"God Rewards Those Who Seek Him"

there are just some chapters that you

the I don't you have some favorite

chapters in scripture that you visit

perennial II that you can't read enough

and when I was a kid I heard a reference

to this chapter as the Bible's Hall of

Fame the faith Hall of Fame and and as

you read it you'll see why it's just a

beautiful just uh it's just a beautiful

summary of the wonderful journey that

that the God of the universe has had

with broken-down fallible imperfect

human beings like us and the amazing

things that he can do they're broken

down in in fallible imperfect human

beings who happen to believe he exists

and that he rewards those who seek Him

if that's you this morning I have a lot

of good news for you today Lord our

great God mighty and merciful full of

power and abounding in love our hearts

open to your word transmitted Spirit of

God through this imperfect vessel

faithfully in Jesus name

we're going to spend pretty much most of

them in with some exceptions but pretty

much most of this service just on this

one verse that hopefully you'll have

memorized by the time the service sermon

is over and without faith it is

impossible to please God because anyone

who comes to him must believe that he

exists and that he rewards those who

earnestly seek Him anyone who comes to

him as many of us have this morning

right if you're in this building if

you're in this sanctuary anyone who

comes to him must believe that he exists

and that he rewards those who earnestly

seek Him now one thing I'm not going to

do don't expect me to do that in this

sermon let me just clarify a couple of

things outright this sermon is not meant

to prove the existence of God not

exactly not in not in 45 minutes not not

now that line of Judah with the cameras

rolling I'm not going to do that not

exactly there have been some great

authors and speakers we're not afraid of

that bring it on

okay there's some great authors and

speakers who have taken that on

masterfully and if I were to attempt

that I would just be you know

plagiarizing their word I I invite you

to to explore you know the writings of

for instance CS Lewis one particular

book Mere Christianity but just about

anything this man wrote then there's

josh mcdowell from the 70s and 80s Ravi

Zacharias Lee Strobel whose book case

for Christ

is a masterpiece now turned into a film

that you can actually find on Amazon

Prime tonight and invite some friends

yeah people you know there has been a

lot of really good word on whether you

know on the existence of God of God on

the question does God exist

but the question today is not does God

exist but the implications behind that

what we're going to explore together in

the time we have left is what does it

matter whether God exists who cares

what does it matter whether we seek Him

earnestly or otherwise what's it matter

to you what are the implications of this

before I do that I am gonna I am gonna

confess that I'm convinced frankly that

you cannot prove God exists purely

intellectually particularly there's

someone who has already decided

intellectually that he that he does not

I I I don't believe that you can just as

a as a postulate of simple logic do that

you know and I've logic and arguments

and that's I have a degree in that and

that's not what we do with Scripture and

that's not what we do with God think

about it just just look at Hebrews

chapter 11 1 I mean let me let me

demonstrate this Hebrews chapter 11 one

is just as familiar to you probably as

Hebrews 11:6 you know I love I'm gonna

read the King James Version which is you

know what I grew up reading now

faith is the substance of things hoped

for the evidence of things not seen a

couple of things are happening in this

house as I read this without you even

knowing it the believers the hardcore

believers who have lived their lives

assuming that God is real and that he

rewards those who seek Him read that and

they say Amen absolutely it makes

absolute sense to me pastor Sam someone

who just landed from wherever Mars and

just looked at this through looks at

Hebrews 11:1 through the lens of logic

from a logical perspective will tell you

it's nonsense that's what they'll say

just reading this through the through

the lens of logic if something is hoped

for isn't that what it says then it's

not in your hands if you're just hoping

for it right so so it has no substance

if something is not seen and the in the

in the Greek there means it is

imperceptible you cannot measure it you

cannot weigh it you cannot sense it you

cannot quantify it there is no way to

capture it you can't put it in a petri

dish you can't find it on a telescope or

under it or under a microscope if

something is imperceptible it's not

evidence it's not meant to be a

definition and by the way the writer of

Hebrews was absolutely capable of

deductive reasoning it is one of the

most deductively lot it is a remarkably

beautiful

home logical tome laying out the gospel

to Hebrews from it's an incredible book

whoever wrote this knew what logic

looked like and I think he's having

great fun right now I think he's having

a ball when he writes Hebrews 11:1 and

he's smiling because he knows he just

gave you guys a pack of inherent

contradictions and somebody scratching

their heads in Antioch and Alexandria

reading this but the believers say Amen

he is my substance he is my evidence and

you know what you're in good company

even in America even as we brave breaks

our hearts about America still there are

apparently multitudes glory be to God

that cling to the illogical notion that

there is a God who exists and who

rewards those who seek Him we're still

