Getting Closer

Getting Closer

Getting Closer is a sermon from the book of James teaching us to draw nigh to God. He loves you and it does not matter what you have done, He wants you.

Key Verses:
James 4:1-8

James is an awesome book. When you get a chance, I encourage you to look through it.

James 4:1: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”

James 4:2: “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

James 4:3: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

James 4:4: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

James 4:5: “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”

Lust Destroys

I have three points to go through and you will be done today. The first point I want to point out is that you noticed I was emphasizing was the word “lust.” The Bible talks about lust as in verse number one, “From whence come wars and fightings among you?” — it says lust. Verse number two, “Ye lust, and ye have not.” Verse number three,” Ye ask, and receive not,” and at the end, he says, “ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Verse five ends with, “The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”

Point number one is that lust will destroy you. When we think of lust sometimes we think of sexual pleasure but that is not what it is only referring to. It is a sensual delight, by implication, desires. We all have different temptations that we deal with, different things you may yearn for.

There are some people who would even lust for a chocolate cake. They look at it and say, “I gotta get me some. I got to have that chocolate cake.” I should have said cheesecake. I went out with others one time and suggested going to Cheesecake Factory, they turned it down. Do you know why? That cheesecake that melts in your mouth, dulce de leche, good stuff. You eat that cheesecake and step on the scale and say, “Wow!” There are people that lust for certain things.

I will tell you that when I was younger, I used to desire the pleasure of playing video games. I will not say I was a big gamer, but I was a gamer. I would stay up late at night playing games. I remember playing one game and said it was too much. I played for eight hours, and that was something I desired. If you ask me if I wanted to play a game, you would not have a problem with me. Some say that stuff just rots your brain and do not want anything to do with that. I remember someone saying I have quick reflexes, that is because of my gaming, you have got to be quick. Different people have different types of lusts or different pleasures.

If you look at James chapter one:

James 1:12: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

James 1:13: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:”

James 1:14: “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”

James is a deep book. It has so much in it. If you go through chapter one it talks about the different temptations, we will not go too much into it. The temptations are different trials and different tests but then, as you know, there is the temptation of sin. He says that we are drawn away because of our own lusts when we are tempted, when we fall into sin and different things that please us.

Everyone does not have the same thing. But when we are drawn away, we are taken away, the bait is cast. It may be sin trying to catch you, trying to take you away, whatever it is. It could be something that you see, and your heart begins to yearn for it, have a desire for it. Ladies and gentlemen, that is what will destroy us if we fall into a trap if we eat it.

We all fall into sin; we have different types and as I mentioned, the lusts will entice us and try to get us. You know, there are different types of lusts, and most of the time, people are looking for power, they lust for power, and want to be in charge. They want to say, “You do this my way or the highway.”

There are different people that lust and want popularity. They want to be the cool guy, the cool kid. They want to say, “Hey look at me. I’ve never done anything wrong. Look, I have this many followings. Look how many followers I have.” They lust for popularity.

I John 2:14: “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”

Love Not the World

I John 2:15: “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.”

John wrote that Jesus gave us a command, God gave us a command to “love not the world.” It is not an easy thing to do because we are sinners, we were born into sin. We desire these things. It is not our first nature to think, “Oh, I want God.” No, it is the other way around. A lot of you with kids know that. Where did my kid learn to do that? Why are they doing this? I did not teach them to do that.

I did not say, “Son, daughter, this is what I want you to do. Every time you see daddy’s drink just throw it around. Mess up the place.” Or like this morning, I told my son, he is young, but he is grabbing the Wii. I was going to bring it last night, I did it. I pulled it out and he is grabbing it, moving it around, and taking my controllers. I told him to bring it back and do not do this. It is like I wanted to teach him to drive daddy crazy. I want you to do this and do that until I say, “Hey, kid!” But he is so cute, I just say, “I love you.” The thing is this, it is not easy because it is in our nature. We desire this. Some people practice it and do it so much that it is hard to get free. But as the Bible continues on, God says:

I John 2:15: “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.”

