Standing Tall And Strong Through Prayer – Dr. Charles Stanley

Dr. Charles Stanley: Four decades ago, we started In Touch Ministries to lead people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Not only is God sending people, he’s given us the media, the radio, television, shortwave so that we can get the gospel into every single country in the world every single day. female announcer: In Touch Ministries, Celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness. ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ male announcer: "In Touch" with Dr. Charles Stanley, celebrating 45 years of God's faithfulness. Next on "In Touch," "Standing Tall and Strong Through Prayer." Dr. Charles Stanley: Well, life presents all kind of problems and sometimes we don't know how to respond. Sometimes we think, Lord where are You in the midst of all this? Why don't You do something? And sometimes we think, Well, Lord if You really and truly love me, You wouldn't let this happen. Or if You really and truly loved me You'd show me what to do at this point in my life. So, sometimes we are perplexed. We don't know exactly what to do. But there is always one thing that is the right thing to do every single, solitary time. And that's what I want to talk about in this message. Because here's a passage of Scripture, then in fact, the whole book is all about the right thing to do every single time. So, I want you to turn if you will to the book of Nehemiah. And you think, Well, that's the prophet. How could that be the right thing to do every single time? Well, you'll see in a moment. And let me give you a little background. Well, Nehemiah is a cupbearer under Artaxerxes who is the king. And he's the cupbearer for him which means that he has a very responsible position. And one that requires a great deal of him. In fact, he had to be rather handsome. He had to know exactly what kind of wine the king desired. He had to know all the etiquette of that kind of affair. And he could also be the one that could tell you whether you could see the king or not. So, why on the one hand they may have been friends, on the other hand the king was the king. Well, here he'd been there for some time and his brother and some others come to him from Jerusalem and say to him, Nehemiah, I want to tell you what's going on in Jerusalem. The gates are burned and the walls are broken down and there's chaos and everything is in just derision. Every direction. There's nothing going on that we could say is good. Now, a hundred and forty years before this the Babylonians came in and destroyed the walls and burned the gates. Killed a lot of people. Took a lot of people captive. Hundred and forty years had gone by and they still had not rebuilt the walls. So, therefore they were subject to all kind of enemies who continually harassed them. So, in the process of them telling him that this is the way he responded beginning in verse four, this first chapter. "When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. I said, 'I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and loving kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel, Your servants, confessing the sins of the sins of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned. We've acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You have commanded Your servant Moses. Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, "If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the people; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell." They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.' Now, I was the cupbearer of the king." Well, say, What's that got to do with knowing exactly what to do every single time? It has a great deal to do with it. Because here's what you're going to find in this book, that throughout the book of Nehemiah every time he comes to a situation or circumstance that is a problem or a threat, without fail. Or if he's seeking guidance and direction. Without fail, he is a man who lived on his knees. That is, he learned the awesome power of prayer. He learned the most miraculous things that God would be willing to do in him, through him, for him, and to him as a result of it. And so, when we think about that, I think about the principle that is so evident here. And that is, we stand tallest and strongest on our knees. And I simply mean by that this, we make the greatest impact and we experience the greatest power and energy and strength to face whatever we have to face in life successfully. Because prayer is that choice tool that God has given us to reach Him, to speak to Him, to plead before Him and to receive from Him. And I think one of these greatest blessings that God has given to us, we take for granted. Or shall I say we don't go about it in the right way. But somehow when you look at what happened in the life of Nehemiah, he knew how to talk to God. He knew how to approach God. He knew what was required of that. And we see in this book the most awesome miracles that took place. So, what I'd like for us to do is to look at what he had to face and then to look to see how God worked in his life and brought it all to pass. Now, as we said for a hundred and forty years these people had been separated from their loved ones. And not only that, they were in a terrible position when it came to surviving among their enemies. And year after year, and time after time, the marauders would come in, kill people, take what they wanted and somehow they could do