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Deuteronomy 4:29-40

Pursuing God

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • January 19, 2020

In Deuteronomy 4:29-40 Moses wrote some of the most famous words in the bible about seeking God. Verse 29 — “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Pursue God and you will discover that He has been pursuing you. God is not finished yet; this is about revival. This is about who is pursuing whom.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Transcription
  • Scripture

Pursuing God

Deuteronomy 4:29-40                          

 The title of this message is “Pursuing God,” but it could also be called, “God Pursuing You,” because both are true, and both are important to spiritual life.

In these verses are some of the most famous words in the bible about seeking God. Verse 29 — “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.”

From where? From the point when you’ve come to the end of yourself; when the pursuit of the world has left you empty and void of meaning and life. From there; you will seek the Lord your God… and you will find Him… if you search for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

 And when you find Him, you will then discover that He was pursuing you. He was just waiting for you to seek Him with all your heart and all your soul.

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is giving his final speech. He is preparing Israel to enter the promises of God. He gives words of warning and admonition, but he also gives words of encouragement and revival.

 If they would listen to the statutes and the judgments of the Lord, it would go well for them. He admonishes them not to add to the word, nor take anything away from the word which they were receiving. These words are words of life, “So keep them and do them, for that is your wisdom and understanding. For what great nation is there that has a god so near as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?”

  Moses also gives a word of warning, “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life … watch yourselves carefully lest you act corruptly and go after the images of the world… and beware, lest you be drawn away … so watch yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you… for the Lord your God is a consuming fire.”

Moses then foretells what will happen if they turn away from their God, if they serve the work of man’s hands and let their hearts be drawn away. He warns them in advance that their lives would crash, their nation would be destroyed; they would be scattered among the nations.

These are words that also apply today. Many have found hope and revival only to then meander their way back, to be drawn back to the world – and the result is predictable; they crash their lives.

That’s where these words take an interesting turn. When their lives have crashed and they have been scattered among the nations, “from there, you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him — if you search for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

 Pursue God and you will discover that He has been pursuing you. God is not finished yet; this is about revival. This is about who is pursuing whom.

I.  Don’t Let the Fire Grow Dim

  • CH Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers in church history, once said, “I am on fire for God, and when I preach, they come to watch me burn.”
  • My prayer is that we as a church would be on fire for God, and that people would come to watch the fire that burns because there is revival here.
  • The words of Moses are an admonition to not let the fire, which burns within your soul, grow dim.

Illus – I have loved this song by Steve Camp, “O Lord, take your plow to my fallow ground. Let Your blade dig down in the soil of my soul. For I’ve become dry and dusty, O Lord I know there must be richer lines below. For I’ve been livin’ in Laodicea, and the fire that once burned bright I’ve let it grow dim.”

A.  Be careful not to drift away from the Lord

  • Moses warned the people to not let their hearts be drawn away.
  • This is the reason God gave the first commandment to Israel, “Have no other gods before me.” In other words, God knew that they must keep God first in their hearts, or they would drift away into dangerous things.
  • Why is it so important not to have other things in our lives more important than God?
  • Because God knows that people become like the things which they idolize and the things they love; they become like the things they pursue.

Illus – In the 60s, the nation idolized the Beetles; then they became like the Beetles they idolized.

Psalm 115:4-9, Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see… Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is your help and your shield.

  • The writer of Hebrews gives a similar admonition.

Hebrews 2:1, For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.

Illus- Jordi and I went hot air ballooning once and what an amazing sensation. You feel no wind! It’s calm; there is no turbulence, that is, until you try to land!

Illus- When you just drift along with the world, you’re not aware of how far you’ve drifted until you see a fixed point of reference. If you’re floating along on the river, you have no idea how fast you’re moving until you look at the rocks on the shore!

  • God gave his Word as a fixed point of reference; a rock on which to fix your gaze; and oh, how far this world has gone.

Illus- Welcome to the nineties…

B.  Search with all your heart and soul

  • Verse 29 – From that place, you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and your soul.
  • When you seek Him, seek Him with all your heart. The heart is the key to repenting, and the heart is the key to revival…

Hebrews 11:6, For he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

1 Chronicles 28:9, “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.”

  • Seek Him from there, from that place. Some people feel they must get their act together before they can seek the Lord. That’s a mistake. Their self-effort is what got them into trouble in the first place.
  • Seek the Lord from there; He is the one who will rebuild your life, when you search for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
  • The point is that when you seek Him from there, even from the point of despair, when you’ve reached the end of yourself, He will not reject you.
  • Many suppose that He will, because that is what they deserve; and they know it. No, God wants you to know in advance that He will welcome you home when you seek Him with all your heart.