Lust is what gets us away from God. Lust tries to destroy us, and the Bible says this, where James asks in chapter four verse one, “From whence come wars and fightings among you?” Do you ever stop and think why we have so much war, all these battles? Why is there so much fighting between your friends? You have something that comes up and all of a sudden there is fighting. Do you know what the answer is?

James goes on and says, “come they not hence, even of your lusts.” Your lust – something somebody wants, and it is what causes that division, that anger, that fight, the wars. He goes on to say, “Ye lust, and have not:” and then goes further, “ye kill, and desire to have,” – it does that to people. Lust does that. Where they get to a point and consume.

I am going to bring up King David. He lusted after Bathsheba and then he wanted to keep it hidden. He wanted to keep it secret when he found out that she was pregnant. He did everything he could and finally rolled out the plan and sent it to his captain instructing him that when it is in the hottest of the battle, drawback and let that man die, the husband of Bathsheba. Why did David have him killed, premeditated? It was because of lust.

My coaches at PCC [Pensacola Christian College] were in the Olympics a long time ago back in the 1970s, but one of the coaches, I think it was Jim, would mention lust. This is what we had to do at school, so it was not too bad for PE. We do this once a week. We had to do one mile. We did not have to do certain time limits. Praise God because I am not that quick.

You could walk four laps around the track, and you did your one mile for the week. Then you had to do one hundred pushups. You do not do those all in one sitting though, that would be too difficult. But one hundred pushups and you had to do one hundred crunches. So, you could do twenty-five in four days and then you would be good, you are all set. You would mark it on your card and say I did my one mile, I did my one hundred pushups, I did my one hundred sit-ups, and you would sign your name on the bottom and hand it in. You get one hundred points, it was easy.

But my coach would go on and give this illustration. He would say that there might come a time when we are a little lazy. You might have done ninety-nine pushups and feel worn out and think the class is about to start and you don’t have time to do one more. Your arms and chest, they hurt. And you come to the class, and you mark that you did your one mile, you did your one hundred crunches, and ninety-nine pushups. That is only one short, and you mark one hundred.

He said that it is how it starts. You start doing it here and through progression, you would do any and you would mark it. He said from that point, you begin to cheat and begin to cheat in other places in your classes. Then as you leave school, you will begin to cheat on other projects and other things. Then you would go on and progress and you will cheat on your wife. He would go on and show the progression and it is so true. I am not saying everyone will fall into this trap but somewhere it begins with a little of this.

I mentioned food earlier, and I will mention it again. It is hard when you start working on a diet and you are thinking, “Man, I’d like those fries. That Chik-fil-A is calling me!” You start to eat a little bit and the next thing you know it is hard for someone trying to lose weight because there is so much food out there, fast food.

Mom used to spend hours cooking. She would throw down that Haitian dish, it was so good, diri ak sos pwa. I could eat that all day long, I kid you not, we ate that a lot. We never got tired of it. My mom, we are really blessed. During the pandemic, it was even worse. My mom would come into town, she would throw down that dish. My mother-in-law, she could throw down that dish. My wife, she could throw down that dish. I cannot even say which one is the best they all had unique cooking styles and oh so good. I tell you it is hard for someone trying to lose weight when you have that right in front of you, that rice is in front of you, that sauce is in front of you, calling, “Eat me, eat me, eat me.” It is tough.

I hope you all had a good breakfast this morning. It is hard for someone who is dieting, when they begin, they say they will eat just this one little Twinkie, that it does not hurt. Next thing you know they eat the whole box. That is how it starts with one.

When you think about it, lying, when someone begins to lie, you start with one and then you begin this trail, this lust. You desire to say, “I do not want to get in trouble, I have got to make sure I am on top.” That is how it begins, the cheating. And if you listen to verse two, it says this:

James 4:2: “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

It comes at times when people fall so deep in their sin that they are willing to murder someone. Lust, lust is the reason for it.

James 4:3: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

You are asking for the wrong thing. And then James says:

James 4:4: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

I trust everyone here believes in God; you worship God. I trust everyone here wants to be a friend of God. But James, he is not playing any games. He is shooting it straight and saying, “adulterers and adulteresses,” saying they cheated, they have not been faithful. He says, talking to the Christian, saying that you have not been faithful, you have been doing this.

