Signs of LifeFebruary 20, 2022
Introduction: What are the of life?
So, then, what are the of life for a church? We could also call these, vital signs. They are an essential part of a healthy church body. So, what are they? We begin with…
- Getting with God – 9:1
1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads.
What is ? Well, I’m glad that you asked. It has been defined as:
“The abstinence of for the expressed purpose of drawing closer to God.”
Fasting is the act of the body of food. It is of ourselves before God. We are disciplining the body, bringing it into subjection. We are seeking to draw ourselves into the presence of God. Doesn’t the Bible teach us to humble ourselves? (See James 4).
Second, we have sackcloth. Sackcloth was a sign of before God – these Jews were humbling themselves before God. Notice here in verse 1, that they put on sackcloth – this was their clothing.
Third, they put dust, or upon their heads. This reminded them that they came from the dust of the ground – that they were mere mortals.
Funny story –
Fasting, putting on sackcloth, and placing ash on your head were all done for one reason. A desire to draw closer to God. These Jews recognized their sinfulness, from their sins, and sought to follow God more closely.
Dr. Elmer Towns in his book, Fasting for Spiritual Break Through share nine reasons why we should fast. Allow me to share them with you.
Nine Reasons to Fast
- To overcome
- To solve .
- To bring about revival and
- To break mental and emotional habits.
- To divert to meet the needs of others.
- To gain and make right decisions.
- To help the body to itself
- To expand and increase our personal for God.
- To overcome the and his power.
Will you Fast?
“When you fast… “ (Matthew 6: 17)
II. and confession of sins – 9:2
2 Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
The second sign of life is seen in the words, and confession of sins. If you really want to know what it means to live the Christian life, then you will have to come to terms with the words, separation, and confession of sins,
Shall we continue in sin that may abound? Certainly not.
Elsewhere Paul wrote,
For you, brethren, have been called to ; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)
Those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from foreigners, so likewise, those who belong to Jesus Christ need and must separate themselves from influences that would hinder one’s walk with God.
In 1 Corinthians 15:33 Paul wrote,
Do not be deceived: “company corrupts good habits.”
And in 2 Corinthians 6:17 the apostle Paul wrote,
“Therefore, from among them and be separate, says the Lord Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”
The Bible says,
- Romans 12:12 – “Be not to this world.”
- James 1:27 – “And to keep oneself from the world.”
- 1 John 2:15 – “Do not love the or the things in the world…”
Confession of Sin
It is so important that we understand that separation is not good enough, but that we must alsoour involvement and the involvement of our fathers. We must confess our sin and the sin of our fathers.
III. Reading, Confession, and – 9:3
3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.
I hope that you are not getting tired of me reminding us of the necessity of getting into the
What is Spiritual Anorexia?
Anorexia Defined: ”Someone who from God’s Word for an extended period. “
Look at verse 3. Again, we see the Israelites for the Word of God, they stood to their feet when the Word was being read. What a beautiful picture of people who are submitting to the Scripture.
I want you to notice that these Israelites spent of their days reading the Bible. One-fourth of the day would be six hours. Have any of us ever taken a day out of our week and read the Bible for six hours? I don’t know anyone who has.
A Second Bible Challenge
Confession and Worship
We also read here in verse three that the Israelites took another of the day or six hours for the express purpose of confessing their sins and worshiping the LORD their God.
What does it mean to ? It means that we acknowledge to God what He already knows
IV. Talking with God through – 9:4
4 Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the Lord their God.
The people in our text “cried out with a loud voice to the LORD their God.” Our prayers need to be addressed to
- Jeremiah 33:3 – Call unto Me and I will show you great and mighty things.
I believe that we as a church will never achieve what we are supposed to accomplish in our community without prayer. is not something that is supposed to be left up to the pastor alone. No, it is something that all of us need to be doing.
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Men always ought to pray and not lose heart. (Luke 18:1)
Can I encourage you to use the prayer that is provided in the bulletin each week, or to write out your own prayer guide? Join us in praying for our church family, our community, and our nation.
- I invite you to come and pray at the altar.
- Use a room in the church for a prayer room.
- Buy up the opportunities to pray for one another.
- Pray with your family (again, use a prayer list)
- Walk around Spirit Lake (your Community) praying for our neighbors.
- Always pause at some point in your day and pray.
- Make sure that our Home Groups take time to pray.
V. the LORD our God (Praise Him) – 9:5-35
There is the fifth sign to life, and it is probably very closely related to prayer, and it is, , or what we call PRAISE. I believe that it is necessary for us to see that it is directed towards God.
By the way, there is so much here in verses 5-35, that I have decided that I will write a chapter just on what we find here before us. A whole chapter is given over to or blessing the LORD.
- God’s (His being) – 9:5-6
5 And the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said: “Stand up and bless the Lord our God Forever and ever! “Blessed be Your glorious name, Which is exalted above all blessing and praise! 6 You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.
The Lord has done great for us, And we are glad. (Psalm 126:3)
I want you to notice that the people in our text were thankful for God’s name.
In verse 6, The LORD is the of all things – things in heaven, and things on earth. The LORD is the preserver of all things! What POWER!
What Praise does for Us
Have these thoughts you? They have me. This is what blessing and praise do – it lifts us up into God’s presence. We can’t get enough of this – we need more. Blessing and Praise bring us into the presence of our LORD.
We Praise Him for His Work
The rest of this chapter speaks of that the Israelites had gone through (historical information), and how God had been with them and worked in their lives. Here is what I discover in verses 7 through 25,
Can you see why this will make a great chapter all by itself?
VI. Making a with God – 9:36-38
36 “Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, To eat its fruit and its bounty, Here we are, servants in it! 37And it yields much increase to the kings You have set over us, Because of our sins; Also they have dominion over our bodies and our cattle At their pleasure; And we are in great distress. 38 “And because of all this, We make a sure covenant and write it; Our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it.”
I couldn’t help but notice two very insightful found in these closing verses.
- It is God who for His people – 9:36.
- Rulers have power over us because of – 9:37.
We give thanks to for all that He provides for us, and at the same time we complain about those who rule over us because of our sin (like our authorities). What we need to do, is what we discover the Israelites doing here. They made a covenant with God.
A covenant is nothing more than an
Conclusion: My heart as your Pastor is that our church is . I want us as a church “striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27). Therefore, I challenge all of us to make sure that these of life are evident in our fellowship – within our Church. We must do the following:
- and humility to draw closer to God.
- from the world (sin).
- Become-centered people.
- as if everything depended upon us and then relax in God.
- Remember that everything is upon God.
- God every day and often through the day for the great things He has done.
- Write out a with God.
Take this message and use it as an outline for out your own Covenant agreement with God. Tell Him that it is your desire to live your life in such a way as to bring glory and honor to His Name while you walk here on earth.