Complacency is detrimental in our walks with Christ. As followers of Christ, we should be constantly seeking more of Him, and to be more like Him. How, then, do we go about seeking God for more? In this message on Mark Chapter 10, Pastor Mike Kelsey encourages believers in the way they are pursuing a deepening relationship with God. Pastor Mike Kelsey addresses three primary ways he has seen the faith of the Church flourishing and seeking more of God. Additionally, he discusses the responsibility of the individual believer when it comes to deepening their faith and seeking more of God.
- Increasing Faith
- Intensifying Desire
- Deepening Fellowship
- Desperation for More of God
Seeking God For More
Well, if you got a Bible with you, go ahead and make your way to Mark 10, Mark 10. I want to welcome those of you that are new to our church here at our Tyson’s location. Also want to give a shout-out to those of you watching online and at all of our different locations around the DC Metro area. It’s good to be together. We’re going to jump into Mark 10, picking up in verse 46, and we’re continuing in a series that we’ve been in where we are studying the Gospel of Mark.
Before we dive into 10:46, many of you know if you’ve been coming to our church for the last couple of weeks, you know that God has just been doing just something unique in just the life of our church. We’ve been seeking God in just, I think, a unique and intense way. It’s been a concentrated season of prayer for us. It started a couple of weeks ago calling impromptu prayer gatherings every night, and y’all were showing up. Thank you, by the way. Then that shifted to doing Friday night prayer gatherings every week since then. It’s just been a really sweet time.
Some of you have heard, even if you’re not a Christian, even secular media has been picking this up, that there have been … It seems to be God moving and working in these kind of unique, concentrated ways at different places all around the country, so much so that people have been asking the question, this has been bubbling up, especially in Christian circles, but also in just mainstream media headlines, is this revival? Is revival breaking out in America? Now, I don’t know. I honestly don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. We’ll let the historians be the ones to declare whether or not it was a revival.
But as we’ve been thinking about that question, I was reminded of my favorite definition of revival by a man named Richard Loveless. He wrote a book called Dynamics of Spiritual Life, and this is how he defines revival. He defines revival not as a “special season of extraordinary religious excitement.” He says, “Rather, revival is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit which restores the people of God,” and here’s the key for me, “which restores the people of God to normal spiritual life after a period of corporate decline.”
Here’s why it’s one of my favorite definitions, one, because I think it most accurately captures what we see in scripture. When you see revival happening in scripture, and even when you look throughout church history, you see legitimate revivals happening, what tends to happen is that God’s people have been drifting and have been settling. God has said in his word, I want you to live here. Here’s the standard of living in my kingdom.
God’s people have been settling for here, settling for idolatry, settling for living below the spiritual poverty line, so to speak. God in his grace intervenes by his Spirit and makes them aware that they’re settling, makes them aware that they’ve been in sin. He begins to bring conviction and turn their hearts, and they begin through repentance to say, “God, we want to live back here.”
I don’t know if what God has been doing is revival, but I do know God has been doing a unique work in our church. I shared this at our Montgomery County location last week, but as I’ve been just personally and pastorally processing, God, what are you doing, and just journaling my own observations and thoughts, I think God is doing a couple of things in our church. Number one, I think God has been increasing our faith.
I think he’s been reminding us that he is the God who is able to do anything.
When we’ve been coming together, if you’ve been in our prayer gatherings, you’ve seen people praying as an expression of that, praying bold prayers to a big God.
God Is Intensifying Our Desires
I think God has been intensifying our desire in a Psalm 63 kind of way. In fact, my wife Ashley is the worship director out in Montgomery County, and she was leading a call to worship one Sunday a couple months ago. She said, “It’s interesting that in Psalm 63, it says, ‘In a dry and weary land where there is no water,’ you would expect him to say, ‘I want water.’ It’s not what he says. He says, ‘In a dry and weary land where there is no water, God, I want you.'”
It seems like God has been stirring and intensifying that kind of desire in our hearts for God to say, “God, we want you. We want your presence. We want intimacy with you.” It’s been showing up in the ways that we’ve just been worshiping God with renewed passion and zeal for the presence and the power and the holiness and the majesty of God. He’s been intensifying our desire.
I also think he’s been deepening our fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. You’ve been coming to these prayer gatherings. Y’all, we’ve been together a lot. Some of y’all started a flight all the way to Montgomery County on Friday night for us to gather and worship together out at MoCo. We’ve been together a lot over these past couple of weeks. One of the things God has been doing in that is deepening our fellowship and our affection for one another, our vulnerability with one another as we’re honest in confession, honest about our sin, honest about our struggles. I think God has been doing what it says in 1 Thessalonians. He’s been causing our love to abound more and more for each other.
