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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Where Our Needs Are Met

Charles Stanley - Where Our Needs Are Met

Charles Stanley - Where Our Needs Are Met

Life is filled with struggles. In fact, sometimes, it appears that life is just one continuous struggle. We struggle, for example, to make ends meet financially. We struggle in our vocation. We struggle to stay healthy. We struggle to raise our children wisely and in a godly fashion. We struggle in our relationships with other people. We struggle to keep our emotions under control. We struggle in times of temptation and testing. We even struggle with God. And usually those struggles indicate that there is some need in our life.

And then I think about what the Apostle Paul said when he said, "I've learned to be content". Then he said, "I've learned that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Then he said, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". Surely, either this is sorta pie-in-the-sky kind of stuff, or the Apostle Paul knew something that made it possible for him to walk through life, no matter what he had to face, with this awesome sense of being anchored in his relationship with God so that nothing blew him off course no matter what he faced.

Well, that's what I want to talk about in this message, and I want to talk about a message entitled "Where Our Needs Are Met". Now, our theme for this series has been Philippians four nineteen, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". What I'd like for you to do is to turn to the seventeenth chapter of Matthew for this message because, in this particular passage, there is an indication of intimacy between the Lord Jesus Christ and, especially, with three of His disciples. Because what I want to talk about in this message is this whole idea of where our needs really get met. All of our emotional needs, all of our spiritual needs, our physical, material needs, somehow it's wrapped up in our relationship to Jesus Christ. And you'll recall this is the passage that deals with a very important moment in Christ's life, when He was transfigured, what we call the Mount of Transfiguration.

So, beginning in verse one of Matthew seventeen, "And six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.' While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!'"

Now you know where I got that. Now, listen. You see, God said that. "And when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were much afraid. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, 'Arise, do not be afraid.' And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus Himself alone". Why is it that He chose Peter, James, and John? Well, the Bible doesn't tell us why except I would think about John the Beloved who was the youngest of the ones and who said about himself three times, "The disciple whom Jesus loved". Somehow John the Beloved felt and sensed a relationship, an intimacy with Jesus, that caused him in writing the Gospel to say, "That disciple whom Jesus loved".

James, of course, His brother, the Bible says was martyred. And then here is Peter who has the awesome privilege of preaching at Pentecost. They all had different avenues. John the Beloved outlived 'em all, finally banished to the Isle of Patmos. And these three were intimates with Christ. Now, remember this: God does not have favorites, but He does have intimates. Why did He choose these three? I don't think anybody knows except we could say, "Well, it may be that Jesus sensed in them a sense of oneness with Him, a deep, deeper yearning desire to know Him, a deeper hunger and thirst to know about Him, a deeper sense of desire to get on the inside of Him and discover what's He really like? Maybe even a deeper sense of devotion to Him".

I don't know. I don't think any of us know why, but one thing for certain. These three men were drawn into an intimate relationship with Him, seemingly even more so than all the rest of those. Does it mean that Jesus only has three intimates and no more? Thank God that is not what it means! Because here's what I want you to remember. Just as He pulled to Himself Peter, James, and John, you know what He's been doing ever since you trusted Him as your personal Savior? He's been attempting to draw you and me into the same kind of intimate relationship. Because, you see, that's what life's all about. Life is all about relationships. Life is not all about things. Life is not all about material things. Life is all about relationships. That's why you're sitting here with a husbands and wife or your children or your friends, or maybe even alone but you have friends.

When I think about the circles of relationships, this is the way I think about them. I think about, first of all, there's the innermost circle of my life. And that's where only God and I dwell. Then there is the inner circle where those people whom I love and cherish very dearly, that's where they dwell. Then there is the outer circle, with people for whom I have great respect and enjoy and certainly honor them and delight in them. And then there is the outermost circle which is those we just sorta know casually and the rest of the world. The most important circle in your life, and you see, you all have them. Maybe you hadn't thought about it, but you do have them. But let me ask you this: What about that innermost circle? You've probably tried to cram your wife or your husband or your children into that. They don't fit.

