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How Can I Enjoy God

Michael Dant

Presenter

Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 

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Conference

Recorded

  • April 5, 2018
    7:00 PM
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Heavenly Father God It is so good to be here tonight it is so good to be here with you and we pray that you will be in our hearts we pray that you will work powerfully to help us to understand your will for Alliance to help us to recognize what the Christian life means and to help us to enjoy you to the fullest we pray for these blessings we know they can only come from you and we thank you for them in Jesus' name amen. On October fourteenth one thousand nine hundred nine decore eight ran twenty six point two miles swam two point four miles and bicycle for one hundred and twelve miles to complete the Hawaiian iron man competition now I don't know about you probably a lot better shape than I am but that would be quite amazing I could not do it but what really made this incredible was that Dick White did it with his one hundred twenty five pound quadriplegic son in tow. His son Rick had been born with spastic quadriplegic and cerebral palsy for the first eleven years of his life he could not communicate with his parents with his friends with his brothers or sisters with anybody in the world for the first eleven years of his life until they took him to Tufts University in Boston and they made a special computer program for him that's my favorite part of the story by the way they made a computer program for him where he would see letters on a screen and he could build a sentence by banging his head against a sensor whenever the next letter came up for the first time in his life he could communicate and you know what he said you know his first sentence was Go Bruins. Turns out he was a sports fan who knew anyway at the age of ninety at age fifteen in one nine hundred seventy seven this is the first time that Rick asked his dad for a run and his dad said You know I would like to help out this is a charity run for an intern across players five miles and his son asked them to run with him and his dad said you know he was described himself as portly at that particular time as life is that I'd love to do this for you but I'm not sure I can but I'll try and so he did and they did they finished the race together probably not in first place but anyway they finished the race together and afterwards Rick spelled out laboriously to his dad the sentence Dan when I'm running I don't feel handicapped anymore and you can imagine what that statement did for his Dad can you imagine how that statement transformed his life he says I want to give my son that feeling as much as possible and so they have run over a thousand races together of all sizes and shapes Why did Dick do it why did he go through all this time all this training all this effort all this pain why did he do it he did it because he wanted to see the smile on his son's face my friends such love as that is one of the most powerful forces in all the world it was love that led Jacob to work seven long hard years for Rachel and yet they seem to him but a few days because of her love for her and the same way in the Christian life. Love transforms the Christian life from a should do must to experience into a get to love relationship with Jesus and that's the relationship the Jesus wants to have with us no wonder then that God wants us to love him in fact what is the first and great commandment Thou shalt love. God with what all your heart all your mind all right so all your strength no wonder that the first fruit of the spirit is what love and the second is Joy No wonder friends that this may be one of the most important questions that you and I as Christians need to learn. To answer to it's not just a trivial question it's not just splitting hairs this is foundational to the whole Christian experience how can I enjoy God how can I relish him one of my favorite writers put it this way if Christ be in us the hope of glory we shall discover such matchless charms in him that the soul will be a Namor but a profession without that deep love is mere talk dry for melody and heavy drudgery the devil would have you and I believe that the Christian life is one of self-denying self sacrificing drudgery but that's not the Christian life is about the Christian life is actually about self denying self sacrificing Joy Yes the self-denial there yes the self-sacrifice is there but love transforms it from a drudgery into a joy if we love Jesus we shall love to live for him to present our thank offerings to him to labor for him the very labor will be light for his sake we shall covet pain and toil and sacrifice we shall sympathize with his longing for the salvation of men we shall feel the same tender craving for souls that he has felt this is the religion of Christ and this love that we're talking about here tonight is not a common love it's not one love among many love it is a soul pervading self-sacrifice an all or nothing Love in which Jesus is the center around which our whole life revolves but don't get me wrong I'm not talking about a constant ecstasy of feeling in fact I'm not talking about feeling at all feelings are not good indicators of your love relationship with anybody by the way in fact my favorite definition of joy is a calm delight wouldn't you just love to have a calm delight in God no matter what the circumstances no matter what time of day no matter what time of week a calm delight in the Almighty God That's what he wants for it but you know what something interesting about this command to love Him with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength was interesting about the command is that it is a command that we cannot obey by ourselves we do not control our love. I can't stand here right now and say OK Right now I'm going to start loving God all my heart mind and soul strength doesn't work that way we do not have a knob in our life like the burner on a stove that turns up our love for God So where does that love for God come from the Bible tells us that love is from God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God