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"Draw Near To God"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2000 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'
You can't have the promise of God drawing near unto you, until you fulfil the command of drawing near unto God

Now we're turning in our Bibles to that passage that I mentioned to you from James chapter 4. Our text is verse 8, but we'll take time to read the context of the passage right down to verse 11 from verse 1 of chapter 4. Let me say that in the Gospel meeting this evening I want to preach on the subject: 'How Do I Know That I Am Really Saved?' - how do I know that I am really saved? Can I be sure? Am I sure? Should I be sure? How can I know I am sure? For in the land that we live in many say that they're saved, many say that they have been saved, many say that they're backsliders - but who is saved, and who is not saved? I was in America on my holidays, and it's no different - everybody is a Christian, everybody's born-again to a certain extent! But what is it? What is this life? What is this Gospel? Come tonight, God willing, and we'll look at that from the word of God.

James chapter 4 verse 1: "From whence", from where, "come wars and fightings among you?" - now he's talking to believers now. They're fighting - and they're still fighting today! Where do all these quarrels, squabbles, come from among you? "Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?". 'Pleasures' the margin says - now that means, and we're not going to digress here, but think about this for a moment: lust has more of a negative meaning, doesn't it? But pleasure - we tend to like pleasure, don't we? Now that means that there are people among us, we'll not name any names, but there are people among us who love to quarrel and to fight. It's a pleasure to them, they satisfy themselves bickering and moaning.

Verse 2 expands on it: "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain" - now that is the intrinsic nature of lust, and we look at lust in weeks gone by. We looked specifically at David and Bathsheba, and then the week after we looked at how lust can be expanded not just in a sexual way, but over everything that you desire sinfully. But this is the intrinsic nature of it: that it is a desire that is never ever satisfied. It's insatiable, you want more of it - if it's sex, the world wants more sex, sex, sex - and the more sex they get they want more! Money, money, money - and the more they have the stingier they get, and the more they want! Lust - if it's a wrong desire for a thing - never ever satisfies.

Now, James is saying: "[This is what your lust is like:] Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not", verse 3, this is the reason they don't have even when they do ask, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts". Now think about this: half of them are not spiritual because they don't even pray - you don't have because you ask not. Those of you that think you are spiritual, and are doing all the praying, you're not getting because you're asking because you want God to spiritually relieve your lust. You want God to satisfy - you know if you go down the street and take that drink, or get drunk, or you go down and sleep with that woman, you know if you do that that God will judge you for it. So what do you do? You make it spiritual, and they're actually praying to God, asking God to give them their sinful desires so that it's alright.

'Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world' - look at this! - 'is the enemy of God'. Categoric! If you're a friend of the world, you're an enemy of God

It sounds a terrible thing, doesn't it? That's why James says in verse 4: "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?" - what time we could spend on that! "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world" - look at this! - "is the enemy of God". Categoric! If you're a friend of the world, you're an enemy of God. "Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?", and we'll explain that a little bit later, "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble".

Now, here's the train of thought that we're entering into this morning, verse 7, one: "Submit yourselves therefore to God". Two: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you". Three: "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you". Four: "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners". Five: "Purify your hearts, ye double minded". Six: "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up". Now here's verse 11 for all the backbiters and the quarrellers: "Speak not evil" - he's not saying, look he didn't put parentheses after it, he didn't qualify it and say 'Speak not evil (but only when it's justified)'. He didn't say that, he didn't say: 'Speak not evil (only when it's true)'. It says: 'Speak not evil'.

Watchman Nee, whose writings I love, writes in a book about lying - and if you read in his book what he classes as lying - it's not just what we would call 'telling a fib'. It's all kinds of exaggeration! He would even say that passing on evil about another - say some brother falls into sin grievously, and you are telling others - he would say that is lying, bearing false witness, because you're putting yourself above that brother as if you couldn't fall into the same sin - a false witness. But that's not what we're thinking about today...