Illus – The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 is moving and powerful not just because the son came to his senses and decided to go home, it’s powerful because it shows the heart of the Father…

Luke 15:20-24, “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him… And the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the best robe and put it on my son, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet… For this son of mine was dead and is come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.”

II.  God Pursues Sinners with His Love

  • When they’ve come to the end of themselves; from there, seek the Lord and you will find him if you search for Him with all your heart and your soul.
  • And when you come, when you search for Him, you will find that He was the One who was pursuing you.
  • God loves sinners; that’s why He pursues them. He wants sinners to come, to seek Him with all their hearts. Because they’ve been searching for the wrong things. They’ve been “Searching for love in all the wrong places.”
  • There is a great searching in the human soul. God put that aspect into you because He wants you to search for Him, but search with all your heart.

1 John 4:19, We love, because He first loved us.

A.  God is seeking the wounded

  • One of the most powerful scriptures that shows the heart of God in seeking the lost and the hurting is Ezekiel 34.
  • He speaks against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel, who were feeding themselves and not the sheep and the sheep became scattered.

Ezekiel 34:4, “Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost…”

  • There are wounded people today. They’ve been hurt and have become the prey of the world.
  • So God says that He will pursue them Himself.

Ezekiel 34:11, 15-16, For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out… I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God. “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick…”

  • If you’ve been wounded, God wants you to know that He loves you and is pursuing you; to bring you back, to bind up your wounds, to strengthen the sick, and to lead you to rest.

B.  God is seeking the lost

  • Luke 15 is filled with parables that have one theme; God is seeking the lost.

Luke 15:1-2, Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

  • To answer their accusation Jesus gives these famous parables… A shepherd has 100 sheep and one of them is lost. “Does he not leave the 99 and go after the one which is lost?” Jesus asked.
  • The second parable is about a woman who has 10 silver coins and one is lost. “Does she not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?”
  • And with each of these parables there is this…

Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repents.”

  • In John 4 there is the story of a woman from Sychar. She is a Samaritan and the Jews looked down on Samaritans as half-breeds because they inter-married with Gentiles. The Jews avoided them, would have nothing to do with them.
  • The chapter begins by saying that Jesus had to go through Samaria. He needed to go, not just because it was the shortest distance, but because He was seeking a lost sheep – He had to go.
  • This woman from Sychar comes to the well where Jesus is resting, and Jesus asks her for a drink. “How is it that You, being a Jew ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan?”
  • He speaks of Living water and finally she says, “Sir, give me this Living Water.” “Go, call your husband,” Jesus said. “I have no husband,” she answered. “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands and the man you are with is not your husband.”
  • The woman turns the conversation to spiritual things. “I know that Messiah is coming and when He comes He will declare all things.”
  • Was she hungry for God? Was this the day when hope would come? “I know when Messiah comes, he will tell us all things, He’s going to have the answers.”

App – There are many people like this woman. Her life is a mess, she’s had five failed marriages, she’s given up even trying that anymore, “What’s wrong with me? I’ve failed at every relationship. I’m despised and hated by everyone, I’m lonely and lost. Everything I touch fails, but I know that when the Messiah comes, He will have the answers. When is that going to happen?”

         Then it says, Jesus had to go through Samaria. Why? Because he was seeking a lost sheep. He so radically changes her life she goes into town and brings everyone back to meet the One who can seek and save that which is lost!

Illus – “O Come to the Altar”

         Are you hurting and broken within? Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin? Jesus is calling.  

         Have you come to the end of yourself? Do you thirst for a drink from the well? Jesus is calling.

         O come to the altar, the Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

         Oh what a Savior; isn’t He wonderful? Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen.

 

 