But now we have a problem because God commands us to love Him with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength that's his command and he is the answer to that command he is the power of that command he is the one that gives us that love so let me ask you question if that's true then why would my love for God be lukewarm How can I not love God with all my heart and mind and soul and strength if he commands it and he provides it but you know most of my sincere Christian experience my love for God was tepid at best even though I grew up in a good Christian home went to good Christian schools had wonderful church families all my life my love for God just was not there or didn't grow for most of my Christian experience I did not enjoy prayer prayer is the breath of the soul it is the communing with the one we love you know I spend a lot of my Christian experience looking for excuses to shorten my prayer time looking for excuses to shorten my devotional time or even skip it completely and my friends if we say that we love somebody but we find ourselves looking for excuses to avoid them we probably need to re-evaluate our love relationship and that was true in my case that's exactly what happened to me. What was I missing what was the problem why did the plant of Love Fail to grow in my heart well if you ask a lot of people how to grow in love for Jesus what will they tell you you need more prayer which of course the problem for me is I don't like prayer right you need more Bible study you need more witnessing right this is this is the three stock things that people tell you you need and yet are these three things in and of themselves the only answer to loving God with all of our heart mind and soul and strength these things can be can be compared to sunshine and nutritious soil and the rain that is necessary to make a plant grow and yes we do need these three things you cannot have a love relationship Jesus without them but are they all you need if they were all you need in the parishes would have had it made right because they're the ones who were always praying they love to pray they were on the street corners every opportunity you had was last time you were on street corners praying hopefully around the mission experience recently you did that but you know they were the ones who spent hours every day enjoying God's Word they did it for debating purposes but still they were in God's word for hours every day they went all over the world looking for new converts which they called Prophet lights and yet Jesus said whoa to you scribes and Pharisees hypocrites because you travel around on sea and land make one prophet light and when he becomes one you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves so there must be something else so let me ask you this logically any botanists here what else do you need for a plant to grow than an ideal growing environment in other words besides an ideal growing environment what else does a plant need to grow the answer is a seed and that's what I was missing all my life I had the ideal growing environment but I had no see and where does the seed come from the seed of love comes from God only God can give us that seed only he can plant to deep within our hearts but you know what he can't do it if we don't let him God cannot give us that seed of love unless we open ourselves up to him fully unreservedly unresistingly and unrelentingly the key to receiving the love of God in our heart can be found in the story of the rich young ruler here was a guy who sincerely want to something very wonderful he wanted eternal life and so he came to Jesus and do you think that god and jesus love this young man do you think it did they want to do everything in their power to save this young man for eternity to give him the things he was asking for do you think they did yes and by the records to Jesus felt the love for him and said to him one thing you lack go and sell all you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure where in Heaven and come follow me. One thing while I wish God to say that of me only one thing you lack what was have you ever thought about that what was that one thing that the rich young ruler lacked Well we don't have to worry about knowing what it is we are told Christ read the rulers heart only one thing he lacked that was a vital principle he needed the love of God in the soul this lack unless supply would prove fatal to him his whole nature would become corrupted by indulgence selfishness would strengthen and then here's the key that he might receive the love of God and His supreme love self must be surrendered my friends here is the key to the seed of love the surrender of self in other words if we want to love God with all their heart with all of our mind with all of our so and with all of our strength then we have to give God all of our heart all of our mind all of our soul and all of our strength that makes sense right only as we give ourselves wholeheartedly to him can he plant that seed deeply into our hearts supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another this is the best gift my friends what is the best gift that God can bestow supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another this is the best gift our heavenly Father can bestow this love is not an impulse but a divine principle a permanent power the UN consecrated heart cannot originate or produce it only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found is not a profound statement where is the love this passionate all or nothing love for God where is it found is found in the heart where Jesus reigns and my friends for the first thirty years of my sincere Christian life Jesus did not reign in my heart and the love was not found there. Christ read the rulers heart only one thing he lacked but that was a vital principle he needed the love of God in the soul that he might receive the love of God His supreme love of self must be surrendered You know there's something very interesting about the story of the rich young ruler here was a guy who came to Jesus with a very sincere desire and Jesus said Go away do you notice that I mean. Wouldn't it make more sense if Jesus had said Hey Richard ruler you've got