Verses 7 through to 11, all these injunctions: submit to God; resist the devil; cleanse your hands, the things that you do; purify your heart, the depths and motives of the things that you do; be afflicted and mourn, don't laugh and rejoice when you're in a sinful state; humble yourselves; speak not evil. Now all these things, I believe, are summed up in the text that we have in verse 8, where he says - this is a summary of it, the crux: 'Draw near to God, and he will draw near unto you'. Now to understand the Scriptures - and it's important that we do this - you need to understand each word as it is written, you need to understand each word in the original language as it is written, because it wasn't written in English.

Now, the word that is used here: 'Draw near unto God, nigh unto God, and He will draw near unto you' - the word 'draw' is found in other Scriptures. In John 6 you find it, verse 44 - turn to it for a moment, John 6 verse 44. Now, this is the Lord Jesus Christ and He's speaking about salvation - and we're thinking today about God's magnetism, God's attractability toward men. John 6:44: 'No man', Jesus says, 'can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day'. Now that word 'draw' is the same word 'draw' that we find in the book of James - 'Draw near to God and He will draw near to you'. Jesus talks about that drawing in the respect of salvation. Turn to John 12, John 12:32, and again He uses the same word: 'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me' - the same word. John 21, look at it, John 21 and verse 6 - you'll remember that the disciples were in the boat, and they were fishing all night and they caught nothing, in verse 6 of chapter 21: 'He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes' - the same word.

We're thinking today about God's magnetism, God's attractability toward men

Now look at James again, chapter 2 and verse 6 - and you remember that they were bring the rich men in through the door, the men with the big rings and the fancy dress, bringing them to the front seat, and the pauper comes in and they set him at the back. There are some places still do that, set somebody you don't know at the back - but the word of God teaches that that is not the way, that's not how you relate to those who are outside the church of Jesus Christ: 'But ye have despised the poor', he says in verse 6 of chapter 2, 'Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?'. Do you see the picture? The men that you are showing respect to are the ones that are bringing you before the judgment seats and putting Christians to death. They are drawing you - do you see the sense of the word? Taking you by force to the judgement seats!

Now the Greek word 'draw' that we find in our text, verse 8 of chapter 4 and in all those texts that we've been reading this morning, is the Greek word 'helco' (sp?), and it literally means 'to drag'. Now, I don't want you to misunderstand this: it's not dragging in a violent sense, it's not grabbing and harming violently, that's another word 'sirro' (sp?). But this word 'helco', 'to drag', is of the sense 'to induce to come' - rather than to force to come. It is used in this way in these texts, and the idea is 'pulling against a force', using a force to pull against another force to overcome it. We can illustrate it in gravity, I've used this illustration before. If I stand up in the choir box, there's a force of gravity, and there's the force of all the air between me and the ground and everything else, all the forces between - but because I'm heavier than all that, if I jump off it my force will overcome the other forces and I will hit the ground, isn't that right? Now this is the sense of this word: one force overcoming another force, whether it's friction - you know what that is - you go out to your car and perhaps there's a lot of rubble because of all the trouble that's going on, and if you needed to you could put the boot to the board, and the force of your engine and the wheels turning round could overcome the friction of all the rubble on the road, isn't that right? One force is stronger than the other, and it overcomes it.

Now is that not what the Lord Jesus Christ meant in John chapter 6:44? He was talking about salvation, He said: 'No-one can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him'. What is it in the Christian, when he is born-again - that force that overcomes another force? He is dead in his trespasses and in his sins, he is dead when he is born, his spirit is dead - and then he begins to practise those dead things. The stench of that person, all of us, before the throne of God is immense. We have a law working in us that is the law of sin, there is the attraction of the world all around us, then there is the devil and the principalities and powers trying to trip us up day-by-day through temptations - and in order for God to save us, it takes the power of God. It takes a greater power than the power of my sin, a greater law than the law of sin that dwells within me, to overcome my sinfulness and to bring me to Christ. Isn't that what it's all about? How Christ has drawn us to Himself?

The power of God is so great that we can testify in this place that He changes men, doesn't He? He changes the hearts of men!

