Robert Jeffress - The Perfect Prayer - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. In a Christian's arsenal there's no more powerful weapon than prayer. Because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, we can walk confidently into God's presence and ask for his help, guidance, and blessing. But many people don't know how to wield the power of prayer. We're at a lost on what to say or how to pray. Well, today, I want to show you the apostle Paul's model for prayer that changes our lives and the lives of those around us. My message is titled "The Perfect Prayer" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
You know, some people say, "Oh, Lord, show me your will. I want to know your will for my life", while secretly thinking, "So I can decide whether I want to obey it or not". It's not optional for a child of God. The only reason to know God's will is so that you can do it. So that you can walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. That word walk means to conduct your life in a way that's worthy of the Lord. Dr. George W. Truett who is pastor of this church for 50 years stood behind this pulpit for 50 years, said, "Success is knowing the will of God and doing it". There's a difference just between knowing it and knowing it and doing it. And Paul says, "The blessings that come in life come from not just knowing God's word but doing the will of God". Look again at verse 10, "So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please him in all respects". That is the heart desire of every true Christian: to please God.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:9, "Therefore we have as our ambition in life, whether here or at home, to be pleasing to God". Why? For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. That each one of us may be rewarded for what we've done in the body, whether it be good or whether it be worthless. He said, "We are to please him in all respects bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God". See, the reason Paul wanted the Colossians not only to know God's word but also obey God's commands was Paul, like any parent, knew that the real blessings of life came from obeying rather than disobeying God's word. And the same is true for us. The question is real simple, how many of you want to be blessed by God? If you want to be blessed by God then you obey God's commands.
Remember what God said to the Israelites before they were getting ready to enter into the Promised Land? In Deuteronomy 11:26 to 28, God said, "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse, the blessing if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God which I am commanding you today: and a curse if you do not keep God's commandments, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today by following other Gods, which you have not known". Listen to what God is saying. He said to the Israelites, he is saying to you and me today, "You got a choice to make". You can obey my commands and experience my blessings or you can disobey my commands and experience my curses. The choice is you. Obedience, disobedience. Blessings, curses. I want you to listen closely to this. God is no respecter of persons. God doesn't have some private deal with you that exempts you from following his commands and yet allows you to experience his blessings.
There are no special deals any of us has. I don't have a special deal with God because I'm pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas. God doesn't say, "Now, Robert, I'm going to overlook some of your disobedience, but I'm still going to bless you, 'cause you're doing so well in some other areas, but I'm going to overlook this area". No, God is no respecter of persons. God says, "I don't care who you are, if you obey me, I'll bless you. If you disobey me, I will curse you". Obedience, disobedience. Blessings, curses. Paul said, "My prayer is that you will obey the commands of God so that you can experience the blessings of God bearing fruit in your life in every good work". Paul wanted them to obey the commands of God so that number three, they could experience the power of God. Paul says that whenever you are obeying God's command, you're going to be given supernatural power.
Look at verses 11 and 12, "Strengthened with all power according to his glorious might". Whenever we think about God's supernatural power, we think about those miraculous acts like the parting of the Red Sea or the feeding of the 25.000 or the healing of the lame or the raising of the dead. We think those are the signs of God's miraculous power. However, notice what Paul says here. That same power that God used to perform those supernatural miracles is working in your life right now. And God's supernatural power results in three very tangible results. Look at what happens when God's power is working inside of you. First of all, it produces steadfastness, verse 11, "For the attaining of all steadfastness". What does that word mean? It refers to how we respond to difficult circumstances in life. Literally the word means to refuse to buckle under pressure.
Do you know people who go through just some horrendous difficulties in life, Christians? And you wonder how they make it through such a loss, such a time of testing. How do they just keep from giving up? The answer is they had been strengthened, fortified with God's supernatural power. And that comes to you when you're obeying the commands of God. You're strengthened with all steadfastness. Not only that. God's miraculous power, verse 11 says, "Produces patience in you". Now, to understand the difference between steadfastness and patience, steadfastness refers to how we respond to difficult circumstances. Patience refers to how we respond to difficult people in our lives. Many of you have some difficult people in your life, no pointing please this morning. But you know what I'm talking about. People who just really get to you, okay? People who really get under your skin, people you would love to tell off. Where the Bible says, when God's supernatural power's working in you, it produces patience.
