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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Are you near to God or far away?

Our Sr. pastor is back this week.  His message is titled "Near or Far?"  As we live, we are either drawing nearer to God or we are falling further away from Him.  Where are you in your walk with the Lord?

Are you near to God or far away?


Our scripture passage for today is 2 Chronicles, chapter 7 and Hebrews 12:5-11.  You can hop over real quick and read 2 Chronicles 7 here at Bible Gateway
And you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. - Hebrews 12:5-11

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Near or Far? | August 4, 2019 | Pastor Jeff Crook from Christ Place Church on Vimeo.

Are you walking close to God or do you feel like you have slipped far away from Him?  If you feel like you have slipped away, you should know this -  you can come back again.
And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14
When we fall far from God, He tells us how we can come back.  He doesn't want us to stay far away from Him.  He wants us near Him.

I.  God loves us so much that He will discipline us when we stray.

Scroll back up and read Hebrews 12:5-11 again.

Discipline doesn't feel good, does it?  It isn't supposed to feel good, but it yields righteousness.  There is a difference between punishment and discipline.  Punishment is something a judge does for payback.  A criminal must pay his or her debt to society for a crime he or she has committed.  Discipline is something a father does to train a child.

How does God discipline?

A.  He reproves us, meaning He will convict us of our bad behavior.

For example, you will feel convicted if you watch a movie you shouldn't watch or a television show you shouldn't watch.  You will feel convicted if you use language you shouldn't use.  Conviction is something you feel in your heart, in your spirit (by the Holy Spirit), if you are a Christian.  This is how you know when you have done something you shouldn't do or say something you shouldn't say.

If you feel conviction in your heart, that is a good thing because that means your heart is tender toward God's ways.

B.  He scourges us, like a parent might spank a child.  God will allow bad things to come into our lives to get our attention.  God's love is not always a pampering love.  God's love is a perfecting love.

Don't pull away.  Draw near to God.  When we pull away and move out from under the protection of God, the devil will take advantage of that.

Discipline shows us that:

*God loves us.
*we belong to Him.
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives. - Hebrews 12:6
*it leads us to life.  
Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? - Hebrews 12:9
C.  Death

This is something we don't talk about very often, but there is a sin unto death.  Sometimes God will take someone home early because of their sin.

Remember, discipline is painful, but it yields holiness.

II.  He loves us so much that He gives us a way back to Him.

Own your brokenness.

Turn from your sin.

Don't play the blame game.

Don't compare your sin to the sins of others.

Look at God.  Seek Him only.

 Let's look at 2 Chronicles 7:14 again.
And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14
Now this verse:
For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. - Philippians 2:13
Don't live your life merely seeking for money, pleasure, advancement, etc.  Seek God first.  In fact, seek Him only.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:13
III.  He will restore us when we return to Him.  

He will hear, forgive, and heal. 

This item is available here.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. - Psalm 103:12
We don't have to stay far away from God.  We can always come back to God.  

Consider two things if you have fallen away:

1.  Are you God's child.  If you are not, you can learn more about how to become God's child here.

2.  If you are God's child, is it time for you to come back near to God?  He is waiting for you.


God is waiting for you to come home.

Here's an old hymn for you to enjoy, Lord I'm Coming Home by the Gaither Vocal Band.


Here's another oldie but goodie from the Cathedrals.

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