It's not - don't get me wrong now - it's not this forcible thing, it's not as if God puts our arm up our back and says: 'You're going to be saved whether you like it or not'. Do you know what this word means? It is a steady, constant, strong inducement, conviction and convincing. Do you get it? It is not someone being forced, but what happened when we were saved was that God's Holy Spirit came to us and He showed us our sin, and He convicted us by the law of the wrong that you have done: 'You did that David, and My law says you don't do that! Your conscience tells you don't do that! The world around you tells you that I created it, and I have laws, and you're breaking those laws'. God's Spirit was revealing all these things to our hearts, isn't that right? But what did He do? He then revealed to us Christ - the love of Christ constrains us. Isn't that what the word of God says? He revealed Christ to us, and it wasn't that He forces us to come to Him in a sense, but His power is so great, His drawing inducement, that He melts our hearts so that we willingly cry: 'I must have You, and have nothing else!'. The power of God is so great that we can testify in this place that He changes men, doesn't He? He changes the hearts of men! It's only the power of God that can overcome the evil that is in us. It is only the love of Christ that is there at Calvary, that work that we were thinking about, that is finished! That's the only basis that the Spirit of God can come and melt individual hearts around here and bring them to Christ.

Do you see the drawing that the word of God is talking about? It's not the idea of a swift catching, or a rough abduction, but this is what the word means - listen: a steady, ordered, yet strong, solid, inevitable attraction - a loving and determined wooing. How He wooed us to Himself, by revealing to us the love of God in Christ. The word is found in the Old Testament - you remember me telling you on one occasion, the Old Testament is Hebrew, the New Testament is Greek, but there is a Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament. We can learn the meaning of some of the Greek words by how they were used in the Greek Old Testament. The way this little word is used is found in 2 Samuel 22:17, David is saying of God: 'He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters' - do you see it? It's not a quick, swift: 'You're coming!'. 'He drew me out of many waters'.

In Jeremiah 38 and 13 the word is used about Jeremiah, being drawn with cords, taken out of the dungeon: 'So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison'. It's the idea - see those ships in Belfast harbour? You see when they want to start up and go across the ocean to the Baltics, what do they do? They start the propellers, and the propellers go round and round, and they don't scoot off right away sure they don't? It goes round and round and it's steady, strong, definite propelling. What happens is it gets so fast and so strong that that force overcomes the force of the vast mass and volume of the sea and it begins to move. That's the word that we're talking about here today, the tugboat pulling the great vessel into the harbour, the compelling of the magnet - this is the magnetism of God!

It's the same for salvation, you've got to come into contact with God! I wish people would get this in these days that we live: it is not a 'decision', it's not a 'resolution', it's not a walk down an aisle - it is God meeting a man!

Now, this text is for the Christian. This is the strange thing about this text, because God had to seek us first in salvation, and then we responded to Him - this turns it on its head. This is saying: 'You draw near to God and He will draw near to you'. Now you know in physics that for there to be momentum, in other words for there to be movement, the force and the object must come together. To make a ball move you've got to kick it, your foot must hit the ball for the force to hit it, and then for it to have momentum and move away. It's the same for salvation, you've got to come into contact with God! I wish people would get this in these days that we live: it is not a 'decision', it's not a 'resolution', it's not a walk down an aisle - it is God meeting a man! You have to come in contact with God, God has to do something in your life, the Spirit of God through the word of God must come into contact with the dead sinner - and as Wesley put it:

'Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee'.

Now, this is a difficult text. You might say: 'How can I be near to God when the hymn says, based on scripture, that I am as near as He?'. What does Ephesians say, and we've been studying it, chapter 2 verse 13? 'Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ' - made near - but our text tells us: 'Draw near to God'. Now if we have been drawn to God in every conceivable sense through salvation, why do we need to draw near to Him again? The implication is that one of the parties has moved, isn't that it? If we have to draw near to Him, something has happened for there to be a distance between us and God. It can't be God that has moved, for He has said - and He is true to His word as we've heard already: 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you'! He said He'd never do it, so He'll never do it!