Pursuing God
January 18-19, 2020
Deuteronomy 4:29-40

We are going to be in Deuteronomy 4:29. Remember that during the Wednesday service, we'll be doing the other verses around this, so we do verse by verse on Wednesday, and then we drill into these places on the weekend services. Deuteronomy 4:29. The title of our message this morning is Pursuing God. However, the title could also be said, A God Pursuing You, because both things are true. Both things are very important to understand as part of our spiritual life.
In fact, in Deuteronomy 4, this first verse; verse 29, is perhaps one of the most famous verses in the Bible in regard to seeking and pursuing God. It says, in Deuteronomy 4:29, it says, “But from there, you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart, and all your soul.” “From there,” He says. From where? From where is He speaking? From the point in which you've come to the end of yourself when the pursuit of the world has left you empty, void of meaning and life.
“From there.” He says. From that point. From there, you seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him. If you search with all your heart and with all your soul. See, here's my point that I want us to recognize. When you seek for Him from that place, you will find Him, and that is when you will discover that He was pursuing you all the way through. He was just waiting for you to seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
The Book of Deuteronomy is Moses’s last speech. This is it. This is the last speech he's going to give Israel before they enter into the promises of God. Before they go into the Promised Land. Now, if you got one last speech that you're going to give, I suggest that last speech is going to be epic. That's exactly what we see. Moses is pouring it all out. This is his last opportunity. What does he do? He gives warnings to them. He gives admonitions, but he also gives words of encouragement and of revival. He says, “If you would listen to the statutes and the judgments of the Lord, it will go well with you.” He wants them to be blessed. I want it to go well with you. I tell you what, that's a great word for today. I want to be blessed. I want it to go well. Anybody else? He said, “I'll give you the keys. I'll show you the way. You listen to the judgments of the Lord.”
Then he says, “Now, let me admonish you, don't add one word to this. Don't even subtract a word from this. For these words are life. Keep them, do them. That is wisdom, that is understanding.” Then he says, “For what great nation is there that has a God so near as the Lord our God whenever we call on Him.” Then he gives this warning. Now, this is all leading up to where we are. He gives this warning, and he says, “Only give heed to yourselves and keep your soul diligently. Watch over the condition of your soul, lest you forget all the things which your eyes have seen, which the Lord your God has done for you. Never forget. Never forget all the amazing things lest they depart from your heart. Watch yourselves very carefully, lest you go after the things of the world. Beware, lest you be drawn away. Watch yourselves,” he says. “lest you forget that covenant with the Lord your God made with for the Lord is a consuming fire.”
Now, that's just a great Word. Beware, never forget. Remember the day that you came to faith in Christ? If you haven't, that day is coming for you. It's a day of revival, a day when God takes hold of his soul and ignite something. Remember that day? That's a day of revival. He said, “No, never forget. Never forget all that God has done for you.” I tell you what, God has done amazing things for me. Anybody else want to agree with that? God has done amazing things for me.
He says, “Never forget it.” Never forget. Watch over your soul very carefully. Then he foretells them. He said, “I will tell you what will happen if you do forget. If you do draw away, you let your heart draw away and serve the work of man's hands. I will tell you in advance what will happen. Your lives will crash. Your nation will be destroyed and you will be scattered amongst the nations.”, he says.
It's a good word. He's giving them words of revival. Showing them what it means to be on fire for the Lord. Be careful, watch your soul, because if you forget, if you're drawn away and your life crashes and you're in distress, he says, “From there, from that point, you seek God, and you will find Him. You will then discover that He was pursuing you all the way.”
Let's read it. We're in Deuteronomy 4:29, last speech of Moses, “But from there, you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him. If you search for Him with all of your heart, and with all of your soul when you are in distress, and all of these things have come upon you. In the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God, and you will listen to His voice.”
In other words, you call God from there and you will find revival. Here's why. Verse 31, “For the Lord, your God is a compassionate God.” He wants them to know in advance who God is and what is he like. He's a compassionate God. He will not fail you. He will not destroy you. He will not forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.
Verse 32, “Indeed ask now, concerning the former days, which were before you since the day that God has created men on this earth, inquire from one end of the heavens to the other, has anything been done like this great thing? Has it ever happened? Has anything been heard like this?” You tell me, has anything ever happened like this? Has any people ever heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire as you have heard it and survived, or has it God tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, and signs, and wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by an outstretched arm with great terrors as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? You tell me, has this ever happened in the history of man? Has it ever happened?
In fact, do you know what's interesting? You could ask the same question today. When you see what is happening today, what God has done for Israel today, we could actually ask the same question. Has it ever happened in the history of the world that a people who are living in their land, who were then scattered amongst the nations, has it ever been in the history of man that that people has returned to their land from which they came and reestablished their nation again? Has this ever happened in the history of the world? Answer is no, it's never happened, but it's happened to Israel three times. It's a declaration that God is faithful to His word, God is faithful to His promises, you can count on it.
Verse 35, “To you, it was shown that you might know that the Lord He is God. There is no other beside Him. Out of the heavens, He let you hear His voice to discipline you. On earth, He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire. Because the Lord, He loved your fathers, therefore, He chose their descendants after them. He personally brought you from Egypt, by His great power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you to bring you in and to give you their land as an inheritance as it is to this day. Know, therefore today and take it into your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on earth below there is no other.” This is an epic speech. “Take this into your heart, there is no one like our God.”
Verse 40, “You will keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you. I want to bless you, I want revival for you, and with your children after you, that you may live long in this land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”