He explains and wants to break it down that you have lusted after these things, you are desiring these things for pleasure, and you are trying to get the attention of the world. And he says this, if you are a friend of the world, you are the enemy of God. It is plain and simple, if you love the things of this world, if you love to do the things of the world you are placing yourself against God. It is not God who is doing it, it is us that is doing it when we choose the world. He says:

James 4:4: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

James 4:5: “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”

And so, lust will destroy us. We are going on to the next point.

Humble Yourself

Humbling yourselves will elevate you. You will be elevated.

James 4:6: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

I like this saying, “God’s riches at Christ’s expense.” – Grace. I do not know who came across this. Grace is so important. As the pastor has pointed out in scripture in Titus chapters two and three:

Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”

Titus 2:12: “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

Titus 2:13: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”

Titus 3:4: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,”

Titus 3:5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

Titus 3:6: “Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;”

Titus 3:7: “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

I want to park on this a little bit about salvation. I hope everyone here is saved. If you are not, you can be saved today. The Bible says this about salvation. A lot of people think that they have to do something to get to Heaven. The Bible says in Ephesians chapter two:

Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

Ephesians 2:9: “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Not of works – we cannot work ourselves into Heaven. Just because you come to church and you sing praises, you are following the Bible, you go back home, you do not cuss, you do not do this, you treat your neighbor kindly, does not mean you are going to Heaven. It does not make you a Christian just because you come to church. You are not all of a sudden going to be holy because you are attending. The Bible says, “not of works.

If you think about it, God gave Moses these ten commandments and as it came out you followed it. You may say, “Oh, I do not meet any of these standards, especially number one, “Thou shalt not have any other gods before me.” Think about it. If you ever let something get before God, you have already made an “X,” an error on that number one because of something coming before God.

Some people cannot make it to church, and God says to come to His house to worship. That is why we come to worship because God asked us to. He says we are to meet and fellowship with one another and Hebrews validates that, not to forsake the assembly. That is why we gather together, the apostles were doing it, Jesus Christ was doing it. Jesus Christ was going into the temple and even corrected them, giving them the Word. That is why we get together, not to get saved but Christ asked us to and that is why we do it. Salvation is not by works the Bible says.

Believe in God

Another thing I want to point out which is in James chapter two:

James 2:19: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

Some people say they believe in God and that should be good enough. James does not play; he will give it to you. I encourage you to read the book of James, it has some good materials for us to help us as Christians to grow. And here, he says, you believe in God. Good job thumbs up. Do you want a star? Do you want a cookie? But the devils believe, and they tremble. They tremble, and we see an example of this as you read through the gospels.

There were times where the demons would say no don’t make us go and then ask Jesus for permission. They trembled. And we can say that we believe in God, but that is not good enough. The Bible tells us plain and simple in Romans chapter ten:

Romans 10:9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

“Believe” is key here. What does it mean “the dead”? That He rose from the dead – what is going on here? Of course, there are more pieces of the puzzle, there is a lot that the Bible talks about.

I was actually listening to a sermon the other day while I was driving. He said if Jesus Christ did not raise from the dead our preaching would be in vain. If Jesus Christ did not raise from the dead, I would say to go home, go relax, and do your own thing. We are all doomed and there is nothing we can do. But He did, He died. Why did He die? The Bible tells us that He died for our sins, and He took every sin. You can write it, you can go through the Bible and see every sin, every single one, does not matter what sin. Even murder? Yes, He died for that as well.

If you read the books of Moses you will find in Exodus that Moses killed a man. Yet, he is really up there, and Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus while Peter, James, and John were there. And they saw Moses was up there. Also there in Heaven, it talks about Moses’ reappearing in Revelation. Why is that? It is because Moses was saved by the blood of the Lamb, not through his works.

It is because Jesus Christ died for our sins, every sin, even King David. As I mentioned before, King David premeditated to get that man killed, Uriah, the Hittite. And yet, Christ died for our sins. It does not matter what it is. I encourage you. Some people say, “Wait, even someone who commits suicide?” I believe 100%. I do not have time to go through that, but I have done a study on that with my friends back in college and we used to go back and forth on that. First of all, if you listen to what God says, He says that He died for all our sins.