I also think God has been leading us to reprioritize our rhythms, to realign, in a sense, our lives around the priorities that he reveals in scripture, the ways that he has said, I’ve designed you to operate as a church. I’ve designed these things as ways for you to step into all that I’ve called you to be and all that I’ve called you to do.
I think the way I would summarize what God has been doing is this. I think God has just been giving our church a gracious reminder that there’s more. What God has been saying to us is, there is more. If you’ve been living here, I’m telling you there’s more.
There is more in a relationship with me. There is more that I want to do in you. There’s more that I want to do for you. There’s more that I want to do through you. There is more of me for you to experience. That’s what I want us to see in Mark 10:46. We’re going to meet a man in this passage who wanted more, and he refused to settle for less.
A Prayer For God’s Help
Before we dive into this, I want to give us just a moment here at our locations … If you’re watching from home, online, wherever you’re watching from, why don’t you just take a moment, just a quiet moment between you and the Lord and wherever you are. Maybe you’re a follower of Jesus exploring Christianity, but hey, you’re here, you’re listening to a sermon. It’s a good time to pray. I want you to just pray simply, God, would you speak to me personally through your word? Just take a moment between you and God.
Father, we give you our attention now as we turn to your word. Father, I’m so aware, I’m so aware that nothing I say can produce spiritual transformation. But God, when you speak, miracles happen. Father, I pray that you would not only speak through your word, but that you would work through your word. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen.
Mark 10:46. Y’all ready?
Nope. We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this. Here, all of our locations. Y’all ready?
Reading Mark Ten
All right, Mark 10:46. Let’s jump in. It says, “And they,” so this is talking about Jesus and his disciples. “They came to Jericho, and as he was leaving Jericho …” Pause for a second. That might be confusing. He came to Jericho. He’s leaving Jericho. This is because he’s going through Jericho. They’ve come from another location where he’s been doing ministry, but they’ve been on this journey to Jerusalem and they’re going through Jericho. So they come into Jericho, they’re coming out of Jericho on the way to Jerusalem. As they were leaving Jericho, “He was leaving Jericho with his disciples and the great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus was sitting by the roadside.”
Now, Matthew records in his gospel account that there were actually two blind beggars here, but Mark decides to focus only on Bartimaeus. We don’t know much about Bartimaeus, but even just from this brief description, we do know that his life was a struggle. He struggled physically, he’s blind, which undoubtedly created some challenges for him, especially in the first century, well before many of the medical and technological advancements that we have available to us today.
Because of his physical limitations, we see here also that he struggled financially. He’s a beggar, which was very common for blind people during that time. In fact, that’s likely why he’s strategically positioned alongside the road between Jericho and Jerusalem, hoping to scrape together some spare change from the crowds that were traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover festival.
He struggled socially. If you read through the Old Testament, God specifically prohibited the mistreatment of people who were blind. You see examples of that in, if you’re taking notes, Leviticus 19:14, Deuteronomy 27:18. God prohibits the mistreatment of people who were blind. But even where blind people weren’t actively oppressed, they were still constantly overlooked and neglected. That’s why the crowds are traveling on the road, while Bartimaeus is sitting by the roadside, living in the shadows, pushed to the margins of mainstream society.
He struggled physically, financially, and socially, but at the root of his problems was very likely a very painful spiritual struggle, because during that time, people believed that blindness was the direct result of that person’s sin or some sin in their family history. So if you were blind, it was because God was punishing you. Imagine going day to day, not only feeling forgotten by the people around you, but feeling forsaken by the guy who made you. His life was a struggle.
Just a quick question for you. In what ways has life been a struggle for you lately? I’m sure there were some good days in Bartimaeus’ life, but there were definitely a lot of difficult, discouraging days as well. But one day, everything changed. Everything.
According to historian Luke, a parallel passage in Luke 18:36, he fills in a little bit more detail than Mark does because all of a sudden Luke says, “Bartimaeus heard a commotion stirring in the crowd, and he asked somebody what was happening. And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.'”
Now, remember Bartimaeus’ limitations. He’s heard about Jesus before, his miracles, his teaching, but it’s not like he could just take a road trip to Galilee. It’s not like he could pack up and go find Jesus somewhere in Jerusalem to get firsthand experience with Jesus himself. So he becomes content just knowing about Jesus from a distance. But now all of a sudden, Jesus is right there within shouting distance. He knows that this is an opportunity he may never get again.