I. Don’t Let the Fire Grow Dim

Now, these are the verses I want us to look at. As you know, we're going to cover the other verses around it on Wednesday. I want us to see what He's speaking to us here, because there's so much to apply to our lives. He's giving them the way of greatest blessing. I want to bless your life, but it's based and founded on revival. Let there be a fire that burns. Never forget what God has done for you. Therefore, He's giving him this word. What is he saying? He's saying, “Listen, don't let the fire grow dim. Don't let the fire that one started in your life, never let it grow dim."
One of the most famous preachers of church history has to be C. H. Spurgeon. One of his most famous quotes. Somebody came to him and said, "Obviously, your ministry is amazingly blessed of God. What is the key to this?" He answered famously, he said this, he said, "I am on fire for God. When I preach, they come to watch me burn." That is a famous quote. Every pastor has heard that quote, because it's a call. Let the fire of God burn for the Lord, be on fire for God. Here's the thing I suggest, I think it's not just the pastor who should be on fire. I'm saying, let the whole church be on fire. Let there be a revival in the church. That's what God wants to do. Amen.
Congregation: Amen.
He said, "Well, how does that happen? How does that happen? How is it possible that a people catch fire? How does that happen exactly?" Here's the answer. You draw near to the fire, and you'll catch fire. That's the answer. You draw near to the fire, and you will catch fire. The words of Moses are an admonition. He wants revival. Don't let that fire grow dim.
One of the songs I used to love when I was young. I'm going to quote from the words of it. When I was young, I had an addiction to worship and piano, singing, playing and worshiping myself. I first learned piano when I went to Oregon State. I was studying business management. I had electives, and so I chose piano and music theory and such. I was playing, I'd play hours and hours. Many of you know, I went into the restaurant business and did that for a while. Then God really put a call on my life to go into ministry to be a pastor. I went into Bible college at Multnomah University, went to Western seminary.
While I'm there, I got this addiction to worship. I discovered that there were 10 minutes between classes. If I ran to the piano hall, I could play for eight minutes, and then run to my next class. Then when that class was over, I could run back to the piano, play for eight minutes and then run back. Then I discovered I started finding different pianos in the community that would let me play. There was that church over there, and that church there. The Hillsborough library let me play. I found all these places.
Well, one day, I'm in this church, and I'm there in the sanctuary, I'm playing and singing and I'm worshiping, and I'm singing this song. Then the pastor comes to the sanctuary. I stopped and I said, "Hey, come here. Listen to this song. Come here." He did. He came and sat down. I started singing the song. Here are the words, it's by Steve Camp. "Oh Lord, take your plow to my fallow ground." What is fallow ground? It's hard. It's ground that is hard, it produces nothing. Nothing will grow on fallow ground, it's hard. Only way it will produce, bring a plow, plow it up, dig deep.
I'm singing this song, "Oh Lord, take your plow to my fallow ground. Let the blade dig down in the soil of my soul. For I've become dry and dusty. Oh Lord, I know there must be richer earth lying below. For I've been living in Laodicea. The fire that once burned bright, I've let it grow dim." It was at that point of the song that the pastor stopped me. He said, "Whoa, no, hey, don't be singing that song." I said, "Why not?" He said, "Don't you understand? That's a prayer. God will do it."
[laughter]
A. Be careful not to drift away from the Lord

