Art’s Sermons – September Part 1& 2

Art Moffat Pastor
Art Moffat Pastor

 

 

 

 PART 1

LEARNING TO LIVE IN GOD’S FAVOR

James 1:22-23 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.

Recently, I’ve had the concept of “God’s Favor” brought to my attention. I’d never paid attention to it before. Every word of scripture has purpose. The concept of being in God’s favor is dotted throughout the Bible. It is not emphasized. It is just there. Over and over. In person after person. But I had just missed its importance. I had missed how that factored into the lives of certain people of God’s Kingdom. How it factored into their fruitfulness (effectiveness) for God.

When God’s favor was on someone in the Old Testament
1) They had faith in the power of God
2) They had godly character.

In the New Testament, when God’s favor was on someone it is the result of:
how Jesus is Lord of their life
how the WORD of God is being carried out in her/his life.

Now, what is God’s favor? looking at this scripturally.

It is God’s hand on you
It is God’s hand on some else or some group
It is God’s hand on your life (or a special grace on you)
It is God’s hand giving your favor in others’ eyes
It is God’s hand prospering His knowledge around people through you
It is God’s hand resting favor on people who love His Word and do not compromise His scriptures

How do I know or would I know if God is holding back some of His favor from me?

Or how do I know if if He is holding me in His favor?

Quite frankly, only spiritual maturity in the scripture will allow you to recognize either of these.

Someone with spiritual maturity will recognize God’s favor in you. (even though that one may not fully realize the idea of God’s favor)

For instance, I want to be effective for Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

When God’s favor is on someone that person’s effectiveness increases. Many fold sometimes. And the Holy Spirit will choose where that effectiveness will be in you through Him.

Having God’s favor doesn’t mean that everything will be right all the time. Or not having God’s favor doesn’t mean He doesn’t love you. Not having God’s favor doesn’t mean one is not saved for an eternity with Jesus Christ.

God’s favor offers us special blessings for the kingdom of God.

You have heard occasional people say, “You know, I just don’t have any luck. Everything always seems to go wrong.”

Well something is probably wrong. But it has nothing to do with luck. It may very well be that God’s favor is not on that person.

God is not doing bad things to that person. The Lord has just left him on his own. The Lord is not a priority in his/her life. The Bible has a number of examples of this.

Now we all know that things happen. Happen to all of us. Heaven is to come. It is not here yet for the faithful. Meaning, that this is not a perfect or perfectly protected world.

Here are some scriptures on God’s favor—

Exodus 3:21-22New Living Translation (NLT)

21 And I will cause the Egyptians to look favorably on you. They will give you gifts when you go so you will not leave empty-handed. 22 Every Israelite woman will ask for articles of silver and gold and fine clothing from her Egyptian neighbors and from the foreign women in their houses. You will dress your sons and daughters with these, stripping the Egyptians of their wealth.”

You see, it wasn’t Moses. It was the favor of God all over Moses. So, people saw him differently. People acted differently around him. People were drawn to God around who were around Moses.

Numbers 11:11New Living Translation (NLT)

11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people?

In this verse, Moses isn’t seeing the favor of God on him. He is seeing his faithfulness as a burden and a trial. Yet, Moses isn’t seeing what God is seeing. Moses’ timing here, isn’t God’s timing. But the LORD is patient. He is using Moses wonderfully. God’s timing simply is being worked out. God’s favor is all over Moses.

Samuel 15:25 New Living Translation (NLT)

25 Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle[a] again.

The LORD is making possible to bring the Ark of God to its rightful place through David. God didn’t trust anyone else to do it. Because they would chose their own means and reasons. The LORD knew David’s heart. He had “the heart of God.” So, God used David to place His presence (the ARK) into Jerusalem. That was also a wonderful privilege. David had the LORD’s favor.

Proverbs 3:1-6 New Living Translation (NLT)
Trusting in the Lord

3 My child,[a] never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.
2 If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying.
3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
4 Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

“Trusting God” is so often said. “Yes, I trust the LORD.”
How about if He asks you to move to Oklahoma.
How about if asks you to give your second SUV to a neighbor.
How about if He asks you to take a position in your church that you are uncomfortable with having.
How about if ………………………
Trusting the LORD means in everything.
With every minuted of the day.

Acts 4:33 New Living Translation (NLT)

33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great favor was upon them all.