very little about it. It was about fifty thousand of them at one time. And so they were in chaos. So, when Nehemiah heard what had happened, he went to prayer. And for four months he fasted and prayed and sought the Lord's will and direction for what he should do. The first thing he did as soon as he heard it, he went to prayer. Now, in those four months God was doing an awesome work in him. And he felt helpless, of course, because that was a long ways away. And he was a cupbearer; in fact, he was a slave to some degree and a prisoner to some degree because he couldn't just walk away. Besides that, he could not have had it so good. He had to have wealth to be in that position. And he had an awesome position of authority and power being that related to the king. And so--and of course he was very safe. So, what could he do? And the interesting thing is that as he began to pray and God began to work in his heart, something began to happen in his thinking. He began to ask the question, God what do You want me to do? Is there something that I can do in all this? And after those four months of praying and fasting here's what happened. The Scripture says he went before the king one morning and he was sad. The king said to him, Why are you so sad? You're not sick. And so, the Bible says at that moment when the king asked him that, he offered a prayer to God. He prayed before he responded to the king. So, now when he hears a situation that's so bad, he prays. When he's standing before the king with this awesome opportunity and responsibility to answer the question, why are you so sad if you're not sick? He said he prayed and he told the king what the situation was. Not only did he tell him, but the king said to him, Well, what can I help you do? So, he told him, I've got to have so much lumber and so many materials and so many supplies. And then of course, we have to have protection to get all the way to Jerusalem without being attacked. And so, the king granted him everything he desired. Now, what a miraculous thing to happen because he was just a cupbearer. And when he prayed in response to his brothers' comments about what was going on, prayed before the king, here's what you'll find all the way through. When he left, and he got to Jerusalem, he prayed as he sought the Lord's mind and heart about how to go about this awesome task. And then when he began to talk to some of the people. And think about this, he just walked into a situation and he didn't know anybody, I don't think, at this particular point. And he walked into a situation where he was going to take charge of things. Well, that wouldn't be a very popular idea. You mean you're coming over here to tell us how to operate. So, he had to ask God's direction and guidance. And then, when he began to talk to a few people. And so, he surveyed the place very secretly. And then when he began to talk to them they began to agree. And then he said, Let's rise and build this. Spirit of God was upon him. And then it wasn't very long before the enemies heard and so they began to assault. In fact, they said, Those weak Jews, what are they going to build? And one of them said, Well, you know if a fox jumped on the wall they built, the whole wall would fall down. So, if you've got all this derision and all this criticism; every time he faced that what did he do? The Scripture says he went to prayer. When he, for example, became very weak and lost some of his strength because he'd been working so hard, the Bible says that he prayed for God to give him strength to keep going. When he, for example, was seeking discernment from God; each time, for example, they tried to trap him because they hated him. Because he was going to build the city, he's going to be strong that no more marauding. So, he asked God to give him direction when they offered to meet with him. God said, No. Every single time they came after him, he prayed, God protected him every time. When the time came for him to sort of assemble the people and get some kind of organization there, he prayed about that. So, everywhere you see Nehemiah he's on his knees before God and what's happening? What's happening is this, he's becoming taller and taller in his influence among the people. Stronger and stronger as he faces one obstacle after the other. The same God who was Nehemiah's God is the same God we have. And so, when you look back now, here's what happened as a result of this man coming that far and having to decide what to do and how to do it, in fifty-two days, that's less than two months. In fifty-two days the Bible says they completed the wall. Well, how did they do that? Well, first of all, listen, he didn't grow up in some school that teaches engineering and construction and all the rest. You know what? He was a cupbearer before the king. Now, he's explaining to them how to rebuild the wall and how to rebuild the gates. And not only that, at the same time he's having to act like a general because he's got to have a little army. He's got to have some protection because they keep coming after him. They keep trying to get him to come down and have a conversation with them about it. And more than likely he said, I don't have anything to talk about. You remember what he said? He said, I'm too busy to come down and talk. And so, he's training these people how to carry out this construction. He's training the army; how to have an instrument in this hand to build, instruments in this hand to fight. And so, in fifty-two days