” he said, “…showing a toothless mask." The experience left Muggeridge trembling and muttering under his breath, "What a dirty lecherous woman!" But then the rude shock of it dawned upon him—it was not the woman who was lecherous; it was his own heart.

From far away we all look clean, as we compare ourselves one to another, but compared to God, the truth is revealed. The closer you are to God the more you see the wretched state of your heart, and the more you see how ugly is your sin. Sin doesn’t look so bad at a distance. It’s only when we get close that we begin to see it more clearly. 

Or when we experience the devastating consequences. Have you ever seen The Passion of the Christ movie? That bloody, gory scene that seems to go on forever as Jesus is tortured, then He’s forced to carry his cross through the streets and up the hill of Calvary, where the soldiers nail Him to the cross, to suffer and die in agony. 

That’s what your sin looks like to God. What would it have looked like to you had you been there that day, at the foot of the cross, watching as Jesus willingly, lovingly took your place; the blood, sweat, and tears of the innocent, sinless, son of God, dampening your skin as the wind dispersed it through the air? Would you turn your back on Him? Would you deny Him then? 

Distance and intensity.

Or is it that with Calvary being 6,200 miles away and with the crucifixion having happened nearly 2,000-years ago that that great distance in space and time keeps you from experiencing the full measure of the intensity of what really happened that day. Maybe, as you draw near to the end of your life—your last day—as that distance closes between you and the judgment seat of God, you’ll begin to fear death more intensely? None of us is promised a tomorrow.  

Is Jesus the master of your life? Is He your Lord? Are you living in obedience to Him and His word? Do you know His Word? To obey the word, you need to know it. What are His commands? Or, are you not yet close enough to Jesus to feel a love for Him intense enough to give you the desire to want to read His Word and know His commands so that you can learn to obey them, and in obeying them be blessed, and demonstrate your love for Him? 

Distance and intensity.  
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

One quick note here, so as not to have any misunderstanding. When the bible says, “draw near to God,” it refers to our growing in holiness (we will never be sinless, as you sometimes hear Pastor say, but we should, Sin Less). Your attitude and the state of your heart should change as God works His will and His way in your life to transform and conform you to the likeness of His son, Jesus. 

So, we draw near to God. We do the moving and changing. The second part, “God will draw near to you,” does not, and I emphasize this…it DOES NOT mean that God moves or changes. God is immutable (MAL 3:6) – unchanging, and omnipresent (PSALM 139:7-12) - everywhere. 
What this DOES refer to is God extending His grace and favor towards those who draw near to Him. And as we’ll see in the latter half of this verse, it only applies to those who draw near on His terms. 

HEBREWS 4:16
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Have you ever had it happen, where, after humbling yourself and spending a lot of time in the word and prayer, the bible really started to open up to you? Things you never saw before all of a sudden jump off the page with crystal clarity, and things you never thought to pray for before, God suddenly brings to the forefront of your mind? 

One of Zoila’s (John Lord's wife) favorite verses is: JER 33:3Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 
Which direction should you go to accomplish this task, or take advantage of this promise? Up? Down? Left? Right? Forward or Back? 
None of these. As the answer doesn’t lie in a direction. So, how do you draw near to God? 
The second sentence gives us the answer. 

Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
So, the question isn’t one of direction, but of standing and attitude. 

The word 'cleanse' can be used in different ways, but here it speaks NOT to cleanliness, but to purity, as it addresses sinners and not those in the food preparation industry returning to work after using the bathroom. It could even say, “purify yourself from wickedness” you sinners, or “consecrate yourself.” Purify and consecrate being two of the other biblical uses of the Greek word used here for cleanse. 

Cleanse your hands.

Why the phrase, “cleanse your hands?” Why hands? Why not cleanse your mind, your life, or some other more influential part of your body? Surely the hands are just outward. Right? Only, in this case James is writing to Jewish converts. 

They would have understood, as we can to some extent, that this is a call to repentance. Stop doing what you have been doing and turn from your sin – do the opposite. Two verses his readers would have been familiar with would be ISAIAH 1:16-17 “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” 

True biblical repentance isn’t just the cessation of sinful actions, it’s the commencing of righteous works, which James refers to in JAMES 2:18 – “But someone will say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

JOB 17:9 is another reference. – “Yet the righteous will hold to his way, and the one with clean hands will grow stronger.”