The answer is always: I have the problem; and secondly: the problem is sin. Isn't that always the answer? That's always the answer to every moral question in the world. Why are the people in our land running riot? They have the problem, and their problem is sin! Don't put it, or dress it up, in red, white and blue - it's sin! It's in the depths of men, and it takes a God who is Almighty to get it out! You see this text, as you've been looking from verses 1 right through to our text, verse 8, has been talking about sin, hasn't it? It's been talking about the reason why these Christians have moved afar from God. They have been moved away, it talks about what has moved them.

Look at the verse, now I'm going to read it in the Amplified - listen, look at verse 1: 'What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members?'. What has caused this? Feuds, their bickering! Secondly: their quarrelling. Thirdly: it's all down to their sensual desires that are warring in their body. Verse 2: 'You are jealous', another sin: jealousy, 'and covet', covetousness, 'and you have desires that go unfulfilled; you have become murderers'. In other words: 'To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned'. You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask'. A lack of prayer! '[Or] you do you ask and yet fail to receive', listen to this, 'because you ask with the wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. You intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it sensual pleasures'.

Someone said that there are two sights that the Christian ought to covet most, that's the devil's back and Christ's face

James hit the nail on the head. He was telling them that sin had separated between them and their God. Look what he calls them in verse 4: 'Ye adulterers and adulteresses'. Now if you read that, and just took it for face value, you would think they were sleeping around and they were leaving one another's wives and going off with other wives and husbands - that's not what it's saying. This version says that they were 'like unfaithful wives', listen, 'having illicit love affairs with the world'! Hmm...that's different, isn't it? You see, Jesus talked about this when He talked about His own generation as 'wicked and adulterous'. The biggest challenge that the church faces today is not liberal theology, it is not the Roman Catholic Church, it is not the charismatic movement, it is worldliness. Worldliness in our hearts, I'm not talking about the way you dress - no, the attitudes of our mind. Our morals, our philosophies of the way we think we ought to live, of priorities of the way we evaluate and make choices within our lives and within our families. The greatest commentary of the verse we have just read, 'Ye adulterers and adulteresses', is found in 1 John 2:15 to 17 where he says: 'Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever'.

We have been drawn to God by our salvation, but do you know where the trouble comes in? When we're no longer drawn to God, when God doesn't have that magnetism any more. Harold Linsdale (sp?) said this: 'It is right for the church to be in the world, it is wrong for the world to be in the church. A boat in the water is good, that's what the boats are for - however when the water gets inside the boat it sinks!'. Now I don't want to spend time looking at the love the world, because I believe I've done that in the weeks gone by - but I believe that there is a remedy, there is such a dynamic remedy for the world that is in the church. I believe there are people in our fellowship, people all around, that are asking the question: 'I know that we have problems, I know that there are things that are wrong, but tell me this: I want to get nearer to God!' - that's brilliant! 'I want to know God, I want to get close to God, how will I get that nearness?'.

Someone said that there are two sights that the Christian ought to covet most, that's the devil's back and Christ's face. There are three things that I want to leave with you from this text today: how you can experience God's magnetism; drawing near to God; and then the result: Him drawing near to you. James gives us three ways, the first is found in verse 5: the Holy Spirit. Look at the verse: 'Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?'. Now this is one of the most difficult verses of scripture to understand, and evangelical scholars differ - there are three interpretations of it. This little word 'spirit' is difficult, men don't know whether he's talking about the Holy Spirit or the spirit that is in the depths of man. What some believe the verse is saying is: 'Do you think the scripture is false when it says that our spirit that is dead in trespasses and in sins lusts and envies?'. They think that it's talking about the dead spirit that is within our souls - I don't think that's what it's talking about.