To which I said, "I think that's the point." Because listen, if I'm hard, if my heart gets hard, bring your plow, plow it up, Lord. I don't want to be hard. I don't want to be dry and dusty. I don't want to get a hard heart. Anybody else who agree with this? I don't want a hard heart. If I get dry and dusty, plow it up, Lord, plow it up. Because we are all living in Laodicea. I'll tell you right now.
Book of Revelation speaks of that city of Laodicea. It's worldly. It's a worldly city. We are all living in Laodicea. It's easy for the heart to be drawn away. If I get hard, if I get dry and dusty, plowed up, Lord, for the fire that once burned bright, don't let it grow dim. That's why he gives this admonition, "Watch over your soul very carefully.", He says, "Be careful not to drift away from the Lord." He gives this warning.
When God gave the 10 commandments, which we learned of earlier. He will speak of again in this epic speech. The first of the 10 commandments is, "Have no other gods before me." God knew that they must have God first. You must love God most. Have God first in your life, or you'll drift away, be drawn away into things that are worldly and very dangerous. Have God first. Why is this so important? Because God knows that you will become what you love most. Love is the transforming power. You will become like that what you love most, you will become like that what you idolize, you could even say.
I was thinking of an illustration. Back in the 60s, now I know a lot about the 60s because I've read about in books. Back in the 60s, The Beatles were a thing. People idolized The Beatles; they loved their songs. Here's the thing. They became like them. If you remember, The Beatles brought in Eastern philosophy into their lives and into their songs. When they brought Eastern philosophy into their lives and into their songs, it changed the entire culture of our country. Eastern philosophy then became a thing in this nation. You become like that which you love, you become like that what you idolize. "Be careful." He gives a warning.
Psalms 115:4-9. He says, "Their idols are silver and gold." That's what their idols are. "The work of man's hands, oh, they have mouths, but they cannot speak. They have eyes, but they cannot see. Those who make them will become like them. Everyone who trusts in them, beware." Then he says, "Oh Israel, trust in the Lord. He is your help. He is your shield." He's giving a warning there. Then the writer of Hebrews gives a similar admonition. Hebrews 2:1. For this reason, we must pay close attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Watch over your soul, diligently watch your soul. Pay close attention. Do not allow your soul to drift away, just drifting with the world. This flowing ride along, it's easy to drift. This move-- In fact, there's no resistance when you drift.
I was thinking of an illustration. A number of years ago, my wife and I went hot air ballooning. We had a gift certificate or anniversary thing or something. We get there super early in the morning, and the guy greets us, and there's a big basket. He's explaining how this is going to go. He says, "Oh, you're going to love it. We're going to go up in this basket. When we get up in the air, oh, you're going to love it. It's just so calm there. There's no wind. You feel no resistance at all. Oh, you're going to love it." He says. Why don't you feel any wind? Because you're moving with the wind. We're just beautifully calm.
The thing is, he says, "Now, you're going to love it." Let me give you this. When we come down, we may have some issues landing, because the faster we go, the more dangerous is the landing. I'm thinking, "This is a great speech. This is great. I can't wait to do this thing." Because you see, you not know how fast you're going until you have a fixed point of reference. You could be up there just drifting along, no resistance at all. "Oh, this is so wonderful." Then you get near to a fixed point of reference and realize, "Whoa, we are flying." This is going to be a hard landing. It's like that. It's like, Oh, you can just drift right along with the world, you have no idea how far you've gone, how far it's taken you. It's like you could be floating down a river, and you have no idea how fast you're going until you see a boulder on the shore. You're going along and then you see this boulder and go, "We're flying now." It's a fixed point of reference that shows you just how far you've gone.
Back in the days, when I was going to Bible College, I was also a server at a restaurant. Back in the back, it was common to banter and talk to other servers and whatnot. I always let it know who I was. I let people know I'm a Christian and going to Bible College. I want to be a pastor, and I let people know.
We're in the back, and this young fellow comes up to me and he clearly knows who I am, he knows what I'm about and he clearly wants a reaction. He comes up to me and he says, "Hey, I am so excited. I moved in with my girlfriend." He's obviously he's looking for a reaction, so I figured I'd give him one. I said, "You moved in with your girlfriend." I said, "Does your mother know?"
[laughter]
I'm trying to bring a fixed point of reference, let's start with your mother, "Does your mother know?" He said, "My mother? Of course, of course, my mother knows." Then he says, "Welcome to the 90s." This was a few years ago. "Welcome to the 90s? What does that mean?" "What do you think that means, welcome to the 90s? It means, hey, this world's changed a little bit since you grew up." "Welcome to the 90s?" I said, "It was wrong when God said it was wrong 2,000 years ago and it's still wrong today. Amen." He said, "Why do you have to be so serious?" I said, "Hey, you brought it up."