There is only one thing God cannot forgive, it is if you reject Him. How can you get saved if you reject Him? But if you accept Him, as far as the east is from the west, trust me it is far, so is our transgression has been separated and God sees us as justified, just as if we have never sinned. And so, salvation, I did not want to gloss over it, but it is so important. God loved us so much, He gave us Jesus and Jesus took our sin so that “whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” If you believed that Jesus died for your sins and He rose again from the grave, the Bible says that you are saved. And that is it, by faith. And so, grace: God’s riches at Christ’s expense.

Resist the Prideful

So, we go back to James chapter four:

James 4:6: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

“But he giveth more grace.” I am so happy. God giveth, and giveth, and giveth more grace which we do not deserve. He goes on and says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud.” God is against a person who is prideful.

Someone might say, “I’m the greatest thing since sliced cheese. I am the best thing. I am number one.” Whatever it may be, it may be something that someone thinks that they are big and say, “I am number one.” Maybe it is at school, and someone says, “I have the greatest grades, I am Hakuna Matata. You may think you are the greatest thing, pure prideful. God says to resist that person.

And the greatest example and we are not going to dive into much of it, I encourage you to read Daniel chapter four, King Nebuchadnezzar. He thought he was something. He had an idol of himself that was tall. He would say when they start playing the instruments that everyone needs to bow down and start worshipping the statue of him. He was very prideful. And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not do it. The music would play and no, they would not do it and he wanted them killed. God saved them. God protected them.

Later, it came to a point that King Nebuchadnezzar was getting some dreams and thought they were crazy. What was going on? It bothered him so much and he would ask all his magicians what the dream meant.

Daniel came and he broke it down and told the king that God is warning him saying that he needed to humble himself. He goes on and explains it to him and said that if he did not, God was going to take him down from his thrown and he would go out and act like a wild animal, eat what the oxen eat, and be crazy. The Bible tells us this in Daniel chapter four around verse thirty.

After the king thanked Daniel for that word, a couple of months later, the king comes out and gloats at what he has done, looked at his kingdom. He is talking and praising himself and pats himself on the back, look who he conquered, he is number one, he is the greatest thing.

What happens next, as soon as he was done speaking, God says, as the words of his mouth, God strikes him down and he goes out and acts like a wild animal. His hair starts to go out long and so did his nails and he stinks too. People wondered what happened to the king. The king has fallen. God restores him as soon as he gives glory to Him, and he humbled himself. King Nebuchadnezzar learned his lesson. I bring that as an example for verse six, “God resisteth the proud.”

Maybe there is something that you desire that you want to get, a certain position, a certain thing to help you out, and all of a sudden God puts in a roadblock. He cannot bless you with that because you have been too prideful and “God resisteth you.” God resisteth the proud but the Bible goes on, “but giveth grace unto the humble.” So, when you humble yourself He will lift you up.

Submit to God

The Bible says this:

James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I like the word “submit.” I love wrestling. As a child I used to watch fake wrestling but later on in high school, I believe in my senior year, I got involved with freestyle wrestling and folkstyle wrestling. When I was first wrestling I loved it. I was also slimming down and losing a lot of weight and at the end of the season, I was down to 215. If you ask me what my weight is now, I am a whole lot heavier.

That is one of the reasons I loved wrestling, it helped to trim so much baby fat that eventually came back with every child [of mine] that has been born, I get heavier and lose more hair. For those of you that a looking forward to being parents, with each one you get heavier and lose hair and get a little gray hair.

Wrestling kept me focused. With training, I remember I would go out and jog even after practice and on the way home, I would jog some more. It got me in really good shape. I wrestle heavy-weight as a light heavy-weight, but I think I was 225 or 220. I remember losing a lot of weight to get to 215 which is a weight class, but I was a heavyweight. I would beat my opponents with ease. Why? Because I was so much more in better shape. I lasted the longest, it came easy.

