Our reading is in Genesis 5:22–24. But our text verses are in Psalm 115:12 and John 15:14-15.
Psalm 115:12- The LORD has been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.
John 15:14 “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
Today is the last Sunday of the year 2015. Have you seen where all those months went? If you ask me, am not looking forward yet to year 2016. We have four days yet to go and I believe this is a good time to look back. Looking back will help us move forward. Don’t you thinks so? I don’t really know what title to give this message, but I will be talking about friendship with a mindful God. Is it not that in any friendships we have with anyone dear to us, we look back for the good memories and look forward for greater closeness?
In relation to our first text verse, has there been a year in your life, which when you look back, you have been able to say, “The Lord hath been mindful of me?” It will be very hard to look forward to another year and say, “The Lord will bless me” if you have not acknowledged how mindful the Lord has been to you. And perhaps when you ponder upon these things, material things will first come to mind, health will come to mind, and family will come to mind.
But how about our spiritual journey, can you look back and say, “Because the Lord had been mindful of me, I have really grown in His grace and knowledge this year, and I am looking forward to greater growth next year.” The psalmist is quite sure about this: and so it is my prayer that we will also be very sure on how you made the Lord very much part of your daily existence for you to say, “The Lord hath been mindful of me. He will bless me.”
In looking back the old year, are you able to affirm your conviction that you should make a thankful confession of the Lord’s mindfulness of you?
I know that some will look back in far other ways. Many will look back at the problems rather than mindful that God was always there along with them in those hardships. Some perhaps will be in a self-congratulating spirit for what they might have achieved, but no real thankfulness to God. There are people, who will say to themselves, that what good I have achieved has been all because of me; all for their own mindfulness of themselves, and there is little, if any to acknowledge God.
I don’t want you to forget to acknowledge what Jesus Himself said in John 15:5 – “for without me ye can do nothing.” Apostle Paul said in Phil 4:13 that he can do all things only through Christ who strengthens him. That’s why the wisest man gave us this advice in Proverbs 3:6- “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and HE shall direct thy paths.”
Others perhaps, out of their discouragements, will deny that the Lord hath been mindful of them. It seems to them that God has forgotten them. And some may think that God has turned against them. They would perhaps point to their less acquired resources now that they are Christian than when they were not a Christian.
I thank God that His mindfulness of us is certainly not a new thing. In fact, before I knew of God He had been mindful of me; the Bible says, even before the foundation of the world. All around us are proofs of His loving forethoughts. Look at the history of creation, how God already thought of all our needs before He even placed man on earth. I cannot put anything into my mouth: fruits, vegetables, fish or any meats without being reminded how God thought of this for me.
His mindfulness of us is clearly evident. God was not even taken by surprise when sin entered our world. Already in His mind, Christ is the Lamb to be slain for the sins of the world. God had determined that where sin did abound, grace should much more abound. Are we deserving of this? No matter how, I cannot deny how God had been mindful of me.
LET us also peep into the New Year that is 4 days ahead of us. Will we be assured that God will help us through?
This question is drawn from what we talked about – that God is always mindful of us. And the second text verse that we read tells us that we are His friends. Oh, you better be sure you are a friend of God. We’re going to talk a little bit on that. We sometimes follow a principle that what has been, as the law of habit ensures, will be. That’s why we hear words like, “It happened before it will happen again or history repeats itself.”
And so, we may reason that what God hath already done is what He will do. If He has been mindful of us, especially to His friends, then there’s no reason He won’t help and bless us again. I don’t know if that always follow because He says, If you regard iniquity in your heart I will not hear you. And therefore, blessings are very much dependent upon our faith. For nothing pleases God except by faith.
God is “all-knowing.” He also has known reasons why he should not bless us. No one can tell God anything worse of us than he already knows and yet, as much as He wants us helped, it is us who fails to see this by failing to walk with Him in Spirit. Galatians 5:16– says, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Sin hinders blessings. By not walking in the Spirit, it follows that you are fulfilling the lust of the flesh.
Folks, if we are going to see in tangible ways how God will bless us, walk in the Spirit. His blessing is given into the hands outstretched in prayer and faith, into the hands that move in obedience to Him, and thus we can confidently expect His blessing. And with this, we will tell others also. Let me say this, we are church.
And the Bible says the church is His Bride. And so I’d like to emphasize that our walk with God is extremely important. God is looking for not only a clinging bride but also a walking partner. From the very beginning, God had a relationship with Adam and Eve that Gen 3:8 tells us that God found them “walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” Folks, our own human cravings for sweet relationship- is actually after the image of God. He created man for His enjoyment of a walking relationship.
And, of course, that involves companionship, dialogue, intimacy, joint decision-making, mutual delight, and shared dominion. God longs to walk with you and me. That is why even when man have fallen in sin, He sent His Son Jesus to restore that lost relationship with us. And it is because He wants to walk with us.
Until today His arms of grace have been calling people to come to the Savior. And to you who already are connected to the Saviour, to you who are already saved, God would like to pull you into a closer walk with Him. And many Christians are rejecting that call in continuing to live in sin. So don’t resist Him, just because the world seems to be more attractive than walking with God.
My son, Louis, out of the blue, invited me for a game of golf he never had before, at least with me, the other day. I don’t think he will ever comprehend how much it meant to me to be walking with him around the course. We talked the whole time. The walk did not only give me fitness fun, but it also deepened my relationship with him.