That word patience, makrothumia means literally to be long-tempered. It means to have a long fuse rather than a short fuse. It means refusing to pay back evil for evil. And the reason for doing that is because God doesn't repay us with evil for the evil that we've done. God's supernatural work produces patience in us. And then the third result of God's power working in our life is thankfulness. Look at verse 12, "Joyously giving thanks to the father". When you go through a difficult circumstance, when you are overwhelmed by difficult people in your life, Paul says you can give thanks and you can do so joyously. Now, to appreciate that word joyously, understand that in Paul's day there was a group of Greeks called the stoics. Remember them from your school studies? The stoics kinda had this idea that the way to get through life is just grit your teeth and get to it the best you can. Stoicism. But Paul said there's a better way to live life than to grit your teeth method.
The Bible said you can go through difficulty not just gritting your teeth but joyously giving thanks to God. Giving thanks to God for what? You mean I'm supposed to say, "Thank you, God, for this flat tire I had on the tollway this morning". Praise God for the flat tire. Are we supposed to do that? Are we supposed to say when the report comes back from the doctor, "Oh, God, thank you so much for this cancer. I can't thank you enough for it". No, that's unrealistic. What he's talking about is giving thanks not for the circumstance, but giving thanks to the God is sovereign over the circumstance. Realizing that no matter what happens to us, a God, a God who loves us is still in control of our life. By the way, that's the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a superficial emotion that depends upon that happenings around us. It's circumstance oriented. Happiness. But joy is that calm, steadfast assurance that God is in control of our life.
How can we give God thanks when we're going through difficulty? How do we know he still loves us and hasn't turned his back on us? Notice what Paul says the three things we can give thanks for that God has done in our life. This is my favorite part of the sermon. Couldn't wait to get here. Okay, here it is. I want you to write them down, the three things that God has done for us. First of all, we can thank God because God has qualified us to share in his inheritance. Look at verse 12, "Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light".
Now, most of you here today expect to be in your parents' will, don't you? If your parents died or if they're getting ready to die or if they someday will die, you expect to be named in their will. After all you're their child. But how many of you today expected to be in Sam Walton's will when he died a few years ago? The multibillionaire founder of Walmart. How many of you expected to be in Sam Walton's will? I didn't say how many of you wanted to be in his will, but how many of you were disappointed. "Oh, I can't believe he disinherited me. He didn't put me in his will". I doubt there's anyone of us here today who expected to be in Sam Walton's will. Why? We're not part of his family. We had no right to be in his inheritance. We are not part of the Walton family. It's the same way with the riches of God. You and I by nature are disqualified from sharing in God's riches because we're not related to God when we're born into this world. The Bible says, "We're not born children of God in this world, we're born children of darkness". But look at what God does for us when he saves us, he qualifies us. Literally he makes us fit to share in his inheritance. He puts us into his family and therefore we are qualified to be joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ of everything God owns.
Isn't that great news? He has qualified us to share in his inheritance. Not only that. Look at what he did for us, secondly, he has delivered us from the domain of darkness. Verse 13, "For he delivered us from the domain of darkness". That word delivered literally means he rescued us. Now what does he mean the kingdom of darkness? He's talking about Satan's kingdom. A king's kingdom relates to whatever area that king has authority over. So what is Satan's kingdom from which we've been delivered? This may surprise some of you but the Bible teaches this world is Satan's kingdom. The Bible says, Jesus said Satan is temporarily the God of this world. Paul called him the God of this age. Satan has temporary control over this world. And when God saves you, he rescues us from Satan's kingdom. He rescues us from this world.