My first match I remember wrestling someone and I kept taking him down but kept coming up and they would yell for me to keep him down. I did not know what was going on and I lost my first match which is good. It probably kept me from getting a big head. But the thing is this. I made a mistake, but I learned from it.

Submit Yourself

When you think of “submit,” think of wrestlers. I do not know if brother Chris is watching this, but we used to have a fight club in his dorm back at Pensacola. He did not orchestrate it, but it happened in his room. Guys being guys they just love to wrestle; they would love the fight. I have done a little wrestling there as well as with other people and practicing with someone.

Wrestle, wrestle, our ultimate goal was that you want them to submit, tap out, I give, you are stronger, it hurts. Thinking of that wrestling, you are giving it your all. You get that person and make them submit and basically saying I am stronger. And God is saying this, “submit yourselves” – God, you win, God you are stronger, God, it hurts. Submit yourselves. He says:

James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

A great example is in Matthew chapter four. It is our Lord and Savior who was being tempted by the devil. He had not eaten in forty days and forty nights. Sorry about the food, but that is what the scriptures talk about right now. Satan has come to Him and says (paraphrasing), “See those stones, why don’t you turn it to bread?” Jesus could have easily done that; read the scriptures He has done miraculous things.

He had turned water into wine, multiplied the loaves and the fishes, so he could have made bread out of stone, and it would have been done. Yet, it was not God’s will. God had Him at this time in the trials and testing. He did not fall into it. And He says something that we should learn, “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”– he quoted back in Deuteronomy. He was giving Satan scriptures saying that He would not sin against God. He was fighting Satan with scriptures. The tests would come two more times and if you read this at the end, Satan flees from Him. He comes back later on, but he flees.

Satan is going to tempt every one of us without a doubt. We are not going to know when he is there, but he is going to throw certain things to try to get us. The fight is to try to make us fall into sin. The Bible says to submit to God. The next thing to do is to resist the devil. When you resist him, you throw scriptures at him. Later, Satan will think this is no fun and he leaves. That is what the scriptures encourage us to do.

Draw Nigh to God

James 4:8: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

This is a mirror [holding up a mirror], everyone knows about this, “Mirror, mirror in my hand, who is the greatest looking of the Glaude? Chardeline Glaude! You are right!” The mirror, the Bible talks about this in James chapter one which is good, about how the Word of God is like a mirror, how we can look and see our sins. I bring up this mirror to say this, a lot of us have mirrors and the thing about a mirror is that it shows your image. As you get closer to your image you are getting closer to seeing yourself.

And God said this, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” So, it is like the mirror when you take a step it looks like your image is getting closer to you. Then you take another step, God says to draw nigh to Him and He will draw nigh to you. He says, “Cleanse your hands” – we are seeing what is wrong. God is pointing it out and says to cleanse your hands. We all know about that, cleansing our hands. We are sinners. He says, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners.” He goes on and says, “and purify your hearts,” – so important, our heart, to purify it, to read God’s Word, to help it clean. The Bible says:

Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

By looking at God’s Word, it will clean us. I have some bad habits; I still have bad habits. I am not perfect. You can ask my wife and she will tell you. The thing is this, we are sinners. Some of the things I have gotten rid of in my life were not because of me, it was because of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit cleansing.

One person would say, “I cannot stop smoking.” The Bible says we are to take care of our temple, not only smoking or alcohol, even food, we ought to be careful. I had a friend who could not stop smoking and I said that you can if you believe in God, if you believe in Him, and trust in Him, He can help you. The Bible talks about:

II Corinthians 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

God has given us that exit door. It is there. But you know what we do sometimes? We are too lazy to look for it. We are too lazy to search for it. We are too lazy to push and say that there is my escape. Then we give, we give to the lust, we submit sometimes to the lust. God says there is a way to escape.

My friend kept on telling me that they can’t, they can’t, there was a day that they did by the grace of God. Our hearts are so important, be purified. We are living through this sinful world, and we go through so much. Our biggest cure is this, really, it is God. Draw nigh to God, because God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to talk with you, He wants to hear from you. But it cannot happen if we are going to live in sin. Gotta have this, buy a new that – it separates us, and we become the friends of the world and we have enmity with God. We get further and further away from God. Yet God says, “Draw nigh to me.” James is telling plain and simple that you have got to draw nigh. The Bible says:

I John 4:19: “We love him, because he first loved us.”