a problem I know what it is I've got the solution come follow me and we'll work on the same together but that's not what Jesus did you said Go away sell all you possess and then come and we'll talk isn't it interesting does this guy I'm not accept us just as we are why did Jesus tell the rich a ruler to go away and do this is the seemingly impossible thing my friends God does accept us just as we are but he cannot accept us just as we are unless we are willing to be changed into something different and the rich a lunar was not Jesus was not saying to the rich a little hey go away and let me morning when you let me work come back I will talk he was saying no was my help get rid of those things that are keeping you from loving me only That's essential what he was saying Go and get rid of those things that are keeping you from loving me only. What he was talking about was a treasure transfer the ultimate bank transfer Jesus said sell your possessions give to the poor and you will have treasure where and in heaven why is it important to have treasure in heaven. Because where your treasure is there your heart is awful right now so what Jesus was talking about here was an ultimate bank transfer and one of my favorite verses in all Scripture. My wife and I had just this contest to see whose favorite verses is this is my favorite verse No it's my favorite Not My favorite verse it's both our favorite verse this verse is a wonderful description of this ultimate bank transfers found in the Book of Job If you return to the Almighty you will be restored if you remove one righteousness far from your tent and place your gold in the dust and the gold of ofer among the stones of the brook then the Almighty will be your gold and choice over to you for then you will delight in the Almighty and lift up your face to God my friends do you want to delight in the Almighty God do you want to lift up your face to God you can do you want God to be your most precious possession do you want him to be the goal of over in your life if so you must make that ultimate treasure transfer you must throw your gold in the dust your gold of zero for among the stones of the brooks. And then Jesus can be your gold and choice over to you this is a key phrase to see me at my feet to read it out loud with me the key to love is the surrender of self if I wish to love God with all my heart with all my mind with all my soul and with all my strength I must give God all my heart all my mind all my soul oh my strength What do you think would have happened if Jesus had said to the region were OK you've got a problem come follow me and we'll work on this together what do you think would have happened we don't have to doubt we can know this had happened to my reading his name was Judas Judas love the great teacher and desire to be with him he felt a desire to be change in character life and he hoped to experience this to connecting himself with Jesus and the Savior did not repulse Judas he gave him a place among the twelve he trusted him to do the work of an evangelist he endowed him with the power to heal the sick and to cast out devils but you just did not come to the point of surrender himself fully to Christ my friends of prayer and Bible study and witnessing were all that you needed Judas would have had it because he spent years in the very presence of God on earth he worked with God and with Jesus in one of the most important outreach opportunities of all time and Judas never got it Judas was not willing to come to the point of surrendering himself fully. To Jesus and the rich and we were had the same problem and why tells us that he wanted the heavenly treasure but he wanted also that were also is a terrible word when it comes to surrender that word all he wanted also the temple advantages his riches would bring him he was sorry the such conditions existed he desired eternal life but he was not willing to make the sacrifice the cost of eternal life seem too great and he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions all my life I was the rich young ruler I was a sincere Christian I had prayed the surrender prayer and sung the surrender song I wanted to be surrendered I wanted to be a good Christian but I had these temporal treasures just like the rich and ruler that I was not willing to get rid of it wasn't money it was choices choices that I was not willing to give God willed little choices of not willing to give gun and these these temporal advantages kept me from loving God with all my heart and mind and soul and strength the good news is is that unlike the rich and ruler God did eventually get through to me God miraculously I'm going to share in the my story with you on Saturday night God miraculously got through to me and he brought me to the point where I was truly willing and able to give him all of my temporal advantages to throw my precious possessions in the dust to give him all of my choices and you know what happened you know what happened immediately after I surrendered probably for the first time in my life to Jesus you know what happened I began to love prayer I really really look forward to it for the first on my life this is something I had to do or should do this is something I wanted to do I could pray for an hour and hardly realize the time going by I enjoyed it. And that delight in prayer stayed with me. That my friends was one of the greatest miracles I've ever experienced it didn't come because of a new prayer technique or a prayer seminar although those can be useful but they don't hold a candle to conversion for the first time in my life the Holy Spirit was in charge in the first part of the Spirit is love. And then joy and peace and patience all these wonderful things that I would not let in God do for me and through me you know there's some Another important aspect about this story the rich young ruler that United to consider tonight very briefly and that is the cost of eternal life how many of you thought that that eternal life was free you should be raising your hand right the Bible on your side the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord right eternal life is free but so so what happened here why didn't Jesus say to the rich a ruler Hey you're overthinking this