out there in an article entitled how

America lost its mind and this in a in

the September issue of the Atlantic

Monthly actually a respected magazine

the the author of that article Holloman

and I was very I picked it up at an

airport in Nashville this thought was

really curious to know how did America

lose its mind and part of his conclusion

was it's because of you Sam and those

Jesus worshipping Yahoo's at the

congregation line of Judah he despairs

he actually despairs over the fact that

there are people who still

leave in this day and age that God

exists and that he's a rewarder of those

who seek Him I'm quoting now how many

Americans now inhabit alternative

realities great two-thirds of Americans

believe that angels and demons are

active in the world they're on to us

they're on to us more than half say

they're absolutely certain heaven exists

I think we got most of those in them in

this house tonight and just as many are

sure of the existence of a personal God

you're going to love this not a vague

force or a universal spirit or higher

power but some guy some dude that you

can talk to and we'll talk back to you

this is a man

let me hear so many men from the yahoos

in the house today

praise the Lord if you're here you know

what this isn't new God is used to his

creation questioning the existence of

their creator you know this ain't new

what the somehow what are the first

words of Psalm 14 The Fool has said in

his heart

there's no God

corrupt our day no there is none that

doeth good no not one the Apostle Paul

writing to the Corinthians tells them

you're not going to logic your way out

of this right into there he says I tried

when I approach this logically it didn't

make any sense to me Jesus made no sense

to me until he

showed up on the road knocked me off my

horse and introduced himself I'm not

you're not gonna do this logically he

says for the preaching of the Cross is

to them that perish foolishness

foolishness but unto us which are saved

it is the power of God unto salvation

the power of God

and the preaching of the Cross at its

most basic can be turned down can be

reduced to these two principles one he

exists - he rewards those who seek Him

thank you my Lana that's all you need

pack this up put it in your pocket by

the way it gets even simpler if you're

here today or if you're tuning in on the

internet you or our part of you I'd say

I mean unless unless you mistook this

for the mad anger or you just wandered

into the sanctuary Oh like this is a

church I'm sorry

gosh you know unless you just wandered

in you are everyone in here I'd say most

of you share this one thing in common

you already have this you walked in with

this whether you realize it or not

whether you know it's beating in your

heart or not whether your synapses are

reducing this to words or not for you

all right because if you're here it for

me the very fact that you're sitting

here that you're listening to this that

you've you've you've invested a morning

your life to worshipping an invisible

God you even cried in the presence of a

God you can't see you even wept hugging

a God assuming he's hugging you back so

already already there's a part of you

that believes what what of it was the

asain what I believe are the essential

elements of faith the faith stem cell if

you will its primary colors and maybe

listen maybe you maybe you came to this

you inspired to this moment by a moment

of crisis okay with few options whether

you said it out loud or you were or

whether that you're even contemplating

it but something inside you said I'm

going when you say to yourself I'm in

trouble my world has gone haywire and

I'm going to church you are implicit you

wouldn't be doing that unless you were

implicitly something inside you are

saying maybe God exists and maybe it's

worth it maybe he's a rewarder of those

who seek Him you can make this even

simpler if the words God help me have

ever come out of your mouth

God helped me you've already said this

he exists Elohim God he rewards those

who seek Him help me he exists Halloween

God he rewards those who seek Him

me if ever in your life you've ever

uttered those three words God helped me

you've already displayed the faith the

elemental faith necessary to please God

when that with limits when that word

declares without that faith it's

impossible to please God

it means it's impossible to get his

attention without that faith it's

impossible to have an audience with him

to plead your case to expect anything

from him but with that with the simple

capacity to say God helped me you have

everything you need to transform your

life today today dr. dive route your

life it's what Jesus meant by a mustard

seed faith it doesn't take much this

particle of faith this is it God helped

me

he exists he's a rewarder of those who

seek Him that's the faith that

imperceptible you so imperceptible you

don't even realize you have it

and the purpose today is to make sure

that you are conscious of it I want you

to get in touch with that I want you to

get it touch with that mustard seed

faith I want you to get in touch with

God help me I want you to be conscious

of it I want you to be aware of it I

want you to be intentional about it I

want you to fan it into flames focus on

it grow it turn it into a tree that the

birds of the air can you not the birds

of the air your life those birds of the

air are your life your dreams your

children your children's children

everything you've ever desired all that

you have ever dreamt of becoming that is

that tree that's those birds you can

grow our life on that mustard seed of

God help me I want you to the Lord wants