B. Search with all your heart and soul
We need a fixed point of reference. God's Word is that rock. You don't know how far you've gone until you look at God's word. He gives this warning, I will foretell you, I will tell you in advance what will happen. You'll crash your life, you'll find yourself in distress. Let me tell you this, on that day when that happens, I will also tell you that you will search for God, and you will find Him. I want you to know who God is, I want you to know God's heart. On that day, you will search, and I will tell you right now, you will find Him. If you search with all your heart and with all your soul. When you seek Him, seek Him with all your heart, because the heart is the key to the repenting, the heart is the key to revival.
Let me give you this verse, it's very famous, Hebrews 11:6. "He comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." God wants us to be a seeking people. God wants us to seek Him.
Let me give you another verse. Talk about epic speeches, David, in his last speech to his son Solomon. Now, if you're going to do your last speech, you're going to put out some big words. Last speech. He's going to give Solomon some words for his life. 1 Chronicles 28:9, "As for you, my son, Solomon, know the God of your father." Giving him words for life now. "As for you my son, know the God of your father. Serve Him with a whole heart, and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts. He understands every intent of the thoughts." Then he says this statements, really amazing. "And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him." I love that statement. "If you seek Him, He will let you find Him." He wants you to seek. "Seek Him from there," he says, "In that day of distress, in that day and trouble, you seek Him from there, from that place. Seek Him there. Don't wait."
Some people feel like they got to get their act together before they got to make themselves worthy for God to receive them, they've got to get their act together before they can come back to the Lord. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard people say, "Look, I just got to figure this thing out on my own. I just got to figure this thing out on my own." To which I had the same answer, "No you won't, you figuring things out is what got you into trouble in the first place. What you need is to seek God from there right where you are, you seek Him from there, search for Him, for He is the one who will rebuild your life when you search for Him with all your heart and your soul." The point is to seek Him from there, from the point of distress, from the point of despair when you've reached to the end of yourself, you seek Him, and here's what He's trying to show you. He will not reject you, He will not reject you.
See, many suppose that He will, because they know that that's what they deserve, and they think that's what God is about. No, He wants you to know in advance, God is a compassionate God. Know this now, God is a compassionate God, and He will welcome you. When you search for Him from that point of distress, you will find Him, when you search for Him with your heart and your soul.
What are the, I think grandest stories that shows us this has got to be the story of the prodigal son at Luke 15. Jesus is giving a parable, and He said a man had two sons, and the youngest son came to his father and he says, "Father, give me my inheritance early." He had a vast sum, and he went into the city and he spent it all. Worldly living, parties, women, all of it. He spent it all. Which reminds me of a proverb out of the book of Proverbs, "A fool and his money are soon parted." It's a great Word. "A fool and his money are soon parted."
The son, he had a fortune. He went into the city, wasted it all. Women, parties, worldly living, and then after he had spent it all, he had nothing left, a famine hit the land. He couldn't even get a job. Finally, he lands a job, but it's the worst job a Jew could possibly have, feeding swine. Now you might say, "Oh, it can't get any worse than this." Oh no, it gets worse, because he then becomes jealous of the pigs. They have food and he does not. Then it says, "And that's when he came to his senses." It's a glorious day when someone comes to their senses. He says, "My father's servants are treated better than this, I'm going home." He has a speech already in his mind. He will say, "Father, I have sinned. I sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be your son. I'm not coming home to be a son, I just need a job. Take me as one of your hired men." He has a speech all ready to go.
He goes to his father, and we pick up the story in Luke 15:20-24. It says, the parable continues, "While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion." He's trying to show us, in advance, God is a compassionate God. God pursues. He felt compassion, and he ran and he embraced him and fell on him and kissed him. The father said to His servants, "Quickly, bring the best robe and put it on my son." He heard the speech. Take me as a heard man, bring a robe, put it on my son. Put a ring on his hand, authority. Put sandals on his feet, for this son of mine was dead, but has come to life again. The son of mine was lost, and has been found. In other words, who was searching for whom? They began to celebrate and rejoice.


II. God Pursues Sinners with His Love

I kind of love this story because it shows us when from there, from that point of despair and distress, you search for Him, you seek Him, and you will find Him, because God is a compassionate God, and then what you will discover is that God was pursuing you all the way, because here's the point, God pursues sinners with His love. When you've come to the end of yourself, He says, "Seek God from there and you will find that He was searching for you." He was pursuing you, because God loves sinners, that's why He pursues them. He wants sinners to come, He wants sinners to seek Him with all of their hearts, because they have been searching. They have been searching, that's why they got into that, because they were searching, but they were searching for the wrong things.
What is that saying? They were searching for love, but all the wrong places. They were searching, and in fact I suggest that there is a great searching in the human soul. It's an aspect of the human soul. There's a great looking, there's a great longing and searching in life. People are looking, searching for meaning, for purpose, something deeper. They're looking for meaning, they're looking for love, they're looking for purpose. They're searching. Why does God put a searching like that in the soul? God puts a searching like that in the soul so that you will search and you will find him because there's a great joy in the finding. Search with all your heart. There's a great joy in the finding.
1 John 4:19, "We love Him, because He first loved us." He pursued us. Now, seek after Him with all your heart. There is a joy in the finding. Because what we see is that God does pursue, God pursues with His love, and God is pursuing, God is seeking the wounded. That's God's heart. That's what we see. 


