“The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.”Psalm 14:2
‘Ready or not here I come!’ is the yell of the ageless game of ‘Hide’n’Seek’. It can be as harmless as finding a table to crawl under and waiting to make a mad dash for ‘base’, or it can be as grim as huddling in a closet trying hard not to breathe, hoping the booted footsteps outside do not come your way. There is nothing more exciting than the thrill of the chase, or more epic than a new quest for adventure. And the capstone of these diversions (movies, novels, comic books, folk tales) is the soul-wrenching desire to find and know the one true God. Or is it? Pastor Paul Chappell of Lancaster Baptist Church and author, in his book: To Seek And To Save, says,
“Mankind as a whole has never sought after God, yet in His unending mercy, God has lovingly been seeking a restored fellowship with mankind since the garden of Eden. The Bible clearly states, “We love him, because he first loved us” (I John 4:19). God is, and has always been the prime mover in the matter of salvation; and when God took human form and came to the earth, He simplified his mission by stating, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). God was now moving out and providing redemption through Christ. Jesus is truly the Seeker of men as well as the Saviour of men.”
I hope to present the Lord Jesus Christ today. But I also want you to understand the failure of man seeking after God, the farce of man seeking after man, and the faithfulness of God seeking after man.
“A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” Proverbs 18:2
I. The Failure of Man Seeking After God
“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read:” Isaiah 34:16 A. God is not sought because he is unacceptable to the world. B. Example: ‘Jesus is ______’ foolishness. 1. They want to be together-God separates them Acts 17:26-27 2. They want to justify their behavior-God condemns sin 3. They want the ultimate good-He is almighty God Luke 18:18 4. They want free love-God governs relationships Matthew`11:35 5. They want acceptance-God accepts none but his Son And in all of these, man sought for some other way! C. God is not sought after because he is unneeded by the world 1. Man has money- why pray for provision? Matthew 7:33-34 2. Man has knowledge- why want for wisdom through the fear of the LORD? Proverbs 2:4-5 i. God gave the Eternal Word- Christ ii. The Spoken Word- Law iii. The Revealed Word- Prophets iv. The Manifested Word- Jesus v. The Living Word- Christ in you the hope of glory vi. The written word- the KJV 3. Man has companionship- why long for true love? D. God is not sought after because he is unseen of this world. “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Luke 24:5 1. The devil confuses him with others “God is not the author of confusion” 1 Corinthians 14:33, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds” 2 Corinthians 4:4, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14 2. Man covers him with lies “but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.” Proverbs 28:12 3. God conceals himself “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie(they received not the love of the truth)” 2 Thessalonians 2:11 “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” Psalm 10:4 God: “Look to the light!” Man: “I can’t, my eyes are blinded” God: “Eph-phatha, be opened. Open your eyes” Man: Turns his back. “I still cannot, it’s behind me God: “Repent, turn from your wicked ways!” Man: Turns but covers face with his hands “It’s too bright, I can’t look at it!” Why can’t man see the light? BECAUSE HE DOES NOT WANT TO SEE THE LIGHT.
Robert Murphy, missionary, author, The Fight For Light: The Spiritual Battle With Chronic Illness, after pondering his heavenly Father in His creation, says, “Nothing earth shattering was revealed in those illustrations, but it was a blessing to me to sit quietly and have something as simple as a glass of water bring the Creator of the universe to my mind. And again I wonder how many people have looked at a flower and seen the greatness of God illustrated in it?”
When someone says to me that they cannot find God, it tells me they are not really looking for Him. God is everywhere, and He will reveal Himself to anyone who truly looks for Him.
II. The Farce of Man Seeking After Man
“The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.” Proverbs 29:10
“On Feb 8, 1986, pilot Mike Harbough was trying desperately to fly his Cessna 182 through Merrill Pass in the Kuskokwin Mountains in Alaska. The cloud ceiling was 5000 feet. The pass was 3500 feet. At an altitude of 4500 feet he should be able to squeeze through. But as he approached the pass it closed in on him. He turned the Cessna away… and woke up sitting in the snow on the side of the mountain below, gazing at the wreckage of his plane 50 feet further down the mountain. As he had banked his plane a gush of wind had reached out and swatted it to the ground like a bug. (He managed to get to his plane and survive for 3 days there awaiting rescue) But he couldn’t make it (one more night). The plunging temperatures combined with his weakened condition would take his life. He would die that night. But he wouldn’t! Not if Major Merle Perrine of Elmendorf Air Force base could help it. They would assault the deadly pass at night, something that had never been done before.