eternal life is free here have it enjoy it. Why instead did Jesus set the bar so high that the rich young ruler was unwilling to pay for it did you know that eternal life and Jesus Himself are free gifts that cost everything say what how can a free gift cost everything you member of the parable of the Pearl of Great Price when the Mountain Man found that peril that Pearl and Jesus is the pearl What do you do. When he found one pearl very prized the Bible says He went and sold all that he had and bought it does that ring any bells to you does that sound familiar this is exactly what Jesus was asking the rich and ruler to do and my friends it's the exact same thing that each one of us must do as well the only way that we can delight in the Almighty is to throw our gold in the dust Jesus did not ask the rich a ruler to do anything that he's not asking you and I to do today in the parable the pearl is not represented as a gift the mercy of been bought at the price of all that he had many question the meaning of this is Christ is represented in the scriptures as a gift OK here it is this is the answer he is a gift but only to those who give themselves soul body and spirit to him without reserve. And she goes on we are to give ourselves to Christ to live a life of willing obedience to all these requirements all that we are all the talents of keep building we possess are the Lord's to be consecrated to his service and this is this next statement is so incredible when we thus give ourselves wholly to him Christ with all the treasures of heaven and gives himself to us we receive the Pearl of Great Price and then incredible statement when we just give ourselves wholly to him Christ with all the treasures of Heaven give himself to us he is a gift but only to those who give themselves soul body and spirit to him without reserve Jesus and eternal life are gifts free gifts priceless kids that cost everything but doesn't that bother you a little bit still I mean is that kind of deceptive to say hey it's free gift and then say but it'll cost you everything I mean you think you get away with that it's called a bait and switch right is God doing that to us is a bait and switch in us maybe a modern day illustration will help us out. When NASA closed down its fleet of space shuttles the game away free of charge billion dollar spaceships the pride of the American space program giving away free of charge so why don't I have one in my backyard I think my kids would enjoy that don't you think hey guys come to my house we got to spend shuttle right so why don't I have one welders many reasons. Twenty eight million of those reasons is that before you can have a space shuttle that's safe for your kids to be playing around in you got to do something called decommissioning and you get rid of all those toxic chemicals and noxious substances and that will cost about twenty eight million dollars. And then in order to fly it to your backyard you're going to have to have a ten thousand foot runway you know they put the thing on the seven forty seven they fly it in right ten thousand foot runway how many of you have a ten thousand foot runway in your backyard in body I have to ask I do have a student who does so you never know but if you don't that's going to cost you another five point eight million dollars and then you're going to need some place to store this national treasure that is temperature and humidity controlled and that's going to cost you another fourteen million dollars So of that eight million dollars or so all together the free gift priceless treasure it's going to cost you around forty two million dollars that's about almost forty two million reasons why I don't have one. The gift is free. But the ability to receive that gift costs a fortune is the same way with Jesus Jesus is a free gift a priceless gift but not anyone or everyone can receive that free gift into their hearts you have to be ready and able to receive the Almighty God into your life and my friends it's just not possible without giving yourself soul body and spirit to him without reserve the only way that we can possibly receive the priceless treasure is the let God reign in our heart in our daily lives. In the choices that we make in the. Way we spend our free time in the way we spend our money in the things that we watch and things that we do in the things that we eat in every aspect of our life we need to let God be Almighty God in our lives sowing our most precious choices in the dust and this is the thing that I never learned when I was your age and the reason why I have such a passion for sharing this with youth especially is because I want you guys have a twenty year head start on me if you haven't already given yourself wholeheartedly to Jesus if he is not already the passion of your life this is the key I'm sharing with you tonight and there's nothing in heaven or earth that can keep you from receiving this wonderful gift except yourself. Only you can turn away go on. He is an incredible gift but a gift that not everybody can receive in order to love God with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength we must give God all of our heart and mind and strength are you going to make that choice you can it's your choice to make Let's pray Heavenly Father God we just want to praise you for the the choice that we have to delight in U.. To relish you to love you to find joy in being around you and in doing your work and working with you and by you Heavenly Father thank you so much for the privilege and thank you for the choice that we have and I pray Father for each one of us in this room right now that we will make that choice if we haven't already then we will use the power of choice you've given us to say learn I give up I want you to have all my treasure I want to throw everything into the dust I want you to be my gold and choice over to me I want to delight in you father this is something that only you can do in us we pray for your mighty power working in each one of our hearts and minds to accomplish this. Incredible experience. That only you can give We thank you in Jesus name in this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W audio verse or.

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