you to and that's what we're going to

try to do today now what does that mean

what does it mean to believe he exists

and that he rewards those who seek Him

what are the implications well first of

all if we say that he exists use that

word now we are gonna put you know now

we are gonna put our logic hats on okay

if we say that he exists implicitly what

we mean is that he is a being he is our

person that God is a person with an

existence independent of your opinion of

him or your knowledge of him what do you

mean by that you can your opinion could

be that the moon is made out of green

cheese and and and and the moon landings

were a cold war conspiracy you're free

to do that and the moon will say fine

sure and I'll just continue to spin

around the earth not caring about your

opinion you can you can tell the cop who

just stopped you for running a red light

whoa officer I don't believe you exist I

don't think any of this is real

frankly I've just dreamed you up and

you'll say fine sure and he'll give you

your ticket anyway your non-existent

dreamed up fantasy ticket he'll give

that to you too

and if you don't pay it you could stand

in front of a non-existent fantasy judge

and explain that to him two things that

exist do not require

your opinion to acknowledge their

existence they just exist in other words

God is not an idea that you can shape or

contribute to or subtract from or evolve

or agree to disagree you should do that

with your ideas but you can't do that to

a person you don't do that to people God

is not an idea he's a person ideas

philosophies you can learn them you can

exchange them

you can contributed a dialogue why

because they don't speak for themselves

but to get to know a person you must

meet them you must communicate with them

you must forge a relationship with them

you must befriend them and as a person

God has a personality he has a

personality all right and he's made no

secret of it the proper questions to ask

when you want to get to know a person

are the same questions you should ask

when you want to get to know God who is

he and what is he like maybe the

frustrations you've had with God as

you've continued to pursue him as an

idea and you have not been asking who is

he what does he like because there are

things he likes and things he dislikes

there are things he hates and there are

things he loves there are things that

repelled him and that he finds abhorrent

and there are things he finds

irresistible our God if he has this

silly attraction to

broken heart and a contrite spirit a

broken heart in a contrite spirit you

will never resist you cannot move you

know not cannot cast off

he's funny that way he has a personality

you know the original Hebrews 11:6 and

the King James actually the King James

translated that way the King James says

anyone who comes to him must believe

that he is which made sense in

Elizabethan language but it's tough on

our normal grammar but there's a reason

we're gonna stay with that he is for a

little bit wasn't what was what we what

was he what were they trying to

communicate because it made perfect

sense to the Hebrews he is is the third

person form of the first person I am I

am God says I am his word says he is get

it he is he's made no mystery who he is

the word in the word over and over you

hear god introducing himself

I am a jealous God you will have no

other gods other than me I am gracious

and I am I am strong I am merciful and

gracious long-suffering and abundant and

mercy and truth Jesus says I am The Good

Shepherd Jesus says I am the bread of

life he who takes of me will never go

hungry again

Jesus says Jesus asks you this morning I

am the resurrection

and the life whoever believes in me he

exists and he rewards those who seek him

whoever believes in me though he die you

shall get shall he live and everyone who

lives and believes in me he exists he

rewards those who seek him will never

die and then he asks do you believe this

he looks at Martha after discovers this

he looks at Martha after saying I am now

Martha Lion of Judah you who just

wandered into Church with your life in

shambles Jesus asks you do you believe

this the third person is he is the first

person comes from the mouth of God I am

and as worshippers as worshipers we use

the second person form and declare back

to him you are we spend a lot of time on

Sunday morning declaring back to God you

are compassionate you are abounding in

love you are the resurrected Christ you

are clothed with authority you are God

without equal and he loves it when we

declare back to him my wife loves that

she knows she's beautiful she knows

she's smart but I think she digs it when

I remind her that all right it's a good

idea all right God he has a person he's

a person all right remind him how cool

he is

how amazing he is you are amazing and

now you're beginning to seek him when

you get there which is the next thing we

want us to explore right he rewards

those who earnestly seek Him what does

that mean what do you think it means all

it means is this it means that you

believe it's worth while it's worth your

time it's worth your energy it's worth

your everything to approach him to

solicit him to trust him to get to know

him to open your heart to him to woo him

to pursue him

there's even why do you think the Song

of Solomon is in Scripture he's

encouraging us to woo him he's sending

us love letters he's sending us love

letters he's sending us love texts love

emails he's sending us messages

encouraging us to seek Him to woo him to

trust him

faith now imagine breaking these phrases

in half God helped me what if we what if

you just get rid of the help me part and