Verse 47, “When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out.” Y’all, in the original language, this is a very strong term. It literally means to scream in desperation. He is screaming over all of the commotion and noise of this crowd. He yells out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Jesus As Son of David
You might wonder, well, why does he call Jesus, Son of David? In fact, this is the only place in Mark where someone calls Jesus, Son of David. Son of David’s only mentioned two times in the Gospel of Mark. One, it’s Jesus talking about himself. The only time that anybody refers to Jesus as Son of David other than Jesus is this blind beggar. This is one of the signs that God has already been working in this man’s heart. Because here’s what’s happening, the crowds just see Jesus as a human teacher from Nazareth or maybe an impressive miracle worker. But Bartimaeus sees Jesus as the Messiah.
If you’re not familiar with the Bible, let me give you context to help you understand here why. In 2 Samuel 7, it was prophesied that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David, and this Messiah would be anointed by God to rule over an eternal kingdom. This is why Matthew in his gospel account, he starts his gospel, 1:1, like this, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David.” He wants to make it clear upfront that Jesus isn’t just a normal baby boy, that Jesus is the one sent by God to accomplish his divine purposes and to fulfill his divine promises. So people have been waiting and anticipating the coming of the Messiah.
The question then is, how would they know who the Messiah is? There’s several different ways, but listen to one of them. Listen to this prophecy in Isaiah 35:5. It says, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.”
Then you fast forward to Jesus’ first sermon. Some of you remember this in Luke 4:18, he quotes from Isaiah 61. How does Jesus announce his ministry? Here’s what he says. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind.”
You got to imagine Bartimaeus is hype. The Messiah is within shouting distance. He has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We don’t know how Bartimaeus understands all of this about Jesus. Like I said, maybe he had heard stories of Jesus’ miracles or he had heard some people processing Jesus’ teaching, but it’s clear that unlike so many others in the crowd, he understands who Jesus really is. I love how one writer put it. He said, “His heart has seen the light before his eyes ever saw the light.”
God Works in Our Hearts
God was at work in his heart revealing to him the truth and wonder of who Jesus is, and you see it in the way that he responds to Jesus. We see his reverence for Jesus, Son of David, Messiah, the one sent by God. I don’t care what they say about you or think about you. I know who you are. We see his humility before Jesus. He says, “Have mercy on me. Have mercy on me.”
We tend to equate mercy with forgiveness, and forgiveness is definitely an example or an expression of mercy. But the biblical view of mercy is broader than that. Mercy is when someone is in a position to hurt you, but they help you instead. They’re in a position to harm you or maybe to ignore you or maybe to give you exactly what you deserve, negatively speaking, but instead they are moved to help you.
You see, we need God’s mercy not only because of our sinfulness, but also because of our helplessness. We need God to intervene in our hearts and intervene in our lives because we desperately need and are desperately dependent on his mercy and his help and his power and his grace.
So not only do we see Bartimaeus’ reverence for Jesus and his humility before Jesus, but then we see his desperation for Jesus, so much so in verse 48 that when the crowd rebuked him telling him to be silent, just like the disciples rebuked parents for bringing children to Jesus, it says “Bartimaeus cried out all the more.” He kept screaming and got even louder. He says, I know y’all are trying to get me to be a little bit more quiet. I know y’all are trying to shut me up, but I know too much about Jesus.
He cries out all the more and says, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” In verse 49, I love this picture, “Jesus stopped.” In the original language, it literally says, “And Jesus stood still.”
See, there’s a difference between hearing and listening. We know this because you’ve been on a Zoom call for work, and you have something else up on screen. So you’re working and it looks like you’re looking and paying attention to the meeting, and you’re hearing everything everybody is saying. Then all of a sudden, you hear your name mentioned because somebody just asked you a question. You realize, I have been hearing, but I have not been listening. There’s a difference between hearing and listening.
The crowds hear Bartimaeus crying out, but they refuse to listen. All they hear is a distraction, a nuisance, a beggar, but Jesus hears the pain of a person loved by God, so much so that he not only listens, but he stops what he’s doing. All of the commotion and all of the noise … You remember, he’s on his way to Jerusalem for the last time. He’s literally on his way to fulfill the purpose that he had been sent to fulfill, and yet the cries of a blind beggar on the side of the road stop him in his tracks and he locks his attention in. You see this kind of awareness and sensitivity to people’s pain all throughout Jesus’ life and ministry.
