Title: Acceptable Prayer and Worship
Focus: In order for our worship to be good and acceptable to God, we must have strong, confident faith, but that does not mean we try to manipulate God for our own selfish purposes. Instead, of being manipulative, we should be submissive by being forgiving just as God has been forgiving with us.
Function: To help people understand understand the importance of a proper relationship to God and other people in order for worship to be acceptable to God
Text: Mk 11:22-26
Intro: 1. Our worship is validated by how we treat others 2. Jesus said that God's house was to be a house of prayer for all the nations 3. Jesus continued on prayer: I. What were Jesus prayers like? A. Examples: 1. Gave thanks and fed 5,000, then later 4,000 2. Cast out an unclean spirit in Mk 9 3. Explanation: This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer 4. When Jesus prayed, big things happened! B. Why was his prayer so effective? (v.22-24) 1. Fig tree pulls double duty as a teaching lesson a. The fruitless tree is now dead b. Now Jesus uses it as a lesson on effective prayer 2. Lit: “Have the faith OF God” a. Most render it have faith “IN” God b. What if it is have the faith OF God - When God expects something to happen, it does - He is talking about total confidence 3. What will this total confidence do? a. Can say to “this” mountain (temple mount?) b. Jas 5 - Prayer offered in faith raise up the sick - Elijah prayed for no rain 3.5 yrs, and it happened! c. Joshua prayed for sun to stand still, and it did! 4. Prayer offered in faith is powerful C. Have heard many, many people talk about confident prayer 1. In the mail, received promise of great wealth for a “seed offering” to send in and prayer. 2. T.V. evangelist quote Ps 37:4 - Delight yourselves in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart! 3. If pray & show faith by donations, God will rain down his blessings on you! D. If we don’t have what we want, then we haven’t asked God for them! 1. Do you want to have financial freedom? Have faith in God! 2. Do you want nice neighborhood, car, Have faith in God! 3. Do you want perfect job, figure, admiration, Have faith in God! 4. Is this what Jesus means? II. If worship & appease God in correct form, will he give it all to you? A. Didn’t God promise if you obey his word, he will bless you? 1. In Old Testament, whole sections in Torah devoted to this 2. In New Testament, if faithful, will get crown of life 3. Wow, a crown, I’m gonna live like a king! B. Passages where people thought this: 1. (Jeremiah 7) a. Background: Seeming impenetrable Jeruselem - Stood up to Sennacherib who sacked 42 cities - Why? The temple of the Lord!!! - Offered up correct worship to the correct God! b. But can stay only if practice justice & not oppress(v.5-7) c. Then, (v.22-23)???? Sacrifice not important? 2. (Acts 19:11-16) - The Lord not a commodity to be manipulated 3. (Jas 4:3) - You ask and do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives that you may spend it on your pleasures C. In school, it against rules to hit 1. What if hit? What happened? A prescribed punishment 2. What if go in, tell principle what he want to hear? 3. Okay you appeased him. 4. What if it is repeated? Enough is enough! D. Cannot manipulate a principle, then how can manipulate God? 1. Joel 2:12-13 - Rend your heart, not your garments! 1. God made Abraham rich because he had faith in God 2. What ever God gives, use in for his glory, even if it means giving up with is most important to you, like your only son III. So what does it take for prayer and worship to be acceptable? A. In this morning’s text, it is two things (v.25-26) 1. Faith 2. Forgiveness B. General principle: Our worship is validated by how we treat others 1. (Hosea 5:14-15) - God’s judgement a. 6:1-3 - Response of the people (seems good) b. 6:4-6 - God does not accept skin deep change c. The Lord delights in “Hesed” rather than sacrifice - Loyalty not convey meaning well - Means, love, trusworthiness, lovingkindness - Give thanks, for his “hesed” endures forever d. God wants us to treat others with “hesed” 2. In Amos 5:21ff and Isaiah 1:11ff - God rejects prayer & worship a. Why? Was it due to incorrect form? b. No, it was an incorrect heart c. They were guilty of gross mistreatment of others 3. (1 Pet 3:7) - Applies in marriage a. If not honor wife, prayers are “hindered” b. Worship is validated by how you treat others 4. Now do you understand (Mt 5:23-24)? C. Why is the way we treat others so important? 1. Because of the character of our Father 2. Remember first time looking at each son - They have my nose 3. As they grow, I see my character in them 4. Heavenly Father’s character is Holy Love (God is Love) D. He wants us to treat others with the same love (1 Cor 13) 1. What is the greatest thing? Faith?? Hope?? LOVE! 2. Without love it is all meaningless Concl: 1. Our worship is validated by how we treat others 2. You cannot be right with God and be wrong with others 3. Get down to where rubber meets the road. How to apply this principle. a. Don’t downplay kindness, justice, and mercy b. May have overeacted to the “social gospel” 4. Gal 5: - Do good to ALL men, especially to household of faith a. ALL is pretty inclusive b. Didn’t say “don’t mistreat them” but “DO good” c. That is a call to action 5. What good can we do in our community, how can we TRULY be a light? a. The same way Jesus was b. In three words: Serve, serve, serve 6. If pray in faith, God will provide. Let’s pray for opportunities to serve! 7. PRAYER ----- 8. Invitation