You see, the innermost circle, the innermost circle was created by God for you and Him and no one else. You can't place anybody else in that circle. You can't get anything in there. You see, the tragedy of today is that most people will live their life and never realize that God Almighty desires to have an intimate, loving relationship with them. In all of His sovereign power, desires to have an intimate, loving, genuine, personal, confidential, close relationship with every single one of us. And most people will die and God will be a stranger in their life. And you know what? The tragedy is many of those people who die and God is still a stranger will have sat in church for years.

You see, I'm not gonna let that happen to you. And if you're watching, if you're listening, this is not gonna happen to you. Because I want to talk about that intimate relationship that God has for all of us because the truth is, when I understand what that relationship is about and I'm able to live and to walk in that intimate relationship, I will have no needs my God will not supply. There will be no difficulty, no hardship, no trial, no troubles, no persecution, no anything that He will not be absolutely, totally adequate to see me through, no matter what. Now, how do we develop that kind of relationship? Let's think about how do you build intimacy with another person? You build it the same way with God. And the first thing that's important is this, and that is time. You don't spend time with God? You'll never have an intimate relationship with Him.

You come in, sit down, turn on the TV, that does not enhance intimacy with God unless you're watching "In Touch" or something like that. If you're just watching bunch of gangsters and drug addicts and something that's sensual on the television, that is not contributing, that doesn't count. Somebody says, "Well, I can read the Bible and", no, you can't read the Bible and do anything and get much from God. Now, listen, time. If I want, listen, if I want to build an intimate relationship with Him, I gotta spend time with Him. You say, "Well, we do", no, no, I'm talking about just you and God. How many of you husbands or wives want someone else around when God has worked in both of your hearts and you have a genuine, intimate, strong desire to express your genuine love for each other in an intimate, physical way. You don't want anybody else around. God wants you and me time by ourselves.

So let me ask you a question. When's the last time you just got alone and just said, "Lord, I want You to speak to my heart. Show me Yourself. Lord, just, let's us talk together". Now, you say, "Well, man, if I sat somewhere and, by myself, talking out loud, they'd think that I was crazy". You know what? It doesn't make any difference what anybody thinks. You and God alone. Time is absolutely essential. Second, listening. How do I listen to God? Ninety-nine-point ninety-nine percent of what you and I hear from God's gonna be right out of His Word. So what does that mean? It means that I must spend time in His Word, time in His Word, listening to what He has to say to me.

How many of you, your wives have said to you, "You're not listening"? Right? Right. "You're not listening". You were reading the newspaper or you were looking at something else. You weren't listening. Did you know that I can read the Bible and not hear what God says? I can read the Bible right now and be thinking entirely about something else. "In six days, Jesus took". You know what, I can think about that and think about talking to you at the same time, not listening to a thing God may have to say.

Let me ask you a question. Is He worthy of my attention? Yes. If I'm gonna have an intimacy with Him, I've got, listen, I not only need to give Him my attention, I need to listen carefully, and then, not only, listen, having listened to Him, I need to be willing to share with Him, tell Him what I'm feeling, tell Him what I'm thinking. Now, watch this next one. This is where it all shuts down. If I'm gonna have an intimate relationship with Him, I must be willing to be transparent, absolutely transparent, open honesty with Him.

And this is where most relationships shut down. Because the truth is, you see, if I'm gonna have an intimate relationship with someone, I must be willing to open my heart and say, "Now, here are my weaknesses and here are my failures and, you know, this is what I try to do, but sometimes I don't do very well and, you know, I have my fears and my self-esteem hurts over here and my self-image gets damaged over here, and sometimes I feel so rejected and sometimes I feel so hurt and sometimes my feelings," in other words, if I'm gonna be transparent, I've got to tell it like it is. Well, somebody says, "Well, if God is infinite in all of His wisdom, then He knows everything anyway, you don't have to tell Him all". Mm, mm, mm, that doesn't work. Because you see, you and I can say, "Well, God, now I know that You know all things, in Jesus's name," and totally avoid what's going on in my life. Transparency says I'm willing to be open and honest with Him, tell Him how I feel.