Are You Listening to the Pain of Those Around You?
Let me just pause and let me just ask you, are you just hearing or are you actually listening and paying attention to the pain of people around you? Are you really listening to your wife? Are you really listening to your coworker? I know they’ve been telling you the same story over and over and over again, but are you really listening to the pain of a person loved by God? Are we listening to the pain in our community and all over the world, or are we just hearing it and tuning it out?
Jesus stopped in verse 49 and he said, “‘Call him,’ and they called the blind man saying to him, ‘Take heart. Get up; he’s calling you.’ And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you, Bartimaeus?'”
Now, there’s only two times in scripture where Jesus asked this question, and both of them are recorded right here in Mark 10. The other time is just before this in verse 38, which we studied last Sunday. Whenever you see repetition like this, especially so close together, that’s something to pay attention to, and we’ll come back to this in a few minutes.
But here’s what I think is happening here. Mark is showing a clear contrast between this blind man and the disciples. In fact, this blind man’s faith is somewhat of an indictment on the disciple’s failure to actually understand Jesus and his mission.
Inclusio In the Bible
Now, can we just get nerdy for a minute? Just like real quick, super quick. I’m not going to take long, all right? There’s a literary device that you’ll see in scripture called an inclusio. Can we say that out loud? Inclusio. All right, you can impress your friends. Now, inclusio is very simple. It’s where you have two sections that seem repetitive. It’s like the same thing is happening again, and there’s intentional material sandwiched in between. So it’s like brackets that intentionally draw your attention to the content in between the brackets.
What you’ll notice is that there are two instances in Mark’s gospel where Jesus opens the eyes of the blind. One of them is here in the passage we’re studying in chapter 10 and the other we already studied in chapter eight. Those are the two brackets. In both cases, Jesus heals a blind man. The question is, what’s happening in between?
We don’t have time to look in detail, but let me just summarize it for you. In between these two miracles, Jesus prophesies his suffering and death three times. Every single time, the disciples miss the point. So 8:32, Jesus predicts his suffering, and then Peter rebuked Jesus for being the pessimist. Remember how Jesus responds? He says, “Get behind me, Satan,” which is not a good look. That’s not what you want Jesus to say to you. If that’s what Jesus says to you, you’re doing it wrong, I guarantee.
9:31, Jesus predicts his suffering a second time. Not only do the disciples not understand what he’s saying, but immediately after that they get into an argument about who is the greatest disciple.
Then in the passage we studied last week, 10:32, Jesus predicts his suffering a third time. In the very next paragraph is James and John saying, Jesus, can I have a word? I hear everything you’re saying, your flogging, your suffering. I got it. But real quick, can we get the VIP season in the kingdom? It’s like they’re here, but they’re not listening. They don’t really understand.
You put all this together and what you see, here’s the key, what you see is that the blind men in the brackets weren’t the only ones who needed to have their eyes opened. This is not just about physical healing. The disciples could see physically, but they were struggling to see spiritually.
I love how New Testament scholar Mark Donbis puts it. He says, “The disciples are still trying to figure out how to accomplish God’s purposes in some other way than submitting to suffering and death,” which makes no sense to them. It’s not what they thought the Messiah was going to look like. The disciples grasp Jesus’ identity as Messiah, but they are confused about his mission.
Here’s what’s happening. The disciples are beginning to see and understand who Jesus is, but they are also still clinging to their own vision for how their life with Jesus should play out. It’s like they see, but they don’t really see. Because you can’t fully see and embrace God’s vision for your life and still cling to your own vision for your life. They’re still clinging to this vision of upward mobility, still clinging to selfish ambition, clinging to the vision of the good life and success that’s more shaped by their culture than by the kingdom of God.
So they asked to be seen, but Bartimaeus asks to see. He said to Jesus, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Now, before we close out this passage, I need to clarify something briefly because this passage, that one verse I just read, has been distorted so many times. There are teachers that will teach that you are healed by the amount of your faith. Or the reason you’re not healed yet is because you don’t have enough faith. It is unbiblical and it is devastating. I wish I had more time to fully unpack this, but I’ll just tell you as a young pastor here on staff at the church, within my first couple years, I’m in my early twenties.
Now, I remember one of my first funerals was a woman who had a deadly disease, but she trusted some prophetess that told her, “God is going to heal you, but only if you have enough faith. And here’s what faith looks like. Do not get treatment.” That’s what she believed. So one of my first funerals was for this woman who left behind her husband and her children.