just say God he exists faith that has a

capacity to transform requires more than

just a passive belief in God or a book

or to blindly believe he exists you know

in street evangelist media there's so

much oh yes I believe in God

of course I believe he exists I love you

know what I love I love James

I love the Apostle James

he has he has I love reading James

because he has just the right you know

he has just the right molecules of

sarcasm that a lawyer would love I love

what James does I love what I would

never dare say some of the stuff James

says to these people you know James if

James ran into someone on the street

that said oh I believe God exists James

would say as he says in in you know in

Chapter two or you do do you that's good

that's good you know the demons believe

to and tremble

good job what they the demons believe he

exists in tremble what they don't do

what they won't do what they can't do is

earnestly seek Him that they don't do

that they cannot do what do we mean not

all the translations of Hebrews 11:6 use

that word earnestly the ESV does the NIV

does why is that there when you see the

word earnestly seek Him realize that you

know it's not just to seek Him there's a

word for that in Greek the tail to seek

Him and most of the time when you when

you see the word seek in Scripture it's

that primary words the tail but here

it's exit tail that prefix that exit

tail means you know to seek it's a joker

pastor Greg there's the tail and there's

bada-boom sedae oh there's a tail and

barakatu say tail this say tail and I

really really

really really mean it c'était oh this

is that level of satay oh all right this

is to seek him with an unquenchable

longing to seek Him as if your life

depended on it it's the same word that

the Greeks used in the translation of

Amos chapter 5 verse 4 you know this

verse does saith the Lord said exit a o

me

seek me and live seek me and live what

does that look like earnestly what does

what does it look like to earnestly seek

God and for that we need to you know

Hebrews 11 is about that giving you

operational definitions examining

people's lives you have to turn to

scripture but a couple of examples of

that earnestly seek Him is what happened

at that dinner in the home of Simon the

Pharisee he's the guy who receives Jesus

now Simon the host receives him

cordially you know with appropriate

reserve but but the earnestly is the

woman with with a reputation and a mess

who barged into the house crash the

party looking for Jesus where is he

where is it where is he excuse me do you

have an invitation

where is he do you have an invitation

where is he where is he where as Jesus

finds him finds him before someone gets

a chance to drag her out of the house

she dogs at his feet grabs his feet

starts to weep uncontrollably

uncorks her soul and just weeps and

weeps and weeps at Jesus's feet wipes

his muddy feet with her hair

and worships him

that's earnestly seeking him and Jesus

not to be undone was even more

scandalous than it says Simon this is

what honestly looks like this this is

what you should have done earnestly is

the woman reference Reverend you know

Benny's sermon on Veronica who after

losing all options or hope of healing

fought the crowd just like this woman at

Simon's house to find Jesus also what's

with these women deep diving at Jesus's

feet those at Jesus's feet to touch if

only a thread the talent of Jesus's

garment to be healed earnestly is

bartimaeus the blind man with the Dixie

cup on the road out of Damascus begging

on the road who gets wind that Jesus is

passing by and makes a scene yelling

Jesus son of David yo chill chill chill

quiet

makes a spectacle of himself he's not

leaving this town without talking to me

and Jesus calls him over and heals him

pastor Sam that's great that's wonderful

pulpit theatre that ain't me and most of

us do not come to this to earnestly

naturally you know what all those folks

have in common they were desperate they

were desperate

and sometimes because he loves us God

allows circumstances that compel us to

seek Him to seek Him what are you

talking about pastor Sam we need help

sometimes with exotel

we need an invisible God who loves who

loves you and made you to impose his

existence on you CS Lewis called

suffering the megaphone of God why there

are moments that shake our tiny fragile

little world and remind us well maybe we

aren't in control maybe our lives really

are fragile moments that shatter our

complacency and and without us even

realizing it you could you you could

have you know written a 25-page paper in

college entitled God is dead and the

moment that happens the first things out

of your work lips are God help me god

help me and you know what that's okay

that is okay those are the cries that

you actually hear over the videos the

phone videos coming out of Mexico City

as these structures are reduced to dust

and rubble yummy Oh Tammy City kolya

these are the cries you hear in Puerto

Rico and Dominican Tortola over the

howling winds these are the cries you

may have uttered in your own moment of

desperation that diagnosis that pink

slip that note from your wife saying

that she's leaving and taking the kids

don't feel bad he knows what you're

saying and when you say that God helped

me that simple

primal cry

you get his attention for anyone who

calls on the name of Jesus will be saved

anyone who calls on the name of Jesus

will be saved the death row inmate who

calls on the name of Jesus will be saved

that passengers strapped in the plane

heading into the Indian Ocean will be

saved the guy in the brooks brotherís

suit who overnight loses his job his

marriage and his good name