they build the wall and they build the gates. And not only that, he gets the--he organizes the people. And then they find the book of the genealogy of all these people. And how many of them are true Jews and how many of them are not. And then he finds out that they're mistreating each other financially. So, he puts a stop to all of that. Then he discovers for example that they stopped tithing a long time ago. So, he says, We must tithe. Then he finds out, for example, that not only have they found the book of the genealogy, but Ezra who is the high priest at that point there, they decide to have worship. And they call the people together. Now, they'd not heard the reading of the Word in years and years and years and years. And so, when you read the book and you realize when they announced that they were going to have a reading of the Law of Moses, these people stood up for hours while he read the Law of God. And really what happened in these fifty-two days and the days that follow, they came from total chaos, disorganization, to being organized, ready to fight, ready to defend, rebuild the walls and the gates. And not only that correcting situations financially, their relationships to each other, starting to tithe once again and having worship. They had a revival fifty-two days and a few days and months after that. Now, how did all that happen? One man who decided to live on his knees became so tall spiritually and so strong not only in his ability and skill to bring people together. To challenge them, to correct those things that were not corrected that needed to be corrected. They were not right. He knew they were not right. He challenged them at every point. At every point they could have said, No. They could have said, What do you mean? We look rebuild all this? We've been trying for years and it hadn't happened. There was something about Nehemiah. Listen carefully, there could be something about you if you have the right relationship to God. That God could use you in the most awesome fashion if you would allow Him to do it, if you would believe that He could do it and you'd make yourself available to let Him do it. We underestimate now, watch this, not underestimate ourselves, we underestimate the power of God in us and through us. And Nehemiah's such a perfect example of what happened. Now, when I think about how he began, he began as a cupbearer on his knees before God. And God began to work in his life. So, what I want to do this morning is simply this, I want to give you a list of things that are true when you and I begin to pray seriously before God. And how God can work in your life. I want you to forget the past. You say, Well, you know at this point in my life I've done this and I've done--forget all about the past. What matters is, what do you want to do and what can you do from this point on? So, think about what we said. That is, we stand the tallest and we're the strongest in the outreach and the effect and the impact we have on those around us, facing anything and everything with strength and confidence when we live on our knees before God. Now, you say, Well, do you mean to tell me that I've got to kneel every time I pray? No, but I want you to. Listen carefully, there is something about kneeling that makes a difference. I know sometimes people can't kneel. But the truth is, it isn't so much the kneeling as it is it's praying. It's talking to God. So, I want you to think about this for a moment because so many people talk to God like, Well, you know I prayed last night. Or I pray, pray, pray, pray. But how much serious praying do we do? Do we expect God to do things or do we just hope He does? There's a lot of difference in expectation, trust and hope. And God talks about trusting Him, believing Him, expecting Him to do it. So, think about this for a moment, when you kneel or when you pray you are to recognize, this is what we should be doing, we should be recognizing God is the Sovereign of this universe. That is, that He absolutely controls all things as He says in that hundred and third chapter of the Psalms. That He "has established His throne in the heavens, and His Sovereignty rules over all." Over all things, all times, all places, everything. Now, listen, if God is not the Sovereign of the universe why pray to Him? There are a lot of things that you and I know that appear to be impossible. Why pray to a God if you don't believe He's Sovereign, in absolute control, and rules all things, then why talk to Him? So, we have to remember who we're talking to. He's not "the man upstairs" as people oftentimes call Him. And oh, art my father, He'll do this, that, and the other. He's the Sovereign God of the universe. While He is God and while He is Sovereign, yes, He is my friend. But, listen, He can be your friend and my friend but He never ceases to be the Creator and He never ceases to be the Ruler and He never ceases to be the Lord and Master. And sometimes we go to God in prayer, it's like He's just my buddy. God's not my buddy. He's not your buddy. He's the Sovereign God of this universe; the Creator. And if you'll notice also how He was addressed by Nehemiah. And it's interesting the way He was addressed is the same-- he uses the same words, for example, that Deuteronomy-- when Moses was praying. And the same word that Daniel used in the ninth chapter of Daniel. And notice what he says. He says, "I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, God of heaven," Master, Ruler, reigning. "The