The key is that He first loved us. God wants to be with you. God loves you. You may ask, “Why am I struggling in this? Why am I not treating my spouse as I ought to? Why am I cheating in school? Why am I doing this? Why do I keep saying these words?” It is because you have not drawn nigh to God. You have been practicing these other things instead of taking the steps to walk closer to God.

What does it mean to draw nigh to God? It begins by talking to Him, saying, “God, I am a sinner. God, this is what I struggle with. God, I am having a hard time.” Admitting it to Him and God will hear from Heaven. Earlier in James, it asks why you do not have these things? It is because you do not ask. The Bible says:

Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

So many times, we do not ask and say, “God this is my struggle. I am struggling with this anger.” We have not come to Him and asked. You may say, “God I am unsure, I am so afraid. God, I am not doing what you asked.” It is because we did not come to Him. Talk to Him. He says, “Draw nigh to God.”

Another thing to do is to read His Word, so read. Maybe a lot of you will remember this. I remember when I was in elementary school and middle school, kids would write love notes and pass it to this person and then the next person, and then the person get it, opens it, and reads it, those love notes.

Have we forgotten that God has given us His love note, the Bible? He has given us His Word to guide us. So, we have to read His Word. Draw nigh to God. And then the next thing is time to take action, trying to take the footsteps of God. When we do that, the Bible says that He will draw nigh to you.

Why draw nigh to God? Why get close to God? I want to remind you, a lot of you are reading the scriptures, a lot of you heard. Remember Noah? Noah believed God and did what God told him to do. He built the ark and got those animals on. That must have been a task. I wish the two mosquitos had died. The thing is this, they got in, God shut the door, anyone else that was out there perished. Noah chose the right; Noah was staying next to God.

Why draw nigh to God? I bring you, David. During the time the children of Israel were in the battle and Goliath was coming calling out to bring their biggest warrior. This young guy comes out, not a forty-year-old, not a thirty-year-old, older than a teen, and says that the battle is the Lord’s. We have his story today and Goliath was huge the Bible says, and David is just average. David took him on, and you think he did it by himself? No, God was at his side.

Think about Joshua at the battle of Jericho. Walking around Jericho for several days and at the end, they began to shout. All of a sudden, the walls came tumbling down, breaking up. It was not Jericho, it was God.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as I just mentioned, did not bow down to that idol of King Nebuchadnezzar. The king had them thrown into a fiery furnace. They could have died; God could have allowed that. But God decided to be with them. King Nebuchadnezzar looks into the fiery furnace and says he thought there were three people in there. The people said, “Yes, king.” The king asked why he saw four and that one looked like the Son of God.

So why draw nigh to God? Think about it. God has truly benefitted when we draw nigh to God. He gets away from sin and protects us. Is everything going to be peaches and rosy? Read about these men that I mentioned. All did end well for every single one of them and more. God was still on their side, and they are in Heaven now, standing with a great cloud of witnesses, that is what Hebrews chapter twelve verse one says.

I want to encourage you to draw nigh to God. It does not matter where you are in your spiritual life. This is for me as well. I need to draw nigh to God. We need to learn more about God. We need to love Him more and the only way that is going to happen is we need to get into His Word, praying to Him, taking the steps. Some may take big steps; some may take baby steps. As long as you are taking those steps, “I will draw nigh to you.”

God loves you. It does not matter what you have done, He loves you. For those of you on the Internet, He loves you. He died for you. God has proved it over and over again if you read the scripture. He is showing His love. He says to come to me, follow me, turn your eyes on me. He wants you. Will you? Will you draw nigh to God?

Watch the prerecorded live version of the entire service and sermon, Getting Closer, on Facebook.

Getting Closer — Related Sermons

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Mr. Johnson P. Glaude leads an active vibrant youth group at the church. He reaches out to offer spiritual guidance to teens through church related activities.