A. God is seeking the wounded

One of the most powerful scriptures, I think, that shows the heart of God in the seeking and in the pursuing for the hurting, and the wounded, has to be Ezekiel 34. You've got to read the whole chapter sometime. He begins the chapter by speaking against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel who were feeding themselves and not the sheep, and the sheep became scattered. This is Ezekiel 34:4. He accuses these leaders, says, "Those who are sickly, you have not strengthened. The diseased, you have not healed. The broken, you have not bound up. The scattered, you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost." You want my heart? You have to be doing this. This is my heart.
This is a key. He wants us to see His heart. He pursues those that are hurting, those that are wounded. I tell you what, there are so many wounded today. It seems to me that there are more woundedness people, broken people, today than ever before that I've ever seen. There's a great lostness, a brokenness, a woundedness. Therefore, He's trying to make a point. He says, "I will pursue them, I will seek for them." What is He saying in Ezekiel 34, "I will seek for them myself." Ezekiel 34:11, and then verse 15-16, "For thus says the Lord God, behold, I myself will search for my sheep. I will seek them out." I just love the heart that He is showing us here, "I will find them. I will seek for them. I will feed my flock, and I will lead them to rest, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, I'll bring back the scattered, I'll bind up the broken, I will strengthen the sick."


B. God is seeking the lost


Now, this is a great Word, because He wants us to see His heart. If you're here today, and you're carrying some wound, somebody has wounded you somehow, you've been hurt in life, you've got to know this, God loves you, and He is pursuing you because He wants to heal that wound. He wants to bind it up. He wants to bring healing to your life. He wants to bring revival to your soul, because if your soul is alive, you are alive. He wants to bring revival to you. God loves you. He is pursuing you, because what we see is God's heart. God is pursuing, God is seeking, and God is seeking the lost.
Luke 15 is filled with parables that have this one theme, God is seeking the lost. The chapter begins very interestingly, Luke 15:1-2, "Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him." Now, right there, we love that first sentence, because we can relate to this story. "Oh, yes, we would be in that group too." Sinners came to Him, to hear Him, to listen to Him. "We want to hear." But the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, "Would you look at this man, this man receives sinners. Can you believe this? He says he's holy. He says he's righteous. Would you look at this? He actually receives sinners. He ought to be casting them away. He's holy. He says He's holy. You've got to be casting them off. Oh, no, He receives sinners, and He even eats with them. Can't believe it."
He answers. He says, "A shepherd had 100 sheep, and one of them was lost. Would he not leave the 99 and go and search for the one that was lost? When he found him, would he not put him on his shoulders and bring him home? Then he would call his friends and his neighbors and say, 'rejoice with me, that which was lost has been found."' He says, "I tell you, there's more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than 99 who think they need no repentance."
Then He gives another parable. He said, "There was a woman who had 10 silver coins. One was lost. Would she not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, would she not call her friends and her neighbors and say, 'rejoice with me, that which was lost has been found."' Then He says it again, "I tell you, there is rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents."
I have a question. Did Jesus mean that? When he said that right there, when he said, "There is rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents." Did He mean that? I suggest that He did mean that, and I love imagining it. Maybe my imagination is a little much, but I love imagining it. Rejoicing in heaven. What's interesting is the parable says that when that shepherd finds the lost sheep, he calls his friends and family, "Rejoice with me." The woman who found the last coin says to her friends and neighbors, "Rejoice with me. I found that which was lost." He's showing us something. The angels of heaven rejoice with Him. A sinner has been found, a lost sheep has been found. A sinner has come home. Let's rejoice.
I love imagining the angels shouting and rejoicing. "Oh, praise God. A sinner. Everyone see this? A sinner has come home. This is a great day. This is a grand day." Angels of heaven are rejoicing. It's a powerful picture, because God pursued that lost sheep. It's His heart to pursue. Jesus said, "I've come to seek and to save. That was the whole reason my father sent me, to seek after them, to find them, and when I find them, to save them."
One of the great stories that shows us the heart of God has to come out of John 4. It tells us the story of a woman from the city of Sychar. It says at the beginning of the chapter, that Jesus had to go through Samaria. Now, you might know that the Jews despise Samaritans. They look down on them, they thought of them as half breeds, because they had intermarried with the Gentiles, and Jews would have nothing to do with them. Most Jews would go around Samaria, but it says Jesus had to go through it, not just because He wanted to get from one to another place, but because, I suggest, He was pursuing a lost sheep.
He comes to this place, and there's a well. He sends the disciples into the city to buy food. While He's there, a woman comes to the well by herself. Now, this is very unusual. Women would not come by themselves, it's dangerous, but she's by herself. As she approaches, Jesus says to her, "Woman, give me a drink." She says, "How is it that you being a Jew would ask a drink from me, since I'm a Samaritan? How is that?" Jesus said, "If you knew who was asking, you would have asked of Him and He would give you living water." She said, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and this well is deep. Where do you get this living water?" He said, "Anyone who drinks from this well, will thirst again, but the water that I give when he drinks, he will never thirst. For the living water that I give will spring up into him as eternal life." She said, "Sir, give me this water. Give me this water." He said, "Go call your husband." "I have no husband."