great and awesome God." What is he speaking out when he when he speaks about the great and awesome God? He's talking about His holiness. That God is holy. And I wonder how often we think about when we pray, I'm a sinful human being; I'm talking to a Holy God? There's nothing frivolous about talking to Almighty God. It isn't a joking matter. He's not "the man upstairs." In fact, we're talking to a God who is so awesome and so holy. That when Isaiah talked about a glimpse of God he could not stand in the presence of Holy God. When you read the Book of the Revelation and you see God upon His throne, we're not talking about just our buddy, just our Father. While He is our Heavenly Father, He is the Sovereign of the Universe. We recognize who is this we're talking to. He's not somebody to be joked about or to talk to frivolously. He is the Sovereign God of the universe. And so, he says, "Great and awesome God." It was this spirit that drove him to his knees fasting and praying for four solid months. Crying out to God for Jerusalem but crying out to God what it--did you want me involved in this in any fashion? And when I see how God began to use him and how he must have had to deal with this and struggle with this, well, why have they told me this? What do You want me to do about this? God put a burden on him. Now, listen, a burden from God is a heaviness that God places upon someone, first of all, to get their attention, then to bring something to mind He wants us to deal with. It could be a burden because of our sin. It could be a burden because of something He wants you to do, some place He wants you to go, someone He wants you to talk to. He was heavily burdened. And so, now he comes before a Holy God and what happens? The next thing that happens here, if you'll notice, he begins to confess sin. Not only the sins of the nation of Israel. And Daniel's prayer sounds just like this, talking about the sins of the nation of Israel. But if you'll notice that Nehemiah, he says, My father, me, my father, we have sinned against You. We have corrupted ourselves because of sin. Now, you know the Scripture there in Psalms rather when he talks about sin in our life. And he says, If I regard it in my life then He will not hear my prayers. And the other word for that regard means if I cherish it; if I hold onto it. And usually if you'll think about it, if you--if there's some sin in your life and you know it's there and you don't want to give it up, you do cherish it. You say, Well, not really cherish. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Now, those things have to be big things? No. Anything I cherish, I hold onto that God has said, Let it go, I'm telling, listen carefully, you can't get prayers answered holding onto things that are sinful in the eyes of God. Now, you say, Well, does that mean that I've got to be perfect? No. But it means this, when God brings something to our mind it's because He wants to deal with it. And if He wants to deal with it He's not going to answer prayer till you allow Him to deal with it. Nehemiah began right in the confession of sin; of his own sin, the sins of his father. Here is awesome, holy God, full of grace, full of mercy, full of love, willing to answer the needs of your heart. But He, listen, He wants you to clean up. In other words, He wants you to clean up. And until you clean up, the prayers are not going to get answered. You say, Well, you know what? Here's what I believe. And once in awhile I'll tell somebody the Word of God says and they'll say, Well, yeah but that's because you're a preacher. But here's what I believe and la da da da da. And I want to say to them, Let me tell you something, it isn't what I believe, it's what He says. And what you're rejecting is not what I say. You're rejecting what He says. And you may be one of those persons who says, Well, I pray all the time and God answers my prayer. Does He? Is He answering prayer? Not if you're sinning against Him. He's not answering prayer. Does God do good things even in the life of an unbeliever? Yes. Paul said, he said, Do you not know that the goodness of God is for the purpose of leading you to repentance, to get your attention? But He's not answering prayer. He said He will, If I regard iniquity in my heart, sin, if I cherish it he says, God will not hear me. And what I want you to see here is simply this, that after he recognizes the Sovereignty of God and after he recognizes the holiness of God, he deals with this whole issue of sin. Now, watch this carefully, you listening? Say amen. Purity of heart and the power of God are linked. They're linked. If you want the power of God in your life, your life's got to be pure. It doesn't mean that you never make a mistake and never sin. But, listen, it means this, that you are sensitive to sin, you're sensitive to what hinders the power of God in your life and you deal with it right then. If God convicts me for something and I deal with it right, then I'm not cherishing it. I'm not holding onto it. Willing to deal with it. And so, you come right down the line. Then what happens is simply this, when you and I are talking to God and we really mean business we're going to recognize our inadequacy. What do you think Nehemiah must have thought when God said, Nehemiah I'm sending you? Up, up, up, wait a minute. Well, wait a minute. I'm sending you. The first thing he must have thought was, Well, first of all, who am I? How many times have we all asked that? Who who am I? It's