God you exists and you reward those who

seek me I invite the musicians to join

us I have some by the way there's a

reason I I have a little expertise on

this so that was the cry that came out

of me one night in February of 1989

there's a reason I have to say I don't

know that I have shared this testimony

with too many of you even in 17 years

here but but it's important that you

hear how this works that was that night

was the night that I learned what it was

to earnestly seek God I grew up in a

home of pastors learning to fear the

Lord of course I believed that God

existed I knew God I worshiped God but I

shaped God to my liking treating him

more like an idea that I could adjust

mold use but did not earnestly seek him

until that night that night at 25 I had

lost everything I had until then which

wasn't much my life was in shambles my

life's possessions reduced to a duffel

bag

I was squatting in my elderly aunt

apartment in Spanish Harlem in New York

City if not for that I'd be homeless

you know why people commit suicide

because they're tempted to it's a

temptation just like they're tempted to

do all sorts of self-destructive things

if only to escape the pain just to get

away from the pain for this one night

anyway to get out of it and God sees

that and as I looked into that long

black tunnel thinking this over

I remembered Psalm 139 that had been

drilled into me like so many other

scriptures and I was a kid though I make

my bed in hell you are there and I knelt

by the bedside I beside that rollaway

car that was in the living room of this

apartment in the projects and I said God

you in you in are nothing special I'm

nothing special but if you want my life

so Pat it's yours

tonight you're my only option tonight

you're my only hope

god help me you exist you reward those

who seek you not because I deserve it

God but because it's you not that I have

done anything to deserve that you should

reward me but just because I need you

you know what at that moment almost

instantly It was as if scales fell from

my eyes it was bizarre my mind It was as

if someone who turned on the lights I

was thinking it was it was it was as if

the lights had been turned on and what

was happening is that this was the mind

of Christ this is the hand of God

beginning to take hold of me I couldn't

see the worth of my life or what lay

ahead at that time I couldn't see it but

God could see it I had never been to

Boston in my life

eighteen months later I'd be in Boston

and the rest is an unbroken trajectory

of God's faithfulness until the 24th of

September at 9:00 a.m. this morning

[Music]

he saw Boston he saw law school he saw

money nah he saw a line of Judah there

was no line of Judah he already saw it

he saw Herc

he saw it all he rewards those who seek

Him you know that's been my mantra since

that night for the last 30 years

it's how I approach challenges I love it

I love it once I love it when someone

asks can your God deliver you from this

bring it on

did your God deliver you from this and

over and over again my instinctive

response is my god LS my God exists and

he rewards those who seek Him I'm gonna

ask you to bow your heads for

[Music]

if you're in this if you came to this

building seeking the favor of God you

already have the faith necessary to

change your life to change the life of

everyone connected to you who loves you

to be used by God mildly here's the

thing you don't even know your own life

right now you don't even realize what

God can do through your life why you

were brought into this world or the

purposes that he has for you he's just

waiting

and if that's you today we just want to

give you an opportunity to say God I

need you

maybe I've never said maybe you might

have you may have been walking with

Christ for a while but you needed an

opportunity to earnestly seek you and

surrender and today the Lord hands you

an invitation he rewards those he

rewards those who seek Him and if that's

you this is pastor Sam I want I I don't

want to leave here with that without

that vestment of God's grace and mercy I

want to identify myself as one of those

lunatics one of those lunatics one of

those Yahoo's in this naen age who needs

God and he believed and believed that

he's a rewarder of those who seek Him if

you're especially if you're doing that

for the first time would you raise your

hand

would you raise your hand if you want

that impartation Lord bless you I see

that again sweetheart keep it up I see

that hand

I bless you

god bless you I see that

god bless you I'm gonna ask if you

raised your hand could you please stand

where you are

[Music]

I'm gonna ask

in fact if some of you want to come

forward if you're with your believing

friends fanny if you want to accompany

the sister and Eric Lord bless you amen

[Music]

our father Everlast

the or creating one God Almighty

[Music]

you know your Holy Spirit conceiving

Christ the Son Jesus our Savior

[Music]

I believe in God our Father I believe in

Christ the Son I believe in the Holy

Spirit our God is three

the resurrection

we will rise the bed for ivy

in the

Jesus

[Music]

if you're here and you're praying this

for the first time when you pray this

prayer with me

for Jesus to say your name

I believe

that you exist I believe

that you reward those who seek you

I see you today

take my life as it is

[Music]

shake me as you would have with me as

long as I live

you are my lord I am your child

as long as I live I will follow

cover me with your blood

forgive my sins

fill me with your Holy Spirit

take my hand guide me and protect me

until I see you

to face

I feel bad

you are my god and I am your sir

in Jesus name