You say, "Now wait a minute, Robert, rescues us from this world? I mean, why do we need to be rescued from this world? This world is hardly like a burning automobile that we're trapped in". Now look around, this world's a pretty nice place when you think about it. Come to think about Louis Armstrong, that old song, remember? "I see trees of green, and red roses too, and I see them bloom for me and for you, and I think to myself", what a wonderful world don't we kind of think that way? Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. I worked on that. I mean this world isn't that bad: it's a wonderful world. Why do we need to be rescued from it?
I'll tell you why. You don't see the world as it really is. You see, the reason this world seems good to us is because of the influence of God and God's people in this world. Very rarely do we see pure unadulterated evil. Every now and then we catch a glimpse of it. When we see some of those heinous unspeakable crimes that people commit against other people. Every now and then we catch a glimpse of real Satanic evil. But for the most part that evil has been diluted by God and his people.
But hear me this morning. The person who dies without Jesus Christ is going to not only be separated from God for all eternity, but he is going to be separated from the influence, the goodness of God and his people in the world. In hell there will be no godly influence. The person who spends eternity in hell will feel the full brunt of pure evil. He will feel evil that is unrelenting and unending. It is forever and ever and ever. And the good news is when Jesus died for you, he rescued you from that. He has rescued us. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness. But not only that, notice, thirdly, God has transferred us into the kingdom of his son. Look at verses 13 and 14, "And he transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins".
Now this word redemption is filled with rich imagery. It refers to the deportation of the group of captives from one kingdom to another kingdom. It's not the setting free of captives, it is transporting them from one kingdom to another kingdom. But the Colossians understood this word because in their history there was a time when Antiochus the great took a group of 2.000 Jewish captives and transported them from the kingdom of Babylon to the Roman Empire in Colossae. That's what the word means, to transfer from one kingdom to another.
Remember when 52 Americans were taken hostage in Tehran. They were taking hostage by a group of Iranian terrorists and 444 days, America was truly held hostage. During that time these 52 hostages were kicked. They were beaten. They were tortured. They were subject to mock executions. America did everything they could to try to release these hostages. They tried diplomatic appeal, those failed. They tried an attempt to actually rescue them, a military, an attempt to rescue them. That military attempt had to be aborted.
Everything failed, but on January the 21st 1981, as Ronald Reagan was being sworn in as the president of the United States, during that swearing-in ceremony, word came that the American hostages had finally been released. And those of you who are alive during that time, will you ever forget the scene of those American hostages touching American soil for the first time? Some of them's so grateful when they got on the tarmac they've bent over and kissed the concrete tarmac.
One of those hostages that was released was named David Roder. And as he emerged from the airplane, he had his arms outstretched. And next to him was the sign, "Welcome back to freedom". He was filled with unending gratitude for having been rescued from the domain of Iran and transferred back to the United States. Welcome back to freedom. I thought to myself, freedom? Was he really rescued back to freedom? I mean, yes, he left one totalitarian regime but he came to the United States. And when he's in the United States he wasn't free to do whatever he wanted to do. He still had to pay his income taxes. He still had to obey the speed limits. He still had to follow other government regulations. He had not been freed of any and all restrictions and regulations.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, that is the same for you and for me. The Bible says, when God saved you, when he rescued you and me from the domain of darkness, from Satan's kingdom, he has not freed us to live however we want to live. Paul said, "Do you not know you're not your own. You've been bought with a price". No, when you were saved and rescued, God transferred you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his own son. That's what he says in this verse, "We have been transferred to the kingdom of his beloved son, the Lord Jesus Christ".
You and I are still slaves but we're slaves of Jesus Christ. And because we are slaves of Jesus Christ we have an obligation to live under his authority, his rule to obey him. But folks, isn't it much easier to follow the rules and regulations of someone who loves us like Jesus than to live under the regulations of someone who wants to destroy us like Satan. You know what the best evidence is that Christ your king really loves you? The best evidence, Paul says, is he is the one who rescued you. He is the one who redeemed you. He is the one who paid the price to set you free and the price was his own blood.