what Moses asked. What all of God's servants have asked. Who am I? And God had to deal with him. And I'm sure he told the Lord all the reasons he couldn't go. The walls need to be built. Who's going to do that? I don't know how to do that. The gates are going to be rebuilt. And in other words, what about the massive confusion among these people? What about all their enemies? Listen, when God tells you to do something, remember this, He's not looking for information. He's not waiting to find out what to do. God already knows exactly what to do in every single situation you and I face with no exception. He knows everything about us. He would never call you to do something you can't do through His power and His strength. He's the one who created you. He's the one who gave you abilities, talents, and skill. And so, think about how absurd this is, you mean, God, you're calling me to do that? Lord, there's no way I can do that? Is God in--is He in the mistake business? Does He make a mistake? Oh, would God have to say, Oh, I thought you were so and so? No. He wouldn't say that. He knows exactly who we are. And, listen, watch this carefully, you say, Well, is it a sin to feel inadequate? No, it's not a sin to feel inadequate. Feeling inadequate is a part of doing what? Recognizing His awesome power, His holiness, our sinfulness, and being human beings; how inadequate we are to do some things that God may require of us. And so, therefore, He knows you perfectly. You can't back off from God and start giving Him information of why you can't do something. Listen to this, if God calls you to do something, you say, No, no I can't do that. What you're implying is that God made a mistake. And you're implying that God doesn't know the situation. And you're implying that God just doesn't know you like you know yourself. You see, wouldn't you agree that that's totally absurd? He would never require of you something He would not enable you to do. That's why He sent the Holy Spirit. He told the disciples, He said, You sit down in Jerusalem and you wait here until you be endued with power from on high. That is, every single believer from Pentecost to this day, every single person who's trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior has been invaded by, indwelt by, empowered by, equipped by the Holy Spirit of God. So, there's no such thing as a believer who cannot do what God calls them to do if they're willing to be obedient to Him. So, this sense of inadequacy was a part of his feelings and of what he had to go through. But, listen, and I love this, why does God allow us to be inadequate? To drive us to Himself. The more inadequate we feel, what? The more we pray. And there's a blessing in being inadequate. Then I can come to Him and say, God you know that I cannot do this without you. I must have access to Your awesome power in my life if I'm going to do this. Why did he stand so tall? Why was he so strong? Why did they follow him? Why did the miraculous things happen? Because here was one man who'd been a cupbearer, a slave so to speak, but in a good position. And now he's being sent to do something you'd think he couldn't do. But now, watch this, somebody says, Well, I do feel inadequate. I do believe this is what God wants. Now, here's the question, do you think God would call you to do something and then just just separate you from it? If you want your prayers answered here's what happens, not only must you acknowledge your inadequacy after your heart's cleaned up but you must be willing to be available for God to use you to do it. You say, Oh no, no, no, no, no. Why not? You can't say that God won't help you do it. I'm not sure how many prayers God answers if I'm not willing to be an available part of getting the answer there. And so, he had to deal with this. He had to deal with the whole idea of being available. Well, he heard all about it and, you know, somebody says, Well, I can just pray. I'm not sure those prayers even reach anywhere close to the ceiling if I have withdrawn myself to say, I will pray, and let them do it. I may not be able to do very many things in life. But the issue is this, am I willing to do whatever He requires of me? I may fail. I may make mistakes. I make mistakes even now. And you know what? If you ever get to the place that you think you can't make any or you won't do anything because you're afraid, you will make some, you'll never do anything. It's a matter of making ourselves available. God here I am, whatever there is of me that You can use I'm offering myself. And let me ask you a question, since He died on the cross and paid sin's debt, your sin debt for you, do you have a right to tell Him what you will or will not do? Listen, He crucified His own Son. He gave you the faith to believe in Him and to trust Him. He's forgiven you of your sins. He's written your name in the Lamb's Book of Life. He's equipped you with the Holy Spirit. He enables you to live. He enables you to see, enables you to hear, enables you to speak, enables you to walk, make the limbs work, and everything else. That is, you owe Him everything. How could you ever say to Him, No, I will not do it? If you'll think about it, it's totally absurd. You've got to be out in left field not even thinking that you can tell Holy, Righteous, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Awesome God of what you will, and what you will not do. And yet people say, Yeah, but you don't know me. I don't have to know you. God knows