The second interpretation is that James is asking the question: 'If this is the Spirit of God that is in you, living within you, would the Spirit of God make you lust and envy after all these things that you're doing?'. Now that makes a bit of sense, because when you go to the start of the book James says: 'God tempts no man with evil', isn't that right? But he's tempted when he runs away after his own lusts. That's what we have within the book and it seems to make some sense - the first chapter verse 13: 'Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God', and then in our own chapter, chapter 4 verse 2, 'Ye lust and ye have not' - it's already talking about that lust that is in the depths of men. But I don't think that's what it means - it may mean that and I may be wrong - but I happen to believe in the third interpretation: that God's Spirit is within you, and the book of Romans teaches that no man is saved unless God's Spirit is in him. He is in you, and because He is in you He yearns with jealousy within your breast that He would have a chaste, single-eyed devotion after Christ in your life.

Let me plead with you that if there is the littlest, smallest ember of a desire after God in your heart: fan it!

Listen to what the Amplified says in verse 5: 'The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us - and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] - with a jealous love'. Is the Holy Spirit welcome in our lives? Is He? I'll tell you: you see when you start to welcome Him? It causes a bit of bother, because you look at a thing and He tells you: 'Now you shouldn't be looking at that'. You go a place, and you think: 'This isn't the place for me' - and it makes you feel uncomfortable. Did you know that the Holy Spirit makes you feel uncomfortable? Because we have sin in us, and He won't have sin about Him! When He gets in, He wants to drive everything else out - He wants to be at home. Another translation says: 'He jealously yearns for the entire devotion of our hearts'. Jeremiah said: 'Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion'. He was jealous of His Old Testament people, He was married to them - that's why He called them adulterers. His New Testament people, the church, He is married to them - there's a covenant, we are the bride of Christ, we're His and He's jealous over us.

You know what some of you men would feel like doing if some wise-boy tried it on with your wife. It's happening all around us, isn't it? Even a look, if you see someone looking at your wife, you're ready to get the coat off - isn't that right? That's sinful, but God's jealousy is pure, and that's the way He feels about us. When we wander, when our eyes wander, when our feelings wander, when our priorities are removed, He loves us so much that He gets jealous over us. Now, this is marvellous: if you want to get near to God, my friend, the strange irony is - I was talking about how God draws us in the beginning, and that's true, and how it seems here that we are to seek after God and draw near to Him - but this is the reality again: that it all has to start with God or we get into a real mess. His Spirit is in us, and it's Him that gives us all the desires that He wants - and He is desiring that we get nearer to God, and that must erupt within our souls. Let me plead with you that if there is the littlest, smallest ember of a desire after God in your heart: fan it! Fan it with the word of God, fan it with the fellowship, fan it with prayer, until it becomes a consuming fire that will take over your whole being! For if we don't have God, we have nothing.

The second thing we need to realise - first we need the Holy Spirit - secondly, verse 6: we need the grace of God. 'But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble'. This translation says: 'But He gives us more and more grace [power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this', evil, 'tendency and all others fully]. That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and the haughty, but gives grace', the sense and the tense is 'continually' to the lowly - those who are humble-minded [enough to receive it]'. The old Christians used to talk about the means of grace. Now I don't really like that term in a sense, because it sounds as if you have to do something to get grace from God - you don't have to do anything, grace is free isn't that right? But, in a sense, I know what they're talking about: there are ways that we can avail ourselves of the grace that God has given us to grow in our individual lives. When they were talking about the means of grace, they were talking about the word of God, the Bible, and prayer, intercession, supplication, devotion and adoration to God. We need to avail ourselves of His grace!

If we don't realise that the grace of God is there for the taking, do you know what happens? I enjoyed my holiday, but you know you can relax on holiday, and you can relax a wee bit spiritually at times. Do you know what happens? As one old man put it: 'The old man within us that is dead, you start to see the soil on the top of the grave moving', isn't that right? You start to see him coming out again in your thoughts and in your feelings, in your emotions. The godly life is characterised with a conflict with sin. Now listen, believers: if you're prepared to fight it, God's prepared to give you the grace to do it. What does the hymn say?

'He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more grace when the labours increase.
To added afflictions' - that's all afflictions: sickness, sadness, bereavement, everything that we face that is a result of sin - 'He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He gives multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength is failed 'ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving has only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again'.

