I have a confession to make; I like to listen to messages (sermons) – usually older ones.
I try to judge each sermon not by who preached it, but by how faithfully the speaker brings out the clear word of God; after all, that is the command to preachers: preach the word.
Side note: It is, unfortunately, all too common to hear the preacher’s opinion – not the opinion on what the Scripture says — after all, that is (at the most basic level) what Scriptural preaching is. I’m talking about the preacher’s opinion on “X”, which may or may not be supported by Scripture.
So, anyway, I was listening to this message when I heard the preacher say something along the lines of bless God, you better be serving God faithfully, so that when times come in your life that you have a big need, you find God in a good mood.
What!?!? My “alert” trigger just fired! Assuming that this wasn’t a slip of the tongue, there are a couple of things seriously wrong with such a statement.
First, it puts the Wonderful God in the wrong light. God is not “moody”; He never changes; He is always the same. He does not have “good moods” and “bad moods” – as He was yesterday, so is He today, and so will He be tomorrow. Such a comment drags the eternal God down to the level of man.
Second, our works do not commend us to God. Even as saved, our best works are still “filthy rags” in God’s sight — this is why we bring prayers “in Jesus’ name” — we come before God in the pure, white robes of Jesus’ righteousness, and make our petitions known to Him. I feel very sorry for the Christian who thinks that he earns answer to prayers by large offering, or a great number of professions of faith, or by a lot of baptisms. Such a man will be forever tormented wondering if his prayer could have been answered if he had just worked a little harder, or given a bit more. There is good news! It is much more restful to bring your prayers in Jesus’ name and not your own.
We should serve God because we love Him, not to have a lot of works to point to and insist that He answer our prayers on the basis of what we’ve done.