-Dr. Sam Gipp, Fight On! “Gotta Get Out Tonight!”
An HC-130 cargo plane would have to bombard the pitch blackness with flares constantly or Capt. Scott Sommer and his helicopter crew would be joining Harbough in the darkness below. In the treacherous air currents, Maj. Sommer flared his bobbing craft, and pararescuers Sgt. Ryan Beckman and Airman 1st Class Patrick Keller leaped out into the sub-zero temperature. They secured Harbough to a stretcher and hoisted him up. He later said that after three nights on the mountain he felt like he had left his tomb and been resurrected. In 3 days he had lost 30 pounds. His core temperature had dropped to a mere 80 degrees. Death hovered close… then he recovered enough for doctors to amputate his frozen left leg. Merrill Pass is scattered with the wreckage of similar wreck. Mike Harbough is the only pilot known to have survived. But then, maybe he had help.”
If man is unable to find God on his own, then a man who knows God may attempt to win him. A. A Christian knows God 1. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:11 2. “As thou has sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world” John 17:18 3. “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:4 B. A Christian's shortfall in witnessing 1. We don’t do it when we should- always in a hurry 2. We don’t do it how we should- “Fear of man bringeth a snare” Proverb 29:25 3. We don’t do it where we should- the money and effort never meet 4. We don’t do it why we should- i. Humanitarian effort ii. ‘Americanizing’ Christianity iii. Thrill-seeking iv. Exploratory missions David Livingstone, a missionary in Africa, after many years of service and sacrifice, died in the village of Chitambo (in today’s Zambia); his companions found him kneeling beside his bed in the posture of prayer. He was sixty years old. A couple of his loyal African followers preserved his body to be carried to the coast and transported back to England- but his heart was removed, and buried under a tree in Africa. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34 C. Natural pitfalls “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” Ecclesiastes 7:29 1. A man who seeks man can only show what he knows of God. And outside of a Bible- there is not much to know. 2. A man’s word is often destroyed by his reputation, true or not, and after he is dead, time fades the witness. John: “He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.” John 5:35 3. Man usually seeks man for his own earthly good. i. Prestige- win friends and influence people. “Comparing themselves among themselves are not wise” 2 Corinthians 10:12 ii. Honor- “Search the scriptures… which receive honour one of another” John 5:38, 44 4. Man is his own worst enemy. Heat-seeking missiles to Search-And-Destroy missions: only time will tell how many inventions are devised to kill and to destroy. Briton Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison, recorded a 1.53 mile (2,707 yd) shot in November 2009 during in the War in Afghanistan; in which he shot two machine gunners consecutively. i. Head-hunters- Nimrod, Genesis 10:8-9 ii. Soul-hunters- Cults, apostate churches, man-made religions “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Matthew 23:15 5. Man cannot find himself, much less someone else. i. Man becomes extremely self-centered when he is hungry, ii. Sick, iii. Hurt, iv. Tired, and v. Afraid.
Though visitation, outreach, missions, preaching, printing presses, and a host of other avenues of soul-winning exist to fulfill the Great Commission- still we are left with: “If that’s all we have to work with, this ministry is a failure.”
III. The Faithfulness Of God Seeking After Man
“God seeketh such to worship Him” John 4:1-26
A. God is not the subject of research: He is the author of revelation. 1. She sought God: i. As a pragmatist, 11 ii. As a historian, 12 iii. As a libertarian, 17 iv. As a religionist, 20 v. As a gnostic, 25 2. The Lord Jesus had only to say, “I am he” Man stretches his eye to the cosmos, with a telescope, he cannot see God. Man squints his eye to the elements, and with a microscope divides and separates and splits and dematerializes, and still he cannot see God. But man can pick up a book, and read; and there he will find God. B. The Lord knows where to look. “And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren:” Gen 37:15-16 1. He found Noah in the midst of a wicked world 2. Abraham in the terror of darkness 3. Jacob running for his life 4. Moses in the backside of the Midian desert 5. Samuel in the temple 6. Mary outside of the tomb 7. Thomas and the disciples in the upper room 8. Cleopas on the road to Emmaus 9. Saul enroute to Damascus- seeking to kill! 10. You! Reading or listening to this right now! He knows where to look! C. God has not recently taken up the search 1. “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Genesis 3:9 2. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 D. Ready or not, he will come again. “He which testifieth these things sayeth, Surely I come quickly. Amen. EVEN SO COME, LORD JESUS.” Revelation 22:20 E. He is looking for you. Now. Here. Are you looking for Him?
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. “ Isaiah 55:6-7
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation(?)” Hebrews 2:3