I remember after the funeral, the woman’s sister coming up to me and showing me her phone, showing me the text thread. This woman was a specialist in that particular area of medicine and showed me this text thread begging her sister, “You need to get treatment.” “Every good and perfect gift comes from God.” God can actually work through medicine. That’s not a lack of faith for you to get medicine.
Healing in the Bible
Listen, the Bible never says that you are healed because of the amount of your faith, or the reason you’re not healed yet is because you don’t have enough faith. That is not what’s being taught. One of the ways I know that is because, first of all, Jesus doesn’t always heal. But also, and this is even more confusing, Jesus sometimes healed people who never even expressed any faith. That’s what happened in Mark 8. That’s what happened in John 9 with the man who was born blind.
Listen, in all the cases where Jesus said to somebody, “Your faith has made you well,” it seems clear that Jesus is talking about saving faith in who he is and not just faith in what he can do. In fact, that phrase “made well” is from the word that is also translated salvation or to be saved. It’s indicating that God is doing this deeper, more holistic work in Bartimaeus’ life, that he’s not just giving him physical healing, but also spiritual healing. This is a picture of saving faith in Jesus. Not only does Bartimaeus trust Jesus as a healer, but he trusts Jesus as the Messiah.
“He immediately recovered his sight and followed Jesus on the way.” He became a follower of Jesus. It’s interesting. The scholars point out that most of the time when Jesus healed somebody, their name is never mentioned, but Bartimaeus’ name is. Most scholars believe it’s because Bartimaeus started to follow Jesus and never stopped, that his story and who he was became well known in the early church. Jesus transforms his life from being a beggar by the roadside to being a disciple on the road in the way with Jesus.
What Is God Saying to Us?
How might God be speaking to us in this passage? We’ve been trying to leave a little bit of extra time these past Sundays for us to respond to God’s word directly to God in prayer. I just want to set up that time because I want us to see God today. I want us to see God. What is God saying to us in this?
I remember meeting with a mentor of mine, Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile. He’s the pastor of Anacostia River Church down in Southeast DC. I remember a couple years ago sitting with him at lunch and processing with him, trying to discern God’s will and God’s direction in my life and all this stuff. I remember him being like, “Mike, hold on one second. Don’t over-spiritualize. What do you want?” I was like, “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. See, I was worried about you. All this prosperity. What are you talking about right now, ‘What do I want?'” Because like many of us, we’d be like, “What I want is irrelevant.” Christian life is not all about what you want. That’s true. But what we seem to see here is that us coming to God starts with us being honest about what we want.
Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?” It’s the same question that he asked James and John. I mentioned this at MoCo last week, but I was talking about this passage with Pastor Eric Saunders over at our Arlington location. We were talking about this passage a couple months ago. I remember then that he said something that just blew me away, and I have not been able to shake it. I was studying this passage again this week. I couldn’t remember what he said. I just remember when he said it, I was blown away.
I hit him up. I said, “Eric, you said something about that question. Do you remember?” Praise the name of Jesus, he searched through his journal and he remembered. I said, “Eric, I need you to send that to me because I’m going to plagiarize.” It’s not plagiarism because I am giving him credit for it. But this is what he said. I’m just going to quote him directly. “Why would Jesus ask this question, ‘What do you want me to do for you?'”
Eric said, “It seems like that reveals that Christianity is not a religion that requires us to hide our real desires, that we have to ignore what our heart actually wants. It seems that Jesus is fine with us having our desire on the tip of our tongue and to have the kind of relationship with him where we can honestly make it known to him.” He says, “It’s crazy that Jesus fulfills Bartimaeus’ desire, but redirects James and John to something better.” Then he says, “My relationship with God has to include the capacity to be honest with him about my needs. I can’t not share for fear of being disappointed.” But he says, “My relationship also has to have room for trust, that God is either going to fulfill this or he’s going to give me what I would’ve asked for if I knew all that he knew.”
Be Honest With God
I love, he says, “Christianity’s not a religion that requires us to hide our real desires.” The way I’ve thought about this and talked about this is this, unless it’s sinful, keep asking until God gives you what you want or changes what you want most. Because we have a God who’s “able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask for or imagine according to the power that works in us,” and he loves to give good gifts to his kids. He just might give you what you want. But even if he doesn’t give you what you want or give you what you want right now, you have to trust him enough to change what you want most. So coming to God like Bartimaeus begins with being honest with God about what you actually want.