Hands refers to our works, and what we do. When we do evil deeds, we do them with our hands and when we do righteous deeds, we likewise do them with our hands, as we have all heard the metaphor, Christians are the hands and feet of Jesus. With our hands we do good works towards the poor, and with our feet, we bring the gospel of grace (as it says in ROM 10:15).
You sinners. 
Who here is a sinner? We all are. The Bible tells us in ROM 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of glory of God.” Only in the book of James, we can see by the greeting in JAMES 1:1-2 that James is addressing believers. We can see that by the term ‘my brothers,’ and his subsequent use of the term ‘brethren’ (15 times in the book of James).  

Some scripture applies only to believers, as we know, but the verse we have before us this morning, though written in a letter addressed to believers, has parts that can also apply to non-believers, as it speaks here of repentance. Cleanse your hands, you sinners. John the Baptist preached a gospel of repentance? He prepared the way for Jesus. Repentance is the first step towards a relationship with God.

ACTS 17:30
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

The next command, if you will, because I doubt it could ever be considered a suggestion…
Purify your hearts.

PSALM 101:4
A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

1 JOHN 3:3
And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

MATTHEW 5:8
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God

To draw near to God, we are to ‘purify our hearts.’ First off, since we’re talking about who’s being addressed in these passages, it’s worth noting that the bible never ascribes righteousness to someone who only repents outwardly, without faith. Many may cleanse their hands and turn to doing good, but the righteousness of God comes by faith, which is what James addresses in the latter half of his admonishment, when he says, “…and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  

Purify your hearts.
Let’s settle on this for a minute. What does it mean to purify your heart, and how do you go about purifying your heart? Most of us know we can purify water by boiling it, right, but how do you purify your heart? To me, this seems like something only God could do…but yet here He is calling us to do it. 

The key is the second part, “you double-minded.” Just like gold is refined by fire to remove all impurities, or, to remove anything that is not gold, we need to remove all that divides our hearts – our love for the world; lack of faith, or doubt; our traditions, or superstitions; our religious beliefs/affiliations; and of course our self-righteousness. Anything that is not of God. All that is not true. 

*JAMES 4:4
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God

The word adulterous here speaks to someone who wants to be married to one person, but to be open or free to be with another. The word ‘world’ refers to the world system, which exalts man instead of God. Someone who wants to play both sides. Someone unwilling to commit.

Other scriptures to consider: there are three I would like for us to look up and read together. 

*1 JOHN 2:15-16Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

What God is saying in 1 John is that too many of us love the world. We want to direct our own lives, and not have God tell us what we should and shouldn’t do.

*1 KINGS 18:21
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word
. One of the greatest stories in the bible.


*REVELATION 3:15-17(Jesus speaking)
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.’”


JAMES 4:9
Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

I believe this verse speaks to what will happen when you draw near to God and He inevitably draws near to you. As you cast off your sin and devote yourself to Him, you will see yourself as wretched, and you will mourn and weep. Note here it isn’t asking you do anything, like it is when we’re admonished to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. We’re just being told to BE. 

I did a study on the phrase, “be wretched,” or as some other translations say, “be afflicted,” or “be miserable,” and I found that this term is called in the Greek, an aorist Imperative, meaning, James is not here advising us, or imploring us to do something, he is expecting us to do it. Cause and effect. The cause is our drawing near to God (distance). The effect is our self-examination, as the light shines on us brightly, revealing our true state (intensity). 

The sentence that follows “Be wretched and mourn and weep” is somewhat expository. I like the way the Ellicott Commentary puts it: 
For wretchedness, sorrow, and tears are the three steps of the homeward way to peace and God. And in proof of real conversion there must be the outward lamentation, as well as the inward contrition. Grieve, therefore, with a godly sorrow, the kind that leads to repentance.”

*2 CORINTHIANS 7:10
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

Let your laughter be turned to mourning.
Let it. Don’t fight it. Let it happen. When God convicts you, or leads you down the path to repentance, don’t fight him. Take His hand. Walk with Him to the cross. 
What did Jesus say? 
In MATTHEW 16:24-25 he says,“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
This verse could be a sermon in itself. We could talk about Jesus humbling himself and being exalted to the highest place, or Joseph, a type of Christ being sold into slavery and tossed into prison only to later rule over Egypt. 

We read in MATTHEW 20:16
So the last will be first, and the first last
.


