As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, starting today, we are going to examine each part of our Mission/Vision statement in detail so that you will understand what we believe God is revealing to our church about His will, and we are going to start with Seeking God through worship. We do not seek Him because He is lost or hidden from us but because worship must be a conscious choice of the worshiper to enter His presence. Last year I shared with you my heart – that worship must be our #1 priority.
I want you to know that I play a mean game of hide-and-seek. It seems to be my granddaughter, Hayes’, favorite game. Typically, she decides who is going to hide and who is going to seek. The one who seeks has to close their eyes and count, and the one who hides runs and hides. Now you have to understand, that we don’t make the game real tough because she is only 5. So lots of times, when I’m hiding, I sit in the floor and throw a blanket over me. But when she hides, I pretend not to see her and call out all the places I’m looking wondering where she could be. Eventually, we find each other, have a big laugh, and start all over again.
As I was thinking about the message this week, “Seeking God Through Worship,” I had a startling revelation. That’s the way God does it. Look at our first Scripture this morning found in Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV). “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Do you know what that means? We must seek him with every aspect of our being. This verse talks about desire.
Have you ever been homesick? I don’t know if there is anything that feels worse than being homesick and not being able to return home. That’s the situation in Jeremiah’s day. The people of Israel were in exile, separated from everything they loved, including, at least in their own minds, their God. God says to them, when you get to the point that you cannot stand it any longer, when your heart is consumed with a desire to experience my presence, then you will find me and I will take you home. I will set you free. But the key is that you have to want Him with all your heart. And that is where the problem lies. Scripture tells us that our hearts are naturally full of evil and desperately wicked. Our hearts are naturally full of vain thoughts and are prone to wander. That’s why Paul tells us that we must take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. In other words, if we are not constantly living in God’s purification process, we will not seek Him with all of our heart. And if we do not seek Him with all of our heart, we will not experience His presence. And if we do not experience His presence, we will not walk in His Holiness, and our lack of dedication to Him will lead to less than consecrated churches.
I want you to understand something. If I wanted to hide from Hayes so that she couldn’t find me, I could do it. Because she’s 5. But I want her to find me, and I want her to find me quickly because I don’t want to frustrate her. Listen to me, this morning. God wants us to find Him. Did you hear me? God wants us to find Him. He isn’t playing some kind of warped game where He says, “Come find me,” and then disappears without a trace. He wants us to find Him, but more than that – now listen to this – more than Him wanting us to find Him, He wants us to seek Him with all our hearts. Verse after verse tells us that this is true.
Proverbs 8:17 (NKJV)
17 I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.
Isaiah 45:19 (NKJV)
19 I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Hosea 5:15 (NKJV)
15 I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
Amos 5:4 (NKJV)
4 For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: “Seek Me and live;
Seek me and live, God says. Hear me. Seeking God brings life. Look at Jeremiah 29:14. “I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity.” The Bible has many ways of describing life without God. Paul called it death. Jesus called it bondage. And the truth is that when you are separated from God, you are spiritually dead in your sins. Most lost people don’t even know that they are dead, and they certainly don’t believe that they are slaves, but they are. You see, people who do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are blind to the truth. 2 Cor. 4:4 tells us that the god of this world has blinded them. Satan himself keeps them from knowing their spiritual condition. That’s why lost people believe that following Jesus is too restrictive. They think about all the things that they cannot do. But hear me, my friends, the Bible says that when you are lost, you don’t have a choice. You live in sin. You are a slave to your own selfish desires. Jesus said that only by knowing the Truth can the lost be made free. Only by knowing Truth can you find true freedom, and the Truth is a person. His name is Jesus. He is the One who sets us free, and He is the One that gives us life. How do we get it? By seeking God’s presence. “Seek me and you will find me if you seek me with all your heart.”
(Taken from sermon preached at Southside Baptist Church, Decatur, Alabama in May 2015)