Sermon Notes for week 2 of Talking To God.
Today, I want to talk to you about, “Talking to God. Experiencing the Awe and Intimacy of Prayer.”
Do you know any name droppers? They use a person’s name in a conversation to position themselves. Using that name helps their ego.
Also, when you happen to meet someone that is powerful or popular and you want to relate to them, you can mention someone that you possibly know in common. Other people might be getting the ordinary “hello, good to meet you, shake hands, go on.” But, when you know someone that they possibly know an instant connection can form.
Names are interesting, aren’t they? They are powerful to unlock or bind.
A signature is binding when it is the legal name of someone. I couldn’t put “son” or “dad” on my check. But, when I put C. Robin Steele on the check, it becomes valuable.
Sometimes we don’t want people to know a name. We might be related to someone with a “bad name”. If we say their name, then we are negatively associated with someone and we don’t get a fair chance in the relationship.
Scripture actually talks about dropping a name in life:
Ephesians 2:18 For through him (Jesus) we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
You have backstage passes. Actually, you have more than backstage passes. You can go get on the tour bus and go home with the star of the world. “Access” in that passage was the permission granted when an ancient king granted someone an audience.
When you (an insignificant, messed up human) go to have a conversation with the eternal, all powerful, perfect, creative force in the world what you need to do is start the conversation by dropping a name. JESUS.
Dropping the name Jesus gives us access, credibility and common ground in our conversation with God.
What name dropping does is create or try to create common ground. In order for there to be a substantial relationship there has to be common ground. It is extremely rare for friendships to begin where people are in completely different places in life. The majority of the time it is because you “click”. You relate. You are similar.
The ancient philosopher, Aristotle came to this same conclusion thousands of years ago. He reasoned that friendship requires that both parties share much in common as equals. And when it came to the gods, he said, “while it might be possible to honor and appease the gods, actual intimate friendship with a god was impossible.”
All ancient lands and cultures had temples, because human beings once knew innately that there was a gap, a yawning chasm, between us and the divine. God is great and we are small – God is perfect and we are flawed. Temples were places where an effort was made to bridge that gap. Sacrifices and offerings were made and rituals observed by professionals “mediators” (priests) who sought to bring the remote divinity near. No religion claimed that the gap could be officially closed.
But since God is infinitely greater than human beings, “the possibility of friendship ceases.”
Hebrews 4:14 …since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.
How could we approach God with a complete confidence?
It is because God became like us, equally mortal and subject to suffering and death. He did it so we could be forgiven and justified by faith apart from our efforts and merits.
We has humans surrender our life to God and we are confess the name of Jesus Christ. We are saying that I will no longer get my validation from anything other than my family name: Jesus.
After you profess your surrender to God and confess of your sinfulness. You are then baptized into the name of Jesus Christ, the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Because of Jesus, we can run to our Heavenly Father without fear. We have the most intimate and unbreakable relationship possible with the God of the universe.
That is how we begin talking to God…”Father, I come in the name of Jesus Christ.”
The name of Jesus Christ is my ticket. My access.
Ephesians 2 said that we have access through Jesus in The Holy Spirit. In this one text, we see: Son, Holy Spirit, and Father. Prayer involves the fullness of God.
Nothing quite explains it like Romans 8:22-28
Romans 8:22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering….
23…We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
This is a symphony. A conversation where your human voice, blends with the power of the Holy Spirit, some things heard, some understood, some unheard, some unintelligible by the human ear, all weaving together creating a sound, a message reaching the heavenlies. It makes a point. This world is heart broken and despondent. The whole thing is groaning and looking forward to a day of freedom and release of the pressure and inconsistency.
The groanings of Romans 8:26-28 does not apply to our direct, personal feelings of depression and despondency, but to our entire human situation of frustrated longings as we wait the future glory. We know that God is working out all things for our good according to his will.
The Holy Spirit give us an inward confidence, a legitimacy that the pressure you are feeling is valid and at the same time God is in control.
In other words, the Holy Spirit makes you feel good.
Martin Luther said this about the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer: Although…you could rightly and properly be a severe judge over us sinners…now through your mercy implant in our hearts a comforting trust in your fatherly love, and let us experience the sweet and pleasant savor of a childlike certainty that we many joyfully call you Father, knowing and loving you and calling on you in every trouble
Timothy Keller once said, “Prayer is the way to experience a powerful confidence that God is handling our lives well, that our bad things will turn out for good, our good things cannot be taken from us, and the best things are yet to come.”