Jesus went on these kinds of walks with his disciples, and He still likes to walk with us this way today. God designed a daily walk with Him to establish us in an intimate friendship with him through the course of our everyday lives. The goal we should be making in the next year should be an everyday walk of unbroken communion with our Lord and friend.
Enoch was the first man in the Bible to have been recorded to who walked with God: Genesis 5:22–24 tells us that “After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
Even though men began to call upon the name of the Lord in the early days (Genesis 4:26), Enoch was the first man recorded to uncover the true delight of walking with God. He found something that even Adam didn’t experience. He walked with God until he learned how to commune with God through every facet of life. But let me tell you, to find that dimension of relationship certainly requires an intense spiritual pursuit.
And Enoch found that dimension. Then the Lord made an explicit statement by taking him up to heaven alive. By taking Enoch up to glory, God wasn’t trying to get us impressed with Enoch’s religiosity. Nor was God saying, “If you get to be as spiritual as Enoch, you’ll get taken up to heaven, too.”
This was a unique experience that God used to emphasize a specific point. God must be saying, “I love to walk with man! Enoch was the first man to truly walk with me, so I decided to highlight his example by doing something extraordinary with him. I took him up without having to physically die to underscore how much I value and desire a daily walking relationship with my chosen ones.”
Enoch’s example continues to witness to us all even in our generation of the great zeal God has put to walk with man. When the zeal of God captures you, it will ignite you with a great passion to walk with God and to be his friend. Imagine being Enoch and living 365 years—and having this growing relationship with God!
One can only wonder what glorious depths of intimacy Enoch uncovered. Perhaps Enoch’s heart longed so deeply for more of God that He saw this character in his grandson Noah. And maybe God’s heart was saying, “Enoch, you love me with such a pure and sweet passion, I don’t want to say ‘no’ to you anymore. I’m going to answer your prayer and show you my face. Come on up here!”
As you draw close to God, He will not likely take you up to heaven alive like He did to Enoch, although that will happen very soon in the rapture. However, God does desire to reveal the beauty of his face to you if you walk close with Him. As you walk with him, He will reveal to you passages in Scriptures through the Spirit of wisdom and show you the light of the glory of God in whatever you go through in life. That’s why some Christians are truly blessed. Some only think they are blessed. If the only walk with God closely…
When we walk with God, we enter into that dimension where God unfolds the secrets of his kingdom. These are the paths that our forefathers have trod before us. Just in case you missed it, Noah is the grandson of Enoch. If Enoch did not walk with God, I don’t think a Noah would come out and be used of God. Because Enoch walked with God, Noah also walked with God in Genesis 6:9, as did Abraham (Genesis 24:40).
Through Christ, we can explore the glorious riches of knowing God like these people did –and, to even a greater degree because of the Spirit, which has been given to us! By His indwelling Spirit, God wants to walk with us before He will work through us. In other words, He will wait to act until He finds the right man or the right woman through whom He can work.
And He calls those that walk with Him His friends. He works with his friends. When He finds you to be His friend, His divine activity will accelerate in you. When God finds a useful vessel in you for noble purposes, he will use that vessel for greater heights.
To illustrate, when Louis gave me a riding lawn mower, I promise him this—I will use it! Similarly, God will use the one who walks with Him and gives Him delight. But he’s looking especially for three crucial qualities in the believer: humility, faithfulness, and loyalty. He wants to work with friends who are loyal to him, no matter what.
Most people are bogged down with questions like -why does God allow this to happen? Folks, even when circumstances would suggest that God is unjust, the response you will get from His true friends is this: that they will continue to walk with Him. In other words, the Lord will test our faithfulness, our trustworthiness, our commitment and conformity.
When we prove ourselves to be His friends even through the greatest calamities of life, we qualify as useful vessels. Btw, we can never prove ourselves to be good enough to be saved. We need to come to Jesus for that. But rewards of blessings depend on your faithfulness, our trustworthiness, commitment and conformity.
When Jesus is your friend, you call Him for anything- any time. For example, Jesus was out of a deep sleep, when they woke Him up, then He silenced the storm without being grumpy! Sometimes, when I am woken up in my sleep, I get grumpy or dopey. But not Jesus to His friends.
The secret place in Christianity is where we develop a walking relationship with God. Someone said, “We must develop a secret history with God before He gives us a public history before people.” Again, go to John 15:14 that says: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
Hidden in the secret place, we learn what He’s looking for in friends, and we find out what pleases him. Our inner chamber with him becomes our training ground for a life that is rooted and grounded in love. Jesus confided His kingdom purposes only to his friends.
Four days to go for New Year, if you are here this morning and as you look back, would you be able to honestly say that God truly and indeed had been mindful of you in 2015? And if He did, would you be able to say, God will help and bless me in the days ahead in 2016. Today, let me ask you- is it embarrassing to be grateful? If you are not embarrassed to be grateful, please show your gratefulness to God by humbly coming to the altar to pray.
To those who believe they could better their relationship with God, would you also come to the altar and pray, “Lord, I want to be your friend, your confidant and loyal to you unto death. I want to walk with you, talk with you, listen to you, hear your heart, and I want you part of every decision making in my life. Help me to make a momentous hour in my spiritual life. Teach me, Lord, to consult you in everything I do, to have your guidance, your comfort and your leading because that is what it means to be walking with you!”
Please come and talk to God.