Hallelujah! Is it any wonder that Paul said in Ephesians that we, in Christ, have the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Thirdly, and finally, verse 7 says - verse 7 on, we don't have time to look at it - but it says that we have an act of our will to fulfil. There's a list of actions here, verse 7 says: 'Submit', that's not a strong enough word in this translation - it really means 'Surrender', to kill oneself, to put oneself to death before God. Then it says: 'Resist' - that's too strong a word, because we can't resist the devil too much, we need everything that God gives us. It means to stand, as Peter said: 'Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith' - a conscious decision to resist him, all his works, all his ways, all that is in the world, all of his influence. 'Be cleansed, be purified', it says, 'in heart. Be mournful over your sin. Humble yourself, watch for your tongue' - now all those are essential, but I believe James sums them up in our text - listen: 'Draw near to God, and he will draw near unto you'.

Why not start today? If you've never done it in your Christian life: actively, consciously, steadily, and consistently draw near to God

Now, that's an act of your will. There's so much imbalance today - Andrew Murray said this: 'Christianity is a religion of the will'. Now what was he talking about? There are mornings I get up and prayer is the last thing in my head - I hope I don't fall from a pedestal for saying that (I shouldn't be on one anyway!). Now if I was to go with the way I felt, I would never pray - that's what Andrew Murray is talking about. It's a religion of the will: you have to determine, make a choice consciously, forget about your emotions - you've to make a determined choice that the sheets go back, the knees go down, and the prayers go up! If you don't do it it will never happen. You know, some people think that for some Christians there's a radiant display of the presence of God as soon as you waken up in the morning, and God's Holy Spirit lifts you from the bed and brings you down beside it, and you just pray and pray and pray and pray without any problem. That does not happen without an act of the will - you've got to consciously decide: 'I will draw near to God. I will seek God until I find Him'. You can't have the promise of God drawing near unto you, until you fulfil the command of drawing near unto God.

It means prayer, it means Bible reading, as Alec Mateer (sp?) calls it, it is: 'Deliberately cultivating fellowship with God'. Now I'm nearly finished, but I want you to grasp this. Remember the word 'draw', remember what it means? Do you remember the intensity of it? The strong, slow, determined, definite drawing and inducing - that is the way we ought to feel about God! We ought to, by our wills, make a definite decision to draw consciously, strongly, determinedly, steadily, constantly to God. When we do it He says that He will draw near to us. We are to overcome all the forces - remember the propeller on the boat? We're to overcome all those forces of our tiredness, of the things that we've got to do during the day. We've to overcome all those other things, to draw near to God, to continually seek His face. Listen, this is what He says: 'I will draw near to you'! The Greek word means: 'I will be disposed to do it, I am minded, I intend to do it, I will never refuse to meet one who genuinely comes to me' - 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out'.

You seek God, my friend. You see going through illness? Seek God! Going through heartache, in a backslidden position: seek God! Do you know one of my favourite Psalms? I love the Psalms - Psalm 63 and verse 8, where David says: 'My soul followeth hard after God'. Do you know that word in Hebrew, 'followeth hard', means? 'To hunt down', that's lovely isn't it? I am so determined to find God I'm going to hunt Him down! That's not irreverent, that's the way God wants us to feel about Him. Whatever your need today is, do you know the only way it can be met? By being near to God. Why not start today? If you've never done it in your Christian life: actively, consciously, steadily, and consistently draw near to God.

'Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me...

Then with my waking thoughts,
Bright with Thy praise
Out of my stony griefs
Bethel I'll raise'.

Lord, we thank Thee for wooing us and winning us - but Lord we pray for the Holy Ghost in us, by Thy grace, to make such a fire of desire after Thee that we must have Thee or we must die. We thank Thee that there is a comfort, that one day through eternity, ever we will be, nearer my Saviour, still nearer to Thee. Bless us dear Lord, we give Thee thanks, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins,
Preach The Word.
April 2001
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the tape, titled "Draw Near To God" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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