you. And I would ask you this question again, would God call you to do something that you cannot do in His strength and in His power? No, He would not. That would be out of keeping with who God is. And so, Nehemiah had to come to the place, If that's what You want to do, God I'm willing to do it. Now, it's interesting that every time Nehemiah got in the position to figure out something he went to prayer to ask God to show him what to do and to show him how to do it. And every single time he did, what did God do? He did exactly what he required. And that is, whatever he needed to understand God was there to show him. Now, think about this, God loves every single one of us. Watch this, He loves every single one of us the same when it comes to being willing to show us what His will is for our life. And, you know, I think about all of you college students out there who are going to college, spending your parent's hard-earned money. I wanted to put that in there. Hard-earned money and you don't have the slightest idea of what you're going to do with your life. Your life belongs to God by the way. Listen, it is a sin against God that you have not sought His mind and His will and His way and His purpose and His plan for your life. Before you get to the fourth year and you're coming up to graduation and what happens? You can't even get a job. Do you mean that you believe God would supply all of that and not have anything in mind? That now you just go out there and find yourself a job. You say, Well, I'm not talking about people who've lost their jobs. I'm talking about people who are in school and going to school and spending money and investing money and fighting for your faith oftentimes and coming down and never thinking. Listen, you have the Counselor. You have access to the Counselor who created you; who knows how He's equipped you. He has gifted you to do certain things. He is more than willing to show you how to invest your life. The question is, are you willing to ask Him? He's a God who cares; who is willing to show you exactly what to do. When you kneel in prayer, remember this also, when you kneel in prayer you and I have the privilege of experiencing, watch this, experiencing divine power, Holy Spirit power, enabling power. He doesn't give power like you and I would dish out pennies. Whatever you need God will overflow in your life to enable you to do it. There's no such thing as a nobody. There's no such thing as a useless person. And I would say whoever you are, God has a place for you. If you will cry out to God, your God will hear, and answer your prayer. Because He does not want you wasting time and influence and the impact that you can have. And so, when I look to see what happened in Nehemiah's life. He felt all of these things, but also, he experienced the power of God. Listen, He wants you to look at yourself in the light of who God sees you, the potential you have, what you can do. Not in your own strength but as we said over and over and over again, this same message. In the power of the Spirit of God we, listen, we stand the tallest and our influence is the greatest and we experience the most power in our life and energy and strength to face any and every situation on our knees. That is the key, that is the source, that's the direction, that's God plan, and there'll never be any plan better than that. Now, the question is, well, so--well, you say, Well, what am I supposed to do about it? You're supposed to start by getting on your knees and asking God to forgive you, first of all, for forgetting that He is the Lord and Master and the Sovereign. And acknowledge that He's absolutely holy. Listen, willing to give us a new beginning, a new start and to enable us to become the persons He wants us to be. And when I think about all the things that Nehemiah accomplished, was it because of his education? No. What was it? It was because he had developed this relationship with the Father that he would trust Him. But see, he had to keep his heart clean, recognize his inadequacy, make himself available. And then to know that he could get God's vision and God's direction. And that God would enable him by His Spirit to accomplish whatever He called him to do. If God said to you today, I will enable you to do whatever you want to do in life. What would that be? If He just gave you a choice, what would it be? To some degree we have a choice, not totally. But we have a choice to some degree. But if you could do anything in the world from this point on in your life, if you could do anything in the world you wanted to do, what would you do? If you could be anything in the world you wanted to be, what would you be? If you answer those two questions you'd tell a whole lot about yourself. Well, you know you don't have to answer that question because God knows all about it. The issue is this, think about it, you have this awesome privilege as a child of God to get on your knees before Him and talk to the Sovereign Ruler and Creator of this entire universe. Who will never make a mistake, who will never mislead you, never misinform you, and never fail you. You have that privilege. Now, the question is this, what are you willing to do? Are you willing to say to Him, Lord, I don't feel very adequate but I'll do whatever You tell me to do? Lord I realize I don't have the education some people have and I don't have the experience. And some people are so gifted, God, they can take their hands and build this, do that. I don't have any