1 John 2:15-16 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Separation from God
In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were created, there was perfect fellowship between God and man. Everything was perfect! God always came to visit them during the cool of the day to fellowship, talk and commune with His best friends. Man and woman lived in perfect harmony with creation and with their Creator. The relationship between God and Adam and Eve was close and personal. Imagine walking and talking with God – nothing between you.
There were really no rules…except one. You cannot, must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die. Now, we know the rest of the story – the serpent spoke, Eve ate, Adam ate, and on that day, Adam and Eve lost innocence. They died spiritually. God could no longer fellowship with man, for man was now stained with the guilt of sin. Instead of there being nothing between them, Adam and Even now had a huge wall that separated them from God – and that wall was called sin.
Through the years, God tried to get close to man. Using substitution, sacrifice, mercy, forgiveness. But man and his sin ever remained between him and God.
Until Jesus came
Jesus changed everything! Jesus was born, and he lived and died to pay the price for man’s sin.
· 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God…”
· Ephesians 2:13 and 14 say, “But now in Christ Jesus, you who sometimes were far off are made close by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace… and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us…”
· I Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
Not sure if you completely grasp what all of this means, but in case you don’t, Jesus came to remove what separated us from God! We can now approach God freely! When we are born again of the water and of the spirit, when we repent of our sins and are baptized in His name and filled with His Spirit, there is absolutely nothing between us!
What can separate us from the love of Christ? Romans 8 says, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
With all of that said…if Jesus defeated sin on the cross:
· Why are people still separated from God?
· Why do we sometimes live a life that is distant from God?
· Why is my relationship with God not what is supposed to be at times?
Because there is still something that can separate us from God.
II Kings 5:10-14 says, “And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee and thou shalt be clean.” But Naaman was wroth and went away, and said, “Behold, I thought, `He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and cure the leper.’ Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near, and spoke unto him and said, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, `Wash, and be clean’?” Then went he down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
The thing that separated Naaman from his miracle was his pride. He thought to himself…
· The Prophet didn’t even come to the door… He sent his lowly servant…
· He didn’t do what I imagined him doing… (laying his hand on me with power and authority)
· God didn’t even use a beautiful river…
All obedience truly is…humility in action. When Naaman laid down his PRIDE, humbled himself and obeyed the voice of God…his miracle came. The wall that separated him between his leprosy and his healing came crumbling down!
Humility and faith
Matthew 15:22-28 tells us the story of the woman whose daughter was possessed by a devil. The bible described the situation best:
A woman of Canaan came and cried to Jesus, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, “Send her away; for she cries after us.” But he answered and said, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshipped him, saying, “Lord, help me.” But he answered and said, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” And she said, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said unto her, “O woman, great is your faith: your prayers are answered. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
This woman refused to let pride get in the way of her miracle! When Jesus called her a dog, pride could have risen up in her spirit… but she chose to be humble. She said, “Truth Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.” Her humility mixed with her faith created great faith! Don’t let PRIDE be that wall of partition that keeps you from your God!
James 4:6-8, and 10 says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you… Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Do you need more grace? Is the devil winning some battles lately? Are you battling double-mindedness? It’s time to humble yourself…rip that pride out of your heart. That pride says:
· I can do this on my own
· I don’t need God’s help
· I’m okay, I’ll handle this
· I don’t need to repent
· I don’t need to be broken
· I don’t need to humble myself
Psalm 51 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou will not despise…”
The spirit of Laodicea
Revelation 3:14-20 says,
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things say the Amen…I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I wish you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue you out of my mouth.”
Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will break bread with him, and he with me.”
God despised the church of Laodicea… why? Because they were lukewarm. But what exactly does that mean? A further study into what they did wrong reveals one thing. Self-sufficiency, in need of nothing. Pride.
What is separating you from God today? I know the first thing that comes to mind are sins, things you have done wrong, a laundry list of things that could possibly separate you from God. I’m here to tell you… it’s not the sins that are what’s separating you from God.
· It’s not the gossip you’ve told.
· It’s not the bad thoughts you’ve thought.
· It’s not the anger spewed out last night.
· It’s not the lie you told on Thursday.
· It’s not the curse word that came out on Friday.
· It’s not the jealousy you have toward someone.
· It’s not the bitterness you’ve held because of you can’t get a break.
· It’s not the porn you’ve looked at or the filthy music you’ve listened to.
· It’s not the lust in your heart or the anger in your spirit.
· It’s not the sin you committed…Or the good you’ve omitted.
Jesus paid the price for every sin…that’s not what is separating you from God right now.
What is separating you from God right now is your pride.
The pride that won’t allow you to take a step towards God. The pride that won’t let you shed those tears. The pride that is won’t let you pray. Pride is the only thing that stands between you and God.