1st, they testified powerfully because the Holy Spirit was filling them.
The Holy Spirit was filling them because each one was completely dedicated to carrying out the will of God. Not turning right or left from His WORD (scriptures).
Because of this, “God’s great favor was upon them.”

Luke 1:28 New Living Translation (NLT)

28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you![a]”

Mary was tremendously favored by God because of her faith and love of God. Note that faith is one thing, love is another. God’s favor is the result of having both. The word love here is the word “AGAPE” which means, God’s love placed in us to live out of us into others.

Mary was not randomly favored by the LORD God. She was chosen due to her having the combination of AGAPE love and unquestioning faith in the will of God in her life.

What can lose favor with God?

1) individual people
2) churches
3) denominations
4) towns — such as Sodom and Gomorrah, Nineveh
5) nations

James 1:22-23New Living Translation (NLT)

22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.

James, through the Holy Spirit is saying, do not be hearers alone of the WORD of God. Be doers of what you read. Carry it out. Study with others in small groups. We go to heaven in packs.

Exodus 24:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

3 Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the Lord had given him. All the people answered with one voice, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.”

Why did these rebellious people actually listen to God’s leader? Because He had the favor of God. Why did these people lack the favor of God?
Because they were rebellious. Sin is rebellion against the LORD, who made us and made us in His image. Rebellion is a guarantee to miss the favor of God. Rebellion is anything that is amiss from the WORD of God. “Thou shall not ……………”

Matthew 7:24-27 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.”

Listen. I want to build on that rock. And I want to KEEP on building on that Rock. God’s favor falls on those who are building their lives on His WORD. On those who trust Jesus Christ with every part of their lives – even when it doesn’t seem to work (like Moses went through, like Joseph went through, and frankly, like Jesus sometimes went through.
You see, I want God’s favor on my life. Not just for me, but for my ministry. For people around me.

Ask Him for His AGAPE love.
Ask Him for greater faith.
And keep on asking with all of your heart.

THEN, WATCH WHAT STARTS TO HAPPEN.

JESUS IS LORD.
Amen !

********************************************

PART 2

Areas That will
Lead You Toward
or
Away From
God’s Favor

James 1:22

“BE DOERS OF THE WORD, NOT HEARERS ONLY”

If you are a believer, you want God’s favor on your life for your Christian witness.
It affects how people see you as a believer.
It enlarges your effectiveness as a Christian.

In The Old Testament God’s favor was

On someone who had complete faith in the power of God.
Their character was esteemed by the Lord and by people.

In the New Testament, Jesus and after (until now) God’s favor is on someone in addition

When Jesus is Lord of his/her life
When the Word of God, the scriptures, are being carried out in his/her life, a church’s life, a group’s life (such as a small group)

Ruth Schweitzer and I were talking after the first part of this message, and she remarked that she had never seen a book, read an article, or heard a sermon about God’s favor.

There was a large period in my adult life where I did not really care about what the Bible said. I did follow the 10 commands because I thought they were a good idea, except the 4th “Honor the Sabbath Day”.

But the rest of the scriptures, I didn’t read them or care about following them. And in those 18 years I didn’t have God’s favor on my life. Jesus wan’t my Lord and I didn’t care about His scriptures.

The question today is…
The question of the day is…
Do you want God’s favor on your life?

Part two of that question is…
If you do,

Are you willing to pay the price for it?
Are you willing to tell God how much you want His favor?

There are three people in the Bible who scripture says specifically had God’s favor.

Moses
David
Mary, the mother of Jesus

The Lord did amazing thing through these people.

There were many others that the Bible implies that they were empowered by God’s favor.

Let’s look at seven areas that can bring God’s favor to you or to a church or to a small group. And let’s look at how the rejection of any or all of these areas can lead to The Holy Spirit taking away God’s favor.

Not His love for you
Not His best for you

But His empowering favor over you.

God’s favor is a type of grace.

God’s favor tends to fall on people who subject themselves to these seven areas. They all assume faith in the ultimate power of God and in Jesus Christ being Lord of your life.

God’s favor is not earned. It happens through obedience.

The First Area

Words that we use. Words that we think.

The Bible says that for believers “Words have power.” Genesis 1 says God spoke it, and it happened. It all started with words.

In the New Testament, Jesus declared to Peter

Matthew 16:18New Living Translation (NLT)

Now, I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

Jesus changed Peter’s name from Simon to Peter. “Petra” — “Rock”.