Humble yourself before the Lord. Why do we need to be told to humble ourselves—why aren’t we just naturally humble before God? We should be. This shouldn’t be something we need to do, as it already IS. 
We’re far from God and His holy standard. God is eternal, He transcends time. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and immutable. He is superior in every way. We’re the opposite, inferior in every way. 
We fall short of the glory of God. We have no power (we are pitiable), our lifespan is short, we live in one place, our knowledge is limited, and we constantly change. We should be humble, because we’re nothing. 
Created from the dust, and someday we will all return to the dust. Yet we’re proud. Read Job sometime, where God questions him. Can you create yourself, or add a single day to your life? 
God is sovereign; meaning, He has supreme power and authority. No plan of His can be thwarted.  
I just want to be really quickly here and target this last verse to two different audiences.  

Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
The first, for believers. If you want God to use you, or if you have any desire to bring Him glory – the One Who forgives you your sins, seals you with His Holy Spirit, adopts you as sons and daughters, and will one day resurrect you from the dead to a new, gloried body, and grant you everlasting life and an inheritance that will never fade or perish, then humble yourself before the Lord. How do you humble yourself? 

You confess your sins to God, acknowledge your sin to others, take wrongs patiently, submit to authority, receive correction and feedback gracefully, accept a lowly place, serve others, associate with the down and out, forgive everyone, and be thankful for everything. In all things give God the glory through your obedience to Christ. 

I saw a great poem that read, 
As a tree, the more deeply it is rooted in the earth, the taller it grows and mounts all the higher; even so a man, the more humble and lowly that he is, the more and higher will the Lord exalt him.” 


This second part is for non-believers, or anyone here who has yet to make a public profession of faith in Christ. 

One day we will pass from this life to the next. Ten out of ten die. Those in Christ, His followers, will be absent from the body and present with the Lord. Those who were too proud to bend the kneed and trust only in the finished work of Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins. 

Those too proud to associate with Christ— not willing to identify with Him in baptism, or share the gospel of Christ for fear of persecution, or whatever the reason. Those who want to come to Him on their terms, will look but they will not find Him. 
As the word says in MATTHEW 7:21-23
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Those who said to Him, Lord, Lord, but in this life continued to sin in thought, word, or deed—the double-minded. Those who want Christ and the world; to be loved and respected by men but also to be loved and accepted by Christ. Oh, they may never openly oppose God. Many come to church almost every Sunday, but never commit to God or give Him the glory. 

We have to approach God on His terms. 

I know some of you, when you heard me say, drawn near to God and He will draw near to you might have been thinking, well, duh…whenever you draw near to something, that which you draw near to has no choice but to draw near to you (illustration), but that isn’t how it works with God. 

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, James 4:6 tells us. The proud heart is like the bad breath of the morning. Foul and unpleasant.  
I got “saved,” as many refer to salvation, after watching an episode of Way of the Master and reading the gospel of John. God opened my eyes to the state of my sinful condition. God drew me to Himself, and ever since I’ve been trying to draw nearer to Him, to know Him more, through the process of sanctification.

Some of you have heard me use this before, but when God judges us by His holy standard, He judges us by the ten commandments. If God was to judge you by that measure would you be found innocent or guilty? Would you go to heaven or hell?
Have you ever told a lie? We do we call liars?
Have you ever stolen anything, regardless of value?
Have you ever lusted?
By your own admission then, you’re a liar, a thief, and an adulterer at heart, and we’ve only covered three of the commandments. 
You’re getting closer to the sun now. You should feel the heat. You should feel uncomfortable.   

Do you think you’ll be found innocent or guilty on the day of judgment? 
Will you go to heaven or hell? 

Bear in mind that God demands absolute perfection (like the clean-room or an operating room). God will allow no sin in His presence.

1 JOHN 1:15
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all
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If you said hell, when I asked about your destination, my next question would be – does the thought of your going to hell concern you?
It if does, God made a way some 6,200 miles away from here, and 2,000 years ago, for you to be forgiven. 

Jesus lived the perfect, sinless life you could not live, to satisfy the law. He then took our sin debt upon Himself at the cross, and paid the penalty for our sin through His death, to satisfy God’s justice. God then raised Him from the dead and exalted Him to the highest place, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus as Lord. Jesus paid the penalty for your sin, and all you have to do is trust in that exchange. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

ROMANS 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved
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If you believe Jesus paid the penalty for your sin, and that God can forgive you because of what Christ has done, then stand up and receive the free gift of God and praise God for your salvation, or get with God later today and ask him to forgive you. Confess your sins to Him; repent. Ask Him to be your Lord and Savior. Then tell someone what God has done for you, and be baptised. I’m telling all of you today what God has done for me. I want to hear God say to me one day, when I pass from this life to the next, “well done good and faithful servant.” 

MATTHEW 10:32 says
Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. (distance and intensity)  

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