"You have answered correctly, that you have no husband. For, in fact, you've have five husbands, and the man you are now with is not your husband." She said, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you people say that it is in Jerusalem that we must worship." He said, "I tell you a time is coming in now when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem where people worship. My father is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth, and such, My Father is seeking." And such, my Father is seeking. She says, "I know that when the Messiah comes, He will speak all things." He said, "I, who speak to you, am He."
I've thought about this story, and I've come to change my view of this woman. I used to think that when He says, "Call your husband", she says, "I have no husband." "Correct, because you've had five husbands, and the man you're now with is not your husband." Then she says, "Sir, I perceive you're a prophet." For a long time, I thought, oh, she's ashamed of herself, and so she just wants to change the subject. Let's not talk about me, shall we, let's talk about you. I've changed my view. I think perhaps what was happening, was that Jesus was seeking a lost sheep. He touched a very deep wound. Something very hurt and broken.
How many times has she gone out into the night under the stars? "God, what's wrong with me? What's wrong with me? Everything I touch fails. I've had five failed marriages." No one enters a marriage thinking that it's going to fail. They always think it's going to be wonderful. This could be the one. Everything I touch and despise, no one wants me. These women did not want her around. Don't be near my man. No one wanted her. She's given up on the idea of marriage. Now she's violating her conscience. She's living with the man. I give up. I'm lonely. What's wrong with me God? I know yet I know. You say that hope will come, that you will send the Messiah, who will speak of things, who will have the answers. Where? Where, God? Where is hope?
Then Jesus comes seeking the lost sheep, touching the deepest wound that she has. She is so radically transformed. She's so radically changed that she goes into the city and she says, "You've got to meet this man who just told me everything I've ever done", and the whole city comes out to see Jesus and to hear His words. I tell you, Jesus loves sinners. Do you believe it? Can we give the Lord praise and glory?
[applause]
There is a song that we love to sing.
Oh, come to the alter. I want to quote just some of the words. Are you hurting and broken within, overwhelmed by the weight of your sin? Jesus is calling. What does that mean? It means Jesus is pursuing. He is seeking. He wants to find those that are hurting and broken. He wants to find those that are overwhelmed by the weight of it. He's calling. Have you come to the end of yourself? Do you get thirst for a drink from the well? He's pursuing. Jesus is calling. Oh, come, come to the alter. What does that mean? It means Jesus wants you to be seeking. He wants you to be looking. He wants you to be searching. You come, and you'll find that the Father's arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Oh, my Savior. Isn't He wonderful? Sing hallelujah. Christ has risen. Glorious.
Father, thank you so much for your heart, for pursuing, hurting the broken, those that are overwhelmed, those who have come to the end of themselves, those that are thirsty. You pursue them, but then you say, now you seek, now you come, and come with all your heart, for the Father's arms, are open wide.
Church, today, as we are before the Lord, as the Spirit is speaking life, even this morning, the Spirit is speaking life, are you hurting? Carrying some wound? God is pursuing you. God will bind up. God will heal. God will strengthen. Jesus is calling. Would you open your heart to Him? Would you let Him heal? Would you let Him strengthen? Would you let Him bring revival? God wants revival. God wants revival here. God wants revival now. God wants this church to be on fire. Now is the time, now is the day to let the Spirit revive the church. Would you open your heart, would you say, God, bring revival to me, bring revival to my heart, to my life? I want you to be that fire in my soul. Would you say that to God? Would you say it by just lifting your hand in a bold way? Revival comes from boldness, does it not? Revival comes from boldness. Open your hand, open your heart, raise your hand to the Lord and say, God, I'm asking, I want that fire. I want revival. Would you say it to the Lord? Would you raise your hand to the Lord and say, God, I want revival. Let Him bring the fire and the spirit, let Him bring His life. He is pursuing you, because He knows that revival is life.
Father, thank you for everyone who has responded to the Lord, moved in power. We give you thanks and glory and honor for all that you're doing at us today. In Jesus name.

Deuteronomy 4:29-40   NASB

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. 31 For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.
32 “Indeed, ask now concerning the former days which were before you, since the day that God created [a]man on the earth, and inquire from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it? 33 Has any people heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard it, and survived? 34 Or has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, [b]as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 To you it was shown that you might know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him. 36 Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline you; and on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire. 37 [c]Because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose [d]their descendants after them. And He [e]personally brought you from Egypt by His great power, 38 driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in and to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is today. 39 Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other. 40 So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am [f]giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may [g]live long on the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”

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