of that, Lord, but I'm willing to do whatever You want me to do. Don't think I'd be very good at teaching someone else but Lord I'm willing to do whatever You want me to do. Let me ask you a question, do you have the right to withhold yourself from Sovereign God of this universe, who created you and has committed Himself to live in you for all eternity and enable you to face every single circumstance confidently? Do you have a right to withhold yourself from Him? Well, let me just put it this way, having listened to this message and heard the truth, just been telling you what God says you're going to have to deal with it. Some of you are very gifted and talented and skilled but you never thought about serving God. You just think about, Well, I'll do whatever I can do in life. You need to ask Him to show you. He has an investment in you. You know what the biggest investment He has in you? Look at the cross. That's His greatest investment. He sent His Son Jesus to the cross to die for your sins and mine; to make it possible for us to have our sins forgiven and to have a personal, intimate relationship with this awesome God. And not only that but to be indwelt by His Spirit. And then to be used by God. Do you have a right to withhold yourself from Him? No. Then my question is, what are you going to do about it? Oh, I'll think about it. No, no, no, no, no. You've got to do more than think about it because you know what happens? You and I are responsible for what we hear. We're responsible for what we hear and how we respond to it. Whoever you are you can never tell God, But God I didn't know. You know it's beginning right now. You know that Christ died for you. You know that you can be saved from all of your sins. You know that when you are, He'll live inside of you and enable you to face every circumstance in life. He will use you to bring Him glory and honor. You can never say, I never heard, and I didn't know that. And today here's what you've heard, simple truth. God is Sovereign. He's the Creator of all things. You are here in existence by His grace and good kindness toward you. And not only that, He is this awesome God who loves you unconditionally and who wants and desires to use you. And who knows what you're able to do and what you're equipped to do. He knows everything there is about you. And He loves you and He's willing to take you right where you are; forgive you, cleanse you, indwell you with the Holy Spirit and then use you in the most awesome fashion if you'll let Him do it. That's the truth of the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation. And now that you've heard it, you're responsible. If you came this morning and you wanted to leave without any conviction, I'm sorry. You can't do that. Because you have to face the truth. And you remember what Jesus said? Listen, He said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." Set you free. You want to be free? Ask the Lord Jesus Christ into your life. Surrender your life to Him and then, listen, it's this awesome, exciting journey. Now that God and I are working hand-in-hand, God, what can You--what will You do in my life now that we're partners in this life? Then I want to say one last thing. I think about this, I think about people who come to the end of their life. And let's say you had one week to live and you knew that was it. And in this last week you have time to think. And you think about the fact that you've never really done anything for God. Now, we forget the preacher, it's not--we're not talking about that. Last week of your life and you think all of a sudden you're getting ready to meet God and you're going to heaven. Let's say that you're a believer. You can't name one single person that you're going to meet in heaven because you told them about Jesus, not a one. Think about that. In all your years that you've lived, you're going to come to the end of the way and you will not be able to point out anybody. You won't meet anybody in heaven that got there because you led them to Christ. Then think about this, you come to the end of life and you think, What's my life been like? What's it been about? Oh, it's been about money and about this and that and so forth. And you can't name one thing that you have done as an act of obedience to the Living God who has equipped you to do anything and everything that He wants you to do. But you filled your life with things and people and events and circumstances and actions. But God was absent from the whole thing. And now you're getting ready to meet Him. What are you going to say to Holy God who is not only a God of love but a God of judgment? What are you going to say to Him about a life that you lived apart from Him? When I think about that, I quiver on the inside. And yet that's exactly the way many people are going to die. Father, how grateful we are for grace, love, mercy, and kindness. And I pray that every single person who hears this message will at least be wise enough to stop and consider that they've heard the truth. That it's inescapable and one day they'll have to face it. Grant them the wisdom dear God to fall upon their face before You confessing and repenting of sin and receiving Jesus as their Savior. And offering themselves as a vessel. And Lord, they may feel like that they're just a nobody, but remind them You don't make nobodies. And that they're valuable in Your sight. Oh God, may every viewer, every hearer take this seriously; is my prayer in Jesus's name, amen. ♪♪♪