How to get close to God?

Note:- These are the outline notes of the sermon How to get close to God delivered at City Revival Ministries, Kuala Lumpur on 12/12/2015 7PM. You can contact me here for any clarifications, doubts or corrections. This is subject to change anytime and will be updated if needed. You may share this link to others. Praying that this will minister to you and may these notes be a blessing to many. In Christ, Donny

Bible Portion

James 4: 7,8

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Introduction

People who walk close with God, at some point of time in life, would have gone through this state called ‘spiritual dryness’, an empty feeling or lack of God’s presence. During such moments, never think God has forsaken you or left you alone; for He is faithful enough to keep His promise. Here, in this notes I would like to share few spiritual exercises which can help you get restored from the so called spiritual dryness and to have a close walk with God

Two fundamental truths from these 2 verses

  1. Resist the devil, he will flee from you
  2. Come near to God, He will come near to you

You cannot please both God and devil. If you want to have a close walk with God, you need to say NO to satan, and take every step to come near God. The best example is Jesus. Jesus resisted the devil when He was tempted, and the Bible says, the devil left Him.

 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Mathew 4:10,11

Sin separates us from God

It is your ‘sins’ which have hidden His face from you. This is the fundamental obstacle in your walk with God. Whenever you are feeling a spiritual emptiness, it’s a reminder that you need to examine your life, to find out the sin which caused the dryness.

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:1,2

This is how it works. God is holy. So He cannot tolerate sin. Therefore, the moment you sin, you fall short of God’s presence.

We know the story of David. When David sinned, he lost the joy of the Holy Spirit. That is why He prayed to God like this:

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalms 51:11,12

Sin originates from the heart

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’”

18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person;

It all starts from the heart. Therefore, God is so much concerned about the condition of the heart. If your heart is right with God, then you can enjoy the close walk with God. The things which comes from the heart is what matters most to God.

Guard your heart

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

With all diligence keep your heart clean and pure. Keep a watch on your thoughts. In the sight of God, a lustful thought is equivalent to adultery; and anger is equivalent to murder.

22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Matt 5:22

28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt 5:28

Examine your life

It may be a sin in your words, thoughts, intentions or actions, which has separated you from God’s presence. With all diligence find out those sins. Then, it would be easy for you to come back to that joy of the Holy Spirit. What you can do is to set apart a private time with God, in a quiet place to do a self-examination. Here are few steps

  1. Find a place and time where there is less distraction
  2. Start with a word of prayer
  3. Take a piece of paper or a diary
  4. Remember all the sins which you can recollect
  5. Scribble it in the paper one by one
  6. Spend some more time asking God to reveal all the sins which you have done

Find out the Hidden Sins, Secret Sins

Secret sins are the sins we have done in secret, which only you and God knows. This is a prayer of Moses, the man of God.

You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. Psalms 90:1

Hidden sins are the sins which we have done, but we are not aware about it. Only God can help us find the hidden sins.

But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Psalms 19:12 [NIV]

Repent and Confess

Once you find out all the sins (including secret sins and hidden sins), the next step is to deal with it. Yes, you need to repent for your sins (feel sorry for what you have done and decide not to repeat it again) and confess it.

But to whom?

The sins which you have done to God, you should confess to God; and the sins you have done against people, you have to confess to people and God as well.

Here are few references.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 [NIV]

The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ Luke 15:21 [NIV] (The prayer of repentance of the son who left his father’s house)

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. Psalms 51:1 [NIV] (David’s prayer of repentance)

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness I John 1:8,9

Will God forgive me?

God is ever loving and ever merciful. If you are willing to repent, God is willing to forgive. This is what the Bible says:

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him Psalms 103: 10-13

Also, once God forgives your sins, He will remember it no more. What a loving God we have! So merciful.

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Hebrew 8:12

Will God come close to me?

When you take a step to grow closer to God, God helps you and comes more close to you.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8

God desires to have a more close relationship with you. He loves you a lot. Even if you have done anything wrong, if you are willing to repent and ask for forgiveness, He will stretch out His hands and accept you as a son/daughter.

Final Steps

Be washed with the blood of Jesus.

What does this mean? Read the below verse.

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:7

It is the Blood of Jesus which cleanses us from all sins and makes us clean. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The blood of Jesus which was shed on the cross is spiritually available for us, and it does a cleansing in our spirit, body and mind. So each time, when you confess, pray like this,

Father, I repent of my sins. Please forgive me and wash me with the blood of Jesus.

When you pray this prayer sincerely, the Blood of Jesus, literally washes you and make you clean in the eyes of God. When you apply the Blood of Jesus, you are reminding yourself that it was for your sins also, that Jesus has died on the cross.

Next, you need to get cleansed with the Word of God.

What does this mean? Read the below verse.

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. John 15:3

It means, the more we read God’s word, it makes our lives clean. Yes, you need to read the Word of God regularly to keep yourselves clean. That is why it is written:

Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

When you do the above, you will definitely receive that joy of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit will help you with the above process.

Let us pray.

Father, in Jesus’ Name, I come to you. Please help me to identify all the sins in my life and to become pure in your sight. I repent of my sins. I confess my sins. Wash me with the Blood of Jesus Christ. Make me clean and pure. Help me to understand your Word and obey your Word. Thank You Jesus. Amen.