Here’s how it works. You know how you can get Italian ice or whatever, or not. It’s like the snow, this little snowball things, where they don’t never put enough syrup on it? You’re eating it and you’re enjoying it. It’s all right. But the deeper you go, when you actually get to the bottom, that’s where the best stuff is.
See, this is how our prayer life with God works. We come to God just honestly sharing with him, “This is what I want. This is what I’m seeking you for.” What the Holy Spirit will begin to do is he will begin to excavate and expose some of the things that’s going on in your heart, and he’ll take you deeper and deeper to the good stuff. You’ll realize that even if I want this, I want him more.
Ask for More of God
I want more of you, God. I want more of your wisdom. I want more of your grace. I want more of your power and self-control. I want to experience more of your love. I want more intimacy with you. So God, even if you don’t answer my prayer right now in the exact same way that I desire it, God, I want you.
I want you.
Here’s what I want us to do. We’re going to put this question that Jesus asked up on the screen here online at all of our locations, and just give us some space to really seek God. Want you to imagine Jesus asking you, like knowing you in this season of your life or the situations that you’re facing, Jesus asking you right now, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Some of us, we need to answer that question, and I hope you will by saying, “God, I want you to save me. I want you to save me. I want a relationship with you, God. Jesus, I want you to lead my life.” That’s what I’ve been praying for you, that God will open your eyes to see who Jesus truly is. Because you can grow up in church and go to church and hear, but not listen. You can see, but not see. This was all religion to me until the day that the Spirit by his grace open my eyes. Now, I began to see Jesus not just as a savior, but my Savior.
I begin to see myself as not just a good guy who goes to church, but somebody in desperate need of the mercy of God. He began to open my eyes to see who he really is. Now all of a sudden, I saw the beauty of his holiness. I saw that he was worth more than anything I could pursue in this world. As my eyes were opened, my heart became alive. I just wanted more of him, and I wanted to be clean of my sin. I didn’t want anything disrupting fellowship with him anymore. I wanted his will for my life.
Maybe you need to pray. God, my eyes are opening. I see you. I want more of you. I want this relationship with you. Maybe that’s how you need to pray.
God, would you open our eyes to see the death of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins, and the resurrection of Jesus as the way for us to have new life? God, I pray you would do that. Maybe that’s what you need to pray, God save me.
But if you are a follower of Jesus and you’ve experienced salvation and your eyes have been opened, how do you need to answer this question before the God who loves you, before the God who did not spare his own Son? He will graciously give us all things. He won’t withhold anything good from those that seek him and those that he loves. How do you need to just lay your desires before God? Even if you see that those desires are selfish or sinful, you allow the Holy Spirit to clear through that and take you deeper down, and you begin to express, God, I want more of you. Maybe you need to express that to him.
Let’s just take a moment here and at all of our locations. Maybe you need to get on your knees. Maybe you need to come down front here or at other locations just to block everything out. Maybe you came with some people and you want to pray with them. We just want to give you some space to just seek God, the God who loves you and is available to you and invites you to seek him for more. Take some time between you and the Lord.
Is Jesus Calling You to Salvation?
Even as people are praying, and if you’re here and as you’re looking at God’s word, you’re just been sensing that Jesus is calling you to salvation. Maybe he’s been opening your eyes, awakening this desire in you for a relationship with him. You would say, “Man, today …” That’s what I was praying. Today, I want to begin a relationship with Jesus. I want to ask you to take one little step of faith, and it’s just because I just want to pray for you right where you are. If you would just raise your hand. I just want to see your hand. I just want to pray for you. I see your hand. I see your hand, sir. I see your hand. I see your hand. I see your hand. I see you.
Let me pray for you. Father, I pray, God, I thank you, I thank you for each of these hands that represent an answer to prayer. I thank you for the ways that you are working, Lord, and I pray for each of these men and women and even the boys and girls that I saw lifting up their hand. God, I pray, Lord, that you would do a deep transformative work in their hearts, that you would open their eyes to truly understand the gospel of Jesus, and, God, that you would be merciful to save them, to separate their sin as far as the east is from the west, to cover and atone for their sin by the blood of Jesus on the cross, to unite them with Jesus in his resurrection so that they might too enjoy and walk in newness of life. God, we pray that you would do that miracle in hearts of people in this room.
For those of us who are already followers, God, Lord, would you continue to stir in us a longing and a desire for more? Father, would you put in us this deep, stubborn refusal to settle for anything less than all of who you are and all that Jesus died to provide for us?
God, we will give you all glory and honor and praise for your abundant goodness and your mercy. We pray this in Jesus’ name.