For example, let me give you an example of something. My mother, before she passed away, on that Easter before, she got up on Sunday morning about five o'clock and she was gonna get her clothes ready, and she always got up early, and she was coming to church and she was excited and she was gonna fix me lunch on that Easter Sunday morning. Walked around and fell down a whole flight of steps and hurt herself badly. Now, when I got to her house that day, and she is standing up at the stove, cooking my lunch. You talking about dedication, commitment. And holding her back. As soon as I walked in the door, I said, "Mom, what's the matter"? I knew something was wrong. Had to make her sit down. Put her in the hospital.

Well, this is one of those times I said, "Now, God, wait a minute. Hold it. Here's somebody who loves You dearly, faithful to You all these years, and here she is getting ready to get dressed and go to church. And You let her fall down the steps". That's when I had to get real transparent and say, "God, You know, I don't like that at all. God, why'd You let that happen to my mom"? It took me a little while to get over that. Transparency isn't saying, "Oh God, thank You very much that she didn't die. Thank You, dear Lord, bless You, praise You for". No, "Lord God, I don't like that. That's my mom. You could have avoided that, but You didn't". I had to get over that.

Now, you're sitting here thinking, "Well, Pastor, could you feel like that"? Just the same way you feel, absolutely I can. You know why? Because to be transparent, I have to be willing to say, "This is how I feel. This is how I feel at times". I have to tell God, "Lord, sometimes I doubt You". That doesn't happen to be one of my things I have to tell Him, but people, if you doubt Him, just say, "God, sometimes I doubt You. God, I'm angry with You". You see, if you're gonna have an intimate relationship with someone else, you can't keep secrets. You can't hold it in. You've got to be open and transparent. But that's where most relationships shut down. They say, "Well, you know what? We can be friends, but I can't let you in but so close because if you knew about me what I know about me, you wouldn't like me at all".

Well, remember this: He knows it all. He knows it all, so you might as well tell Him. He knows it all. Another word that I think is so very important here, and that's forgiveness. I can't have intimacy with anybody if I can't forgive them for their faults and their failures. And you know what? When I think about how forgiving... let me ask you something. Have you ever asked God to forgive you for something, He said, "No! Absolutely not". No. He's always forgiving. If I'm gonna build a relationship with Him, I'm gonna be accepting His forgiveness.

You say, "But wait a minute, now. God doesn't sin, so how are you gonna forgive Him"? You know what, I don't have to forgive Him. Here's what I have to do. I have to forgive others whom He loves, whom He has forgiven, whom He desires to forgive. That's the way I build intimacy with Him when it comes to forgiveness. And then there is trust. You will never build an intimate relationship with someone you don't trust. You cannot. There is a barrier between the two of you. Listen, till that barrier of distrust is down, you will never be able to build intimacy. Where there is no trust, there is no intimacy. Cannot be. It's like oil and water. You can't have intimacy and distrust. You can't have intimacy and rejection. You can't have those things. They don't fit.

Likewise, there is understanding. God understands us absolutely perfectly. You know what He desires of us? He wants us to understand Him. He understands us perfectly. He wants us to understand Him. He wants us to know His ways. He wants us to know why He does what He does. He wants us to know His attributes. He wants us to apply the principles of Scripture in our life, and in so doing, here's what we discover what He's like when we apply the principles of Scripture to our life. We say, "Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. That's the way, that's how God's operating". God delights in our application of His principles. That's how we become understanding of who He is. And of course, listen, a caring love. That is a love that's reaching out, a love that's caring, a love that's sensitive to the other person's needs, other person's desires.

God, listen, He's sensitive to every single need, every desire we have. And you say, "Well, how you relate that to God"? Because I want to be sensitive to what He wants in my life. I want to be caring about His work on earth. I want to be caring about those He loves. I want to be caring about those whom He loves who do not love Him, who persecute Him, who are absolutely living in rebellion toward Him. I want to be caring about them also. Then there is approval. You see, you can't have a relationship with someone you absolutely disapprove of. You know what? The amazing thing to me is that God could approve of us, sinful as we are, He approves of us. He accepts us just the way that we are.

Listen, He accepts us the way we are because He knows what He's gonna do in our life. We certainly approve of Him. He certainly approves of us. And so all of these things are so perfectly related. Now, when I think about that, I also have to think about what is it that hinders my intimacy with Him. So I want to give you four things quickly. Now, watch this.

