Monday, March 19, 2018

Prayer - Our Spiritual Reality Check

LISTEN! to this sermon on: SOUNDCLOUD!

“From Ulster Plantation to the Carolina’s with the Gospel!” *

Russell H. McCullough / Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 / - Date:  18 March 2018

Text: Matthew 6.5 – 13; II Thessalonians 3.1 - 5
Thesis: “As we approach God in prayer both God and we know precisely where we are in our Walk”
Roger Scruton, an Englishman, once observed; “God is defined in the act of worship (and prayer) far more precisely than He is defined in any theology.” (1)
·         What I believe about God is immediately known to both God and me.
·         This should terrify us.
·         This should bring us to elation!
·         Emulating biblical prayers will soon erase our terror and bring us to elation.
·         Today, we will take a “reality check” regarding our beliefs, our priorities, and our doctrine as they are revealed in prayer.  We will then make application by considering and emulating Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians in the text just read in your hearing.

·         PLEASE STAND

Our Most Kind and Gracious Heavenly Father;

May our ears, our hearts, and our minds now come open to the implanted Word that can save our souls.

In the Name of Christ, we pray; AMEN


I Our Prayers Reveal Our True Beliefs (2) About God and His Holiness
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
a.   Reality Check One: “Just what do I think of God as I pray?”
1.   Am I fearful?
2.   Am I distracted?
3.   Am I bored?
4.   Is God Holy or is He not?

II Our Prayers Reveal Our True Priorities (3) for Both God and To Us
a.    Reality Check Two: “What are my priorities before God?”
1.   What do we pray for?
2.   Do we use formulaic words and phrases?
3.   Are we just trying to get through?
4.   Are our prayers intercessory or self-centered?
5.   Are we trying to convince God to do something our way?

III Our Prayers Reveal Our Doctrine (4)
a.   Reality Check Three: “Do I truly seek to embrace the Apostles Doctrine in its entirety?”
1.   Who is God the Father?
2.   Who is God the Son?
3.   Who is God the Holy Spirit?
4.   Is the Word of God true and without error?
5.   Who is man?
6.   What is sin?
7.   Who will be saved?  Who will be lost?
8.   What must I do to be saved?
9.   The Power of the gospel
10.       The reality of death and judgement
11.       The hope of the resurrection!
12.       The POWER of prayer!
13.       “How shall I now live?”

IV Paul’s Beliefs, Priority’s, and Doctrine Are All Revealed to the Thessalonians in II Thessalonians 3.1 - 5
A.  Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
B.  Paul’s prayer is mutual
a.   He asks the church to first pray for him
b.   He then prays for the church
C.   Paul’s Prayer List:
a.   It’s profound to see just what is and is not on his list:
1.   He prays that the Word of God speeds ahead.
2.   He prays that the Word of God be honored
3.   He prays that they be delivered from evil and wicked men as not all have faith.
4.   He prays that they be established.
5.   He prays that they be guarded from the evil one.
6.   He prays that they be blessed with confidence
7.   He prays that they be directed to the Love of God and to the Steadfastness of Christ
8.   Paul’s prayer action words are: SPEED, HONOR, DELIVER, ESTABLISH, GUARD, CONFIDE, DIRECT.
-      7 Power words of prayer!

9.   Paul reveals his beliefs, his priorities, and his doctrine to God, to the church and to himself as do we as we pray.

V As We Have Learned from God’s Word Today, Let Us Pray:

        Our Most Kind and Gracious Heavenly Father;
We pray for all our brothers and sisters worldwide that labor in Your Vineyard that Your Word, O Lord, may speed ahead and be honored!  We pray that they may be delivered from evil and wicked men for not all have faith.
But we know that You are Faithful!  Lord, establish us and guard us against the evil one.  Bless us with confidence in You, O Lord, that we may do the things that You command.  Direct our hearts to Your love, O God.  Direct our hearts to the steadfastness of Christ in Whose Name we pray.

        Let All the Church Say; AMEN


The Meaning of the Text:

Our Bible’s teach us how to pray so that we will approach God with fear and reverence, so that we will give our own wills over to God, and so that we will know His Word more fully.

The Challenge of the Text: 

Is for us to prayerfully set aside our casual approach to our Holy God, to forge our wills into His, and to know His Word more fully. 

“Just how did your reality check come out as you prayed here today?”

“The Gospel Call”
Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


(1) As quoted by: Mohler, Jr., R. Albert (The Prayer that Turns the World Upside Down), Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, 2018, pg. 10.
(2) Point is from IBID, pg. 12 - 17 - Content is mine - RHM
(3) Point is from IBID, pg. 12 -17 - Content is mine - RHM
(4) Point is from IBID, pg. 12 - 17 - Content is mine - RHM

·         My fifth great uncle was Hugh Gaston who was rector at the Ballywillan Presbyterian Church (pictured above left) in County Antrim, Ulster Plantation (Northern Ireland) and wrote the most dangerous book of his time; Gaston’s Collections.  It allowed “the ploughman to know more Bible than his clergyman.”  Hugh fled to South Carolina where he died prematurely of the measles.  He is buried just one hour south of Charlotte in Chester County, S.C. in “Burnt Meeting House Cemetery.”   Uncle Hugh continues to inspire my ministry to this very day.  You can read more about Uncle Hugh here:
Ruins photo courtesy of:

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