Later Jesus declares a new destination for Peter. Jesus said to His disciples, “Greater things than these you will do.” Jesus brought these “greater things” to the disciples with a WORD.

Watch what you declare. For you represent the kingdom of God. You are empowered by The Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God.

If you say, “God will build up this church,” get ready!

If you say, “ We are on our last legs,” I pray that there are at least two other people saying, “The Lord will build us up. God will and can bring people into this sanctuary.”

God hears the words of that kind of faith.

You’ve all heard someone say, “I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Words have power.

Or someone says about a child, “Look at that little devil.”

I’ve learned not to smile when I hear that.

We are speaking about…

Having God’s favor.
We are speaking about “God Talk”. “God Talk” brings God’s favor .
Being positive about God’s power in The Kingdom brings God’s favor.

The Second Area

Thinking.

Are you using Biblical thinking in what you think or how you think?

Or are you thinking things tainted with the world’s thinking.

Do you tend to think positive thoughts or negative thoughts? The scripture is very clear about this.

Look at Mary — she is at the wedding reception and they run out of wine.

Now for them a wedding reception lasted for 3 days or more. Mary could have thought, “Look at these people, they had 1 year to prepare and plan and they run out of wine!”

Instead, Mary, who had the favor of God resting on her, said to Jesus who had the favor of God resting on Him, “Let’s help them out.”

Mary taught herself to automatically think positive thoughts, because she knew God is with us. She had Jesus with her and she knew God Almighty was listening.

We have The Holy Spirit.

And watch hostile thoughts or angry thoughts. They are not of God.

The Third Area

Friends influence you positively or negatively. They either influence you toward the Kingdom of God or away from it.

What brings Gods favor on us or what can take it ways from us can be influenced by friends.

Fourth Area

Relationships. So many believers fall on this one. We tend to give our closest friends and closest family a pass on non-Biblical actions and thinking. “Oh, that’s just Phyllis—“.

Receiving God’s favor never includes passing judgement on some one. “Judgement is Mine” says the Lord.

Moses held his one and only brother accountable to God’s rule.

For Moses, who had God’s favor, there was God’s way and the world’s way and he never mixed the two, never confused the two or compromised the two.

The Fifth Area

Feelings

Are my feelings Godly about other people?
Are my memories Godly?

Three different times the Lord told Moses He was going to wipe out the Israelites. God had had enough of them. Partly because of the way they treated Moses.

Each time Moses asked God to spare them. To look kindly on them.

Moses had the favor of God. God listened to Moses. Moses refused to allow his feelings to condemn these people who often, and I mean often condemned Moses.

As Jay Bruce said to me a couple of weeks ago, “You know, Moses stuttered, but God saw his heart and placed His blessing on Moses.” That blessing was God’s favor.

David, who had the favor of God on him formed an army of 600. Everyone of those 600 was someone that society thought of as “ner’-do-well” Every one of those 600 was considered a bad apple. David saw more in these 600 than society did— and he saw more in each of the 600 than they did of themselves.

David learned not to trust his feelings. He learned to trust his judgement and God’s guidance. He looked for the best in a person. And the world began to notice that in David. He had Godly thinking not worldly thinking.

David became much more than he never could have on his own.
The Sixth Area

Habits

Do I justify my harmful habits? “It’s just something that I do.” Here’s a question for you. If you have a harmful habit, does it it detract, harm, or impede your usefulness for the Kingdom of God?

We are looking at obtaining the favor of Almighty God for His Kingdom purposes.

Remember there are positive and negative habits. John Wesley said, “Make it a habit to do good for somebody every day.”

Someone may have a habit of using the Lord’s name in name when getting angry or in trying to be humorous.

The Seventh Area

Character

We can win or lose God’s favor by our character. Our character is how we act when people are around us and when people are not around us.

One of the character traits that the Lord showed me just recently that does not have His favor is, “I’ll try.”

“I’ll try,” sounds good , but to the Lord it is unconvincing. “I’ll try,” is lack of commitment talk. You either “do” or you “do not.” If “I try” to lift weights I am probably not doing it. If “I try” to read the Bible every day, I am probably not doing it. The Lord is looking for commitment and priority. God’s favor rests on people who have commitment. Commitment means LONG TERM.

The Lord knows what “I’ll try” means. It means that my heart is not in it. My focus isn’t there.
James 1:22New Living Translation (NLT)

BE DOERS OF THE WORD, AND NOT HEARERS ONLY

Jesus is Lord!
Amen.

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