First thing that hinders my relationship, my intimacy with Him is sin. If I, listen, if I am rebelling against God, choosing to be disobedient to Him, violating His principles, how can I expect to have an intimate relationship with Him? I'm not gonna have it. It's not gonna work. It's just like that oil and water. You can shake 'em up all you want to, but they're gonna separate. You cannot have an intimate relationship with Almighty God living in sin. It will not work.

The second hindrance is, let's go back to a lot of things that we've said before about our childhood and things that we've said about abuse and rejection. You see, unmet childhood needs are a tremendous hindrance to an intimacy with God. Now, why? Because where does a child get their first image of the Father? From their earthly father. So, the father's not there or he's crude, rude, and abusive and whatever. And so, or both the parents could be that way. Or the child feels rejected and criticized and shut out and unwanted and all the other things that go on in a family oftentimes. So this child grows up, and you talk about having an intimate relationship with God. Intimacy, what's that?

You see, these things that happen in our childhood have a far greater effect on us than we realize. You take the average kid out here on the street and you say, "Well, what do you know about God"? He's not even interested about God. Well, what about an intimate relationship? Don't have any idea what that means. Intimate relationship with God? That is absolutely totally foreign.

So, first of all there's sin. Secondly, unmet needs as a child. And third, an unforgiving spirit. You cannot have an intimate relationship with a heavenly Father when you have an unforgiving spirit toward someone else. Now, someone says, "Now, does that mean I'm supposed to forget it"? No, listen, you can forgive, but some things you'll never forget. You just don't feel the pain you used to feel after you've forgiven them.

The fourth thing is fear, listen, fear of transparency. That will absolutely shut it down when it comes to a relationship with Him because you have got to be willing to be open. God, I blew it bad. Father, the truth is I'm scared to death. Lord, the truth is I'm just full of doubt. There has to be open and transparency.

Now, one last thing I wanna say. With whom does God desire an intimate relationship? With every single one of His children. With whom will God develop an intimate relationship? Turn, if you will, to Proverbs chapter three. Proverbs chapter three, verse thirty-two says, "For the crooked man is an abomination to the Lord; But He is intimate with the upright". That does not mean sinless. The upright are those who have been saved by the grace of God and have a deep yearning desire to walk in obedience to Him. And even though they stumble and fall because they still have their human weaknesses, they get up, confess it, repent of it, move on, longing to have a relationship with the Father.

Now, listen carefully. I don't know what your innermost circle looks like. But I can tell you how it needs to look. You and God. The outer circle or the inner circle? You and those whom you love very, very deeply. That outer circle? Those whom you admire and you respect and have some kind of relationship with them. And then there are the rest of the folks in the world. Did you know that when you and I stand before Him, He's not gonna be impressed by anything you and I've done? What He wants in your life above every single thing possible is intimacy. And you know what? All these needs that you've had back yonder in your life, about your self-esteem and you've been abused and you've been hurt and you've been rejected and cast out and ignored and avoided and all the rest. You know what's gonna happen? When you allow Him to draw you to Himself, He's going to so satisfy you in your relationship to Him, you know what's gonna happen. It won't make any difference what somebody else thinks. It won't make any difference whether somebody else accepts you.

Let me ask you this: Who cares whether somebody rejects you when the Father has accepted you? I mean, when you're accepted by the best, does it matter who rejects you? And somebody accuses you or criticizes you, that's okay. Because you know, you have a relationship with Someone who's not gonna criticize you. He's only going to love you.

And Father, how grateful we are that You would reach down and pick up folks like us and draw us to Yourself and love us and forgive us and pour Yourself into us and meet every single need that we have and keep on forgiving us and keep on building us up and keep on instructing us and being patient with us and teaching us how to relate to one another and how to love each other. We just want to tell you we really and truly love You, dear God, with all of our hearts. We want You to draw us to Yourself. And Father, my prayer is that every single person who hears this message will know experientially, personally what it means to have You and themselves in the innermost circle of their life. In Jesus's name, amen.

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